What Is The Kingdom of God?
by George Eldon Ladd
1. Some passages of Scripture refer to the Kingdom of God as God’s reign.
2. Some passages refer to God’s Kingdom as the realm into which we may now enter to experience the blessings of His reign.
3. Still other passages refer to a future realm which will come only with the return of our Lord Jesus Christ into which we shall then enter and experience.
Thus the Kingdom of God means three different things in different verses. One has to study all the references in the light of their context and then try to fit them together in an overall interpretation.
Fundamentally, as we have seen, the Kingdom of God is God's sovereign reign; but God's reign expresses itself in different stages through redemptive history. Therefore, men may enter into the realm of God's reign in its several stages of manifestation and experience the blessings of His reign in differing degrees. God's Kingdom is the realm of the Age to Come, popularly called heaven; then we shall realize the blessings of His Kingdom (reign) in the perfection of their fullness. But the Kingdom is here now. There is a realm of spiritual blessing into which we may enter today and enjoy in part but in reality the blessings of God's Kingdom (reign).
We pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." The confidence that this prayer is to be answered when God brings human history to the divinely ordained consummation enables the Christian to retain his balance and sanity of mind in this mad world in which we live. Our hearts go out to those who have no such hope. Thank God, His Kingdom is coming, and it will fill all the earth.
But when we pray, "Thy Kingdom come," we also ask that God's will be done here and now, today. This is the primary concern of these expositions, that the reader might meet the Kingdom of God, or rather, that the Kingdom of God might meet him. We should also pray, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done" in my church as it is in heaven. The life and fellowship of a Christian church ought to be a fellowship of people among whom God's will is done-a bit of heaven on earth. "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done" in my life, as it is in heaven. This is included in our prayer for the coming of the Kingdom.
Growing As God's Children
1 John 2:28 - 3:10
The week Pastor Ryan picked up our study of 1 John study of "Simple Faith" to discuss what it means to grow as God's children.
Growing up did you ever wish you were someone else's child? A friend's parents, a celebrity, a fictional character?
Who and why did you choose them?
Let's read through our text:
[1Jo 2:28- 3:1-10 ESV] 28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in
Was there anything that stuck out from the text?
Pastor Ryan had 3 ideas he wanted to share
BELONGING (vs 28-29)
What are some other groups or communities you belong to that have shaped you?
the Apostle John calls on us to "abide in him" in verse 28. Pastor Ryan explained that "abiding" is to be here, totally present.
What does that look like then to "abide in him"?
Pastor Ryan explained that we're meant to abide not just
What is something someone in the Church family has done to make you feel like they were excited to see you? Or curious about you?
BELOVED vs 1-2
The Apostle John goes on to focus on the idea of God as a father and proclaims us as His beloved children now. He is our father who loves us. Pastor Rich Plass has said that " The first and primary movement of the Christian religion is the ability to receive love"
What about our experiences with human love can make it hard to accept God's love?
What makes God's love easier to accept?
We love to think of love as something we do and not something we feel. God is unique in that His feeling of love and his actions of love can be perfectly aligned. God's love is certain, constant, and celebratory. Pastor Ryan took us to the passage in 1 Corinthians 13:12 that explains that we see dimly but soon we shall see face to face. We have an idea
What pictures have you seen in your life that dimly show you God's certain, constant, and celebratory love?
BECOMING v 3-10
The Apostle John gives us some things that prove we're in
What are some of those proofs?
We're told to practice righteousness
The "practice" here is different than our normal idea of "gradual perfection through repetition".
The righteousness here isn't the legal righteousness from Romans
Why would practicing righteousness confirm that we're God's children?
What does it look like for you to practice righteousness this week?
