The Kingdom

I never teach any doctrine of a particular denomination. I am not a student of the doctrines of man. I just stick with what the Bible says. I didn’t know what to expect when I started this study, not having any clear idea of what this was going to be about other than having the inspiration to do a study on “the kingdom.” I didn’t start out with a point to make. I just did the study that you will be doing, going to the Scriptures and seeing what they said about the kingdom! It goes through the kingdom of Israel in the Old Testament, the kingdom parables that Jesus taught, and the future kingdom where Jesus will rule as king. It does talk about the Millennial Kingdom, which is what I see in Scripture.

Lesson 1

  1. When I think about living in the kingdom, I’m thinking of living with Jesus as your king. You make Jesus your king when you call Him Lord and Savior, believing in His death to cover your sins (which gives you forgiveness) and in His resurrection to give you Spirit power to overcome sin and obey Him as your Lord.
  2. Here are some of the questions we’ll look at. What is the kingdom of God? Is it the same as the kingdom of heaven? Is there a now kingdom and future kingdom? When Jesus said the kingdom is near, what did that mean?
  3. There are three different ways we could look at the Kingdom: past, present, and future.
  4. Logically, let’s start with the past. Now, for the past, I’m thinking about the Old Testament, not about Jesus just yet.
  5. God made His people into a nation and gave them a kingdom.
  6. Let’s start there. What’s the definition of the word kingdom? How would you define it? (I’ll put my answers a little later on in the lesson.)
  7. What’s the definition of a king?
  8. How does a king get his position?
  9. What is the definition of authority?
  10. Is that different from position?
  11. How does a king get his authority?
  12. Can a king lose His authority?
  13. Here are my answers.
  14. What is a kingdom? I think the first definition I would think of for kingdom is whatever a king is ruling over.
  15. What is a king? A king would be the person who has the authority to rule over the kingdom. The one in charge.
  16. How does a king get his position? Here are some Old Testament stories of how it happened. Read 1 Samuel 10:1 and 24 (scroll down). Read 1 Kings 1:5-10. Read 2 Kings 11:1-3.
    • We see in the Bible kings getting their position by being chosen by God, anointed by prophets, just gathering support from people who are willing to call you king, and by killing off others and just taking the position.
  17. What is authority? Authority is the right to give orders and have control over others.
  18. Is authority different from postition? One Bible example of having the position and not the authority is Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. The story is in 1 Kings 12 if you want to read it. This also shows you can lose authority.
    • He acts unwisely and loses most of his people. They walk away and decide not to follow him as king any more. He had the position of king, sitting on the throne, but the people weren’t willing to listen or take orders, so he had no control over them, no authority.
  19. How does a king get authority? A king got his authority through the respect people had for God and His prophets, or by being the son of a respected king appointed by that king to follow him, or through fear by fiercely taking control.
  20. An example of a king being threatened with losing authority and position, would be David and Absalom. Absalom, David’s son, tries to take away David’s authority, convincing people to follow him instead. He tries to claim the position, having people hail him as king, and the take over Jerusalem. However, God gets to decide who sits on the throne and Absalom is killed in battle. Absalom’s revolt can be found in 2 Samuel 15.
  21. A king has to have position and authority to rule. I would also say that a king needs the power to carry out his authority. Can you think of an example of that?
    • How about a king trying to have someone arrested but has no strength in himself, no manpower, no weapons, no handcuffs, or whatever to make it happen?

Lesson 2

  1. Let’s think about these king and kingdom ideas with Jesus as king.
  2. Read these verses and state what each tells us about Jesus as king.
  3. What does it mean that Jesus is king?
    • We will talk later about Jesus literally ruling as king on earth, but what does His position as king entail now?
  4. How did Jesus get His kingly position?
  5. What authority does Jesus have?
  6. How did Jesus get His authority?
  7. Can He ever lose His authority?
  8. Here are my answers.
  9. What does it mean that Jesus is king? Jesus is king and will be king. In the story of Joshua, we see Him as the Commander of the Lord’s army, Commander-in-Chief, you could say. At the end of the gospels, we see Him riding on a donkey to shouts and cheers, a glimpse of Him as king on earth. When He is raised from the dead, He is seated on a throne in heaven. The earth is His footstool. He is over all of creation. He made all of creation. It was created through Him and FOR Him! It’s all His. So, all of it, all of creation, the heavens, the earth, under the earth, everywhere, and anywhere is His kingdom with Him as ruling king over it.
  10. How did Jesus get His kingly position? Jesus existed before “let there be light.” He was and is and is to come. He was the creator of the universe and has always ruled, but He emptied Himself to come to earth so that we could reign with Him, and in His obedience, God exalts Him to the head of all things. God the Father appoints Him to His position, but we could also say He earned His position through obedience.
  11. What authority does Jesus have? The Matthew 28 verse says that Jesus has ALL authority and it was given to Him by God.
  12. Can Jesus lose His authority? It is finished, the work is done. He is on the throne and will reign forever. Some people get tripped up because Satan says that all this authority and power have been given him, when he tempts Jesus. He’s a liar. Let’s not listen to him. When Jesus is before Pilate, Jesus tells Pilate he could have no authority unless God gave it to him. So while there is such a thing as people and beings having power and authority, it is all well within God’s all-powerful, overarching authority. Satan would have been able to kill Jesus as a baby if he actually had the authority and power. He didn’t. God grants limited authority to those who would kill Jesus (or cause hurt to you), but He only does it with a motivation of love and ultimate goodness for you and redemptive purposes! That means His grand plan for saving His people. His heart is for you (and everybody else) to be saved and with Him forever. That’s what’s behind His choices — His love for you! You can look at the Suffering Servant study from last year if you want to think through more about suffering.
  13. Do you trust God like you believe He is in control? Where in your life do you let worry come in? Ask God for forgiveness, believe He has the authority, and His help to trust Him like you believe it!

