Dr David Jeremiah speaks passionately about the Sermon on the Mount. He calls it “the greatest sermon of all time, given by the greatest preacher of all time”. I believe he is right. Therefore, I believe that we need to give great heed to this teaching. It is Jesus’ manifesto of the Kingdom of Heaven.


The world was the wrong-way-up when Jesus came. The Jews were looking for the coming of their Saviour King – but they were expecting Him to be what the world expected of a Saviour King – their perspective was all wrong…

Jesus was the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Yet Jesus’ life was radically different – the total opposite (flipped, in fact) of what the world saw as “king”:

He announced His coming not to the rich and famous and powerful but to poor shepherds.

Wise men found Him in a stable and NOT in a palace.

He came not as a warrior but as a baby.

He rules with peace, love and compassion and not through fear.

He sat not on a throne but lay in a manger, not on a throne but on a carpenter’s stool.

He was the King who died for His subjects and not His subjects for Him.

He came to benefit us and not to benefit Himself:

He became empty so that we might become full.

He took on sin so that we might become righteous.

He was broken so that we might be made whole.

He died so that we might live.

He was rejected so that we might be accepted.

And the very first thing that He announced in His Kingdom Manifesto of the Sermon on the Mount was that we need to flip, the right way up, God’s perspective of Kingdom People, helping them to understand who they are in the eyes of God and how this affects the way they see themselves and their place in this world…

MATTHEW 5: 1-12

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

He said:

3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 ‘Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


The Greek word for each of these blessings is “Makarios” – a very powerful word that carries with it a sense of abundant joy and gratefulness –“almost a sense of unbridled delight” (Duncan “Flipped” 2023 p.121). How on earth can it be that we should be overjoyed in our mourning, meekness and persecution! It makes no sense in our wrong-way-up society – but it makes perfect sense when these words are put into context.


Let us remind ourselves of who Jesus is talking to – common, ordinary, fallible, poor, uneducated, sick, socially excluded, oppressed people. These are people who have grown up believing that they were not as good as others, not as capable as others, not as valued as other, not as deserving to be considered and loved by God as others. People like you and me.

Consider how AMAZING His words were at that time – the time when Israel was ruled by the Romans – where power, money, birth, intellect was all-important.

Jesus was showing them that they were His masterplan – He was dramatically turning the world as they knew it upside down. I bet they loved it! I bet they were astounded by it!

Before we simply tell ourselves that the world today has embraced this teaching of Jesus and has “got it sorted”, before we “pat ourselves on the back” and say “what a good disciple I am” let us “hold our horses” – here are a couple of examples of how I think we have NOT got this sorted:

· When I was at university in Leeds I sat under the teaching and leading of a fantastic preacher and pastor. He went on to move to the USA where he became a much sought-after speaker. Yet, when he was invited to speak at a British conference of church leaders, he was contacted

by the organisers and asked to provide a list of his degrees and qualifications. The boy from the rough areas of the north admitted he had none – and was immediately told that his session had to be cancelled as he could not possibly speak to such august leaders without the right university qualifications. I was horrified! Man – even Christians – still live by the standards of the world.

· Then there are many who still say that there is a need to have theological training in order to serve as a Pastor or Vicar or minister – without the “certificate” there is no place for them in “the ministry”. Now, there is nothing at all wrong with theological training – but there is something wrong when we make this the marker of whether a person can be used by God in the church.


Sometimes, just sometimes, our lot in life makes us happy – very happy – really joyful. But at other times our lot in life makes us very sad – even suicidal. Here Jesus is saying that – for citizens in His Kingdom – no matter how we FEEL, the TRUTH is that we are VERY blessed.

The second half of each Beatitude explains how this can be so – every time we are told that we are special to God and that, in the end, we will attain to eternal life.

What are the Beatitudes turning upside down? Here is just a “whistle-stop” tour of some of the meanings behind what Jesus proclaims in His manifesto of the Kingdom. There is a whole lot more than I can outline here – we can go deeper and deeper – and so I encourage you to study, meditate and discuss each of these wonderful truths.

One more thing though: Jesus always models Kingdom life. As Christ is, so we should be. Each one of these Beatitudes comes out of us being as He is…


Jesus just so realised – and declared – that without the Father He was nothing – He declared “I and the Father are one” (John 10: 30). Blessed are the poor in Spirit – not “blessed are the poor”. The whole idea that it is better to be poor than to be rich…there is nothing wrong with being rich, well-born, intelligent, famous. What is being said is that, despite your status, ability, learning, wealth, we must recognise that we are so desperately spiritually poor – we so desperately need the presence of God – that is when we are blessed. It is all about attitude of heart – an attitude of “I need God SOOOO much!” When you know you are poor in Spirit then the rich man will give to the poor, the clever man will give of his knowledge and wisdom.

Let us recognise that we are indeed poor in Spirit.


“Jesus wept” (John 11: 35) – not for Himself but for one He loved. Jesus cried out, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Matthew 23: 37).