Pray thanking God for allowing us to be in His family, that we'd have
The Slippery Slope of Conflict
There are three basic ways that people respond to conflict. These responses may be arranged on a curve that resembles a hill. On the left slope of the hill we find the escape responses to conflict. On the right side are the attack responses. And in the center we find the peacemaking responses. Imagine that this hill is covered with ice. If you go too far to the left or the right, you can lose your footing and slide down the slope. Similarly, when you experience conflict, it is easy to become defensive or antagonistic. Both responses make matters worse and can lead to more extreme reactions. If you want to stay on top of this slippery slope, you need to do two things. First, ask God to help you resist the natural inclination to escape or attack when faced with conflict. Second, ask him to help you develop the ability to live out the gospel by using the peacemaking response that is best suited to resolving a particular conflict. Let’s look at each of these responses in more detail.
The three responses found on the left side of the slippery slope are called the escape responses. People tend to use these responses when they are more interested in avoiding a conflict than in resolving it. This attitude is common within the church, because many Christians believe that all conflict is wrong or dangerous. Thinking that Christians should always agree, or fearing that conflict will inevitably damage relationships, these people usually do one of three things to escape from conflict. Denial. One way to escape from a conflict is to pretend that it does not exist. Or, if we cannot deny that the problem exists, we simply refuse to do what should be done to resolve a conflict properly. These responses bring only temporary relief and usually make matters worse (see Gen. 16:1–6; 1 Sam. 2:22–25). Flight. Another way to escape from a conflict is to run away. This may include leaving the house, ending a friendship, quitting a job, filing for divorce, or changing churches. In most cases, running away only postpones a proper solution to a problem (see Gen.16:6–8), so flight is usually a harmful way to deal with conflict.Of course, there may be times when it is appropriate to respectfully withdraw from a confusing or emotional situation temporarily to calm down, organize your thoughts, and pray. Flight may also be a legitimate response in seriously threatening circumstances, such as cases of physical or sexual abuse (see 1 Sam. 19:9–10). If a family is involved in such a situation, however, every reasonable effort should still be made to find trustworthy assistance and come back to seek a lasting solution to the problem. (I will discuss this in more detail in chapter 9.) Suicide. When people lose all hope of resolving a conflict, they may seek to escape the situation (or make a desperate cry for help) by attempting to take their own lives (see 1 Sam. 31:4). Suicide is never the right way to deal with conflict. Tragically, however, suicide has become the third leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States, partly because so many children have never learned how to deal with conflict constructively.
The three responses found on the right side of the slippery slope are called the attack responses. These responses are used by people who are more interested in winning a conflict than in preserving a relationship. This attitude is seen in people who view conflict as a contest or a chance to assert their rights, to control others, or to take advantage of their situation. Attack responses are typically used by people who are strong and self-confident. But they may also be used by those who feel weak, fearful, insecure, or vulnerable. Whatever the motive, these responses are directed at bringing as much pressure to bear on opponents as is necessary to eliminate their opposition. Assault. Some people try to overcome an opponent by using various forms of force or intimidation, such as verbal attacks (including gossip and slander), physical violence, or efforts to damage a person financially or professionally (see Acts 6:8–15). Such conduct always makes conflicts worse. Litigation. Another way to force people to bend to our will is to take them to court. Although some conflicts may legitimately be taken before a civil judge (see Acts 24:1–26:32; Rom. 13:1–5), lawsuits usually damage relationships and often fail to achieve complete justice. When Christians are involved on both sides, their witness can be severely damaged. This is why Christians are commanded to settle their differences within the church rather than in the civil courts (1 Cor. 6:1–8). Therefore, it is important to make every effort to settle a dispute out of court whenever possible (Matt. 5:25–26; see appendix D for further discussion). Murder. In extreme cases, people may be so desperate to win a dispute that they will try to kill those who oppose them (see Acts 7:54–58). While most Christians would not actually kill someone, we should never forget that we stand guilty of murder in God’s eyes when we harbor anger or contempt in our hearts toward others (see 1 John 3:15; Matt. 5:21–22). There are two ways that people move into the attack zone. Some resort to an attack response the minute they encounter a conflict.Others move into this zone after they have tried unsuccessfully to escape from a conflict. When they can no longer ignore, cover up, or run away from the problem, they go to the other extreme and attack those who oppose them.