Lesson 3

  1. During King David’s reign, he didn’t just reign in one place over all the people. At first he reigned over Judah. Later he reigned over all Israel. His kingdom grew, what he ruled as king over, the land and people. He had the authority over that territory and the people in it.
  2. What do we see in terms of the kingdom when reading about Old Testament kings?
  3. Let’s look at the Scriptures. What do they show about kings or kingdoms?
    • 2 Chronicles 32:2,5 (Scroll down to read the second verse.)
    • 1 Kings 20:17  (Ben-Hadad was a king.)
    • 2 Kings 4:13  (This is the story of the childless couple who gave Elisha a place to stay.)
    • 2 Kings 18:31 and scroll down to also read verse 36   (This is the story of Assyria coming to attack Judah and trying to get them to surrender. Hezekiah is the king of Judah.)
  4. Here are the things I was thinking of.
    • Kingdoms are defended.
    • I was thinking there was always a threat to a kingdom. There was always another power that wants your power. There were scouts on the lookout recognizing when an enemy was on the move.
    • You could ask the king for a favor. If you wanted something, he was someone who could get it for you.
    • Only their own king had authority over them. An outside king was trying to tell them to surrender. He didn’t have the authority to tell Hezekiah’s subjects to come out.

Lesson 4

  1. Let’s do the same thing and apply these to Jesus and us as His kingdom dwellers.
  2. Kingdoms are defended.
    • How do we defend God’s kingdom? Read these verses. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
    • We make sure our thoughts are obedient and we seek to know God rightly.
    • How do we fight? Read Ephesians 6:18.
    • We pray!
  3. There was always a threat to a kingdom.
    • God uses watchmen to warn us about things to come. A modern-day watchman example would be David Wilkerson. He told us about the evil things that would come to television and such decades before it happened. The kingdom is always under attack. The enemy has been at work always to cause breaches in its defensive walls.
  4. I would say our best defensive wall is righteousness, doing what is right.
    • We live by the righteousness of Jesus by faith. That keeps us safe.
    • Sin is what can cause a hole in the wall. How do you fix a hole in the wall? Read 1 John 1:9.
    • If you mess up, confess and repent and repair the wall!
  5. Can you think of any of Satan’s attacks on God’s kingdom, on a large scale? For instance, Disney magic entices kids to the supernatural.
    • Just some examples…
    • evolution, changing of the natural order (male/female, mothers killing their own babies) all those things which deny God as creator
    • disobedience and dishonoring of parents – modern psychology does this big time, but also movies/TV
  6. We need to be on the lookout for Satan’s schemes and not give in to them. We need to be brave and take a stand and not follow the culture.
  7. The next point was that you could ask the king for a favor and he could grant it.
    • Read Matthew 7:11. We can petition God for things. He is a good Father and gives good gifts.
    • Think of the kings of the Old Testament, how they would say, “I’ll give you anything you ask for up to half of my kingdom.” They never ask for half the kingdom. Jesus says He’ll give us anything in His kingdom! The literal quote would be, “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).
  8. Finally, only their own king had authority over them.
    • When you are in Jesus’ kingdom, then Jesus is your king. No one else has authority over you. No judge gets to decide a verdict that Jesus hasn’t approved. No arrest can be made. No hand can be laid on you unless Jesus, the One with true authority over your life, declared it to be, for your good, for His glory, for the carrying out of His rescue plan on earth.
  9. Do you have your defensive wall of righteousness up? Do you live like Jesus has the say on what you do or don’t do? Do you believe you can ask of Him and He’ll grant you requests?

Lesson 5

  1. So far we’ve just taken a glimpse at what it means to have a king and a kingdom and to live in a kingdom.
  2. Let’s look at the Оld Тestament kingdom God established.
  3. How did the Israelites gain their kingdom territory? What all had to happen?
  4. What did they have to do in order to remain in the land?
  5. What blessings were there for obeying and remaining?
  6. God gave the Israelites their territory for their kingdom. They had to fight, but the Lord fought with and for them and gave them victory as long as they were obeying and keeping His commandments. They were to destroy everyone within the borders. God was wiping out idolatry. God was saving the lives of His children. Worshiping idols would destroy His children. He was out to preserve them. The people being killed were justly killed in their sin of idolatry. Children were taken to heaven instead of made orphans, rescued from almost certain death in idolatry.
  7. God had promised the land to them and gave it to them.
  8. They weren’t to expand and expand as all empires were always inclined to do. God set boundaries for them, and they were to fill them out completely, but be content within them.
  9. They had to keep God’s commandments and obey His statutes. They had to fear God and walk in His ways. Other gods demanded sacrifices. The God of Israel doesn’t like blood sacrifices. They only exist because we needed them. Our God didn’t demand our blood. The God of Israel had laws about coming together for feasts and taking days and even years off from certain types of work! What a great God we serve!
  10. Walking in God’s way would give them every blessing because God’s ways are life! They would be blessed at home and in work and in health and in prosperity and in protection and anything you could think of.
  11. They just had to love and honor God and love and honor each other.
  12. Ask God to help you see where you are not showing love and honor to others. Are you honoring your parents with your attitude toward them? Are you loving your siblings? Ask for forgiveness and ask for help to love and honor others.

