First UMC
Downtown Worship, September 11, 2022
The Kingdom of Heaven Is This
Locations & Times
  • First United Methodist Church of Lexington - Downtown
    200 W High St, Lexington, KY 40507, USA
    Sunday 8:30 AM, Sunday 11:00 AM
The kingdom of heaven is used 32 times in Matthew and 0 times in the other gospels.

The book of Ezekiel helps us understand what the people in Jesus’ day were looking for: Ezekiel 10 (glory of God leaves the Temple), Ezekiel 37 (vision of the valley of dry bones), Ezekiel 43 (vision of God’s glory returning to the Temple).

The Temple and people were re-established, and now the people were waiting for the glory of God to return to the Temple and make all things right.

“Look here” Jesus says if you want to find the kingdom of heaven.

A. Unusual situations
1. Poor in spirit - theirs is the kingdom of heaven
2. Mourning
3. Meek

B. Usual situations
1. Hungry and thirsty for righteousness
2. Merciful
3. Pure in heart
4. Peacemakers

C. Unfair situations
Persecuted - theirs is the kingdom of heaven

The glory of God will not be returning to a place, but a people!! And through them the kingdom of heaven will be established and the glory of God will be revealed.

The kingdom of heaven, Jesus shows, is integrated into society not segregated from them. All of life then holds potential for an in-breaking of God’s glory.

When in contemplation we come to see all of life as a gift, we then recognize the people in our lives as the greatest gifts of God. - Spiritual Formation by Henri Nouwen

How do we develop awareness (contemplation as Nouwen calls it) to experience the kingdom of heaven?

1. Go up the hill and listen to Jesus the teacher / tour guide
2. Go with Jesus and watch his perfect example of living
3. Go to the cross and accept Jesus’ work of initiating salvation as your own.

Jesus is the tour guide, the perfect example, and the divine initiator of the kingdom of heaven.

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