The six responses found on the top portion of the slippery slope are called the peacemaking responses. These responses are commanded by God, empowered by the gospel, and directed toward finding just and mutually agreeable solutions to conflict. Each of these responses will be discussed in detail in the following chapters, but for now we will do a brief overview. The first three peacemaking responses may be referred to as “personal peacemaking,” because they may be carried out personally and privately, just between you and the other party. The vast majority of conflicts in life should and can be resolved in one of these ways. Overlook an offense. Many disputes are so insignificant that they should be resolved by quietly and deliberately overlooking an offense. “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” (Prov. 19:11; see also 12:16; 17:14; Col. 3:13; 1 Peter 4:8). Overlooking an offense is a form of forgiveness and involves a deliberate decision not to talk about it, dwell on it, or let it grow into pent-up bitterness or anger. Reconciliation. If an offense is too serious to overlook or has damaged the relationship, we need to resolve personal or relational issues through confession, loving correction, and forgiveness. “[If] your brother has something against you . . . go and be reconciled” (Matt. 5:23–24; see Prov. 28:13). “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently” (Gal. 6:1; see Matt. 18:15). “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col. 3:13). Negotiation. Even if we successfully resolve relational issues, we may still need to work through material issues related to money, property, or other rights. This should be done through a cooperative bargaining process in which you and the other person seek to reach a settlement that satisfies the legitimate needs of each side. “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4). When a dispute cannot be resolved through one of the personal peacemaking responses, God calls us to use one of the next three peacemaking responses, referred to as “assisted peacemaking.” These responses require the involvement of other people from your church or Christian community. Mediation. If two people cannot reach an agreement in private, they should ask one or more objective outside people to meet with them to help them communicate more effectively and explore possible solutions. “If he will not listen [to you], take one or two others along” (Matt. 18:16). These mediators may ask questions and give advice, but they have no authority to force you to accept a particular solution. Arbitration. When you and an opponent cannot come to a voluntary agreement on a material issue, you may appoint one or more arbitrators to listen to your arguments and render a binding decision to settle the issue. In 1 Corinthians 6:1–8, Paul indicates that this is how Christians ought to resolve even their legal conflicts with one another: “If you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church” (1 Cor. 6:4). Accountability. If a person who professes to be a Christian refuses to be reconciled and do what is right, Jesus commands church leaders to formally intervene to hold him or her accountable to Scripture and to promote repentance, justice, and forgiveness: “If he refuses to listen [to others], tell it to the church” (Matt. 18:17). Direct church involvement is often viewed negatively among Christians today, but when it is done as Jesus instructs—lovingly, redemptively, and restoratively—it can be the key to saving relationships and bringing about justice and peace.
Excerpt from Peacemaker by Ken Sande
A Jesus Who Forgives
What is something that you did in the past, but were never caught?
What is forgiveness? An absorption, a taking in without retaliating, a giving up of control.
Forgiveness hears [vs. 1-6]
How does Jesus view sin in relationships?
What is to be our posture toward one another regarding sin?
If we find ourselves unable to forgive, what might this be telling us about ourselves? About our faith in God?
Forgiveness Hurts [vs. 7-10]
What happens when someone chooses not to forgive us? What about when we choose not to forgive someone else?
How often should I forgive someone who is chronically hurting me?
Who do you find difficult to forgive in your life? Why?
Forgiveness Heals [vs. 11-19]
We see that of the ten lepers only one comes back to thank Jesus. How
Follow up from last week: What is the difference between forgiveness and mercy? How might the two relate to each other? Who do you have a hard time having mercy towards? Why?
How does forgiveness produce healing in our lives and in our relationships?