Lesson 6

  1. We’re going to do the same thing again and look at how this relates to us in Christ’s kingdom.
  2. How do Christians gain kingdom territory? What had to happen?
    • Read Ephesians 1:20-23.
    • Jesus won the kingdom for Christians. He fought the good fight, finished the race, and won the crown. His perfect life and death on the cross bearing our sins bought our entry to the kingdom.
    • Read Colossians 1:13-14.
    • Christians enter the kingdom and claim territory by faith. The work belongs to Christ. We receive by grace, but it’s a choice of faith. We choose to believe. We show our faith by our actions. Salvation is a supernatural act where we are transferred from one kingdom to another. Our citizenship changes from the world to heaven.
    • How do we expand the kingdom and gain “territory” that way? Read Matthew 28:19-20.
    • For each of us individually, we can continue to gain kingdom territory in our lives as we turn from the things of the world and turn to God’s ways instead.
      • Our goal is the fullness of God. How do we get it? Read Ephesians 3:17-19.
      • We need to know the love of Christ. If we knew Christ’s love fully, we’d be full of God.
        • What are we missing of Christ’s love if we aren’t full of God yet?
          • I would say that we are missing the full extent of what Jesus bought for us. Jesus saved us from our sins. Are you free from sin? We’re to live free from any sin.
        • Read 1 John 1:7.
          • 1 John 1:7 says that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from ALL sin. We can have it all removed. As we walk with Jesus, He will show us where we are missing the mark, and we confess, and ask Him to clean it away from us and for help keeping from it in the future.
        • Jesus also exchanged lives with us. He took on our body of sin and put it to death. We take on His life by the Spirit and put self to death.
        • Read Galatians 2:20.
          • We are crucified with Christ. That means we die. We no longer live. We’re dead. Christ lives in us.
      • Jesus bought our freedom from self and all selfishness, which is the enemy of love. He gives us His love in our hearts by His Holy Spirit.
      • If we knew our freedom from sin and self and lived that, we’d be full of the fullness of God. To the extent we repent of our sin and self, we can receive the fullness of God in its place.
      • When we’re living as Christ, we’re living in the kingdom.
  3. What do Christians have to do to remain in the land?
    • We abide in Christ; we live together with Him. Read John 15:1-8. I chose a version that used the word “remain” for abide to help you know what it was saying. Abiding is more than just remaining, but remaining is an easier word to understand.
    • We need to choose to remain His. We don’t get to walk away and decide we want our own life our own way. We have to obey our king.
  4. What blessings were there for obeying and remaining?
  5. Stop and recognize what blessings you have received and thank God for them.

Lesson 7

  1. Next, we’ll jump to Jesus and his teaching on the kingdom of God, but before we do that, let’s look one more time at the Old Testament kingdom.
  2. Why do we look at the Old Testament examples? Read 1 Corinthians 10:11.
  3. We talked about abiding to remain in the kingdom.
  4. How did Israel lose their kingdom? Read a recounting of Israel’s history, Nehemiah 9:25-31. The verses start off with “they.” It’s talking about Israel.
  5. They are given into the hands of their enemies because they don’t obey God’s commandments.
  6. Can this happen in the church? Read 1 Corinthians 11:30.
  7. We’ve lost sight of this as the church. We don’t see our troubles as from the Lord to turn us back to Him or to help us look to Him. We face some hard circumstance and we put all our time, money, and energy into getting out of it instead of looking to God for salvation.
  8. We need to ask Him to show us if there is a sin or if there is something competing for our love or something turning our attention from Him. It doesn’t have to be some big, bad sin. Anything that’s turning our attention and affection away from Jesus is something God wants to deal with.
  9. We need to humble ourselves, keep our eyes on Him, and look for His salvation in every way.
  10. Read 1 Peter 5:6-11.
  11. There is a battle. There is an enemy. There is also a victor! Jesus has already won and overcome.
  12. God is merciful and does forgive! But we have to repent. He can’t overlook sin. He is just. Jesus’ death satisfied justice, but it covers sins that are in the past that we receive forgiveness for. If we are continuing in sin, we can’t have it forgiven and forgotten yet. We need to put it behind us.
  13. He is holy. He can’t be with sin. Our sin has to be removed to be able to be with Him. It’s removed through forgiveness and mercy and the cleansing blood of Jesus. But it’s also removed by the Holy Spirit power working in us. Jesus bought our freedom from sin, not just our forgiveness for sin. We are freed from slavery to sin and become slaves to righteousness. That’s your promised-land inheritance.
  14. Stop and pray. Ask God to show you any sin or competing loves. Ask Him to help you get rid of anything that’s not of Him. Ask Him to help you hate anything that’s competing for affection or attention. He is a ready helper! Surrender your life to Him and truly make Him your lord.

Lesson 8

  1. Is it the same as the kingdom of heaven? Read these two verses and see if you notice anything.
    • Matthew 19:23-24
    • Kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven are used interchangeably it seems. In fact, the phrase kingdom of heaven is only used in Matthew.
  2. What have we learned? What is a kingdom?
  3. It’s the territory over which a king rules. Jesus has all authority. But it is His disciples that make Him Lord, or King. They submit to His leadership and rule in their lives. We are in His kingdom if we give our territory and ourselves over to His rule. We should give all our territory over to His rule.
  4. Pray and submit yourself to Jesus as your king and put all of your territory (home, work, school, friends, family, activities, money), all the parts of your life under His rule. Be a disciple of Christ.
  5. Read the following scriptures and think about what we can learn from these about the kingdom of God. What does each say about the kingdom?
  6. Luke 10:9  The context is the disciples (the 72) being sent out to preach and heal.
  7. Read Luke 17:21.
  8. Romans 14:17  The context is concerning following rules about what you should eat or drink.
  9. Luke 8:1
  10. What can you say about the kingdom from these verses?
  11. The kingdom is here and now, though we read John 18:36 earlier about how it’s not of this world. His kingdom being not of the world means in its origin. It does come from this world.
  12. It’s in Jesus and His disciples because they were able to tell people it was close to them and in their midst.
  13. It’s good news.
  14. It’s not something we see.
  15. What is the kingdom of God? How would you define or describe it from what we’ve learned so far?
    • Think about what a kingdom is and who reigns and what authority He has.
  16. At this point, I might describe it as where Christ is honored as king or whatever is submitted to the Holy Spirit.
  17. This would be a good point to ask yourself: are you are submitted to the Holy Spirit? Are you living like Jesus is your king? Do you submit to what the Holy Spirit wants you to do or are you submitting to feelings, desires of your flesh, fears, outside influences, etc.?

