• Matt Beaney

#684. THE KINGDOM IS GROWING (7/11/22)

This week’s devotionals are based upon our ’New Ground Sunday’ and our recent Leadership Conference. Both of these events are focused on encouraging churches and leaders in the New Ground family of churches but I trust that anyone will find these devotionals helpful.


Summary: God is establishing His Kingdom and He wants to involve each of us in extending His Kingdom.


Many people have their heads down. There have been many challenges to our faith over the last couple of years. God wants to encourage us to raise our eyes of faith to Him. God is still at work. God is still on the throne. God is set on building His Kingdom as He has promised.


WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD?

The Kingdom of God, put simply, is God’s rule. Whenever someone becomes a Christian, they enter the Kingdom as they come under the reign of Christ. Whenever the church effects the world in any way, the Kingdom is expressed as God’s will in done. To see the Kingdom come means more people becoming Christians and more light being shown through he acts of the saints.


GOD IS EXTENDING HIS KINGDOM

It’s God’s will for the Kingdom to grow. Isaiah promises that the success of the Kingdom, ultimately, depends upon God’s power and zeal:

‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.’ (Isaiah 9:6-7)

God’s kingdom is going to be extended from generation to generation and nation to nation until the end comes. Jesus taught us to pray:

“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”

This prayer will be fully answered at the return of Christ. Then, and only then, will the Kingdom be fully expressed in this fallen world and universe.


THE KINGDOM STARTS SMALL AND GROWS

Jesus spoke of the growing nature of the Kingdom with these 2 parables:

‘Then Jesus asked, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.’ Again he asked, ‘What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about thirty kilograms of flour until it worked all through the dough.’ (Luke 13:18-21)

Jesus is promising that the Kingdom of God will affect more and more people and places. Each generation is to expect to see the Kingdom extended. Again, as with The Lord’s Prayer, the full growth of the ‘tree’ and the full mixing of the ‘yeast’ is about the final consummation at Jesus’ return.


GOD WANTS YOU AND I INVOLVED

God is committed to His Kingdom coming. The final outcome is inevitable if the process of growth has started. The Spirit is at work to complete the work that He has started. However, He wants His church involved in this work. Through us the Kingdom comes to more people and places.


RESPONSE - DIG AROUND IT!

Jesus gave us this parable:

‘Then he told this parable: A man had a fig-tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig-tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?” “Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig round it and fertilise it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.”’ (Luke 13:6-9)

This parable was confronting and challenging God’s people, many of whom were religious but unfruitful. Many were rejecting Christ. Jesus was speaking to them of God’s judgment, patience and call to repentance. God was giving them time to dig around the soil of their lives and come back to Him. God is calling us to dig around the soil of our lives. Are we being fruitful? Are we seeking first the Kingdom? Are we paying lip service but our hearts are not engaged? Why not take a moment to pray a prayer of fresh dedication to the King and the Kingdom?

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

 

2. Icebreaker

What has God been speaking to you about from His word recently? How would you like prayer?

 

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group


NEW GROUND SUNDAY - THE KINGDOM IS GROWING


On Sunday we had Dave Holden speaking at our New Ground Sunday. He spoke about the need for fresh faith that God is building His Kingdom and that He wants us involved.


WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD?

The Kingdom of God, put simply, is God’s rule. Whenever someone becomes a Christian, they enter the Kingdom as they come under the reign of Christ. Whenever the church effects the world in any way, the Kingdom is expressed as God’s will in done. To see the Kingdom come means more people becoming Christians and more light being shown through he acts of the saints.


GOD IS EXTENDING HIS KINGDOM

It’s God’s will for the Kingdom to grow. Isaiah promises that the success of the Kingdom, ultimately, depends upon God’s power and zeal:

‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.’ (Isaiah 9:6-7)

God’s kingdom is going to be extended from generation to generation and nation to nation until the end comes. Jesus taught us to pray:

“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”

This prayer will be fully answered at the return of Christ. Then, and only then, will the Kingdom be fully expressed in this fallen world and universe.


THE KINGDOM STARTS SMALL AND GROWS

Jesus spoke of the growing nature of the Kingdom with these 2 parables:

‘Then Jesus asked, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.’ Again he asked, ‘What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about thirty kilograms of flour until it worked all through the dough.’ (Luke 13:18-21)

Jesus is promising that the Kingdom of God will affect more and more people and places. Each generation is to expect to see the Kingdom extended. Again, as with The Lord’s Prayer, the full growth of the ‘tree’ and the full mixing of the ‘yeast’ is about the final consummation at Jesus’ return.


GOD WANTS YOU AND I INVOLVED

God is committed to His Kingdom coming. The final outcome is inevitable if the process of growth has started. The Spirit is at work to complete the work that He has started. However, He wants His church involved in this work. Through us, the Kingdom comes to more people and places.


RESPONSE - DIG AROUND IT!

Jesus gave us this parable:

‘Then he told this parable: A man had a fig-tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig-tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?” “Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig round it and fertilise it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.”’ (Luke 13:6-9)

This parable was confronting and challenging God’s people, many of whom were religious but unfruitful. Many were rejecting Christ. Jesus was speaking to them of God’s judgment, patience and call to repentance. God was giving them time to dig around the soil of their lives and come back to Him. God is calling us to dig around the soil of our lives. Are we being fruitful? Are we seeking first the Kingdom? Are we paying lip service but our hearts are not engaged? How does God want you to be more involved in 'seeking first the Kingdom of God'?


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii) How would you summarise the Kingdom of God?

iii) How does one enter the Kingdom of God?

iii) When we pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” what are we asking to happen?

iii. How does God want you more involved in seeking the Kingdom?


SIV - Let's keep praying and planning for how we can invite people to our carol service on 11th December (4 pm).

SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.






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