WELCOME TO THE KINGDOM!
PASSPORT - INTRODUCTION
If you have traveled, where was your favorite destination and why? Or where would you like to travel and why?
Why are you taking Passport?
The Kingdom of God (or heaven) was Jesus' favorite subject. For example, Jesus taught us to pray, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). So what is the Kingdom? The Kingdom is where God is honored as King and His will is done. Now obviously that happens in heaven. The saints and angels in heaven worship God has King and do His will perfectly. So to speak, in heaven God is large and in charge and therefore life is wonderful, it’s perfect. Well, the life of heaven can invade earth when we honor God as King and do His will here. Now the Kingdom won’t perfectly come because we still live in a fallen world, but it can really come as we live for our King. Passport is about how we can enter this Kingdom and live as a citizen of this Kingdom so that heaven invades earth through our lives. Let's consider 3 themes in this introduction:
What country or countries are you a citizen of? How did you become a citizen? What are the privileges and responsibilities of your citizenship?
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”
Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit."
Why can't you be born into or naturalized into the Kingdom of God? Why do you need to be SUPER-naturalized or born again into the Kingdom of God? What does it mean to be born again? Have your been born again? Have you made the personal choice to believe in Jesus and give your allegiance to Him?
Always thank the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.
The Bible takes these 2 spiritual kingdoms very seriously. It says that everyone is born into the kingdom of darkness and we must be born again to enter the Kingdom of Light. How have you seen these 2 spiritual kingdoms (the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of Light) at work around you? How about in you?
Watch The Gospel of the Kingdom (The Bible Project)
What struck you from this video?
The Vineyard’s emphasis on the Kingdom of God has implications for the whole storyline of the Bible. Here’s a quick rundown of that storyline:
- Creation - As Creator of all, God is King of all. God appoints humans as His royal representatives to be agents of his reign over creation on His behalf. In the Beginning, heaven and earth were united in fellowship and love.
- Fall - Adam and Eve’s sin against God was an act of rebellion against God’s Kingdom rule. As God’s delegated rulers of creation, when they fell for Satan’s lie and disobeyed God’s will, not only did they, but the whole world became captives of Satan’s kingdom. Because of their sin, Adam and Eve were banished from God's presence, leading to their deaths and the separation of heaven and earth.
- Israel - On the day of the Revolt, God graciously promised that He would defeat Satan through one of Eve's descendants. The nation of Israel was formed to bring forth this Descendant and Rescuer (aka the Jewish Messiah) who would reestablish God's Kingdom on earth as the rightful King of the Kingdom.
- Jesus’ Birth - Jesus’ birth is the story of the rightful King’s invasion into enemy-occupied territory and the initiation of the restoration of God’s Kingdom on earth. Amazingly, God sent His OWN Son to rescue us! In Jesus, heaven came down to earth.
- Jesus’ Ministry - By withstanding Satan’s temptation, Jesus reversed Adam and Eve’s failure to withstand Satan’s temptation. His teaching, healing and deliverance ministry reversed the power and authority of Satan’s kingdom.
- Jesus’ Death, Resurrection & Ascension - What seemed to be the greatest Kingdom defeat - the King’s death on the cross, becomes the greatest Kingdom victory because the King came back to life. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinners are forgiven, rebels are reconciled with God and captives are set free from Satan’s kingdom. Having accomplished the Victory, Jesus ascends back to heaven as the King of kings and Lord of lords.
- The Gift of the Spirit - The Spirit was given to the church to empower God’s people to carry on Jesus’ ministry of setting captives free from Satan’s kingdom. Through the Spirit, the church extends the forgiveness and life of God’s Kingdom to the whole world. Through the Spirit, heaven continues to come down to earth through the presence and ministry of God's people.
- The Christian Life - When we repent and believe in Jesus, we are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light. We are reborn as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Christian life is learning to assimilate and live out the values, priorities and mission of this new Kingdom in the middle of the world which is still captive to the kingdom of Satan. This is why the Christian life is both an abundant life and one of intense spiritual warfare.
- Jesus’ Return - God’s Kingdom has been reestablished on earth by the ministry of Jesus and now by the ministry of the Spirit through the church. The kingdom of Satan, however, continues to have influence on the earth. This influence will be completely broken when Jesus returns in glory and brings the Kingdom of God to earth in all its fullness and perfection. Then heaven and earth will once again be united in fellowship and love forever.
This is a synopsis of JesusChurch’s Discover the Kingdom course.
What strikes you from this storyline of the Kingdom of God?
Have you ever had to assimilate into a new culture? How did that go for you?
How is assimilating into the Kingdom of God going for you? Considering the list below, what do you need to work on?
- A new language - The language of the Bible, of prayer, of praise
- A new way of life - Giving instead of taking, blessing instead of cursing, forgiving instead of retaliating, trusting instead of panicking
- A new community - It's not just me or me and my family anymore; it's me and my people - God's people, the Church of Jesus Christ
Part of assimilating into a new culture, is leaving an old culture behind. What aspects of the kingdom of this world do you need to leave behind so you can fully embrace the Kingdom of God?
Expectations of those taking Passport
- Read and prepare the 5 Days of the week (For Week One also read the Introduction and Welcome to the Kingdom!)
- Memorize the weekly Bible passage.
- Touch base with your Passport partner once a week to see how their weekly assignment is going.
- If you are able, help defray the cost of your book. Suggested donation $10. If you can pay for someone else to have a book, please do.