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BIBLE STUDY: Called to carry God’s kingdom

NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.

Bible Passages: Matthew 24, Luke 17

Discussion Questions:

— What are some reasons Christians hesitate to talk about judgment?

— What are the marks of a faithful and wise servant who follows Christ?

— How are you working as you actively wait for Christ’s return?

Food for Thought:

Sometimes we can wonder when things are ever going to change. If Jesus’ disciples live according to the values, norms and conditions of the kingdom of heaven, and if they are going to the lost with the Good News of Jesus Christ, then when will the kingdom come? Shouldn’t we see a more dramatic impact than we see today?

Jesus taught about the kingdom of heaven from two perspectives, both true. One, in Luke 17:20-21, Jesus said that the kingdom of God was already in the midst of His audience, which included His disciples and the Pharisees.

How was that possible? Because Jesus brings the kingdom with Him. Wherever He is, so too is the kingdom of God. This means the church, which carries with her the promise of Jesus’ presence through the Great Commission, carries the kingdom of God as she goes about her mission of taking the Gospel to the whole world.

Two, while the kingdom of God is already here through the presence of Jesus with His church, it is at the same time not here yet. So in Luke 17:22-35, Jesus teaches that His disciples will look forward to His second coming when the kingdom will be revealed in its fullness. The kingdom of God is among us, but it is also coming. The church carries the kingdom, but she also looks forward to the kingdom.

To put it succinctly, the kingdom of God is, as it has been said, “already and not yet.” With these two complementary truths, Christians are called to the sweet stewardship of carrying Jesus’ kingdom to whatever places God has called and sent us. We fulfill our calling with the confidence of the kingdom’s presence and the anticipation of the kingdom’s arrival.

May we be “faithful and wise” servants (Matthew 24:45), honoring our Savior and proclaiming His Gospel as we fulfill our part in the greatest mission the world has ever needed.

The Gospel Project

The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God’s plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information can be found at Lifeway.com/gospelproject.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by Lifeway can be found at Lifeway.com/SundaySchool or ordered at Lifeway.