The Kingdom Manifesto is the essentially the entire Sermon on the Mount. In this new study, we’ll spend our time at the very beginning of the Sermon, in a portion of Scripture traditionally called the Beatitudes. Followers of Jesus are the inhabitants of the Kingdom that has come, and the coming Kingdom. His is the Kingdom of the now, and the not yet. As a whole the Beatitudes become a sketch of the type of person who is ready to possess, and rule over, God’s Kingdom in company with the Lord Jesus Christ. Join us as we spend time in the Presence of our King.
1. What are some examples in our world of our desire for peace?
2. What is a space in your life today where you desire to experience peace?
3. Read Matthew 5:8-10. How are these three beatitudes connected to each other?
4. How would you describe the difference between a peacekeeper and a peacemaker? Why do you think that Jesus says that peacemakers are blessed?
5. Read Jeremiah 6:13-15. God speaks strongly in this passage about those who say “peace, peace when there is no peace.” Why is it tempting for us to smooth over the conflict in order to keep the peace instead of doing the work necessary to make peace?
6. Jesus was our example as the ultimate peacemaker. Read Romans 5:8-11. How do these verses encourage you and challenge you as a peacemaker?
7. On Sunday we looked at four characteristics of a peacemaker. A peacemaker: 1) Begins by looking inward (James 3:17-18) 2) Does not force peace (Romans 12:16-18) 3) Sacrifices for peace (Matthew 5:43-45) 4) Points to the ultimate peacemaker (Colossians 1:19-20)
8. Which of these characteristics is hardest for you to live out in your life?
9. Peacemaking is not a peaceful business. It cost Jesus His life and will cost us as well. How do the words of Jesus in John 14:25-27 empower and encourage you?
10. The promise associated with being a peacemaker in Matthew 5:9, is that we would be called sons of God. Where is your Heavenly Father inviting you into being a peacemaker today?
11. Spend some time praying that God would open your eyes to where He desires for you to make peace in your life this week. Praise God for the peacemaker that Jesus is and the reconciliation that He has made possible between you and God.
1. Read Psalm 27 incarnationally. Where do you find yourself in this text?
2. How does Psalm 27 encourage you in fear? How does it call you to trust more fully?
3. In just a few words describe the “wicked, enemies, and armies that besiege you?”
4. Practically, how do you seek His face?
5. When you think about the face of God, what do you think about?
6. In what ways do you find yourself waiting to “see God?”
7. Why are the “pure in heart” blessed?
8. How does one become pure in heart?
9. Read Psalm 24.3-4. Describe the religious tension in internal purity (pure heart) and external purity (clean hands).
10. How do you resist the temptation in focusing your attention on the external practices of religion, vs. the internal practices of faith?
11. Whom in your life do you consider to be “pure in heart?”
12. Read Jeremiah 17.9, and then Hebrews 9.11-4. How do you see God at work in giving us pure hearts?
13. Read and reflect on Wesley’s quote regarding the “pure in heart.”
“The pure in heart” are they whose hearts God has “purified even as he is pure”; who are purified, through faith in the blood of Jesus, from every unholy affection; who, being “cleansed from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfect holiness in the” loving “fear of God.” They are, through the power of his grace, purified from pride, by the deepest poverty of spirit; from anger, from every unkind or turbulent passion, by meekness and gentleness; from every desire but to please and enjoy God, to know and love him more and more, by that hunger and thirst after righteousness which now engrosses their whole soul: so that now they love the Lord their God with all their heart, and with all their soul, and mind, and strength.
14. Where do you see God most clearly? What do you see?
15. Is it possible to see God in the darkness? If so, how so.
16. Jesus says Luke 4.16-19
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
How is the mission of Jesus being lived out today? Where does it begin?
17. Ask God for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to love. Ask Him for a pure heart so you will see God.
1. Read Matthew 5.1-12 incarnationally. Where do you find yourself in this text?
2. Where have you experienced mercy most recently?
3. Describe the last time you extended mercy?
4. What’s the difference between justice and mercy?
5. Read and reflect on Titus 3.4-5; 1 Peer 1.3-4; Ephesians 2.4-5. How does Scripture describe God’s character?
6. For some, it is hard to believe God to be merciful. Many see God as judgmental, even angry. How do are you currently experiencing God’s mercy? Give a practical example.
7. How does receiving God’s mercy enable you to be merciful?
8. Read the story referenced on Sunday in Luke 7.36-50. The story includes this statement. “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
9. What does this truth look like in your life? How, and why are you motivated to forgive? Do you forgive little or much? How so?
10. “Mercy has the power to change the world. God’s mercy has the power to change the world, and your world.” Do you agree with this statement? How are you seeing this truth at work in your life?
