LIFEGROUPS: WEEKLY DISCUSSION GUIDE
Week of October 25, 2020
SERIES: Kingdom First
Week #1: Citizens of the Kingdom
This Sunday begins a brand-new series called, Kingdom First. Over these next weeks, we will be looking at the Kingdom; sometimes referred to as the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus talked and taught much on the Kingdom in the gospels. In fact, the ESV translation refers to “kingdom” approximately 120 times in the four accounts of Jesus’ life. The Kingdom is obviously an important part of what Jesus wanted us to know. But what is the Kingdom? What is the Kingdom not? How do followers of Jesus fit into the Kingdom and what role should the Kingdom have in our daily lives. Let’s take a deeper look at the Kingdom and what it means for us to have a Kingdom Citizenship.
WHAT IS THE KINGDOM?
- Jesus announced the Kingdom in Mark 1:15 saying: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
- Defining the Kingdom: “The Kingdom is living the Heavenly reign of Jesus here and now. Living in recognition of His Kingship. Living on earth as it is in heaven.” – Steve Bezner
JESUS FOLLOWERS ARE CITIZENS OF THE KINGDOM
- Philippians 3:17-21 ESV “17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
- Paul is writing to a Roman colony in Greece. They were citizens of Rome but living elsewhere. They understood what it meant to be a citizen of one realm and living in another. Similarly, Jesus followers are citizens of the Kingdom of God living on earth. Paul wrote to remind them and us that our primary citizenship is in the Kingdom. While we may be living on the earth, we are to remember our Kingdom Citizenship and reflect this in our actions.
TWO IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF KINGDOM CITIZENSHIP
- Kingdom Citizenship reveals and reminds us of our true identity…we are saved and made new through faith Jesus.
- Philippians 3:20 // Ephesians 2:19-20 // Ephesians 2:11-18
- Kingdom Citizenship reveals and reminds us of our primary responsibility…to bring the Kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven”.
- Philippians 3:17-19 // Matthew 6:10 // 2 Corinthians 5:20 // Ephesians 2:10
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR US: As Kingdom Citizens…
- Our true identity is not to be defined by anyone or anything other than King Jesus.
- Our primary loyalty is to the Kingdom of God over any other “kingdom”.
- Our ultimate hope does not rest in the kings or kingdoms of this world but in the King of Kings and in His Kingdom.
- Our greatest responsibility is to live in a way that brings the Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.
- Is your Kingdom citizenship defining your identity – or have you put something else in its place?
- Is your Kingdom Citizenship driving your loyalty, hope, purpose, and responsibility – or are you trusting in and living for something less?
Use the following questions/discussion to get the conversation started…
This week we are beginning our new series called “Kingdom First”. Over these weeks, we will be taking a deeper look at the Kingdom – sometimes called the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven. We will be diving into what the Kingdom is, what the Kingdom is not, and how the Kingdom relates to our lives as followers of Jesus.
“Kingdom” is not a word that we use very often in our culture and lives. To get us thinking about the word – let’s begin our discussion having some fun together.
Step One: Give every person (or group people in teams) a sheet of blank paper.
Step Two: Give them two minutes to brainstorm and list as many “kingdoms” as they can. They can be real or fictitious from movies or books. For example: “Magic Kingdom or Camelot.
Step Three: Have each team share their list.
Step Four: Declare a winner and dub them the “victors”. (a little candy prize (or crown) might help as well!)
All of these different “kingdoms” whether real or fictitious have citizens; those living in the kingdom. Their citizenship helps to define and direct their lives. They have an identity that comes from this citizenship and responsibility to the kingdom in which they reside. But none of these kingdoms are as important as the Kingdom of God, and as followers of Jesus, our citizenship in His Kingdom is the most important of all.
Pray and discuss the questions below.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Ask and discuss the following questions.
Q: How would you define (in your own words) the Kingdom of God?
Q: Read the definition of the “Kingdom” shared this week (“The Kingdom is living the Heavenly reign of Jesus here and now. Living in recognition of His Kingship. Living on earth as it is in heaven.” – Steve Bezner). What does this definition teach us or remind us about the Kingdom of God?
Q: Read Mark 1:15. Why do you think Jesus taught so much about the Kingdom?
Q: Why is understanding our identity as Kingdom Citizens so important to our faith and lives? What practical differences should this make in how we view ourselves and how we are to live?
Q: What lesser “kingdoms” (things/people in this world) do we sometimes allow to define our identity? How can we combat this in our lives and keep the focus on our identity in Christ?
Q: What is the ultimate responsibility of a Kingdom Citizen? What does it mean to bring the Kingdom “on earth as it is in Heaven?” What are practical ways we can do this in our life?
Q: Why is it important to base our hope in the Kingdom of God and not on a lesser “kingdom” of this world? What are some of these lesser “kingdoms” that we might put our hope in?
Q: What is your personal “take-away” from this week’s message? What is one specific thing the Lord spoke to you this week?
Q: What is one specific “action step” you are going to take this week to apply what Jesus has taught you today?
Our time studying the Word of God is incomplete without really taking a step to identify what the Lord has taught us and making a plan to apply it to our lives. Ask everyone in your group to think through the following two questions. Have them spend time answering them and challenge them to be very specific in their answers. Have the group members share with the group or another person their answers. Commit to holding them accountable and encouraging them to follow-through with these things. Close in prayer.
*Note: Plan to begin next week’s group asking how members did with applying what they shared today.
SCRIPTURES FROM THIS WEEK’S MESSAGE:
- Philippians 3:17-21 // Mark 1:15 // Ephesians 2:19-20 // Ephesians 2:11-18 // Matthew 6:10 // 2 Corinthians 5:20 // Ephesians 2:10
NEXT WEEK’S MESSAGE: Kingdom First: The Kingdom is Not…
(John 18:36, Romans 14:17, 1 Corinthians 4:20)