Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The kingdom of the heavens is absolutely related to our spirit. The first blessing in chapter five is a blessing in our spirit: “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (5:3). Thus, the first aspect of the kingdom of the heavens covered in this chapter is related to our human spirit.
There are some very poor translations of verse 3, such as, “Happy are the humble minded,” and “Blessed are the humble in heart.” Most Christians do not understand what the Lord Jesus was talking about when He spoke of being poor in spirit. Furthermore, they do not know that the kingdom of the heavens is altogether a matter in our spirit. If we do not know our spirit, we are through with the kingdom of the heavens because the kingdom of the heavens is related to our spirit.
As the Lord Jesus was speaking there on the mountain, He knew the actual situation of His audience, an audience composed of Galileans. Those Galileans were filled with the traditional concepts of religion. Even the immoral Samaritan woman in John chapter four had a number of religious concepts. Her conversation with the Lord Jesus exposed this fact. If even such a woman of low class was filled with religious concepts, certainly the Galilean fishermen were filled also. Three times a year they went up to Jerusalem for the feasts and stayed each time for at least a week. This one fact shows you that the Galilean fishermen were not empty vessels. During the time the Lord Jesus was on earth, all the people, whether they were Jews or Romans or Greeks, were filled up. The Jews were filled with their traditional religious concepts, with their scriptural knowledge, and with the teachings of the law. They knew all about the holy city, the holy temple, and the sacred system of priestly service. They knew about the altar, the sacrifices, the festivals, the ordinances, and the regulations, all of which they considered outward blessings. There is no need to mention the Greeks and the Romans, for even the Jews that stood in front of the Lord Jesus were filled with their traditional concepts.
The Lord Jesus came as the new King to start a new dispensation. With the coming of the new King, God began a new economy. God’s new dispensation is involved with a wonderful Person. Speaking figuratively, this new economy is simply this Person. Do not consider the kingdom of the heavens as something apart from Christ. No, it is Christ Himself. Without the King, we could not have the kingdom. We cannot have the kingdom of the heavens without Christ. When the Pharisees asked the Lord Jesus when the kingdom of God would come, He replied, “Behold, the kingdom of God is among you” (Luke 17:21). The Lord’s word to the Pharisees indicated that He Himself was the kingdom. Where Jesus is, there the kingdom is also. The kingdom is simply the Person of the King. Therefore, when we have the King, we also have the kingdom.
When Peter, Andrew, James, and John went up to Jerusalem to attend the feasts, John the Baptist was ministering in the wilderness outside Jerusalem. No doubt these four were attracted to him. Eventually, they met the Lord Jesus and were saved there by the riverside of the Jordan. The Lord Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, as were these four disciples, and He was anointed there. Following the anointing of the Lord Jesus, there was a period of forty days when He was tested. Those forty days were also a test to these four newly saved disciples. The Lord Jesus passed the test, but the disciples failed it, forgetting their experience of salvation by the riverside of Jordan and returning to the Sea of Galilee to make a living. Two carried on the work of fishing, and two the work of mending the nets. The fact that they returned to the Sea of Galilee to fish and to mend the nets proves that they had been defeated. Although they had been saved, they returned to their old situation. Hence, they were failures.
The new King was led into the wilderness where He gained the victory over the enemy. After winning the battle against Satan, the new King came to the Sea of Galilee, much to the surprise of Peter, Andrew, James, and John. There by the Sea of Galilee the Lord Jesus contacted them the second time. As we saw in message twelve, the first time these four disciples were brought to the Lord, they saw Him as the Lamb of God. But the second time, the Lord paid them a gracious visitation as the great light. The Bible is very economical in its description of the calling of these four disciples. Peter and Andrew were fishing, and James and John were mending their nets. Suddenly, the One whom they had met more than forty days before appeared as a great light shining upon them. They realized that this was the Lamb of God, and they were attracted to Him. However, this time the Lamb of God was the great light shining upon them. After shining upon them, the new King said, “Follow Me,” and these four disciples followed Him. Eventually, these four influenced others to follow the Lord Jesus, and crowds were drawn to Him.
When the Lord Jesus went up to the top of the mountain, His disciples came to Him to be the inner circle, the direct audience, for the decree of the new King. The first thing He said was, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” This word was the continuation of the Lord’s preaching in 4:17, where He had said, “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” In His preaching the Lord dealt with the mind, the thoughts. He seemed to be saying, “You must repent. You must have a change in your thinking, in your mentality. Your mind needs to be turned.” Undoubtedly Peter, Andrew, James, and John all had a genuine turn in their understanding. By the time they were in the inner circle to be the direct audience for the decree of the new King, there was no problem concerning their mind. Their thinking had already undergone a change.
