Monday, September 14, 2009

Living in Light of the Kingdom/Reign of God

The Reign/Kingdom of God
Lesson summary: (from the New Horizons class on Sunday 9/13/09)

Essentially, the "gospel" in the NT is the good news that the kingdom of God is at hand (very near) in Jesus (Matt. 4:23, 9:35, Mark 1:14, Luke 4:43, Acts 20:24-25).

"God’s kingdom/reign" is his powerful activity coming into history to defeat Satan and bring about salvation with all its blessings. God’s kingdom authority is the reiteration/re-assertion of his commandments. (cp. Matt.28:18-20). So when the kingdom/reign of God is ‘at hand,’ it is time for people to repent. (Matt.4:17)

Even the demand for repentance is good news, because in context it implies that God, though coming in power to claim his rights, is willing to forgive for Christ's sake. (John Frame)

When God comes into history, he brings his power and authority to bear on his creatures and the creation. In kingdom power, he establishes peace/shalom. (Isa. 35; Rev.21:1-5)

Consider Isa. 52:7, one of the most important background passages for the New Testament concept of gospel:

MAIN IDEA: The coming of the kingdom of God means God’s re-assertion of his rightful reign/rule (the way He wants things to be/shalom) through His activities of saving and judging. God saves those who repent and believe, and finally judges those who persist in rebellion and unbelief. (Rom.2:7-11)

1. Do you habitually respond to the message/reality of the reign/kingdom of God with a deepening, widening response of repentance and faith (trust and allegiance/obedience)?
Matt.13:18-23 [Parable of the Sower].

2. Read Luke 8:14 (another version of the parable of the sower):

a.. What are some of the worries of life that choke out the working of God’s Word in people’s lives today?
b. What are some of the riches….?
c. What are some of the pleasures…?

3. Do you think most professing Christians today view their Christian lives in terms of the reign of God, or do we tend to view ourselves as central and ‘sovereign’? And do we encourage that self-focused attitude in non-Christians as we seek to ‘reach’ them?

4. How should the central reality of the reign of God shape and influence our view of…

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