Family Bible Study Lesson for September 7: "Kingdom Qualities"
August 22 2003 by Mary Fillinger , Matthew 5:1-16

Family Bible Study Lesson for September 7: "Kingdom Qualities" | Friday, Aug. 22, 2003

Friday, Aug. 22, 2003

Family Bible Study Lesson for September 7: "Kingdom Qualities"

By Mary Fillinger Matthew 5:1-16

The use of words changes or evolves with time. Thirty years ago the word "bad" always meant something negative or wrong, but in our contemporary culture, the meaning of "bad" is more ambiguous. Some people use the term "bad" to imply "good." That may be strange to our ears, yet it is part of the evolution of language in our own day.

Some terms in Matt. 5:1-16 also convey ideas that have been colored or changed by our culture and society. Jesus spoke of people who are poor in spirit or in mourning, of those who are meek, who desire righteousness, who are merciful, who are pure in heart, who work for peace, and who suffer persecution as being blessed, or happy. Few people today would connect happiness with being poor in spirit or in mourning. Yet, the promised reward is far more precious than all the money in the world. We may not always be happy with the circumstances, but happy with the fact that we are blessed, and that we have all the resources we need to live a life that will reflect the character of the Lord Jesus.

We all possess qualities that determine how we handle the various situations that come our way. In the scripture, Jesus explains that there are certain character traits that we need to diligently desire or improve in our lives. These traits allow us to be more effective in our service and also prepare us for our eternal life with Him. Everything we do should hinge on what we are being led to do by the Lord rather than on how we prefer things to be done. By considering just two of these character-building qualities, we may be able to see which areas in our own lives need some extra attention.

Unexpected blessings (Matthew 5:3-4) You can only be blessed when you come to the end of your own resources - or, to quote a popular phase, "to the end of your rope." When you come to the place that Jesus is all you have because you have hit bottom or can't manage anymore on your own; then and only then will you find He is all you need. It is the only time in life where less equals more.

"Blessed are those who mourn," Jesus said. We may be saddened by the death of a family member or someone deeply loved. We may be "soul-saddened" over sin in our personal lives, or in others' lives. None of us can prevent death from occurring: like birth, it is a part of life. However, we can do something about the condition that our world finds itself in today. We can witness and show others the way to life everlasting. Finally, we can strive to keep our own sin confessed and allow the Lord to control our lives.

As we face the situations that come into our lives with the Lord's help, we can show gentleness to others, and demonstrate compassion and Christlike love for them. We can live with godly integrity, displaying a peace that passes all understanding so we can guide others into living as Jesus did.

Appropriate attitudes (Matthew 5:11-16) The character of the believer is expressed through our attitudes. Our character is proved by our reaction to the world. We are to be salt and light for the world. We must be ready, willing and spiritually able to stand strong in the face of trial or persecution.

That is the challenge God is placing before us as we stand with our feet firmly planted in the soil of our past, wrapped in our present hopeful joy, looking toward the future.

I believe God calls us to be full stewards of His salt and light in our individual lives, in our communities, and in our universal witness as a people of faith. We are witnesses to the buoyant nature of God, for we float on a great wellspring of the joy of living; God is our ocean depth of happy rest! We also inherit the charge to be the light of the world - we are living witnesses to the light that shines in the darkness, preventing darkness from overtaking the world.

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8/22/2003 12:00:00 AM by Mary Fillinger , Matthew 5:1-16 | with 0 comments
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