Bringing it All Together: The Gospel in Our Lives Today, Part 2

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35

  1. Displaying our embrace of the Kingdom
    • How do your time, money, and relationships reflect your priorities?
    • What is our life oriented toward? What is the conviction that makes sense of everything in your life? What’s the goal from which all your decisions are based on?
    • What are you immersed in? The community of believers (church) is at the heart of God’s Kingdom mission. We don’t embrace the Kingdom without being part of a community that is embracing the mission.
  1. How do your relationships with your brothers and sisters in Christ display God’s Kingdom?
    • The vast majority of verses dealing with “love” in the New Testament express it in terms of love within the Kingdom community. Why do you think that is the primary focus in Scripture?
      • John 13:34-35
      • 1 Peter 2:17 – Everyone gets our honor, but love is a special resource.
    • How should Jesus’ example of love for us shape our definition of love?
      • Ephesians 5:1-2
      • Philippians 2:1-8
      • Romans 5:8
    • How does a community who genuinely loves each other attract outsiders to God’s Kingdom?
      • Matthew 5:13-16
      • 1 Peter 2:9-12
  1. What do you think of the saying “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words”?
    • What is something you have always found easy to talk about? Why do you think that particular topic is easy to share?
    • Luke 6:45
  1. How does the New Testament talk about proclaiming the good news? Is verbal proclamation the world important? (Click here for the referenced Scriptures.)
    • 3 passages call us to do good to all.
    • 6 passages call us to live separately (in the sense of morality).
    • 6 passages call us to convert unbelievers.
    • 15 passages call us to live righteously among unbelievers.
    • 46 passages call us to verbally proclaim the good news of the King and his Kingdom.
  1. How does our outward witness provide opportunities to verbally share what our lives are centered on?
    • 1 Peter 3:15
    • “People will not know what God has accomplished in our lives and for the world unless we tell them.” – J. Nugent
  1. Practical handles for becoming more faithful and confident displayers and proclaimers:
    • Display our love for one another publicly to generate outside interactions.
      • Eating meals, celebrating birthdays/accomplishments, family events at a park or in a restaurant
      • Anything to bring the life of the body into public (public Bible studies, outreach projects, etc.)
    • Be intentional about interacting with people in places you frequent (coffee shops, library, school, etc.)
      • Strike up conversations with the regular customers and employees and build those casual relationships.
      • You may be God’s chosen instrument to shine the light to a particular person at a particular time.
    • Use everyday opportunities to give a testimony of how God is working.
      • Formulate answers to common questions like “How are you doing?” or “How was your weekend?” to point them to what God is doing in your life.
      • Be aware of how God is working and be excited to share!

Click here and here for referenced Scripture printouts.