Pray for one another
This year we are taking a tour through
Our prayer is that God would use our study of Jesus in The Gospel According to Luke to form and shape the people of our church to be like Jesus who engages all people.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE
Engaging All People
The Story’s Beginning
A Story that Happens to be True (1:1-4)
A Story that Seems Too Good to be True (1:5-56)
A Story that Intersects with Real Life (1:57-2:40)
A Story of a Child Prodigy (2:41-2:52)
A Story Worth Talking About (3:1-22)
A Story for All Mankind (3:23-38)
A Story About Conquering Evil (4:1-15)
The Story of a Savior for All
A Jesus for the (un)Churched (4:16-44)
A Jesus for the Broken (5:1-32)
A Jesus for People Today (5:33-39)
A Jesus for Haters (6:1-49)
A Jesus for Lords & the Lowly (7:1-35)
A Jesus for Women (7:36-8:3)
A Jesus for Family (8:4-21)
A Jesus for the Weak (8:22-56)
A Jesus for Everywhere (9:1-9)
A Jesus for Many (9:10-17)
A Jesus for One (9:18-27)
The Story of a Savior Who is Over All
A Jesus Who is More (9:28-43a)
A Jesus Who Many Don't Get (9:43b-62)
A Jesus Who Reaches Out (10:1-24)
A Jesus Who Has Love for All Races (10:25-37)
A Jesus Who is Worth Listening To (10:38-42)
A Jesus Who Listens to Us (11:1-13)
A Jesus Who is Strong (11:14-28)
A Jesus Who is The Greatest (11:29-32)
A Jesus Who is The Light (11:33-12:3)
A Jesus Who is Worth Believing In (12:4-21)
A Jesus Who Calms Our Fears (12:22-34)
A Jesus Who Gives Warning (12:35-13:9)
A Jesus Who Points the Way (13:10-13:35)
A Jesus Who Welcomes Outcasts (14:1-35)
A Jesus Who Seeks the Lost (15:1-32)
A Jesus Who is Better than Money (16:1-31)
A Jesus Who Forgives (17:1-19)
A Jesus Who Will Come Again (17:20-37)
A Jesus Who is Worth Pursuing (18:1-14)
A Jesus Who Requires Little (18:15-43)
A Jesus Who is Worth Investing In (19:1-27)
The Story of a Savior Who Dies for His People
Jesus the Lord of the City (19:28-48)
Jesus the Lord of Lords (20:1-44)
Jesus the Lord of the Poor (20:45-21:4)
Jesus the Lord of History (21:5-38)
Jesus the Lord of Sinners (22:1-62)
Jesus the Lord of Justice (22:63-23:25)
Jesus the Lord of the Cross (23:26-56)
The Story of a Savior Who Lives for His People
The Story of Death Defeated (24:1-12)
The Story of All Stories (24:13-35)
The Story We Tell (24:36-53)
On Loving God
by Bernard of Vlairvaux
Men are driven by an insatiable ambition to clutch at still greater prizes. And nowhere is there any final satisfaction, because nothing there can be defined as absolutely the best or highest. No matter how many such things one has, he is always lusting after what he has not; never at peace, he sighs for new possessions.
Discontented, the spends himself in fruitless toil, and finds only weariness in the evanescent and unreal pleasures of the world. In his greediness, he counts all that he has clutched as nothing in comparison to what is beyond his grasp, and loses all pleasure by longing after what he has not, yet covets.
It is so that these ones wander in a circle, longing after something to gratify their yearnings, yet madly rejecting that which alone can bring them to their desired end…the love of God. God has no gift better than Himself. He gives Himself as prize and reward. And therein the soul says God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
All of Life is Worship
This week Ryan Leech, our Director of Worship here at the Resolved took us through a passage in Acts 2 to discuss how the Christian life is a life full or worship.
One of the first things Ryan discussed was that habits can often point to things you value, love and even worship.
What was the last habit you tried to break, or successfully broke?
Let's read the passage:
Act 2:36-42 ESV
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38 And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Was there anything in that passage that you really liked? Any ideas that were odd or confusing?
WE ARE FORMED BY SUNDAY
We see here in Acts that the first large group of believers created some habits. In vs 42 we see that they "devoted themselves to the apostles' teach ad the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and that prayers." These are some of the things we use as models for our modern Sunday "habits".
Why do you think it was important for that 1st group of believers to "devote" themselves to these things?
Why do you think it's important for us to continue these "habits" even today?
Ryan explained that the Sunday service is unlike anything else you'll do the rest of the week.
What are some things that make Sunday service different than other gatherings and habit's throughout the week?
