Jesus talked a lot about God’s “Kingdom.” Over 100 times in the gospels He mentions it, trying to explain it to people whose minds were stuck on a physical kingdom. God’s kingdom isn’t a place, it’s a state of being, where He’s the boss.
Luke 17:20-21 [MSG] “Jesus, grilled by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God would come, answered, ‘The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here!’ or, ‘There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.”
What the pharisees couldn’t understand was that you don’t enter God’s kingdom by being born somewhere, or traveling somewhere, or waiting for some new political leader. You enter it by submitting to God’s leadership – serving Him as King.
- Before this week’s lesson, did you think of the “Kingdom of God” as a place (like heaven), or a state of being?
- Are there people you know who believe in God, but don’t submit to His leadership?
- Are they in the kingdom, or not?
Matthew 13:47-50 [NLT] “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Kingdom citizenship is required to enter heaven. We have to show people the way, so they don’t wind up in that fiery furnace!
Who are the people in your life who need to enter God’s kingdom? Make a to-do list for this week: what can you do to point them toward Him?
3. Prayer Focus
Take some time to reaffirm your submission to God’s leadership. Ask the Holy Spirit to use your life as an inspiration to spiritually lost people around you, pointing them to Him.
Family with Small Children Discussion Guide
1. Power Verse
Matthew 6:21 “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
What’s Up: “I’m Gonna Store Up Treasure In Heaven!”
This week, we finish our series called, “Living Large.” In this series, we’ve been learning how to handle our money and possessions God’s way.
2 Corinthians 8:1-4 “Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given to the churches in Macedonia. They have suffered a great deal. But in their suffering, their joy was more than full. Even though they were very poor, they gave very freely. I tell you that they gave as much as they could. In fact, they gave even more than they could. Completely on their own, they begged us for the chance to share in serving the Lord’s people in that way.”
- Why do you think the Macedonian churches wanted so badly to give?
- How is it possible to give beyond your ability?
- What does it mean to sacrifice?
- Have you and your family given sacrificially in the past? If so, how did you feel about it?
Talk to your kids honestly about some of the ways you sacrifice for them, particularly how you sometimes give up things you want or need so that they can have things they want or need. Tell them that you willingly give up these things because you love them and it brings you joy to be able to give to them.
Then tell your kids that this week, as a family, you’re going to practice intentional sacrifice—you’re going to give up something your family wants or needs and give that item or the money you would have used to buy that item to someone else. Brainstorm for a few minutes to think of things your family enjoys or uses frequently. A few suggestions are certain foods, renting movies, eating out, etc.
Then discuss what you want to do with the money you saved. Do you want to buy some groceries or a gift card to a restaurant for another family, put gas in someone else’s car, or put the money in the offering at church? Whatever you decide to do, do it together as a family. Even if you can afford it, don’t buy the item for yourself—go the entire week without it.
4. Prayer Focus
Thank God for not only supplying everything you need, but for giving you the chance to supply someone else with what they need.