Lesson 9

  1. Now, we’re going to look at the kingdom parables, and then we’ll look at kingdom prophecies and the coming kingdom/reign of Christ.
  2. Read Matthew 13:24-30. If it’s not clear to you what the field, seed, tares, etc. are, you can read Jesus’ explanation.
  3. What’s happening?
  4. Read Matthew 13:47-50.
  5. What’s happening in this parable?
  6. How are they similar? How are they different?
  7. They are each describing the kingdom of heaven. The parables each have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
    • There is a planting of the good seed and a casting of the net.
    • There is the good and bad existing in the same place together.
    • There is a separation of the two. That separation is eternal. By that point we’re talking heaven and hell.
  8. Christ rules over the whole world, but only some are submitted to the Holy Spirit. If the kingdom encompasses it all, then there are some living in the kingdom who aren’t submitted to the king. Think of old-time kings and what happens to people who rebel against his rule. They would be arrested, killed.
    • Satan has been trying to pull off a coup attempt and rule the world. In the end times, he’ll get the closest he’ll ever come.
  9. Jesus is a good and patient king and gives them time to repent. The parables break down at this point. A weed can’t become a wheat plant, but a person can repent and get forgiven and new life in Christ and change from a bad fish to a good one!
  10. Read Romans 2:4. I would recommend NLT and BSB.
  11. God doesn’t just toss people out to hell. He is kind and patient toward them.
  12. Our job as people living in the kingdom is to keep our eyes on Jesus and not on the tares and bad fish around us. Remember when you see people who call themselves Christians but living in ways you aren’t sure are right, that they could very well be a tare or a bad fish. Not everyone in church is a good example or even actually following Christ as king at all.
  13. How does this verse make the same point?
  14. So what is the kingdom of God? I think we can probably keep our definition of whatever is submitted to the Holy Spirit. Even though the current kingdom on earth is all a mix, the eternal kingdom it is becoming will only be for the ones who are submitted to the Holy Spirit. The posers will be losers.
  15. How do you know you are a “good fish?”

Lesson 10

  1. Let’s read a couple more parables. These two are similar to each other.
  2. Read the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast, Matthew 13:31-33.
  3. How are these two parables similar?
  4. I would say they are similar because they are both about things you have to wait to see. You start with something small and it grows over time.
    • The seed starts as a seed and ends up as a tree. It changes into something else over time.
    • The yeast changes the nature of the dough. Without yeast, you have cracker-type bread. That’s different from a soft bread even though otherwise you have the same ingredients.
  5. What’s happening in these parables? If we interpret Scripture by Scripture, how is yeast used in Scripture? Can you think of any examples
    • They get rid of the yeast to celebrate Passover; it needs to be removed and cleaned out.
    • Jesus warns the disciples about the yeast of the Pharisees’ teaching, not a good thing.
    • Read 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 which warns about the yeast of sin spreading through the church.
  6. Yeast isn’t a good thing in Scripture, but it gets into the dough and spreads.
  7. Trees in Scripture are positive and negative. Believers are likened to trees that produce fruit in its season and whose leaves stay green. Then we have Jesus cursing the fig tree, and we’re told that anyone who hangs on a tree is cursed.
  8. How can we apply these parables to God’s kingdom?
  9. It seems the kingdom will grow over time, but that it will not necessarily grow in the right way. The dough is still there. It stays dough, but it gets filled up with a lot of gas. It fills up with nothing. The gas leaves holes in the bread.
  10. The tree doesn’t tell us about producing fruit. We don’t know what it’s producing, but we are told the birds are nesting in its branches. Birds are also good and bad. We have the dove (Holy Spirit, Noah), but birds are often described as gathering to eat what’s dead, like vultures. That doesn’t sound good for the church if the birds are gathering around it.
    • After I wrote this I came across the same phrase in Ezekiel 31 about birds nesting in branches. It’s talking about the pride of Egypt and how Egypt will be destroyed, not a good thing. The birds in branches are in verse 6.
    • As for the good side, birds sing in the branches in Psalm 104:12.
  11. Which way will it go? Good or bad?
  12. This is similar to the last parable we read with the good and bad seed. The seed and dough were intended to be good, but bad seems to have crept in and spread.
  13. Israel is an example for the church. We become part of Israel when we become Christians. They rejected God again and again and had revival after revival to bring them back to God.
  14. America has had a revival about every 50 years since just before it was a country. That is, until 2000. There was a break. Instead we got an attack, 9/11, which I do believe was a warning from God. But there is hope revival is breaking out again.
  15. Israel ends up driven out of their land. Let’s hope American Christians hold on better to the one, true God.
  16. What can we do? God and His angels will separate the good and the bad in the end. Our job is to be one of the good ones and bring as many others along with us as we can.
  17. How can the kingdom grow in a good way in your life?
  18. How can the kingdom grow in a good way in the world?
  19. The kingdom can grow in influence over more lives, as more people come into submission to Christ as king. It can also grow in our own lives as we submit more and more of our lives to Him.
  20. Our desire is to be filled with the fulness of God, so we have to get out the fulness of us. That’s called sanctification, the process of being made holy, of being separated to God. It happens both at once and over time.
  21. Read Hebrews 10:14.
  22. We are holy and being made holy. It’s an instant application of our salvation and something God is working in us that we need to submit to and let Him do.
  23. Ask the Lord if there is anything you are holding back and not giving to Him. It can be an action, an attitude, an affection. It can be anything related to you! Let Him remove it. Get rid of the yeast. Grow in the right way.