It is valid to mourn for what you have lost. But, like Jesus, we are blessed when we mourn for the world, for sin, for separation from God. Mourning and deep longing go together – a longing for His Kingdom to come; a longing for right to be done.

Let us mourn.


Again, Jesus leads the way – for He was “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11: 28-30)…that’s “meek” and not “weak”! Like Jesus we are called to be humble and compassionate, kind and tender; not thinking more highly of yourself than you should; not boastful; not putting others “down” in order to lift yourself “up”; accepting and valuing other’s points of view without arrogantly telling them that they are wrong; willing to say “sorry” because the other person has been hurt – even when “it” as their fault!

Let us be meek.


Jesus said that His “food” was “to do the will of Him who sent me” (John 4: 34). He was the only man who has lived who was actually righteous and without any sin (1 Peter 2: 22). I am NOT righteous. I am fallible, I sin.

It is good to do good, better to do good than bad, right than wrong, kind rather than evil. Hunger and thirst after righteousness means, though, an attitude of heart – that, I am not right, I think wrong thoughts, I do wrong things, but I hunger for His making me righteous. It is not through my own efforts but through Him that I will be righteous (Romans 5: 1)

Let us be hungry and thirsty for righteousness.


God’s character is one of being merciful. Psalm 86: 15 tells us, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”.

We are called to be the same. Mercy is not giving someone what they deserve. As God is merciful to us, so we should be merciful to others – forgiving them and then “letting go”. The world shows no mercy – just look at the fate of politicians and football league managers who fail to “deliver the goods”. We are to be very different.

Let us be merciful.


Only Christ is perfectly pure in heart – as we have already seen. We are called to be the same. We need to work hard on this one – but it’s worth it! To be innocent in all our dealings with man; open and honest; taking people at their word; trusting; doing the right thing whatever the other person is doing.

Let us be pure in heart.


Paul tells us that Jesus came as a “peacemaker”: “making peace through His blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1: 20).

A “Peacekeeper” avoids confrontation. A “Peacemaker” seeks to bring peace between those who are in dispute with each other.

Being a “Peacemaker” does not mean being a “push-over”, does not mean you simply agree with what someone says or let them do what they want to do because they are bigger. It means being willing to dialogue, being willing to see the other person’s point of view, being willing to be the first to apologise, being willing to be the first person to say “I’m going to do something different if it will help solve this problem”.

Being a “Peacemaker” does not only mean bringing peace to people and situations. It also means bringing people to a place of making their peace with God – by telling them the Good News of His love for them. What greater privilege is there than to bring someone to Christ – to peace with Christ.

Let us be peacemakers.


Jesus, the Son of God was persecuted to the point of arrest, trial and execution. He declared: “if they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15: 19-20).

Blessed for being persecuted does not mean you are blessed for being stupid! It doesn’t mean we should actively seek out persecution as if we will get “brownie points”. In fact, it might mean avoiding persecution through hiding or through arguing our case.

However, this we do know. If we stand firm, and do not compromise, and do not give in to threats and violence against us, then great will be our reward in Heaven (verse 12). I was reminded today of the sacrifice made by the Chibok school-girl abductions in Nigeria in April 2014. Over 90 of the 276 taken are still missing. The story of one of them has been well-documented. When told she would be freed if she converted to Islam, she told her captors that she would never betray or deny her faith in Jesus. She has not been heard of since.


How, you might say, do we “do” this? How do we become this kind of Kingdom People?

The answer is the same as in our first session:

· Be filled with the Spirit.

· Pray without ceasing.

· Be guided by the Word of God.

Do these three things and you won’t go far wrong.

Live by this Kingdom Manifesto and you shall turn the world upside down – as each of these flips on its head the “way of the world”.

“The Beatitudes are not a description of how to get saved, rather they are a description of how saved people live immediately and increasingly as they grow in their salvation graces. The Beatitudes describe the Kingdom attitudes and actions that characterize its citizens living temporarily as ambassadors in a fallen and hostile world.” (Paul Carter for the Gospel Coalition of Canada – January 2018)

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit = blessed are those who are lowly, beaten down and disadvantaged in this world.

2. Blessed are those who mourn = blessed are those who have no hope in this world and who see the brokenness of this world.

3. Blessed are the meek = blessed are those who don’t push back and who don’t strive, cheat and scheme to succeed in this world.

4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness = blessed are those who want more for this world, who want justice and mercy and kindness and truth in this world.

5. Blessed are the merciful = blessed are those who are not eager to condemn the people of this world, who assume the best, seek to understand and are quick to forgive.

6. Blessed are the pure in heart = blessed are the people who have not been corrupted by this world, who can still see beauty and whose hearts incline toward that which is right, loving and good.

7. Blessed are the peacemakers = blessed are those who seek reconciliation between God and man, and between friends and neighbours.

8. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake = blessed are those who will push through some suffering and bear a little shame in order to pursue the Kingdom of God on earth – for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.