Curriculum

Dive Deeper

Incoming (Part 3)

Rhordan Wicks

INTRODUCTION

He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” – Matthew 13:33 

A little active leaven or yeast can leaven a lump of dough in a few hours. This is what Jesus meant when he told the parable about the kingdom of heaven – the kingdom of heaven is inaugurated when Jesus was born and is meant to ‘leaven’ the earth till the whole earth is saturated with it. How? Jesus-followers are the carriers of the kingdom of heaven. As we wait for the return of Christ, we are to let God bring change in us so that He can bring change through us. We do it by learning to walk in the Spirit. 

As we wrap up this series, observe these three things; Be in Christ, hope in God and walk in the Spirit. If we learn to do these right, there is an incoming experience by faithful men and women of Christ who will bring the kingdom of heaven to earth.

DISCUSSION

  1. Does an understanding of the kingdom of heaven as already here but not yet in its fullness have any practical implications for your personal walk of faith (refer to  ‘Additional Reading’)? Explain.

     

  2. Read Matthew 13:1-52. How would you summarize the main point of all these parables?
  3. Read Galatians 5:16-26. Christ-followers are meant to live as citizens of heaven on earth and the way to do that is by learning to walk in the Spirit. The evidence of a Spirit-led life is a changed life that resembles Christ. The preacher gave these three practical keys to enable us to walk in the Spirit; Repent of our sins, Receive the Holy Spirit and Respond to God.

    a. What is the evidence of a Spirit-led life based on Galatians 5:16-26? 

    b. Explain each of the three keys, in your own words. 

    c. Which of the three do you find yourself struggling the most with? Why? 

    d. What are some practical steps that you can take to resolve it?

Additional reading

In Matthew 13, Jesus spoke about the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of God did not come all at once with overwhelming force, as first-century Jews expected it would. Rather, God’s rule and reign, though present, would expand through time as some would reject it and some would accept it. Eventually, final judgment would come, and the wicked would be separated from the righteous, but the period of repentance that John the Baptist preached would be extended. The inauguration of the kingdom short of its consummation was the mystery that Jesus was trying to communicate to his disciples. Space in salvation history needed to be created so that Jesus could die for the sins of his people before coming again to judge the living and the dead.

Theologians have called the core insight which is communicated by Matthew 13 “inaugurated eschatology.” The things pertaining to the end (eschatology) have been introduced (inaugurated) into salvation history, but not yet completely fulfilled. Theologians sometimes also speak of the “already but not yet” dimension to Jesus’ preaching related to the kingdom. Tom Steller offers additional commentary on Matthew 13: 

“The mysteries of the kingdom as revealed by Jesus in the parables are that even though the kingdom has great power and value it can be rejected; the kingdom can appear small and insignificant; there will continue to be ambiguity and the activity of Satan for a period of time. In the parables, Jesus brings to light for the first time “the already… but not yet” dimension of the kingdom. In Jesus’ preaching and ministry the kingdom is fulfilled but not yet consummated.” 

Source: The Kingdom of God is at hand, Understanding Jesus’ Proclamation, Bethlehem College and Seminary

WHAT WILL YOU DO

God wants to change us so that He can bring change through us. As we respond to Him in obedience, our marriages, homes and workplaces or schools will be transformed because we live out and permeate our environments with the values of His Kingdom.  

Would you choose to live as citizens of heaven on earth?

MEMORY VERSE

“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21 NKJV