Bringing it All Together: The Gospel in Our Lives Today, Part 1

“…Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

  1. What are we promised if we will truly seek first God’s Kingdom (Matthew 6:33)?
    • Colossians 1:11-14
    • John 10:10
    • Matthew 11:28-30
    • Genesis 1:28-2:3 – Blessing and flourishing.
    • Matthew 10:16-33 – But, this choice does not come without difficulty.
  1. To seek the Kingdom, we must have an idea of what it is. How would you describe the Kingdom in these terms:
    • “What” is the Kingdom?
    • “Who” is the Kingdom?
    • “Where” is the Kingdom?
    • “When” is the Kingdom?
    • “Why” is the Kingdom?
  1. What are the potential responses to the Good News (gospel) of the Kingdom?
    • Positive Responses
      • Matthew 13:44-46 – If we truly encounter the Kingdom, what will it drive us to do?
      • Luke 8:8,15 – Growth
      • John 15:5 – Abiding in Christ
    • Negative Responses
      • Luke 8:4-15 – Bad soils
      • Matthew 22:1-14 – Ignoring the invitation or half-hearted response
  1. Salvation is a commonly used word in Christian circles, but what does it really mean? What is the definition of the Greek word for salvation, “sōtēria”? What idea is conveyed in these passages?
    • 1 Peter 3:18-20; 2 Peter 2:5; Genesis 8:13 – Noah and the Flood
    • Exodus 3:8; 6:6-8; 14:13,30; 15:2; 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 – The Hebrews and the Egyptians
    • Colossians 1:12-14 – Us
    • What are saved/delivered “from” and what are we saved/delivered “to“?
      • Matthew 6:9-13
      • Galatians 1:4
      • 1 Thessalonians 1:10
      • 1 Peter 2:9-10
      • 2 Peter 1:3-4
      • John 10:10
      • John 14:23 (Galatians 2:20)
  1. Baptism was the initial response of believers in the New Testament that symbolized this “dual deliverance.”
    • Acts 2:36-47 – Come out of the world’s current system and embrace the new creation! Be delivered!
    • Romans 6:3-6 – Die to the old life, be raised to a new life.
    • 1 Peter 3:18-22 – Brought out of peril and delivered to God
      • “Baptism saves you…as an appeal to God for a good conscience.
        • Appeal = Pledge; Conscience = attitude that reflects one’s loyalty (conscientiousness)
        • Baptism is a pledge of allegiance; a loyalty oath; a commitment.
        • We confess our belief in the good news of Christ and immerse ourselves in it.
    • 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 – Out of the flesh and into the Spirit.
    • Colossians 1:12-13 – Delivered out of the kingdom of darkness and into God’s Kingdom.
    • Mark 16:15-16
  1. Our eternal life with God starts with this deliverance in the here and now! That’s the good news. That’s the gospel! (John 17:3, 1 John 5:11-12)

Click here for referenced Scripture printout.

The Gospel in Paul’s Epistles

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” – Colossians 1:13

  1. Jesus’ parable of the soils talks about the seed being choked out by the thorns (cares of this world) in Mark 4:18-19. How does Paul communicate this same principle?
    • 2 Timothy 2:1-13
  1. Despite all the struggles Paul went through for the gospel (see 2 Corinthians 11:21-33), he never wavered in his loyalty and allegiance. What can we learn from Paul? How do we give our unwavering allegiance to Christ and his Kingdom?
    • Romans 8:12-38 (especially vs. 18,31,35,38-39)
    • 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
    • Philippians 1:19-30 (especially vs. 21,27)
    • Colossians 3:23-24
    • 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5
    • 2 Timothy 4:17-18
  1. Whose strength and whose energy does Paul consistently refer to as the source of his endurance?
    • Colossians 1:21-29
    • 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
    • 2 Corinthians 13:4
    • Romans 5:1-11
    • Philippians 4:11-13
    • Galatians 2:20
  1. How should the gospel of Christ shape our lives?
    • Ephesians 4:17-5:21
      • Ephesians 4:28 – What’s the difference between a worldly work ethic and a kingdom work ethic?
    • Ephesians 6:10-20
    • 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
  1. Who does Paul make very clear can be a citizen of God’s Kingdom? What happens to the labels of the world?
    • 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (1 Corinthians 10:31-32 – Who are the 3 groups of people listed?)
    • Galatians 3:27-29
    • Colossians 3:9-11
    • Romans 10:12
  1. Philippians 3:1-21 provides a summary of Paul’s walk with God. Read the passage and consider these questions:
    • What was Paul once loyal to before he began following Jesus?
    • What value does Paul put on following Jesus?
    • If we don’t focus on our citizenship in his Kingdom, what stands to derail us (Philippians 3:18-21)?
  1. In what/who are we often tempted to put our trust and our hope? In what/who do we often let consume our thoughts and focus?
    • 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
      • What is Paul saying here? How does it relate to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:25-34?
        • What consumes us is ultimately what fuels us. If we’re consumed by worldly things, whether inherently bad or not, we will always be left disappointed. If we are consumed with Christ, we care about the things he cares about. We take upon ourselves his burden and his yoke, and we cast everything else on him. We seek his Kingdom first.
  1. If we try to live the “Christian life” by our own will and determination, we will soon feel confused why Jesus ever said his yoke is easy and his burden is light. But if we will truly seek first his Kingdom and let him live through us, we will find the freedom and liberty that he promised!
    • 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 – It’s not by our flesh that we enter the Kingdom. The labor we do in the Lord will never be in vain.
    • Galatians 5:1

