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Lesson 11: The Kingdom of God *

Introduction: I often write about the Kingdom of God and I mention it when I'm talking to others. What, exactly, is the Kingdom of God? You would hope that I have an idea of what I'm talking about, right? While I do, our lesson this week showed me I had a lot to learn to better understand what God has in mind. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and learn together!

  1. Kingdom of God Within


    1. Read Luke 17:20. How do you understand Jesus' answer to the question of when the Kingdom of God will come? (Jesus says it is not something that we can see by being alert and watching.)


    2. Read Luke 17:21. Why can't we see the Kingdom of God when it comes? (Because it is inside us.)


      1. How can the Kingdom of God be inside us?


      2. Read Romans 14:17. Paul gives us some concrete examples of things which are external and things which are internal. How does this help us understand the way in which the Kingdom of God is inside us? (It is an attitude brought by the Holy Spirit: joy, peace, and righteousness.)


    3. Read Luke 11:14-16. What charge is made against Jesus? (That His power comes from Satan.)


    4. Read Luke 11:17-19. What is Jesus' logical argument against this charge of being in league with Satan? (Why would Satan drive out a demon? It would defeat Satan's goal.)


    5. Read Luke 11:20. Notice Jesus' reference to the Kingdom of God. What does this teach us about the Kingdom of God? (It has come if we use the power of God to drive out demons.)


    6. Read Matthew 12:24, Matthew 12:28 and Matthew 12:31-32. In Matthew we find the same charge made against Jesus: He is working with the power of Satan to drive out demons. We also find Jesus' statement about the Kingdom of God. What is Jesus point about the unpardonable sin? (Jesus shows us that His power to heal comes from the Holy Spirit, not from Satan. If you call the work of the Holy Spirit demonic, then you have moved onto very dangerous ground!)


    7. Consider these two versions of the same story about Jesus driving out a demon and saying that the Kingdom of God is present. What does that teach us about how the Kingdom of God is inside us? (The Kingdom of God in us is nothing less than the Holy Spirit dwelling in us!)


      1. Is there any reason to believe that the Holy Spirit dwells in you? If not, why not?


      2. If we consider all of our spiritual priorities, shouldn't the Kingdom of God coming within be our top priority? (Compare Luke 11:2.)


      3. Why do you think that Jesus refers ( Luke 11:20) to the Holy Spirit being "the finger of God?"


  2. The Kingdom of God Without


    1. Read Luke 17:22. If the Kingdom of God is within, why will the disciples long for the days with Jesus? (Jesus says you will look back with longing at the days when I was physically with you.)


      1. Do you have a family member or a friend who has died, and you would love to re-live a day with this person?


    2. Read Luke 17:23-25. Jesus just got through telling us that the Kingdom of God is within. Is it more than that? (The disciples, who will miss Jesus in the future, can look forward to the coming of the Kingdom of God. That coming will light up the sky "from one end to the other.")


      1. Is Jesus contradicting Himself? (Jesus seems to be answering several questions related to the Kingdom of God. The main question is, "Will the Kingdom of God come now?" The answer is, "yes," it is within you, but "no," you cannot find it now by looking carefully. In the future it will come in a way that is outside of us, but "careful observation" will not be required to see it.)


    3. Read Luke 17:26-30. Let's just look at these verses and not think about anything you know about the background. Do these things (like eating and drinking) seem good? (Yes, they are delightful. This is a description of an enjoyable life and successful commerce.)


      1. What "outside information" do we have about the days of Noah and Lot? (Read Genesis 6:11-13 and Genesis 18:20-23. The people were terrible.)


      2. Why does Jesus talk about the good things in life when these people were doing so many bad things? (They were not paying attention to God. They did not have the Kingdom of God within.)


    4. Look again at Luke 17:27-29. What is the common outcome for the people of Noah's time and Sodom's place? (They are destroyed.)


      1. What is the timing for their destruction? (When the "good guys" leave. "Noah entered the ark." "Lot left Sodom.")


  3. Preparing the Kingdom Within


    1. Re-read Luke 17:30. Given the background we just considered, how do you understand this? (The Kingdom of God is within the righteous. When they leave, the wicked will be destroyed.)


      1. Do you recall Jesus said in Luke 17:20 that the Kingdom of God does not come by watching carefully for it? If the Kingdom of God is within the righteous, and God transports them to heaven at the Second Coming, the Kingdom is always with them! Why would anyone need to watch?


    2. Read Luke 17:31. We have one person in the house and one in the field. Why are we told not to try to go get our stuff? (If the Kingdom of God is in you, why do you need anything else?)


    3. Read Luke 17:32-35. Two people are working, two people are sleeping. What makes the difference whether they live or die? What made the difference with Lot's wife?(We have a picture of people engaged in normal activity. This is just like the prior reference to eating, drinking and marrying. The question is whether your primary focus is on the Kingdom of God or on your stuff and the activities of life.)


      1. What does Luke 17:33 mean when it says that if we try to keep our life we will lose it?(The specific example ( Luke 17:31) is going back to get our stuff. But, the larger example is being focused on our current life. All of the normal activities of life are taking place, the question is whether the Kingdom of God is within you and is your primary concern.)


    4. Read Luke 21:34-36. Notice that this tells us to "watch!" Let's give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and say that the worst thing in our life is being "weighed down" with "the anxieties of life." Everyone has anxieties of some sort. What is the cure for this? (If we turn these problems over to God, if we focus on the Kingdom within, our hearts will not be weighed down.)


    5. This idea of the Kingdom of God being inside, and being our focus, may be a new idea to you. Why does Jesus use good things, like eating, drinking, buying, selling and getting married to describe the terrible things going on in Sodom and the time of Noah? Why not just mention the sins? (The cares and concerns of life tend to take our focus away from what the Holy Spirit has in mind for us. If we focus on the Kingdom of God within, we will not wander into the terrible sins of Sodom and Noah's time.)


    6. Read Revelation 21:1-3. What is the announcement made from the throne of God? (God will live with humans!)


      1. What has not changed? (If the Holy Spirit lives in us, that is if the Kingdom of God, the "finger of God," is currently within you, then God dwells with you now! The difference is the external has changed. The wicked are gone, and we have a new heaven and a new earth.)


    7. Friend, would you like to join the Kingdom of God now? Would you like to dwell with God now? If so, ask forgiveness for your sins, and ask God to send His Holy Spirit to live in you. From this day forward, make your focus on the Kingdom of God living in you!


  4. Next week: Jesus in Jerusalem.
* Copr. 2015, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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