Lesson 11

  1. Let’s look at another parable.
  2. Read Matthew 22:1-14.
  3. Why didn’t they come to the feast prepared for them?
  4. In this parable, they just seem more interested in their work.
  5. And it doesn’t seem we’re told why some arrest, hurt, and kill the servants.
  6. This part of the parable, we could probably pretty clearly assume is referring to the Jews rejecting Jesus. Salvation was offered them, but they turned away. He wanted them to honor His Sabbath, but they refused to rest from their work and trust Him and sought after their own welfare. And, of course, they seized, treated shamefully, and killed God’s prophets that He sent to them to invite them to the “banquet.” Can you see that?
  7. And, as in the story, the cities of Israel were destroyed and will be destroyed after this point in history.
  8. Then the Gentiles were invited, and like the parables we’ve been reading, the good and bad are gathered. Then someone is kicked out to the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth for not having wedding clothes. What is our wedding garment that we need to be wearing?
  9. Read Revelation 19:7-8.
  10. The wedding garment is our righteous acts. ACTS. What is an act?
    • It is something we do.
  11. What is righteousness?
    • Being righteous just means doing what is right.
  12. Our righteousness is from Christ, but it’s not just some invisible righteousness. It produces actual righteousness in us that can be seen by our actions!
  13. How does Jesus give us His righteousness?
    • We receive His righteousness by faith. We receive forgiveness, so we are clean before God. We receive His Holy Spirit to have the power to choose to obey His word. We can ask for His Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Father loves to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask. If you feel like you are a slave to doing what’s wrong instead of a slave to doing what’s right, you need Holy Spirit power to overcome.
    • Luke 11:13
  14. We are forgiven and made righteous, but we also walk in righteousness as we walk in the Spirit with the life of Christ alive in us!
  15. Ask God for the Holy Spirit to work in you the righteousness of Jesus.

Lesson 12

  1. Let’s look at some more parables. A focus of the previous parables was that there were people not truly of the kingdom. The parables in this lesson talk about the kingdom in terms of something of great value.
  2. Read Matthew 13 verses 44-46. There are two parables here.
  3. In Lesson 9’s parable the kingdom of heaven was compared to a man sowing good seed, but someone else introduced bad seed; and to a net that brought in good and bad.
  4. In today’s parables, what are the two nouns which are compared to the kingdom?
  5. We have a man again, and a treasure.
  6. How would you interpret these parables?
  7. There is a rule of Bible interpretation which says that you let the Bible interpret itself. Since Jesus says the field is the world earlier in this chapter in explaining the wheat and tares parable, I would think the field is the world here as well.
  8. I see the treasure in the field, the kingdom, those submitted to the will of the Spirit, as us! We’re the treasure in the field. Who sold everything to buy the field? Jesus! 1 John 2:2 says that Jesus was the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only but also for the whole world. Propitiation means atonement; it means that He paid the debt we owed for our sins. He died in our place.
  9. I see the pearl of great price as Jesus, and we sell all that we have to buy it.
  10. Is that how you came to Christ? Did you give up everything for Him?
  11. We are often taught to come to Christ selfishly. We want to go to heaven. We want His love, peace, joy. But we should come to God because He is worthy of our worship, love and service.
  12. Why is God worthy of our worship, love, and service?
  13. These verse might inspire some responses to that.
  14. Once you see that God is worthy of everything, give Him everything! Give up all you have into His hands to use, discard, or maybe just shine up and give back to you. Do it now in prayer.