The Gospel in Acts

  1. What were the disciples looking forward to just before Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:4-11)?
    • Luke 17:20-21
    • Luke 19:11-27
    • Matthew 21:33-46
  1. How does Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:1-41 reflect the Gospel of the Kingdom?
    • Who was he preaching to? Where were they from? What did they all have in common?
    • What does “in the last days” (Acts 2:17) mean?
    • What does Peter mean by “save yourselves from this crooked generation” (Acts 2:40)?
  1. Why were the apostles beaten and what was their response in Acts 5:40-42?
    • “They did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” – What does “the Christ” mean?
      • Acts 2:36
  1. What is the common theme in the disciples’ sermons?
    • Acts 8:12
    • Acts 19:8
    • Acts 20:25
    • Acts 28:31
  1. What is the scope of Jesus’ lordship? Who is the promise for?
    • Acts 1:8
    • Acts 2:39
    • Romans 10:12
  1. How is the proclamation that “Jesus is Lord of all” especially scandalous for a Roman Centurion (Acts 10:1-11:18)? How do you think Cornelius came to know God?
  1. Why was Paul’s message in Acts 13:13-52 so upsetting to certain Jews and so exciting for the Gentiles? Where do you see the message of God’s Kingdom here?
  1. The disciples were regularly persecuted. What motivates them to continue?
    • Acts 14:19-23
    • Luke 22:28-30
  1. What do you think of Paul’s preaching strategy in Acts 17:16-34?
    • How does this passage compare to Jesus’ message of “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17)?
  1. In Acts, we see the disciples spreading the news of God’s Kingdom. God delegated dominion to man in the beginning (Genesis 1:28,2:15). To whom and for what mission does Jesus delegate his authority?
    • Acts 1:8
    • Matthew 24:14
    • Matthew 28:18-20
    • John 20:21-22
    • Jesus came to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24) to empower them to get back to the mission God had for them from the start. What Jesus was to Israel, he now works through his body, the church, to do for the world. We are to display the Kingdom and be the light of the world, and through us all the nations will be blessed (Genesis 12:2-3).
  1. As we have seen here and before, there is a cost to be paid to enter God’s Kingdom. But if we will pay it, the reward is greater than anything we can imagine.
    • Matthew 25:34

Click here for referenced Scripture printout.