It's a special time a of remembering and reminding each other about God and celebrating Him and our relationship with Him. The fellowship together, singing, preaching, communion all point in that same direction.
How does keeping this habit form you?
How have you seen yourself change over time through coming to Sunday service?
WE ARE SHAPED IN COMMUNITY
Ryan went on to explain that if you're just coming on Sundays you're probably just "going to church", but by taking this worship of God with friends out to the rest of your week your are "being the church."
we read further on in Acts 2 in vs 46-47: And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
How do you "be the church" throughout the week?
What are some things we as a community group can do to better shape each other throughout the week?
We see in vs 47 of the passage and all throughout Jesus ministry during our ongoing study of Luke that adding to the number of saved is a key form of worship to God. We can only do that by extending our communities out to those that don't yet know God.
What was the last community that reached out to you? And how did they do it?
How do you find people outside our church community to pour into?
GOD WANTS US TO DWELL IN HIM
These habits we practice on Sunday and throughout the week in community are there primarily to create a deeper relationship with God. Ryan pointed out though that between Church on Sunday and CG throughout the week that's probably only 4 hours out of 168 week. That's like 2% of our week set aside for what we say is the most important thing in our life!
Ryan then pointed out that the remaining time can absolutely be used to be continually acknowledging God throughout the day, and spending quiet time alone with Him dwelling, listening, and getting to know Him.
What are some other daily habits you use to assist in your acknowledgement of God throughout the day?
Why do you think it's important for us to get to know God more and more each day?
Pray for your group to bring worship into our entire week. That Sundays would continue to be a time of sweet refreshment for us all, that community would help us remember and remind each other throughout the week and that we would all ache to dwell with God each day.
Stop Dating The Church
We see in Genesis that God takes a day a week for renewal very seriously. He made Sabbath-keeping one of the Ten Commandments. But if you're worried that I'm going to try to convince you that Sunday is the new Sabbath for Christians, you're wrong. I don't believe that Christians are called to observe the Old Testament laws about Sabbath-keeping.
Still I think we're missing out on enormous personal and spiritual blessings when we treat Sunday like any other day. Because it isn't. The early church called it "the Lord's day." It's a day to "receive and embrace," as Matthew Henry said, "as a privilege and a benefit, not as a task and a drudgery."
I think you'll discover that God has something for you that will radically change your church experience because Sundays have come to us as on of His sweetest gifts.
We first need to see Sunday with new eyes. Of course, in one sense it's just an ordinary day-- twenty-four hours during which the sun rises and sets. But when your heart begins to beat for God's glory and God's people and you begin to glimpse His longing to visit you, Sunday changes. Actually, it becomes something extraordinary. Something sacred. Something essential.
Every day belongs to God. But Sunday is the Lord's day in a special way. Jesus has owned it uniquely ever since that first Easter when He stepped out of the empty tomb. Think of it. On that morning, for the first time, He had conquered death. He had atoned for our sin. He had made a way for us to come boldly into the presence of the Father. And every Sunday since has been an anniversary of that amazing morning. The Savior has risen and everything has changed.
This crucified and risen Jesus has promised to be present in a special way when His people gather to worship Him. Wherever Christ's followers gather for church -- whether in a cathedral or under a tree -- we glorify God, grow in our faith, and encourage each other. And through every minute of it, Jesus is with us.
"We must never therefore," writes J. I. Packer, "let our Sundays become mere routine engagements; in that attitude of mind, we shall trifle them away by a humdrum formality. Every Sunday is meant to be a great day, and we should approach it expectantly, in full awareness of this."
Excerpt from Stop Dating the Church by Joshua Harris
A Jesus Who Welcomes Outcasts
-What is a unique talent or interest that you have?
-What was one of your favorite clubs or groups that you have ever been a part of? Why?
I. The Feast
-Jesus shares a parable about being invited to a wedding feast. His exhortation is not to seek out the places of honor, but to let others be honored before you.
-How do you tend to exalt yourself above others?
-How do we see our culture seeking to exalt certain races, classes, or categories of people in society?
-How can we as Christians honor, and exalt, those who are the outcast in society and in our church?
