We are SO glad that you are digging deeper into this week's sermon from Kingdom - Part 2!
This guide was written to help you process and better understand the message. Feel free to answer some or all of the questions; Or focus on one aspect from this study guide that is speaking to your group. Please think of this as a resource to help you and your group listen to the Holy Spirit and respond to his calling.
Kingdom: Unlike Any Other
Throughout this series, we encourage you to consider this question:
After studying what Jesus says about the Kingdom of God, how can we be better representatives of His Kingdom here on earth?
Take a minute to study the three images below. In some way, they all represent different kingdoms, in different places, and at different times.
What about these images is incongruent or in alignment with your idea of “kingdom?” What is incongruent?
Pastor Steve Madsen explained in detail how Jews expected a Messiah very different from who Jesus is. Go back to your notes or rewatch the message starting at 25:04.
In what way did Jesus fail to live up to the expectations of the Jewish people? In what ways was Jesus a disappointment to the Jews? What were the Jews hoping their Messiah would do?
We need to reevaluate the story of the relationship between Jesus and the Jewish people to evaluate the story of our relationship with Jesus. Pastor Steve said that our relationship with Jesus is “a relationship empowered by the Holy Spirit to imitate Christ.” For the rest of the study, we are going to focus on what it means to “Imitate Christ” and be “Empowered by the Holy Spirit.”
What is Jesus teaching me about His Kingdom?
Read Luke 4:16-21.
What do these verses teach us about the Kingdom of God? What do these verses teach us about what it means to imitate Christ?
Read Matthew 25:31-46.
This passage warns us about the extreme consequences of not understanding or living out the kind of relationship Jesus has called us to. He refers to the people gathered to him as sheep and goats. The sheep imitate Jesus in the way He called them to, and the goats do not.
What might have gotten in the way of the goats feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, inviting in the excluded, and clothing those who had none? What gets in the way of us doing these things?
If we are honest with ourselves, while we may do some of the things Jesus calls us to do, we also find ways to rationalize NOT doing the things that Jesus asked us to do. In what ways do we make excuses for not helping the poor, healing the sick, freeing the captives, etc.…?
Problems like poverty, health and health care, criminal justice, and other issues central to the Kingdom of God are incredibly complicated. Because of this, the Holy Spirit must empower our imitation of Christ.
Read John 14:25-26, 15:26, 16:7, 12-14.
What do these verses say about the way the Holy Spirit empowers us?
Think back to your reflection of the three pictures at the top of the page. Just as sometimes our mental construct of earthly kingdoms does not include the vast diversity of earthly kingdoms, our mental construction of Jesus Kingdom does not reflect its richness, depth, or magnitude.
In what way do you feel called to change your thinking about the Kingdom of God and your role as a representative of it?
Take the final moments of your time together to reflect on how you can better let the Holy Spirit empower you to imitate Jesus. Reflect on who in your life is poor, hungry, thirsty, excluded, oppressed, or weak.
How can you, through the power of the Holy Spirit, be an imitation of Christ and His kingdom in their life?
>> ADDITIONaL RESOURCE >>
- Daily Steps
We encourage you to check out Daily Steps, our companion devotional guide for individual reflection, prayer, and meditation on related Scripture selections throughout the week!