The Gospel According to Jesus, Part 2

“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” – Matthew 10:38-39

  1. Is our King reigning right now? Who/what is he reigning over?
    • Ephesians 1:15-23
    • Colossians 1:15-20
    • Hebrews 13:8
  1. What did Jesus add to John the Baptist’s message (see Matthew 3:2, Matthew 4:17,19)?
  1. What does it cost to be a disciple of Jesus and a citizen of his Kingdom?
    • Luke 9:23-26,57-62
    • Luke 14:25-33
    • Luke 20:24-25
    • Matthew 10:16-39
    • Philippians 3:3-11
    • 1 Peter 4:12-19
  1. What is the reward of his Kingdom?
    • Mark 10:23-31, Matthew 19:21-30
    • Matthew 6:33, 10:40-42
    • Colossians 3:23-24
    • Romans 8:17
    • 1 Peter 1:3-9
  1. What threatens to lure us away from his Kingdom? (Mark 4:18-19, Matthew 6:24)
    • How might Luke 6:43-45 apply in this context?
      • What’s in our heart often reveals itself through our wallet and our calendar
  1. What strikes you most about Jesus’ proclamation of the gospel to Pilate in John 18:33-38?
    • Jesus is the reference point for truth. He is the basis of all the Scripture in the Old Testament. The Kingdom story began long ago!
      • John 5:19-47 (Especially John 5:39-40,46)
      • Luke 24:13-27
      • John 1:45
      • Acts 28:23
      • Mark 3:13-14 (What is the significance of Jesus selecting 12 disciples when his ministry begins?)
  1. A common presentation of the gospel today is restricted to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus with forgiveness of sins for believers. While those are certainly important components, what is missing? (After all, Jesus and his disciples preached a gospel message before the death, burial, and resurrection.)
    • This isn’t a one-time decision to intellectually believe or reject, this is a commitment to give your life to him, pledge allegiance to the Kingdom that he established, and pursue him diligently (Hebrews 11:6).
    • “The ‘Gospel of Sin Management’ presumes a Christ with no serious work other than redeeming humankind… fostering ‘vampire Christians,’ who only want a little blood for their sins but nothing more to do with Jesus until heaven.” – Dallas Willard
  1. Jesus did die on the cross for my sins and for yours. Jesus did willingly give himself up to save me. But his gospel was so much larger than that. That’s not the message he told his disciples to proclaim. The message was that the long-awaited Kingdom of God has arrived! It’s so much bigger than “my” sin and “my” salvation. We have a God that has been yearning to restore and redeem his whole creation, and he wants us to be a part of that story—in fact, we get the first taste of that redemption with the gift of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:23). Jesus is not just your personal savior, he is King and Lord above all, whether everyone recognizes that fact right now or not! He wants your allegiance and your life! The verses in this lesson are heavy. We can’t do this on our own, but all things are possible with God. Let’s quit trying to live the Christian life to please God, and instead, let’s give our life to him and let him live it! (Galatians 2:20)

(Click here for referenced Scripture printout.)

The Gospel According to Jesus, Part 1

“[Jesus] said to them, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.’” – Luke 4:43

  1. What is the central theme of Jesus’ message?
    • Mark 1:14-15
    • Luke 4:43 (What’s the mission he was sent for?)
    • Luke 8:1
    • Luke 9:2,11,60
    • Luke 10:9-11
    • Luke 16:16
    • Luke 17:20-21 (The King embodies the Kingdom)
    • Matthew 4:17,23
    • Matthew 24:14
    • Acts 1:3 (Even after his resurrection, what was he speaking about?)
  1. What is the significance of Jesus being the descendant of David (Luke 1:31-33; 1 Timothy 6:13-16)?
    • Matthew 1:1
    • Matthew 12:23
    • Matthew 20:30-34
    • Matthew 21:9
    • Luke 4:18-19 (“The Lord’s Anointed,” 1 Samuel 24:6) – Who is Jesus identifying as? What does it mean to be anointed?
    • John 7:40-42
    • Revelation 22:16
  1. What is the scope of the Kingdom Jesus proclaimed?
    • Luke 2:29-32
    • Isaiah 42:6-7, 49:6
    • John 8:12, 10:16
    • Acts 13:47
    • Acts 26:23
  1. How did Jesus represent the Kingdom on the earth?
    • Matthew 4:23-25 – Power over illness
    • Luke 7:11-17 – Power over death
    • Luke 4:40-41, 11:14-23 – Power over the dark spiritual forces
    • John 16:33; Matthew 10:26-33, 11:28-30 – Power over the troubles of this world
    • Jesus on earth was showing what it will be like when Heaven and Earth are joined back together. The new creation was breaking into the old creation. God’s will was being done on earth as it is in heaven.
  1. Why do you think the term “upside-down kingdom” has been used to describe God’s Kingdom?
    • Luke 1:46-55
    • Matthew 5:2-12
    • Matthew 20:16,25-28; Luke 22:24-30
    • Matthew 23:8-12
  1. What would a man have to preach to cause his followers to leave absolutely everything behind to follow him, and to cause his detractors to plot and carry out his murder? What would a man have to preach to cause the ruling government to crucify him as a traitor? It would have to be much more than being a nice guy teaching about love, feeding the hungry and healing the sick…
    • Luke 2:10-11 (What do the words “Savior,””Christ,” and “Lord” mean?)
    • John 18:33-37
    • Acts 17:5-8 (Who is the true king?)