-What is the end goal of raising up others and seeking to exalt the downcast at the feast in the parable?
II. The Invitation
-Jesus proceeds to share another parable, similar to the one before, about a man who was inviting people to his wedding feast. The ones who declined were the ones of high social and political standing. The ones who were brought into the feast to share in the master's joy were the outcasts and marginalized. What does this tell us about the nature of God?
-Was there ever a time when you felt like an outcast or on the margins of a social group? What did that feel like?
-How do you tend to keep undesirable people out of your life? Why?
-How can the church be a place where the outcast, the socially marginalized groups of people find a home and find a place at the table of God's people?
-How can you be a person who is welcoming toward outsiders and the marginalized?
-Who are the crippled, the lame, the blind and poor of our city? Where do they live? How can we help?
III. The Cost
-Jesus finishes this text with the warning to count the cost of following Him. He spent two parables describing the glory of being with Him and eating at His wedding feast in heaven, not He wants His disciples to be aware that there will be a cost to following Him in this world? What
-Was there ever a time when you worked on a project and underestimated how much it would cost to complete? What was that like?
-Have you ever felt the cost of following Jesus in this world? If not, why not? What might that say about your faith?
-Why is Jesus so much better than the world? Why is it worth following Him despite the cost?
IV. Pray for one another!
A Jesus Who Points The Way
We pick up this week in the middle of Luke 13. Duane read the story of Jesus teaching, and healing the people in a synagogue. Using this time in His ministry to point people to the way.
How we find our way in somewhere unfamiliar tends to be the same whether we're trying to find someplace in a new part of town or trying to reach a new landmark in our lives.
What kind of person are you? Are you an ask for directions kind of person, or an "I'll figure it out myself" type of person?
We see in the passage that Jesus took all this time to come down to earth, to meet us and give us directions. Because Jesus knows the way we need to go.
Let's read the passage and discuss:
[Luke 13:10-35 ESV]
10Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
18He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
20 And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”
22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
31At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33 Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35 Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Duane taught about Jesus coming down and pointing us towards 3 things in this passage. Jesus points the way...
TO HEALING (v 10-17)
As Jesus is teaching on the Sabbath He sees a crippled woman in the crowd, calls her over and heals her. This enrages the religious leaders of the day.
What can we learn about Jesus by seeing how He handles the crippled lady here?
What can we learn about Jesus by seeing how he handled the Pharisees here?
Duane pointed us to Luke 6:5 where we're told Jesus came to make the crooked things straight. Not just physically as in the story by spiritually also.
What are some crooked things in your story that you've seen Jesus make straight?
What are the crooked things that happened in your story that you have need to hand to Jesus?
TO GROWTH [v 18-21]
Jesus goes on in His teaching and points the way to growing. He tells some stories to illustrate growth, about a small mustard seed that becomes a great tree, and a small piece of leaven that affects a much greater piece of dough
Why do you think Jesus is sharing these stories with these people?
Duane went on to explain that God is inviting us to grow, and while we often think that it has to be dramatic and quickly, both of these examples illustrate that the growth can start small, stay steady, and over time the growth will be dramatic. Duane brought up 2 Corinthians 3:18 which says we “are being transformed…from one degree of glory to another.”
What are some small things you are doing that have created growth in your life?
What are some things you could be more steady about doing to continue your growth?
TO SAFETY [v 22-35]
Jesus goes on in the story to field a couple questions and tells the people that the way to heaven and safety is narrow and those who go through it will be agonizing to get there.
What do you think Jesus had in mind in v24 that we must "strive" to enter the narrow door?
He goes on to answer that He knows he will be killed, He's actually come to die, so that they can be safe, and He longs to be their safety and protector.
What do we learn about our relationship with Jesus in the word picture from v34 of Him as "the Hen" and us as "the brood"
What does a safe place look like for you physically?
What does a safe place look like for you relationally/emotionally?
How does Jesus make us safe?
Thank God for being our all knowing Father who directs us to healing, to growth, and to safety. Pray for wisdom as we explore where He is healing and growing us. Pray that we would be turning to Jesus for safety, and enjoying His comfort.