Go to the source! Discover what the Bible says about …
These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one. The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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Jesus’ teaching on the the kingdom is scattered throughout the first three gospels. It is not a structured set of teaching but a scattering of profound challenges to the way we see and live life. I have organised them along the structure of the Lord’s prayer which brings together most of the elements.
On this page is a short summary of Jesus teaching for each of the main elements. At that point there is a pointer to a page which will give a more exhaustive view.
Prepare for the Kingdom
John the Baptist came to prepare the way for the Kingdom.
Matthew 3:1-2 In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
Matthew 4:17 From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
Entry into the Kingdom
The conditions for entry into the kingdom are different from what many think. Jesus’ teaching points to confusion on behalf of some who wrongly presumed that they had entered.
Luke 1322 Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem.23 Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few be saved?"
He replied,24 "Work hard to enter the narrow door to God's Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.25 When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Lord, open the door for us!' But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'26 Then you will say, 'But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.'27 And he will reply, 'I tell you, I don't know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.'
28 "There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, for you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, but you will be thrown out.29 And people will come from all over the world—from east and west, north and south—to take their places in the Kingdom of God.30 And note this: Some who seem least important now will be the greatest then, and some who are the greatest now will be least important then.*"
Establishing the rule of the Kingdom
Jesus’ actions while on earth had certain characteristics. Since he is King, one could conclude that these actions are the actions of the King extending, or establishing his rule.
Matthew 4:23-24 Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all.
Your Kingdom come
Jesus was sent with a mission by His Father.
Luke 4:42-43 Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place. The crowds searched everywhere for him, and when they finally found him, they begged him not to leave them.But he replied, "I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent."
Jesus involved those around him in the mission that he had been given.
Matthew 10: 5 Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: "Don't go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans,6 but only to the people of Israel—God's lost sheep.7 Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near.*8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!
9 "Don't take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins.10 Don't carry a traveler's bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don't hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.
The mystery of the coming of the Kingdom
Jesus’ parable shows that we do not understand the way the Kingdom of God comes.
Mark 4: 26 Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. 28 The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. 29 And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”
Jesus’ teaching shows that the coming of the Kingdom does not come through direct observation. It will come suddenly and without being expected. The indications of its approach are more through negative signs than positive.
Luke 17: 20 One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, "When will the Kingdom of God come?"
Jesus replied, "The Kingdom of God can't be detected by visible signs.*21 You won't be able to say, 'Here it is!' or 'It's over there!' For the Kingdom of God is already among you.*"
22 Then he said to his disciples, "The time is coming when you will long to see the day when the Son of Man returns,* but you won't see it.23 People will tell you, 'Look, there is the Son of Man,' or 'Here he is,' but don't go out and follow them.24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other, so it will be on the day when the Son of Man comes.25 But first the Son of Man must suffer terribly* and be rejected by this generation.
26 "When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah's day.27 In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 "And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building—29 until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.30 Yes, it will be 'business as usual' right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed.31 On that day a person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return home.32 Remember what happened to Lot's wife!33 If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.34 That night two people will be asleep in one bed; one will be taken, the other left.35 Two women will be grinding flour together at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.*"
37 "Where will this happen, Lord?"* the disciples asked.
Jesus replied, "Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near."
The response to the message of the Kingdom
Jesus outlines the different kinds of responses to his message.
Matthew 13:19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. 20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. 23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
The Kingdom becomes dominant
The Kingdom is planted and has an effect.
Matthew 13: 31 Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”
The Kingdom pervades everything
The influence of the Kingdom reaches out into all aspects of life.
Luke 13: 20 He also asked, “What else is the Kingdom of God like? 21 It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”
The Kingdom pervades teaching
When people are captivated by a new thought, they can respond by dispensing with everything that was previously there. Jesus encourages the refinement of what has been.
Matthew 13: 52 Then he added, “Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old.”
The Kingdom influences life choices
We can have a view of the idealised life on earth. Jesus points us to a different value system.
Matthew 19:10-12 Jesus’ disciples then said to him, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!”
11 “Not everyone can accept this statement,” Jesus said. “Only those whom God helps. 12 Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”
Your Will be done
When Jesus spoke of those who will ultimately gain access to the Kingdom, he gave both an encouraging vision for those who believe they are excluded and a challenge for those who assume they are home dry.
Matthew 8: 10"I tell you the truth, I haven't seen faith like this in all Israel!11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven.12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Many desire for the Kingdom to come, but not that many are willing for what it will cost them. Here, Jesus outlines what is needed for the Kingdom to come in our lives.
Matthew 16:24-17:5 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. 28 And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”
Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. 2 As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. 3 Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. … a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.”
Jesus spoke to the 12 of the way they have been with him and the impact that will have on their future reward with the ultimate fulfilment of the Kingdom after Jesus comes back.
Luke 22:28-30 "You have stayed with me in my time of trial.29 And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right30 to eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Our Daily Bread
Readiness for the coming of the kingdom comes not through some great project of preparation but through daily nurture of our relationship with God.
Matthew 25:1-13 1 "Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids* who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.3 The five who were foolish didn't take enough olive oil for their lamps,4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil.5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 "At midnight they were roused by the shout, 'Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!'
7 "All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps.8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, 'Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.'
9 "But the others replied, 'We don't have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.'
10 "But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked.11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, 'Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!'
12 "But he called back, 'Believe me, I don't know you!'
13 "So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
Jesus left us with a meal that focuses us on himself and what he did at the Cross. This is a harbinger of what is to come at its fulfilment following his return and the fulfilment of the Kingdom.
Luke 22:15-20 Jesus said, "I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins.16 For I tell you now that I won't eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God."
17 Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, "Take this and share it among yourselves.18 For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come."
19 He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me."
20 After supper he took another cup of wine and said, "This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.
As we forgive
Lead us not into temptation - The Return of the King
Ultimately the King will return and then the Kingdom will be established in a new way.
Luke 21: 25 "And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides.26 People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken.27 Then everyone will see the Son of Man* coming on a cloud with power and great glory.*28 So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!"
29 Then he gave them this illustration: "Notice the fig tree, or any other tree.30 When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near.31 In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near.
Deliver us from evil
Whenever spiritual power is being exercised it is good to evaluate the source. The source of Jesus’ ministry was questioned in this way. This is his response.
Luke 11: 17 He knew their thoughts, so he said, "Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart.18 You say I am empowered by Satan. But if Satan is divided and fighting against himself, how can his kingdom survive?19 And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said.20 But if I am casting out demons by the power of God,* then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.21 For when a strong man like Satan is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe—22 until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.
23 "Anyone who isn't with me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me.