(Click here for referenced Scripture printout.)

The Gospel in the Prophets

“At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it…” – Jeremiah 3:17

  1. Israel’s rebellion from God leads them to desire a king like the nations of the world. How did this go against God’s original plan for them?
    • 1 Samuel 8:6-9
  1. God promises to re-establish his Kingdom through the lineage of Israel’s second king, King David (2 Samuel 7:8-16). But their overall rejection of God continues. Despite their rebellion, God never gives up on them for his overall mission to the rest of the world (1 Kings 3:6,8:56).
    • How does the vivid example given in Hosea 3:1-5 reflect God’s position with Israel?
    • What is Israel doing or not doing that makes God so angry?
      • Hosea 6:1-6
      • Isaiah 1:11-16
      • Isaiah 10:1-4
      • Jeremiah 2:29-37
  1. Ultimately, Israel’s unfaithfulness gave God no choice but to follow his own covenant and send Israel into exile, but he did it in a way to restore them and not undo the promise to bring a king through David. (2 Kings 17, 25)
    • Jeremiah 3:6-18
    • Isaiah 55:1-5
    • Isaiah 56:1-8 
  1. Why did the exiled people need continuous reminders from the Prophets?
  1. What role did the promise of a Messiah play in sustaining the Israelite community during exile?
    • Genesis 3:15
    • 2 Samuel 7:10-13
    • Isaiah 9:6-7
  1. God didn’t only send the Prophets to the people of Israel, but he sent them to all the kingdoms of the world around Israel, including the nations that God would eventually use to punish Israel like Assyria, Babylon, and Persia. How does this present God’s vision for his Kingdom?
    • 1 Kings 10:1-9
    • Jonah 3:4-10
    • Daniel 4:28-37
    • Esther 10:1-3
  1. What was John the Baptist’s role as the last prophet of the old covenant (Luke 16:16)?
    • John 1:19-34
    • Matthew 3:1-17
    • Luke 7:28-30
  1. The kingdom of Israel pointed forward to the coming of God’s eternal kingdom. What the prophets foretold has come about: God’s Kingdom is here! That day has come! How is the good news even bigger than most Jews realized in Jesus’ day? Who ended up being the subject of the promises?
    • Ephesians 3:1-6
    • Galatians 3:13-14
    • Isaiah 60:1-3
  1. While God’s Kingdom has deep roots with the kingdom of Israel, the scope and blessing of God’s Kingdom was always meant to go beyond any national border (Isaiah 2:2, 49:6). The promise of the Kingdom inheritance is not restricted to a national border or an ethnicity (Galatians 3:28-29). There is good news for the poor, liberty to the captives, sight for the blind, freedom for the oppressed (Luke 4:18-19). That’s the gospel of God’s Kingdom! And that’s the gospel Jesus proclaimed (Luke 4:43).

(Click here for referenced Scripture printout.)