Lesson 13

  1. We’re going to keep going with the kingdom parables.
  2. By the way, the phrase “kingdom of heaven” is only found in Matthew. Everywhere else we read the “kingdom of God.”
  3. Read Matthew 25:1-13.
  4. Who is the parable about? What do you think the parable is saying will happen? What does it have to do with the kingdom?
    • The bridegroom is Jesus. The bridesmaids are all the ones wanting to join Him, so let’s say these are people wanting to go to heaven, thinking they will be able to join Him in heaven, at the wedding feast.
  5. They ALL fall asleep. What a statement about the church! That’s why we need revival. 🙂
  6. The groom comes and they wake up, but only five have lit lamps.
  7. What are the lamps and oil?
    • The lamp was used to hold the oil. If the oil is the Holy Spirit, which we’ll discuss in the next point, then we would be the vessel for the Spirit. They all trimmed their lamps. That made me think of Colossians 2:11-12. The trimming of the lamp is a cutting off. Baptism is a cutting off of the flesh. Can you see the relation? Anyway, that made me think that maybe we could say they were baptized. If nothing else, they were expecting to go with the groom.
    • We think of oil when we think of being anointed by the Holy Spirit. It comes from the Old Testament when they used physical oil to anoint someone to show God had chosen them.
    • In the temple (and tabernacle), the fire was to be kept continually burning. It was a sign of God’s presence. When your fire goes out, God’s presence is gone.
  8. The foolish girls took no oil in the first place. We might be able to say they never had the Holy Spirit in them. I think there are many in the church like this. They maybe never came to a saving knowledge of Christ.
    • Our salvation isn’t just in the forgiveness of sins; it’s in believing that Jesus sets us free from sin. He died so we could be forgiven, but He was resurrected so we could have His life in us.
    • A true believer is no longer a slave to sin, but a slave to righteousness. We feel convicted about doing something wrong and are compelled to do what is right. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Then we are abiding in Him, which is the start of our eternal life with Christ!
    • In other words, those with the oil, with the Holy Spirit, had the life of Christ in them. It’s His righteousness in us that is accepted by the Father in heaven.
  9. Read 1 John 1:7.
  10. We walk with Jesus and read His word and let Him point out where we are missing the mark, or sinning. When He does, we confess, repent, and ask Him to cleanse it from us and to give us the grace we need to remove it from our lives. And we keep walking with Him. We never lose His presence with us. We stay in the light. There may be more and more things He points out, but until He does, they are unintentional sins, and we rely on His mercy and grace to remove them from our lives because we choose Him over sin. We love God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength.
  11. What do you think it would mean to have your lamp fire burning?
    • Burning would be the oil being used for something. It’s giving off light and heat. It’s being useful.
    • Do you know what gift or gifts the Spirit has given you for serving others?
  12. Is your lamp trimmed? Is it filled with oil? Is it burning?
    • If you haven’t been baptized, I do recommend you doing that. It’s what God chose for His people. Think of the Colossians verse. You can also read Romans 6:4. Baptism is our burial so we can rise again in new life! That’s why we baptize by immersion. By faith we join Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection.
    • If you don’t have an experience of knowing the Holy Spirit has filled you, then just ask God for it! And keep asking. I asked every day for nearly 9 months.
    • Then live life with God, allowing His Spirit to love and serve others through you!

Lesson 14

  1. Read the parable of the talents. Try not to read this as just the English word “talent.” It’s talking about money. The reading has at the beginning the word “it.” That’s referring to the kingdom.
  2. What happened in the parable?
  3. What do you think it’s talking about?
  4. Read this quote from a different parable we haven’t read. How does it relate to the parable of the tenants?
    • Matthew 21:43  Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.
  5. Some read this parable and interpret it as the natural gifts we’ve been given and need to use for God’s kingdom, likely swayed by the word talent. Some interpret it literally as God giving us money and how we need to make money for His kingdom. I would interpret it as everything He’s given us (all gifts!). That includes money and talents and things like our time and energy and possessions, but also our spiritual blessings in terms of gifting, fruit of the spirit, and the life of Christ in us.
  6. Has the seed of faith planted in you grown? Has it also produced love, joy, self-control?
  7. Even with money, I would say that it’s not talking about making money, but about being faithful with what He’s given you. Jesus taught that we store treasures in heaven, not on earth. We “invest” by giving to the poor, especially to poor believers. If we are generous with our money and invest in His kingdom, He can multiply it back to us. We’re not to just bury it and make sure we don’t lose any of it. That’s not faith. That’s not trusting God’s word or provision.
  8. There is still someone who is kicked out of the kingdom. He was a servant of the master and then sent to hell. Do you see that?
  9. The other two servants, in order to remain in the kingdom, just had to do what was expected of them, according to their ability. They were not required to do more than they could.
  10. All we have to do is offer our lives to God! That’s all. It’s a simple choice. It should be a simple choice. Surrender everything in your life to Him to use as He wishes.
  11. You lay it all on His altar and He sets it on fire with His holy fire. Some of it will burn up. Some will come through the fire cleansed and ready for use. (Think about the Old Testament and consecrating things like forks for use in the temple/tabernacle.)
  12. Some things He may take away or ask you to give up. Make sure you are willing! Some things He will use for His purposes. He gets to use you and everything about you for His purposes. That’s what we want. That’s what we offer Him.
  13. You don’t have to worry about the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth if you give yourself to God. He will “keep” you. To keep means to guard. He knows how to keep His children. Give yourself into His complete care.
  14. What have you been given (everything you got!) that you can use for God’s kingdom?

Lesson 15

  1. Read the parable of the sower in Matthew 13.
  2. Read the explanation of the parable.
  3. It mentions they were hearing messages about the kingdom.
  4. They are hearing kingdom words, but they aren’t understanding.
  5. Why weren’t they understanding? What might be some reasons they aren’t understanding?
  6. Read Jesus’ explanation about how some don’t understand His teaching.
  7. Was God keeping them from understanding?
    • The quote from Isaiah shows that they weren’t seeing and understanding because the people’s hearts had grown dull and they had shut their eyes.
    • It’s just a response to what they had done themselves.
    • The disciples were asking for understanding while others were closing their eyes to understanding.
  8. From the parable with the different soils, what are the different things that can happen to God’s word when it’s shared with others?
    • It could be not understood and lost.
    • It could be agreed with but then forgotten/rejected when things get hard.
    • It could cause spiritual growth but then be choked out by worries or desires for things of the world.
    • It could grow and produce fruit and multiply. What is fruit?
  9. Think about what each of those things look like.
  10. What about the other way?
    • What would it look like to go through something hard and stick with God’s word?
    • What would it look like to go through life without worries and desires distracting you from God’s truth?
  11. Again, we have a story of people who were in the kingdom, received the seed, and it was even growing; but it never grows fruit and it is lost.
  12. What kind of soil are you? Are you growing? Are you multiplying?