Turning our mind provides a gateway for us to enter into the kingdom and for the kingdom to enter into us. The mind is neither the receiver nor the inner chamber; it is the gateway. The receiver, the inner chamber, is our spirit. Thus, our mind is the gateway, and our spirit is the inner chamber. We must put the Lord’s word in 4:17, “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near,” with His word in 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens.” The mind that has turned is the gateway through which the kingdom of the heavens comes into us. When the kingdom comes in, it is implanted in our spirit. It enters through the gateway of our mind and it arrives at our spirit. It is our spirit, not our mind, that receives the kingdom and retains it. Therefore, our spirit is the receiver and container of the kingdom of the heavens.
In their preaching, those evangelists who know the secret of the gospel firstly deal with people’s mind. Then they proceed to deal with their spirit. The preaching of the gospel must deal with people’s mind, with their way of thinking. This is to cause them to repent, to have a turn in their thinking and way of life. As soon as someone has repented, the proper preacher of the gospel will ask him to pray and to call on the name of the Lord. This is not the dealing with the mind, but the dealing with the spirit. After a person exercises his spirit to pray and to call on the name of the Lord, the Lord will immediately come into his spirit, passing through the gateway of the mind and arriving at his spirit.
The very Lord Jesus, who has entered our spirit through our mind, is the king. The kingdom is with Him. When the King enters someone’s spirit, this means that the kingdom also enters into his spirit. From that time onward, both the King and the kingdom remain in his spirit. In the teaching of today’s degraded Christianity, very few point out that the Christ who enters into our spirit is the very King with the kingdom. When He comes into your spirit, the kingdom arrives with Him. Now in our spirit not only do we have the Savior; we also have the King with the kingdom.
Throughout the years, we have emphasized the importance of 2 Timothy 4:22: “The Lord be with your spirit.” We have always applied this to the matter of life. However, now we must also see that whenever we say that the Lord Jesus is with our spirit, it means that the kingdom is with our spirit. This Lord Jesus is not only the Savior and the life, but also the King with the kingdom. Today we may declare, “In my spirit I have the Savior, the life, the King, and the kingdom!” When we repented and believed in the Lord Jesus as the Savior, the life, and the King with the kingdom, He entered our spirit and was implanted there. Therefore, in our spirit we now have the Savior, the life, and the King with the kingdom. We received such a One into us by being repentant in our mind and poor in spirit.
When I was walking in my fallen condition far away from God, I was filled with philosophy and religion. Not only was I walking in the wrong direction, but I was also filled with worthless concepts and thoughts. When I heard the preaching of the gospel, I had a turn in my mind; my mind was changed. Nevertheless, I was still full of many philosophical and religious concepts. Thus, I not only needed to have a turn in my mind, but also to become poor in spirit. To be poor in our spirit is to empty our spirit. It is to open up from the depths of our being and to be unloaded of all other things so that the Lord Jesus may be able to enter our spirit. When He came into me, He came as the King with the kingdom. Therefore, if you are poor in spirit, yours is the kingdom of the heavens. Although you may have made an about-face in your life and you may now be standing face to face with the Lord, what about your spirit? Is your spirit open to Him, or is it filled with other things? Are you still filled with philosophical and religious concepts? The Greeks may be filled with the philosophy of Plato, the Chinese with the teachings of Confucius, and the Jews with the teachings of Moses. For the King with the kingdom to come into you, you must be poor in your spirit. This means that you must open up from the depths of your being and cast out all the concepts, opinions, and thoughts that have been filling you. When you have emptied your spirit, the King with the kingdom will come into you. Then yours is the kingdom of the heavens.
Please pay careful attention to the tense of the predicate in verse 3. It is not future tense, but present tense. This verse does not say, “Theirs will be the kingdom of the heavens”; it says, “Theirs is the kingdom of the heavens.” When you open from the depths of your being, that is, from your spirit, and unload yourself and empty your spirit, the King as the life-giving Spirit will enter in through the gateway of your repentant mind and come into your spirit to be your King with the kingdom. From then on, the kingdom is within you, and the kingdom of the heavens is yours. This is salvation according to the New Testament.
However, today’s degraded Christianity has missed this. When you received the Lord Jesus, did you realize that a kind of ruling had come into you? This ruling is the reigning of the kingdom. We have not only the Savior and the life, but also the King. This King exercises His authority from within our spirit. Even if you were just saved today, you already have this kingdom within you. Although I was saved more than fifty years ago, I do not have anything more than someone who has just been saved. The One within us is our Savior, our life, and our King with the kingdom. How rich and how high He is! Because we have received Him into our spirit, ours is the kingdom of the heavens. The kingdom is ours, and the kingdom is in our spirit.
Now we should understand the meaning of verse 3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens.” We need to change the pronoun and say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for ours is the kingdom of the heavens.” Once we understand the meaning of this verse, we see what a mistake it is to teach that the kingdom has been suspended until the millennium. The word, “is” in this verse proves that the kingdom of the heavens is ours right now. How blessed we are! How blessed it is to be poor in spirit! If we are poor in spirit, ours is the kingdom of the heavens. If you take this word into you, you will never be the same. This one verse is better than a hundred messages. Hallelujah, ours is the kingdom of the heavens! We are truly blessed and happy. Blessed and happy are the poor in spirit, for ours is the kingdom of the heavens.
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