As part of the Kingdom of God, we need to focus on what that looks like in our own lives.
Tell us about your first love. Then comment about how many said Jesus.
Read a short passage of scripture about Jesus and ask each person to write their own short Psalm inspired by that passage. Then let each one read their psalm inspired by that passage and allow people to pray in response to each reading.
Scan through the storyline of Mark 1. Note that John the Baptist created an unprecedented stir in Israel when he came preaching, “Prepare the way of the Lord…” As soon as John was put in prison, Jesus began to preach and say, “The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
His audience would have understood that the Kingdom of God was best represented in their history during the reigns of two Kings – David and Solomon. David represented the battles required to ‘take the Kingdom by force’, while Solomon represented the promise of a reign of peace. That reign was prophesied by more than one of the recognised prophets (see Daniel 2:44 and Isaiah 9:6-7).
To an extent the Jews were right. The Kingdom of God as preached by Jesus does consist of two phases: first, the battle to see it come and then, the unending reign of peace. Jesus has promised that he will one day return and complete the coming of the Kingdom.
Revelation 21:1-5 – try to imagine what good plans God has for us.
Now spend a few minutes talking to one another about the pictures this passage produces in your mind.
But like David and Solomon’s kingdom, this Kingdom of God has two phases, and we are still in the first one. Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom at the start of his ministry on earth. Then he left us with his presence and the power of the Holy Spirit and told us to get on with the battle to make the Kingdom come. Often this battle takes place in our own lives as we try and allow God to build His Kingdom in us.
Finally, have someone read Hebrews 12:1-12. It will help us remember our context for battling to make the kingdom come. Look at the following:
- We should keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, our king;
- Discuss words such as perseverance, discipline, and struggle against sin. Suffering is often the prelude to the Kingdom and there is no Kingdom without suffering;
- Focus on the ‘harvest of righteousness’ and get testimonies of how people have seen breakthroughs in personal battles with sin.
How are you fighting to make the Kingdom of God come? Get into a smaller group and talk together about your ‘battles’.
Spend time confessing sin; Jesus’ main message about the kingdom was “repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
Pray in pairs for each other.
As God’s kingdom agents we can be used by Him to extend His Kingdom. We are most effective when we are in close relationship with Him, living holy and righteous lifestyles.
Pray for each other to be used by God this week. Pray for opportunities to pray with non-Christians and share the gospel with your friends this week. Keep each other accountable and feedback next week.