jesus-gospel300It was not the answer to the question: what are the minimum requirements for going to Heaven when I die. It was all about the Kingdom of God. (See Matthew 4.17, 23; Matthew 5.3, 10; Matthew 6.10, Matthew 9.35; Matthew 10.7; Acts 1.3; Acts 28.23, 31) It was all about “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. It was about the idea that this world—your world—could be like Heaven. Not so much the external world—this is not the health and wealth gospel—as much as how you experience this world.

The pinnacle of spiritual maturity is communicated in the words of James: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2–4 (NIV2011) When you can count in pure joy in the midst of all kinds of trials, you are not far from the kingdom. The kingdom of God has come in your life. In the words of John Ortberg, up there has come down here.

The apostle Paul experienced this life when he sang in prison. You too can experience this blessed life. We enter this blessed life through the beatitudes taught in the beginning of Jesus’ longest and most important sermon.

I have just completed a 9 week Bible study based on this theme. It is available on Amazon, as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.