Lesson 16

  1. Read the parable of the laborers. This one has a different ending.
  2. What’s the point of this story?
  3. What was easy about being the last picked?
  4. What was hard about being the first picked?
  5. What was hard about being the last picked?
  6. What was easy about being the first picked?
  7. We don’t earn our salvation, so working longer and harder at God’s work doesn’t get us any further. We all get to heaven.
  8. There are rewards in heaven, but I rarely think about that except if I am tempted to want recognition for something. Then I humble myself and say, better to get the reward in heaven.
  9. We are happy for the prodigal that returns after we had been working so hard and long. Do you know the story of the prodigal son? What was hard about being the older brother at home? What was hard about being the younger brother?
  10. Those who come to Christ later in life have it hard in life! They live in sin. Sin is death. They live with anger, hate, bitterness, lies, fear, etc.
  11. God’s presence with us is blessing and joy. Life in Christ is always good, even when it means hard work. And we live with an assurance of salvation–no fear!
  12. People who think they can “live” now and repent later to get saved are ignorant. Not only do they not know how long they will live, living in sin is killing them. Life, true abundant good life, is only found in Christ.
  13. What are practical ways that sin destroys or would destroy your life?
  14. What are practical ways that knowing and following Jesus make your life great?

Lesson 17

  1. What can you say about the kingdom of God? What is it? Where is it? Who’s in it?
  2. Let’s pause today and look at some more kingdom verses. Then we’ll look at scripture about the coming kingdom.
  3. Read these kingdom verses. What do they say about God’s kingdom?
  4. What can you say about the kingdom?
  5. It’s good news to learn about the kingdom. So, the kingdom isn’t about people getting kicked out and gnashing their teeth. The kingdom seems to broadly invite people, but only some are truly kingdom people. They seek from Jesus to learn His word. The disciples came to Jesus and asked what the parables meant. They hadn’t understood either. He taught them. He always responded when people came humbly seeking from Him. Go to Him and learn. Ask Him to teach you His word and His way.
  6. The kingdom is for children, full of trusting faith and innocence.
  7. The kingdom is not for the rich man who loves his wealth.
  8. The kingdom is not about following certain rules, but is about living in God’s right way and knowing His peace and joy.
  9. The final verse to mention is that the kingdom is a matter of power, not mere talk. Paul was confronting teachers who were questioning his teachings and confusing the people. Paul says, “We’ll see who’s telling the truth when we see who has power.” It is very reminiscent of the showdown of Elijah and the priests of Baal. God responded to Elijah’s call for fire and proved Elijah worshiped the one, true God, and that the God of Israel was the one, true God. Paul would teach, but God confirmed his words with signs and wonders. The kingdom came with power. When the disciples went around proclaiming the kingdom was near, what do they do? They healed, cast out demons, etc. They displayed God’s power on God’s authority. The kingdom comes with power. I don’t think this has to be signs and wonders of that sort. A convicted heart and transformed life is an even more powerful witness.

Lesson 18

  1. John 18:36
  2. How would you answer these questions? Where is God’s kingdom? When is God’s kingdom?
  3. Now we’re going to read some Scripture about God’s coming kingdom.
  4. Read Isaiah 2:2-4.
  5. What is it describing?
  6. When might be a time when there is no war?
  7. Read Isaiah 11:6-9.
  8. How is this similar?
  9. Read Isaiah 9:6-7.
  10. Do you recognize this as what the angel said when Jesus was born? What is it talking about?
  11. When will the government be on Jesus’ shoulders and always increasing?
  12. Is Jesus all those things in Isaiah 9:6-7 now?
    • Yes. He hasn’t lost any authority and God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
  13. When we reading the parables, we were talking about a spiritual kingdom, where people are walking in the Spirit or not and tossed out.
  14. Here we seem to be talking about a physical kingdom with farm equipment and all and with a government that Jesus is the head of. We’ll be looking more at this kingdom.
  15. Which of these names Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace means the most to you? Why? 
  16. Praise God for being all these things and for His rule now, in the future, and forever!

Lesson 19

  1. Read Zephaniah 3:8-20.
  2. What is going on? What things can you pull out from there?
  3. There is a massive judgment on the nations, as we would expect to see at “the end.” Don’t forget, though, that “the end” comes just before new beginnings. We have eternal life. There is no end for us.
  4. It sounds like everyone will speak the same language and won’t sin anymore. Their troubles will be over. That’s definitely not something happening now. This is in the future.
  5. The Lord will be the king.
  6. There are lots of different ideas and interpretations about this time when it talks about God gathering His people and Jesus living among His people as king, but I accept the idea of a millennial reign. That’s the idea that Jesus will reign on earth in Jerusalem for 1000 years. Then we believe the heavens and earth will be destroyed and God will create a new earth and heaven. I do think Scripture supports it.
  7. Jesus has made humans to reign with Him over the earth. Remember the parable of the talents? The ruler put them in charge of cities.
  8. What would you say would be good qualities of God’s people who would rule with Jesus?
    • To be good rulers, we need to be selfless, obedient to Christ, always looking to Jesus for our orders.
  9. Train up now for your future role! How are you being prepared to reign?

Lesson 20

  1. Read the point below and then read Hebrews 12:18-29.
    • This Scripture is referencing when God came down on Mt. Sinai to speak with Moses. The people were commanded to cleanse themselves and prepare for it but were also told to stay back from the boundary around the mountain so they wouldn’t be killed for approaching a holy God. That’s from Exodus 19 if you want to read that.
  2. What kind of kingdom did we receive? (vs. 28)
  3. What should be our response? (vs. 28)
  4. Why? (vs. 29) What does that mean?
  5. What should your response be right now?
  6. Do it!

