Upside-Down Living

The kingdom of God stands in stark contrast to the kingdom of man.

In the Gospel by Matthew, there are parallels between Moses and Jesus. For example, Moses was saved from death as an infant from the hands of a murderous king, and so was Jesus. Moses ascended a mountain to receive and then deliver God‘s law to the Israelites. In similar fashion, Jesus ascended a mountain to teach the laws of the kingdom of God. However, Jesus did not deliver a new set of laws, but gave the true intention of laws God had already given in the Old Testament. In this lesson, we consider what Jesus said about how we ought to live as citizens of God‘s kingdom.

GOLDEN TEXT: Matthew 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.


A. Christlike Character in Relation to God

Matthew 5:1  And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

5:2  And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

5:3  Blessed (happy) are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. …….The realization people have that are without is about the destitute state they are in. They know they are lacking necessities and fundamentals that others around them so easily attain. There is nothing happy about being materialistically poor. But happy are they that know they are spiritually poor. We must come to Christ with this sense of being spiritually poor in order to receive a spiritual filling. A spiritual filling is a must for daily living. Only when a person is full of the Spirit are they truly happy. This is the state of mind and feeling that we must live in order to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. What a thought, that the Lord longs to make us happy in order to reward us for our happiness…

5:4  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. …….When a child mourns over a mistake made, there is (or should be) a natural sense of compassion expressed by the parent. It aches me to see mine and even others children mourn. Think about that. Now think about how the Lord feels when He sees His children mourn. Take your mourning to the Lord…

5:5  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. …….Meekness is not weekness. I heard someone say one time, meekness is power in control. Those who have the power to do good or evil, but chose to restrain and live in harmony. The Lord blesses those who live in a display of meekness.

5:6  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. …….Hungering and thirsting after righteousness is sincere and strong desire to have the righteousness of God prevail within our own life, in our relationships, and in society at large. Hungering and thirsting after righteousness is the strong desire for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done, on earth as is in Heaven (Matthew 6:10).

B. Christlike Character in Relation to People

While the first 4 beatitudes are focused primarily on relationship to God, the last four have to do with how we are to relate to people.

5:7  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. …….Those who show mercy to others will have mercy shown to by God. Think about how many times you have had the opportunity to show mercy to others. When we take advantage of those times, God will remind us when we need His mercy. He will also remind us when we have not shown mercy.

5:8  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. …….Do you know how many people around you truly know the purity of your heart? The answer is no one. This is where our spiritual and Godly relationship meets the road. To know God in the future, we must know Him in the present.

5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. …….Peace making and peace keeping are hand in hand. As much power that lies within the child of God, it is our duty to avoid conflict. It’s not easy for just any random person to walk into a bad situation and make peace out of contention. It takes someone who is spiritually full, meek but powerful, full of righteousness, merciful, and pure in heart, these are the characteristics of a man that can gain the attention of those in utter disarray and bring peace.

5:10  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

5:11  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

5:12  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. …….Just like many of you, I have been the target for spiritual persecution. Though the persecution we face with our 1st world issues may seem minor compared to those in the 3rd world, God will still acquit those who suffer for the sake of His name.


A. Salt of the Earth

5:13  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. …….In ancient times, salt was not only used as a flavor enhancer, but also a preservative. Jesus said that if we lose our saltiness, we become worthless for anything other than to fill potholes in the road. How does salt become contaminated? By being exposed to elements and weather that it was not created to be in. No different than Christians being around sinners in their elements for purposes other than ministry, and not being spiritually fed enough to have the power to change the negative surroundings. In order to flourish as a positive impact in society, we must stay connected to the vine. John 15:1  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

B. Light of the World

5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

5:15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. …….You are the light! Think about that! Just as the electricity that powers every bulb, without the bulb the power will not be seen! Can He expose and illuminate without us? Absolutely! But does He desire to use us? Absolutely! That is our purpose in life. The Lord desires to shine through us. He encourages us to stand up for Him and not be shy about it. He didn’t light us to be tucked away in a closet to never be seen, or to only be seen once a year light Christmas decorations. He said in vs. 16 “Let”, (or allow) your light to shine around people that they “may” (or have the ability to) see your good works, and in result of seeing Jesus through you they will glorify our Father in Heaven! Let the transforming light of Jesus change and shine through you!


A. Principles for Right Giving

Matthew 6:1  Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

6:2  Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6:3  But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

6:4  That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

…….Doing a good deed or alms giving is to be done in an opposite manner. This type of ministry is very rewarding but must be done secretly for the Lord to receive the glory. Just as Jesus said, don’t let your left hand know that your right hand is doing. This tells us that the person receiving doesn’t even need to know the person that it came from. Send it with a note letting the person know that the Lord spoke to your heart to give for a need. Those who don’t understand the motive will desire to glorify the giver and not the Lord. The whole pattern envisioned here, is that the recipient of the giving will thank and glorify God for his or her need being met, and God, in turn, will reward the one who, for the glory of God, gave the needed help.

B. Principles for Right Praying

6:5  And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6:6  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

6:7  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

6:8  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

…….After teaching about giving, Jesus turned his attention to the subject of prayer. Again, Jesus said his followers should not be like the hypocrites, who make a public spectacle of their praying, to be admired by men for their supposed piety. Jesus said this (the public admiration) was their only reward for their praying, and that they had no reward from God. Therefore, Jesus said His disciples should seek a place to pray in private to God, to be heard only by God, and rewarded openly by God for their praying. Jesus also warned against the “heathen [Gentile pagan]” idea that much speaking in prayer will force God to hear and act. As Jesus’ disciples, we are to pray with the knowledge and faith that God knows our needs before we pray, and he does not have to be persuaded with much speaking to do what is right for us.

About the Author

Leave a Reply