Jesus talked about one subject more than any other: The Kingdom of God. Also referred to as “The Kingdom of Heaven,” this kingdom is dramatically different than the earthly kingdom that Jesus came to “overthrow.” Jesus calls Satan, the Prince of the World (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11) and the sermon on the mount shows us the contrast between these two kingdoms. The Kingdom of God does not prize power, success, comfort and recognition but rather encourages us to embrace our blessedness even in times of weakness, poverty and exclusion. Those in this “new kingdom” do not prize what the rest of the world does and are not controlled by things like power, success and comfort. This does not mean that citizens of the new kingdom run from these things, but rather these things do not define them. Power and recognition can be taken or left. Those in the old kingdom find their identity in these things; or, they judge others who have these things. Either way, they are still controlled by power, money, success or popularity.
Paul tells us that we live in an overlap of these two kingdoms (See Romans 12:13 that tells us the night is ending and the light is breaking). We understand that we live in a broken, sinful world, yet as citizens of the new kingdom, we have been “reborn” or “renewed” by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us His Kingdom has arrived and the old is passing away, but this old kingdom is still here. Thus, we live in what theologians like to call, a state of “already, but not yet!”
Entering the New Kingdom is “easy:” just humble yourself like a little child. (See Matthew 18:1) Easier said than done, right?! In all seriousness, the key to entering the Kingdom is taking yourself out of the spotlight, recognizing you are dead in your sin and that your only hope is Jesus. The great thing is that Jesus does not just point His finger at us and say, “figure it out!” He becomes poor and weak for us; He even gets shut out for us! He was excluded so we could be included; He became poor that we might become rich in this new kingdom. Embrace that, confess that, and live that for newness of life in the Kingdom of God.
- How have you found yourself valuing the “old kingdom?”
- What “element” of the old kingdom is most tempting for you?
- How have you experienced the “overlap” of the ages/kingdoms?
- Discuss this statement: pride is the root of all evil.
- Share your main takeaway from this message.
The foregoing content is based on the message “The Kingdom of God” spoken on 08/12/12 by Brian Kruckenberg at New City Church in Phoenix, AZ. The following is not meant to be a full synopsis of the message but rather a brief look at the main concepts. For more context and understanding, please visitwww.newcityphx.com/media and listen to the message in its entirety.
Leaders using this material for group study and reflection should read the Biblical text thoroughly before beginning, using this resource as assistance and not relying solely on this material for insight. We encourage all leaders to pray and ask the Spirit for revelation as they lead their respective communities.
Luke 6:20 First And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. 24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
Luke 17:20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them,“The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of u.”
Scripture of Further Consideration.
The New kingdom: The kingdom of God is near (Matt. 3:2; Matt. 4:17; Matt. 10:7; Mark 1:15; Luke 10:9; Luke 10:11; Luke 21:31); they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately (Luke 19:11); Joseph of Arimathea was waiting for the kingdom of God (Mark 15:43; Luke 23:51); the Pharisees asked when the kingdom of God was coming (Luke 17:20); the kingdom of God has come upon you (Matt. 12:28; Luke 11:20); the kingdom of God is in your midst
Entering the Kingdom: That you may be worthy of the kingdom of God (2 Thess. 1:5); no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62); whoever annuls the least commandment is least in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:19); the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist (Matt. 11:11, Luke 7:28); unless you become like children you will not enter the kingdom (Matt. 18:3; Mark 10:15); whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it (Luke 18:17); whoever keeps the least commandment is great in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:19); unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3); unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5); unless your righteousness exceeds you will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:20); not everyone who says ‘Lord’ will enter (Matt. 7:21); the time came when the saints received the kingdom (Dan. 7:22); better to enter the kingdom of God with one eye (Mark 9:47); you gave him authority over all flesh to grant eternal life (John 17:2); how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! (Mark 10:24); it is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom (Matt. 19:23; Mark 10:23; Luke 18:24); easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter (Matt. 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25); harlots enter the kingdom of God before you (Matt. 21:31); through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22); you are not far from the kingdom of God (Mark 12:34); I give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16:19); you shut the kingdom of heaven against men (Matt. 23:13).