Week #1 of Kay Arthur’s Sermon on the Mount Bible study begins with a close examination of the “kingdom of heaven” — what it means, where it exists, and what Jesus has to say about it in Matthew 5-7.
What does the Sermon on the Mount tell us about the kingdom of heaven? It belongs to the poor in spirit and to those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. The reward is great there, but some will be called “least” and others “great.” The Father dwells there, we can lay up treasures there, and only the one who does God’s will can enter.
Scripture teaches us 4 aspects of the kingdom of heaven: God’s literal abiding place is in the third heaven (cf, 2 Cor 12), God’s universal and eternal dominion is over the heavens, the invisible spiritual rulership of Jesus Christ is within the lives of those who have genuinely been born again of the Spirit of God, and Jesus will reign over the whole earth in His millennial kingdom.
As Christians, we do not have to fear the judgment of the kingdom of heaven, but Scripture is clear that we will be held accountable for our actions and how we live according to God’s Word. We are to build on the foundation of Jesus Christ with gold, silver, and precious stones (I Cor 3:10-15) — and Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount provides us with clear and specific guidance on living in this way.
Where else do we read about gold and precious stones? Both in the description of the first temple in Exodus and the description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation. Consider this thread throughout Scripture and what Jesus is saying to us about the realities of the kingdom of heaven. The first temple was built after a pattern that exists in heaven and, by building our lives with materials that will never burn when tested by fire, we will someday see with our own eyes a golden city whose temple is “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” (Rev 21:22)