11. Read Matthew 6.14-15. What is the implication of these words of Jesus? Where is this truth most difficult for you to live out today?
12. What’s the difference between a person who is “meek” and one who is “merciful.”
13. On Sunday we watched a scene from the movie Les Miserables. What’s another scene that helps you see the power of mercy at work? What’s the most personal story of mercy at work in your own life?
14. Read Psalm 103 and give God praise for His mercy and grace.
1. Read Luke 6.20-26 incarnationally, where do you find yourself in the text?
2. Read Matthew 5.1-12 alongside Luke 6.20-26. What similarities do you see? What differences are recorded? Why might that be so?
3. What is Matthew trying to communicate differently than Luke? Do the differences devalue the Words of Jesus? How might they add value to the overall message of the Gospel?
4. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” Matthew 5.6 Who comes to your mind when you think of this kind of person? What is it about them that fits this description?
5. Is there any of your story found in this verse?
6. At the soul level, “what is bothering you?” At times being able to self diagnose what is really bothering you brings clarity to the condition of the soul, and the truest desire of the soul. What’s bothering you?
7. How is God at work in the deepest spaces of what’s bothering you?
8. How is His will being accomplished in you and through you as you allow Him to heal that which is bothering you?
9. Read the paraphrase of Matthew 5.6 and answer the following questions. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [“who burn with desire for things to be made right.. . . in themselves” or in others], for they will be filled.
What would the person closest to you say is your deepest desire?
In what ways do you see brokenness and desire to see it made whole?
10. Review the “righteousness” statements in the Sermon on the Mount. 5.6, 5.10, 5.20, 6.1, 6:33. In your own words define the righteousness as described by Jesus.
11. How is righteousness descriptive of a relationship with God rather than the ethical quality of a person?
12. How often do you get lost in righteousness being about something you do, or you earn, or you achieve?
13. How is righteousness received?
14. Using Scripture what are some outcomes of righteousness?
15. Read and reflect on the thoughts of J.D. Walt. What if righteousness is actually the supernatural holy love of God expressed through and among ordinary human beings in the course of everyday life? What if righteousness is the human flourishing of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in our everyday relationships? What if righteousness is the convergence of all of the fruit of the Spirit breaking forth in the human community? This would be a different kind of community, wouldn’t it? This would be a beautiful and even arresting kind of people, wouldn’t it? This would be nothing short of the divine presence of God clothed in human flesh. Yes, that would be Jesus, and yes, Jesus is the way and the truth and the life—in us.
16. What would life look like for you today if His righteousness was simply expressed in genuine acts of love? How have you been a recipient of this kind of righteousness?
17. What’s the connection between righteousness and justice? How is that connection expressed in the local church?
18. What’s your personal experience with “self-righteousness?” How do you protect yourself from drifting into it?
19. Read 1 Corinthians 1.28-30. How does this text encourage you in the places where you are most personally bothered?
20. Jesus says “we will be filled.” What does that actually mean? What does “being filled” mean?
21. We are at once filled, and being filled. How do we wait for God to fill us? How can those in your Faith Family encourage you as you wait in hope?
1. Read Matthew 5:1-12. What is the purpose of the Beatitudes?
2. Read Luke 6.20-26. Compare the two texts. Note the similarities and differences. Why would they be different? Do differences automatically mean contradiction? Why or why not.
3. How could the Beatitudes affect our world today? How are they beginning to affect your world?
4. Jesus not only talked about the beatitudes, But He also lived them. Take a few moments and reflect on Jesus living out these truths.
• Blessed are the poor. Matthew 8:20, Philippians 2:5–9.
• Blessed are those who hunger and thirst. Matthew 4:4, John 4:13–14, John 4:34.
• Blessed are the pure in heart. Luke 10:38–42, Matthew 26:39.
• Blessed are the merciful. Matthew 18:21–35, 25:31–46, 9:27, John 8:1–11.
• Blessed are the meek. Matthew 11:29, John 13:1–17.
• Blessed are the peacemakers. Matthew 5:23–47, Luke 23:34, John 14:27, Ephesians 2:14.
• Blessed are those who mourn. Luke 19:41, John 11:35.
• Blessed are those who are persecuted. Matthew 27:27–31.
5. In what ways do you see blessedness as a Divine gift as opposed something to be earned, or achieved?
6. In your own words, define “meek”.
7. How does meek fit into the image of God? When have you seen God being meek?
8. When Jesus speaks about the meek, note that He is speaking collectively. It’s a communal meek, not just an individual meek. What’s the implication for us at Sanctuary?
