Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Kingdom of God

Last night I shared a Bible Study with our Emerging Community on the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is one of my favorite topics—something to which I’ve dedicated my life. Our group had read chapter 13 of Yancey’s book, “The Jesus I Never Knew.” The Bible Study went so well that I decided to share it on this blog. If you have some time, go through these passages—they could change your life! Please also feel free to use this Bible Study with anyone in any setting.

Bible Study on the Kingdom of God
What is most important for the Kingdom?----Matthew 22:34-40

The Kingdom exists in the world---Matthew 13:24-30

The Kingdom is not of this world, represents different values---John 18:33-38

The Kingdom is not of the sword---Matthew 26:47-56

Radical love, and always opposition---Matthew 12:9-14

Wonderful Yancey quotes on the Kingdom in Chapter #13 of "The Jesus I Never Knew"
pp. 241-242 “Jesus announced a kingdom that meant denying yourself, taking up a cross, renouncing wealth, even loving your enemies.”

p. 242 “Jesus never offered a clear definition of the kingdom; instead he imparted his vision of it indirectly through a series of stories. His choice of images is telling: everyday sketches of farming, fishing, women baking bread, merchants buying pearls.”

p. 244 “As I read the gospels, Jesus seems to speak a two-pronged message. To the oppressors, he had words of warning and judgment. He treated the powers of government with an attitude of mild contempt … To the oppressed, his primary audience, Jesus offered a message of comfort and consolation. He called the poor and the persecuted “blessed.” Never did he incite the oppressed to rise up and throw off their chains. In words that must have galled the Zealots, he commanded, “Love your enemies.” He invoked a different kind of power: love, not coercion.”

p. 245 “Regardless of the merits of a given issue—whether a pro-life lobby out of the right or a peace-and-justice lobby out of the Left—political movements risk pulling onto themselves the mantle of power that smothers love. From Jesus I learn that, whatever activism I get involved in, it must not drive out love and humility, or otherwise I betray the kingdom of heaven.”

pp. 248 “Clearly, the kingdom of God operates by a set of rules different from any earthly kingdom’s. God’s kingdom has no geographical borders, no capital city, no parliament building, no royal trappings that you can see. Its followers live right among their enemies, not separated from them by a border fence or a wall. It lives, and grows, on the inside of human beings.”

p. 250 “Our real challenge, the focus of our energy, should not be to Christianize the United States (always a losing battle) but rather to strive to be god’s kingdom in an increasingly hostile world.”

p. 253 “Indeed, the kingdom of God will grow on earth as the church creates an alternative society demonstrating what the world is not, but one day will be: Barth’s prescription of ‘a new sign which is radically dissimilar to [the world’s] own manner and which contradicts it in a way which is full of promise.’ A society that welcomes people of all races and social classes, that is characterized by love and not polarization, that cares most for its weakest members, that stands for justice and righteousness in a world enamored with selfishness and decadence, a society in which members compete for the privilege of serving one another—this is what Jesus meant by the kingdom of God.”

p. 253 “We in the church, Jesus’ successors, are left with the task of displaying the signs of the Kingdom of God, and the watching world will judge the merits of the kingdom by us.”

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