The Gospel in Torah

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” – Genesis 12:2-3

  1. After the fall of Adam and Eve and the fall at the Tower of Babel, God chose Abram (Abraham) to be the father of a special nation (Genesis 12:1-3,22:15-18)
    • What do you notice about the blessing in these passages? Who receives blessing?
  1. Basic history: Abraham’s grandson Jacob is later renamed “Israel” by God (Genesis 32:28). One of Jacob’s 12 sons is sold into slavery, but eventually God establishes him as high-ranking official in Egypt. During a famine, Jacob’s family journeys to Egypt (with 70 people—see lesson #3) where Joseph ensures they are cared for. After over 400 years, a new Pharoah is in power, and the descendants of Jacob are no longer respected. They are subjected to harsh slave labor (Exodus 1:8-14). God raises up Moses as a deliverer. After many plagues, the Pharoah lets Moses’ people go, only to change his mind and pursue the fleeing people. God delivers the Hebrews through the waters of the Red Sea and crushes the Egyptians when they dare follow (Exodus 14:10-31).
    • God delivered his people out of this nation, a system of the world, and brought them into a nation of his own.
  1. He then gives them the Law, which totals over 600 different commands. However, it is not meant as a list of “dos or don’ts,” but rather a way of living that would be his shining example of his Kingdom to the world.
    • What do you think the world would look like if God’s reign was recognized by all?
      • Leviticus 19:9-18
      • Deut 15:1-11
      • Deut 16:18-20
    • How does this communicate the Kingdom of God?
      • Exodus 19:3-6
      • Leviticus 19:2
      • Deut 4:1-9
      • Numbers 24:1-9
    • Was the vision of God’s Kingdom meant to only impact Ancient Israel?
      • Leviticus 19:33-34
      • Exodus 12:38,48-49 (Numbers 9:14)
      • Numbers 14:21
    • How do the commandments ultimately point to Jesus?
      • Hebrews 9:11-28
  1. Israel’s relationship with God is a constant roller coaster of obedience and utter failure, but God was continuously faithful to his covenant promises. Why do you think God exercised such gracious and steadfast love for such a “stiff-necked” people (Exodus 33:3)? What encouragement does that give us today?
    • Exodus 34:6-7
    • Joshua 21:44-45
  1. Don’t miss what the Pharisees missed. Jesus summed up the heart of the Law with Matthew 22:37-40 – “And He said to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” God doesn’t get mad at the Israelites for wearing a polyester blend or lighting a candle on the Sabbath. Rather, he gets mad at them when they aren’t loving God, when they aren’t loving their neighbors, and when they are being greedy, cruel, or unfair.
    • God’s laws in the Torah for his people were meant to bring them to an understanding of his love, grace and mercy. They were a shadow of the life to come under Christ the King—the ultimate sacrificial lamb who is seated at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:1-12).

(Click here for referenced Scripture printout.)

The Gospel at the End

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” – Matthew 24:14

  1. What are the aspects of the Kingdom we’re still waiting for?
    • Return
      • Philippians 3:20-21 – Citizens of his Kingdom now but waiting for the return of the King.
      • James 5:7
      • 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
      • Acts 1:9-11
    • Restoration
      • Acts 3:18-21
      • Romans 8:18-25
      • Deuteronomy 30:3
      • Isaiah 65:17-25
    • Re-inheriting of the nations
      • Deuteronomy 32:8-9 (see Gen 10:1-32, 11:9; Deut 4:19-20; Luke 10:1-20; Acts 2:1-13)
      • Psalm 82:8
      • Revelation 7:9-10; 22:1-5
      • Micah 4:1-7
      • Jeremiah 48:47 – Restoration is promised even for the Gentiles
    • Resurrection
      • 1 Corinthians 6:14
      • 1 Corinthians 15:12-23,47-58
      • Philippians 3:11-12,20-21
      • Acts 24:15
      • 1 Peter 1:3-5
      • Isaiah 26:19
    • Retribution
      • Genesis 3:15 – The end was proclaimed at the beginning!
      • Matthew 13:30,41-43,49-50
      • Psalm 82:1-8
      • 1 Corinthians 15:24-28
      • Daniel 12:2
  1. How does the Bible use creation language to point to the Kingdom coming in its fullness?
    • 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 – Old creation has died; New creation has come.
    • Isaiah 43:18-19; 65:17
    • John 11:25-26
    • Ephesians 4:22-24
    • 2 Peter 3:13
    • Revelation 21:1-5; 22:1-5
  1. What does the Bible say about the Kingdom of God’s permanence and status over the kingdoms of the world?
    • Daniel 2:31-45; 7:14
    • Isaiah 9:6-7
    • 1 Corinthians 15:24-28
    • Revelation 11:15
  1. There are aspects of the Kingdom in its fullness we are eagerly waiting for, but we can still enjoy the blessings of the Kingdom now! Jesus’ Spirit lives within us (Romans 8:10-11). We spread God’s goodness through our community of believers to each other and those outside (Matthew 5:13-16, Galatians 6:10, 1 Peter 2:9-12). We have been raised with Christ and are seated with him in his Kingdom (Colossians 3:1-4, Ephesians 2:6, Philippians 3:20). We can rest in his eternal rule (Matthew 11:28).