9. How are meekness and humbleness related?
10. What are some examples you’ve expressed of the power of those who are meek?
11. What does it mean for the meek to “inherit the earth”?
12. Read Psalm 37. 1-11. What are the qualities or characteristics of the meek?
13. Of the Bible narratives presented in the message, Moses, David, and Mary, which resonates most deeply with you? Why? How does the Biblical story intersect with your story?
14. Read and reflect on the quote by A.W. Tozer— “The meek [person] is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson, but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God declared him to be; but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God, of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything.”
15. How do you see yourself?
16. How does God see you?
1. What is something you have learned or experienced recently that has caused you to think differently about something you already knew?
2. How have you experienced the comfort of God that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 in your life? What does it mean to you that God is a “God of all comfort?”
3. Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” What have you understood these words to mean in the past?
4. In reference to the second Beatitude, John Stott writes, “It is not the sorrow of bereavement to which Christ refers, but the sorrow of repentance.” How does this challenge your understanding of what Jesus is saying?
5. How does James 4:8-10 encourage us to respond to the sin in our lives? When was the last time that you wept and mourned over sin in your life?
6. How do you resonate with the story of the adulterous woman in John 8:3-11?
7. How do you fight the temptation to view sin in your life as not as bad as the sin of other people? Does our God view sin on a sliding scale from really bad, to not so bad?
8. At its core, sin separates. How is God inviting you to grieve and mourn the sin in your life that is resulting in separation from God?
9. True repentance of our sin, separates us from our sin so that God can obliterate our sin and restore us to a right relationship with Him. How does it encourage you to remember that God obliterates our sin, not us?
10. Jesus says that those who mourn will be comforted. How have you experienced the comfort of forgiveness for sin in your life?
11. Is there any sin in your life that God is inviting you to mourn and repent of? Spend some time in prayer repenting of the sin in your life, and then rejoice over the forgiveness that you have received (1 John 1:9).
1. Read Matthew 5.1-12 incarnationally. Where do you find yourself in this text?
2. What exactly are the Beatitudes? Are we to try and live them out, take on these specific characteristics, or is there something more here that Jesus is saying? If so, what is it?
3. What was so magnetic about Jesus that large “crowds” were following Him? Give some specific examples.
4. Why do you follow Jesus? Why do you get up and attend church, come to studies, or get involved in groups? What is it that causes you to engage even in this study today?
5. Anytime Jesus saw “crowds” He was compassionate toward them. How have you personally experienced the compassion and tenderness of Jesus?
6. In your own words describe the “kingdom of heaven” that Jesus is inviting us into.
7. The best translation for the word, “blessed” is “oh, how happy.” Is the goal of Jesus that we become happy? Is there are broader invitation here? What is Jesus saying? What does His blessing mean to you?
8. Read and respond to the comments of Donald Hagner. He writes, “. . . the kingdom is presupposed as something given by God. The kingdom is declared as a reality apart from any human achievement. Thus, the beatitudes are, above all, predicated upon the experience of the grace of God. The recipients are just that, those who receive the good news.
9. Because they are poor and oppressed, they make no claim upon God for their achievements. They don’t merit God’s kingdom; they but await His mercy.”
10. According to Hagner how do we experience and live in His blessing?
11. In your own words define “poor in spirit.”
Dallas Willard and Eugene Peterson both paraphrase Matthew 5.3. Willard says, “Blessed are the spiritual zeros – the spiritually bankrupt, deprived and deficient, the spiritual beggars, those without a wisp of ‘religion – when the kingdom of the heavens comes upon them.”
Eugene Peterson paraphrases the verse this way, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more of God and his rule.”
12. Describe a time when you have been “poor in spirit.”
13. In his book, The Reason for God Tim Keller writes,
The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself or less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less. In what ways does this truth resonate with you? How are Keller’s words both a comfort and a challenge?
14. Father Greg Boyle wrote, “Tenderness is the highest form of spiritual maturity…The incarnation was necessary because God’s love needed to become to tender.” What, if any, is the correlation between those who are “poor in spirit” and tenderness? Describe a person in your life who is tender? How do you sense a growing tenderness in your relationship with Christ?
15. Jesus made a way for all people to be blessed, including the sinners and the saints. Many were uncomfortable with this dramatic inclusion of the kingdom. Read Luke 15.1-2 (for a deeper dive read all of Luke 15). Why did the religious have a problem with Jesus eating with “sinners?” Why is the Gospel of inclusion so challenging in our day?
16. Read 1 Corinthians 6.8-10. How do these verses challenge you, or comfort you? Now read verse 11. Where do you find yourself in this text?
17. What is one way we as a church can move toward the “hopeless blessable?” How can you personally move toward someone who feels far off from the Jesus inaugurated Kingdom?