Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part VII

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January 9, 2020 by directorfsm

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Image Depicting Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes

by Thomas Watson, 1660

An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Poverty of Spirit (Continued)

But how shall we know that this glorious kingdom shall be settled upon us at death?

1. God has set up his kingdom of grace within each of his children. ‘The kingdom of God is within you’ (Luke 17:21). By the kingdom of God here—is meant the kingdom of grace in the heart. Grace may be compared to a kingdom. It sways the scepter; it gives out laws. There is the law of love. Grace beats down the devil’s garrisons. It brings the heart into a sweet subjection to Christ. Is this kingdom of grace set up in your heart? Do you rule over your sins? Can you bind those kings in chains? (Psalm 149:8). Are you a king over your pride, passion and unbelief? Is the kingdom of God within you? While others aspire after earthly greatness—do you labor for a kingdom within you? Certainly if the kingdom of grace is in your heart, you shall have the kingdom of glory. If God’s kingdom of grace enters into you, you shall enter into his kingdom of glory. But let not that man ever think to reign in glory—who now lives a slave to his lusts!

2. If you are a believer—you will go to this blessed kingdom. ‘Rich in faith, heirs of the kingdom’ (James 2:5). Faith is a heroic act of the soul. It makes a holy adventure on God, by a promise. Faith is the crowning grace. Faith puts us into Christ, and our title to the crown comes in by Christ. By faith we are born of God, and so we become children of the royal blood. By faith our hearts are purified (Acts 15:9, 10), and we are made fit for a kingdom; ‘rich in faith, heirs of the kingdom’. Faith paves a highway to heaven. Believers die heirs to the crown.

3. He who has a noble, kingly spirit—shall go to the heavenly kingdom. ‘Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.’ (Colossians 3:2). He who has a heavenly spirit—shall go to the heavenly kingdom. Do you live above the world? The eagle does not catch flies—she soars aloft in the air. Do you pant after glory and immortality? Do you abhor that which is sordid and carnal? Can you trample upon all sublunary things? Is heaven in your eye—and Christ in your heart—and the world under your feet? He who has such a kingly spirit, who looks no lower than a crown—’he shall dwell on high’, and have his throne mounted far above all heavens! The exhortation has a double aspect.

1. The exhortation looks toward the WICKED. Is there a kingdom to be had, a kingdom so enameled and bespangled with glory? Oh then, do not by your folly make yourselves incapable of this glorious blessing! Do not for the satisfying of a base lust, forfeit a kingdom. Do not drink away a kingdom. Do not for the lap of pleasure—lose the crown of life! If men, before they committed a sin, would but sit down and rationally consider whether the present gain and sweetness in sin, would countervail the loss of the heavenly kingdom—it would put them into a cold sweat, and give some check to their unbridled lusts. Jacob took Esau by the heel. Look not upon the smiling face of sin—but ‘take it by the heel’. Look at the end of it. It will deprive you of a kingdom, and can anything make amends for that loss? O, is it not madness, for the unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11), to lose a kingdom? How will the devil at the last day reproach and laugh at men, that they should be so stupidly sottish for a rattle—to forgo a crown! They are like those Indians who for glass beads, will part with their gold. Surely it will much contribute to the vexation of the damned—to think how foolishly they missed of a kingdom.

2. The exhortation looks toward the GODLY, and it exhorts to two things.

[1] Is there a kingdom in reserved for us? Then let this be a motive to duty. Do all the service you can for God while you live. ‘Spend and be spent.’ The reward is honorable. The thoughts of a kingdom, should add wings to prayer, and fire to zeal. Inquire what you have done for God. What love have you shown to his name? What zeal for his glory? Where is the head of that Goliath lust which you have slain for his sake? Methinks we should sometimes go aside into our closets and weep, to consider how little work we have done for God. What a vast disproportion is there between our service—and our reward! What is all our weeping and fasting—compared to a kingdom! Oh improve all your talents for God. Make seasons of grace, opportunities for service.
And that you may act more vigorously for God, know and be assured—that the more work you do, the more glory you shall have. Every saint shall have a kingdom—but the more service any man does for God, the greater will be his kingdom. There are degrees of glory which I will prove thus:

First, because there are degrees of torment in hell. ‘They shall receive greater damnation’ (Luke 20:47). Those who make religion a cloak for their sin, shall have a hotter place in hell. Now if there are degrees of torment in hell, then by the rule of contraries, there are degrees of glory in the kingdom of heaven.

Again, seeing God in his free grace rewards men according to their works, therefore, the more service they do the greater shall their reward be. ‘Behold I come quickly and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be’ (Revelation 22:12). He who has done more—shall receive more. He who gained ten times what was entrusted to him, was made ruler over ten cities (Luke 19:16, 17). This may very much excite to eminency in religion. The more the lamp of your grace shines, the more you shall shine in the heavenly orb. Would you have your crown brighter, your kingdom larger, your palm-branches more flourishing? Be eminent Christians. Do much work, in a little time. While you are laying out, God is laying up. The more glory you bring to God, the more glory you shall have from God.

[2] Walk worthy of this kingdom. ‘You should walk worthy of God, who has called you to his kingdom’ (1 Thessalonians 2:12). Live as kings! Let the majesty of holiness appear in your faces. Those who looked on Stephen, ‘saw his face, as it had been the face of an angel (Acts 6:15). A kind of angelic brightness was seen in his visage. When we shine in zeal, humility, and holinesss—this beautifies and honors us in the eyes of others, and makes us look as those who are heirs to a heavenly crown.

Here is comfort to the people of God in case of poverty. God has provided them a kingdom: ‘Theirs is the kingdom of heaven’. A child of God is often so low in the world, that he has not a foot of land to inherit. He is poor in purse—as well as in spirit. But here is a fountain of consolation opened. The poorest saint who has lost all his golden fleece, is heir to a kingdom—a kingdom which excels all the kingdoms and principalities of the world, more than diamond excels dirt! This kingdom is peerless and endless. “The hope of a kingdom,” says Basil, “should carry a Christian with courage and cheerfulness through all his afflictions!” And it is a saying of Luther, “The sea of God’s mercy, overflowing in spiritual blessings, should drown all the sufferings of this life!” What though you go now in rags? You shall have your white robes! What though you have only bread and water? You shall feast when you come into the kingdom! Here you drink the brinish water of tears—but shortly you shall drink the wine of paradise. Be comforted with the thoughts of your glorious kingdom!

 

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