When people believe in Jesus and trust him for forgiveness and new life, they become his disciples; his followers. These followers of Jesus begin their life in the kingdom of God. However, this new kingdom life creates a tension for every follower of Jesus.
Who rules my life? Is it me or Jesus?
Following Jesus means that Jesus is the King. As his followers, Jesus calls each of us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). We seek the kingdom of God because Jesus has brought this reality to bear in our world, proclaiming that, “the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). What is more, Jesus calls his followers to be beacons and signs for a world trapped in the kingdom of darkness. In going into the world to live and speak our own experience of God’s mercy, we show the world that “the kingdom of God has come near to you” (Luke 10:9).
However, the tension remains. We are all tempted to take the crown and sit on the throne of our lives, but this is seeking the kingdom of ourselves - a selfish empire that works against the kingdom of God and its reality in our lives and in the world.
If following Jesus means to be a servant in his kingdom, then his words about the kingdom of heaven are vital for us to understand and live this kingdom life. We invite you to discover what kingdom life looks like and how we can demonstrate to a broken world that we serve the one true King.
To prepare for this series, please take time to read the following passages, reflecting on what they reveal about the kingdom of God.
Matthew 6:25-33 - Seeking the Kingdom
Matthew 8:5-13 - Faith and the Kingdom
Matthew 9:35-38 - Working in the Kingdom
Luke 9:57-62 - Cost of following Jesus
Luke 10:1-12 - Witnesses of the Kingdom
Luke 11:14-28 - Spiritual Kingdom
Luke 12:22-31 - Anxious for the Kingdom
Luke 13:18-21 - Influential Kingdom (mustard seed/yeast)
Luke 13:22-30 - Narrow Door to the Kingdom
Matthew 16:13-20 (21-28) - Confession of the Kingdom
Luke 17:20-37 - Seeing Kingdom Come
Luke 18:18-30 - Rich Rulers in the Kingdom (also Matthew 19:16-30)
Matthew 18 - The Best in the Kingdom
Matthew 20:1-16 - Kingdom Received
Matthew 21:23-32 - Obedience, Authority, and the Kingdom
Matthew 22:1-14 - Kingdom Calling