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More Secrets of the Kingdom

Key References: Matthew 5:21-26, 33-48; The Desire of Ages, chap. 31, pp. 310-314; Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, chap. 3, pp. 55-58, 66-78; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 8, pp. 62-65; Our Beliefs nos. 14, 12, 22

Power Text

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).

Power Point

Because God loves us, we are able to love our friends and our enemies.

Have you ever heard a sermon so radical that it made you want to change right away, but it made other people angry? Many in Jesus’ audience had that experience as He finished telling them about the invisible kingdom. Imagine again one of the boys your age who was there.

The boy watched the Pharisees as Jesus talked. They listened with stony faces. I guess they don’t agree with what He’s saying, he thought.

That day the boy heard so many great things. He learned from Jesus that as a true child of the heavenly Father, he needed to treat friends and strangers with love and compassion. Even when he didn’t feel like it, God would enable him to love others.

The boy thought about the beggar boys in the marketplace. Their clothes were ragged and dirty. He felt uncomfortable around them and tried to avoid them. Maybe I can help them somehow, he thought.

Jesus continued talking about how a person’s actions tell others much about the condition of the heart. “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:21).

The crowd listened closely as Jesus explained what He meant. The Pharisees’ stony expressions turned to frowns.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (verses 23, 24).

The boy thought about the argument he’d had with his friend. He hadn’t felt much like talking to God, either. Later when they settled the issue, he didn’t have that empty feeling anymore.

Jesus then instructed that we need to get rid of anything that causes us to sin, though that thing may be very precious to us. Nothing should be allowed to interfere with God’s plan for our life.

Looking at his father, the boy thought, He chose to quit doing certain things he said were keeping him away from God.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ ” Jesus continued. “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. . . . Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (verses 43-48).

The boy glanced at Mother. Sometimes she would take food to a woman whose husband had died. Other times she provided clothes for people who had lost everything when their house burned down. It never mattered to her whether she knew the people.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them,” Jesus warned. “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1, 3, 4).

He thought about his mother’s actions. She never made a big deal about what she was doing for others.

That’s a lot different than other people I’ve seen, he thought. The Pharisees always make such a commotion.

The boy reflected on Jesus’ teaching. Now he understood that as a child of the heavenly Father, he must show those who don’t know Him what being Jesus’ follower truly means. If people would see him treating others with love and respect, they might ask questions about why he acted that way. Then he could tell them about God and what He has done in his life. But if he was careless in his actions, then he would not be a mirror of God’s love. Those who don’t know Jesus wouldn’t recognize anything different in his life. Then he would lose the chance to tell them about God and what He has done for him.

Later the boy said to his parents, “Jesus said so many things today. I don’t know how I can do everything He said.”

“Remember, you can’t do any of it on your own,” Father reminded him. “God gives you the power.”

The boy’s face lit with a beaming smile. “I like that idea!” he said.