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Session 4: The Kingdom – God’s purposes 'As in heaven'

 
One definition of the Kingdom of God is 'the reign and rule of God in the lives of God’s people'.

Think about this definition and consider how it works in practice.  Why would a Christian state government not result in the Kingdom of God? How might you add to this definition to explain the Kingdom of God further?

In the Old Testament there are five covenants (agreements) mentioned which establish the people of Israel as God’s people.  (We could say there are more than five, but these are the main ones).  The first is with Noah in Genesis 9; the second is with Abraham, the third is through Moses, the fourth is with David and fifth is the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31.
 
The second covenant with Abraham shows how God is preparing a people to call his own and establishing his rule amongst his people, Genesis 12:1-5.  Read these verses:
  • How does Abraham show that he is following the rule of God for himself and his family?
  • What promises does God make to Abraham and his family?
  • What risks are there for Abraham and what risks are there for God in this covenant between them?

The covenant through Moses is perhaps the most critical for Old Testament history and the development of Israel as a nation.  Read Exodus 19:5-6 and note also the Ten Commandments as a summary of God’s Law Exodus 20:1-17
'Now if you will obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations you shall be my treasured possession.  Although the whole earth is mine you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'
 
  • Why does God create a people who are his treasured possession? (see Hosea 11:1)
  • What are the responsibilities of the people of Israel?  How demanding are these responsibilities?  Why did Israel keep failing to keep their side of the covenant?
  • What does it mean that they are a Kingdom of priests and holy nation? 

An eternal Kingdom Psalm 145:13
Read Psalm 145 carefully in at least two different translations or versions:
 
  • List the ways in which God’s Kingdom is reflected in this Psalm.
  • What does this tell us about God and the way he relates to his people?
  • What is your response to God after reading and reflecting on this Psalm? 

A new covenant Jeremiah 31:27-34
Israel had broken the covenant with God.  As a nation they had wandered far from God’s purposes and plan and had paid a high price for their disobedience by being exiled and losing their land.  However, God’s Kingdom will not be thwarted and his purposes continue.

Read Jeremiah 31:27-34
  • What are the features of God’s reign under the new covenant?
  • This new covenant is established through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (Hebrews 8:1-13).  Reflect on how this new covenant is worked out in your life and the community of which you are a part.
  • John 7:38-39 - how do these verses develop our thinking of the new covenant having been established?


A Prayer

In the words of Psalm 145 we worship you living and loving God.  You are magnificent and there are no boundaries to your greatness.  Yours is an eternal Kingdom for which we give thanks; your Kingdom is lavish, glorious and splendid and full of your faithfulness and goodness.  We worship you Lord as the faithful God who keeps his promises, supports those in need and gives a fresh start to those who are ready to give up.  We thank you that you did not give up on humanity; that even when the Old Covenant was broken by your people again and again you sent your son Jesus Christ to be our Saviour and Lord.  May we live honouring you, full of thankfulness and in the power of your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 
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