OCTOBER WEEK 1

The “Now and Not Yet” Kingdom

In one sense, the eternal kingdom of God is available to us here and now. Yet in another sense, the kingdom is still to come as we wait for the second coming of Christ. When we say that the kingdom is “now” we mean that, by his resurrection, Jesus staked his claim as the rightful ruler of all creation. The reign of Jesus is realized on earth through his ambassadors––the church (2 Cor. 5:11-21).

The kingdom is “not yet” in the sense that while Jesus has staked his claim as the rightful king and while we are ambassadors of the king who announce his rule in the earth, the coming of the king is still a future event. We still await the full realization of the kingdom.

 

Family Formation

Weekly Takeaway: God’s kingdom is currently demonstrated through the testimony of his church, his ambassadors in the earth.

Main Scripture: Hebrews 2:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:11-21

Questions: 

  1. What comes to mind when you think of a king and a kingdom?
  2. What does it mean that we are ambassadors of God’s kingdom.

How can we invite others into God’s eternal kingdom?

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Instructions for Daily Reading

Each day as you engage the Scripture, we recommend following this pattern of devotional reading.  

[Take a brief moment of silence to quiet your heart.] 

  1. Read the Scripture aloud.
  2. Seek out where King Jesus is at work in the Scripture.
  3. Pray over the Scripture.
  4. Discern how this Scripture impacts your life.

[Demonstrate loyalty to Jesus in one tangible way today.] 

DAILY READING

MONDAY - 10/7

Monday: Isaiah 51:1-6

 

Group Discussion & Reflection: Throughout the book of Isaiah, God promises that the suffering and trials of this age will one day give way to the eternal glory of YHWH and his kingdom. In today’s passage, we see that God’s eternal kingdom spoken of by the prophet Isaiah foreshadows the eternal salvation brought through Jesus the messiah. Why do you think salvation is essential for entering the eternal kingdom of God? What does it mean that the earth is “wearing out”? How can we display the righteousness of Jesus on the earth as it is?

 

Today’s Reading: 

 

1 Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, that I might bless him and multiply him. For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.

 

“Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go out from me, and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples. My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait.

 

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.

TUESDAY - 10/8

Tuesday: John 18:33-37

 

Group Discussion & Reflection: Numerous times in his ministry, Jesus teaches that his kingdom is not something that is of the world as we know it. This does not mean that his kingdom does not impact this world. Quite the opposite! Rather, it means that the kingdom of God is transcendent or superior to the kingdoms of this world. Why is it important that we recognize that his kingdom is not of the world? Why is it important that we recognize that Jesus is king of that kingdom? How can we embody the rule of the king in the world now?

 

Today’s Reading: 

 

33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?”

 

36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

 

37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

 

 

WEDNESDAY - 10/9

Wednesday: Mark 10:13-16

 

Group Discussion & Reflection: Though we wait for the return of Jesus and the fulness of his kingdom, the rule of the king is currently reflected through the testimony of the citizens of his kingdom––the church. In today’s reading, we learn how we are to receive this kingdom––not through prideful gain, but instead with childlike faith, acceptance, and innocence. In what ways can we receive the kingdom like a child? Why would Jesus use children as a model for his kingdom? What does it mean to “enter into” the kingdom of God now in preparation for the kingdom that is to come?

 

Today’s Reading: 

 

13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

 

15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

THURSDAY - 10/10

Thursday: Hebrews 2:5-13

 

Group Discussion & Reflection: The thought of being subject to the rule of a human king is difficult for many Westerners. We view kings as prideful, power-hungry, and greedy. Yet, Jesus models a superior kingship that is far different from many of the kings of history. In your eyes, what makes God’s kingdom perfect? What makes Jesus the perfect king? How will God’s eternal kingdom become a perfect kingdom in which to dwell?

 

Today’s Reading: 

 

For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.

 

But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

 

11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” 13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

 

FRIDAY - 10/11

Friday: 1 John 2:18-3:2

 

Group Discussion & Reflection: Jesus is not only the model king but he also modeled the ideal way to live as citizens of his kingdom. One day, King Jesus will return to earth to usher in the fulfillment of his kingdom – an eternal new heaven and earth where we can live in uninhibited fellowship between God and his human family. How did Jesus model for his people the way to live the ethics of the kingdom now? How can we, as God’s loyal family, look to the hope of the future fulfillment of the kingdom?

 

Today’s Reading: 

 

28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

 

1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

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