(Click here for referenced Scripture printout.)

The Gospel in the Beginning

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion…’” – Genesis 1:26

  1. How does the Creation narrative in Genesis 1:1-2:3 frame the Kingdom of God?
    • Throughout the ancient world, the temple was a significant part of the cosmic landscape. It was considered to be at the center of the cosmos, the place from which the cosmos was controlled, and a small model of the cosmos—a microcosm” (Walton, J. H. (2011). Genesis 1 as Ancient Cosmology)
      • Could the creation narrative be a way of talking about God inaugurating the world as his temple?
        • Isaiah 66:1
        • Psalm 132:7-8
        • 1 Kings 8:62-9:3 (The inauguration of the Temple was a 7-day process, after it took Solomon seven years to build it (1 Kings 6:38))
      • What does “rest” mean in Genesis 2:2-3? What does a “god” typically do in a temple?
        • They reign and rule from their throne
        • This part of the narrative isn’t a footnote, it’s the climax! God has taken his place as an engaged ruler on his throne over his newly ordered system.
          • Who does he expect to be working with him to continue to maintain this order?
            • Genesis 1:26-31
            • 1 Corinthians 3:9
            • Jesus reflects on this in Matthew 11:28-30
  1. How does the Garden of Eden reflect God’s Kingdom?
    • A connection between the heavenly realm and the earthly realm (Genesis 3:8-9), which is also reflected in the Tabernacle and Temple.
    • The Tree of Life (Genesis 2:8-9)
      • God invited Adam and Eve to live by his life, but they chose to go their own way (Genesis 3:6-7). God then sends them out of the Garden and blocks them from access to the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22-24).
      • When Jesus comes, he is the return of the Tree of Life. Following him means coming back into God’s Kingdom rule.
        • John 6:53-58,19:41,20:15
        • Revelation 2:7,22:2
  1. What was God’s purpose for Adam and Eve before they sinned?
    • What does “work and keep” mean in Genesis 2:15?
      • These two verbs ‘abad (עבד) and shamar (שמר) are used together as a phrase to refer to the priestly roles of the Levites who serve God in the temple and who guard the temple (Numbers 3:7-8; 8:25-26; 18:5-6; 1 Chronicles 23:32; Ezekiel 44:14).
    • As God’s priestly representatives, Adam and Eve were to be mediators between God and others—relating with God on behalf of other people and reflecting his character to others. Like all people, they were called to be his image-bearers, his representatives, and exercise rule over the creation (Genesis 1:26-28).
  1. God’s plan for his Kingdom has existed from the very beginning. Adam and Eve were created to keep and guard God’s dwelling place and represent his Kingdom to the world. When sin interrupted their mission, they were removed from this role. Salvation will be needed to deliver them back to his presence. In the same way for us, salvation is a deliverance back to living under God’s rule and reign so that we can represent him as his image, working and keeping his Garden, his Kingdom.
    • Romans 12:1-2 – We worship God by being who he made us to be—His Image! That’s how we keep from taking his name in vain (Exodus 20:7).

(Click here for referenced Scripture printout.)