Lesson 21

  1. Let’s add in some more kingdom verses. What are they saying? What do they mean? What do they tell us about Jesus’ kingdom?
  2. Answer the questions as you read each verse below.
  3. One thing I noticed in doing this study is what Anna talks about when baby Jesus is brought to the temple.
    • You can read that here. Luke 2:38
    • She spoke to those waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. That’s a physical place. I don’t think I ever paid attention to that before, that they were waiting for Jerusalem to be redeemed.
    • To be redeemed means to be bought with a price. Jesus paid our wages of death on the cross. He bought us out from slavery to sin. Jerusalem would be bought out of its consequences from sin.
    • Sin steals, kills, and destroys. God redeems that. An example is the story of Job. Satan steals, kills, and destroys. Job loses almost everything. But then God redeems it. It is all restored better than it was before.
    • When Jesus was born, there  are people expecting the physical place to be restored to something better than it was then.
    • Jesus will do that when He comes and reigns from Jerusalem, don’t you think?
  4. Jesus bought us with a price. You were sold to someone. You are not your own. We need to live like our lives don’t belong to us. We are servants of the king. You are under His rule. Can you embrace the idea of being a servant? Of not belonging to yourself? If not, pray and ask for help.

Lesson 22

  1. Here are verses about what we call the Millennium, a thousands years of Jesus reigning on earth.
  2. Sum up in your own words what each section of Scripture says. What will it be like?
    • Revelation 20:2-7
    • Zechariah 12:10 (I do think there will be an en masse turning of a remnant of natural Israel to Jesus.  These will be people who have been living righteously in the fear of the Lord and looking for the return of the Messiah.)
    • Micah 4:2-4
    • Isaiah 61:7  Their lot, their portion, that’s the inheritance they are receiving.
    • Isaiah 32:17-18
  3. Could you describe your faith as quiet trust?

Lesson 23

  1. Here are some more verses about what we call the Millennium, a thousands years of Jesus reigning on earth.
  2. Sum up in your own words what each section of Scripture says. What will it be like?
  3. How will all these things that you’ve just been reading about fulfill the promises made to God’s people? Read the verses and sum up how God is fulfilling the promise.
  4. Is there any part of your life that needs a “returning” back to the Lord? Is there anything in which you are going your own way?

Lesson 24

  1. Let’s look at how are we living in all those things from the last lesson if we are in God’s kingdom now.
  2. Read through these verses again and describe how we are living out today what the verse describes. I will help you out with some other “hint verses.”
  3. How do you see kingdom living in how you live now? Where do you see it lacking? What can you do about that?

Lesson 25

  1. We’re going to continue what we were doing in the last lesson and look at how are we living in all those things in God’s kingdom now.
  2. Read through these verses again and describe how we are living out today what the verse describes. I will help you out with some other “hint verses.”
  3. What difference will it make when Jesus is reigning during the Millennium?

Lesson 26

  1. Read Revelation 21:1-8.
  2. All things will be made new. What does that mean? Start listing some things that will be gone and will be replaced with new things.
  3. What’s the most meaningful thing to you that will be made new? Why?

Lesson 27

  1. Read Revelation 21:9-21.
  2. What are your observations from this Scripture? What did you notice?
  3. What do you think about it? What are your questions about it?
  4. What does the angel call the city as it descends? (hint: verse 9)
  5. What do you think of that imagery?
  6. Who is the Bride of Christ?
    • It’s not a city. It’s only the city because of who is in the city.
    • The saints as one are the Bride of Christ.
  7. Read Revelation 19:7-8.
    • Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
  8. Who are the saints of God, those who are the Bride? What does it say about them?
    • They are clothed with righteous deeds. That means they did what was right.
  9. Why is that important?
  10. Verse 9 says: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
  11. Is the marriage supper of the Lamb something you look forward to?

Lesson 28

  1. Read Revelation 21:22-27 and Revelation 22:1-5.
  2. What observations can you make about the new Jerusalem from the Scripture passages?
  3. Why was there no temple? What’s the significance of that?
    • Hebrews 10:12-14
    • 2 Chronicles 33:7b “In this house [the temple], and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever.”
    • 1 Corinthians 3:17
  4. One, there is no more sacrifice required. Jesus was the final sacrifice.
  5. Two, it was also where you went to be in God’s presence. We’ll be one with Him. There will be no need for a place to go and be with Him, to be in His presence.
  6. We will see His face. What’s the significance of that?

Lesson 29

  1. Read Revelation 22:5-21.
  2. Who is reigning forever according to verse 5?
  3. What does “soon” mean to you reading this chapter?
  4. Is it in your heart to pray “Come, Lord Jesus” or not? Why?

Lesson 30

  1. We are at the end of the lessons. In looking back over these lessons, I noticed something new in the parable of the treasure. He finds the treasure and then covers it up. Retell the story of the parable or look it up.
  2. It made me think of the parables we read about how there is a mixture. The good and bad are together. Retell one of the mixture parables or look up the good and bad fish.
  3. God protects His children and hides them. We are hidden with Christ in God. How does that relate to the treasure parable?
  4. There are several verses in Psalms about hiding us; two are Psalm 31:20 and Psalm 27:5. Those who are God’s are “covered up.” Paul talks about creation eagerly awaiting the revealing of the sons of God. We’re awaiting the big reveal and all will be restored. (verses)
  5. How do we know we are God’s treasure?
  6. Our hearts cry out for our Father and our hearts reach out to those in need.
  7. I would recommend to you the Disciples of Christ course.
  8. Benediction: To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Rev. 1:5b-6)