LESSON 1 4/12/2016
THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM
Suggested Hymn: G.H.B. 147, 148
Devotional Reading: Ps. 19:7-14
Topic For Adults: The Gospel Of The Kingdom Is Perfect
Topic For Youths: Embrace The Gospel Of The Kingdom
Topic For Intermediates: Be Equipped Thoroughly
Scripture Lesson: Matt. 5:20; 18:3; 3:7; Rom. 3:23; 1 Jn. 1:10; Matt. 3:1-8; 4:17; 5:19
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Reward For Gospel Proclaimer
Daniel prophesied the time of trouble for the nation of Israel in fulfilling Jeremiah 30:7 but they will finally place their faith in Jesus as their Messiah, Lord and Saviour. Verse 2 contains the clearest Old Testament reference to the righteous and the wicked. He says the wise who show the wisdom (verse 3) by the way they live their lives and how they lead others to righteous way of life shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, transformed and the glory of God will reflect in and through them. Since we have such a wonderful promise for the proclaimer of the gospel, why don’t you make it a point of duty to preach the gospel always?
Point of Emphasis: There is great reward for those who proclaim the gospel.
Prayer Point: Holy Spirit, give me grace to proclaim the gospel so that I can be rewarded.
The understanding of the gospel of the kingdom is very important as to make success of our Christian race. There are things we should know about God and His kingdom. This week’s lesson conveys to us what we need to know about the expedience of living a holy life to please God and how to subscribe to and live in the kingdom of God.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
PART 1: BACKGROUND OF THE KINGDOM (MATT. 5:20, 18:3)
We regard God as sovereign over all things. The Old Testament bears witness that ‘God reigns’ both in the kingdom of God among men and the kingdom of His providence (Ps. 93:1; 95:1). The kingdom of God is significant in the nation of Israel, the declaration of the gospel and presence of the church. In both Old Testament and New Testament, we discovered that God rules sovereingly as King over all His works.
Regrettably, man resisted God’s reign by following the enticement of Satan. This is against what Jesus implied in Matt. 5:20 that an iota of His word must not be violated. Jesus canvased for a change from those who had transgressed against His word in Matt. 18:3. With time, the gospel spread to the gentile nations.
Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom of God has two aspects. The reign of God became a reality in the New Testament through His proclamation and ministry, climaxed in His death and resurrection. It is necessary for us to understand Jesus’ teaching and central claim, that the kingdom of God is near (Matt. 12:28) because the long awaited day of salvation in the Old Testament has now been realised in the New Testament.
PART 2: REASON FOR THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM (MATT. 3:7; ROM. 3:23; 1 JN. 1:10)
The Pharisees and the Sadducess were the two prominent religious groups in Judaism. The Pharisees adhered strictly to both the entire Old Testament and their own human interpretations. They emphasised that salvation came by obeying the letter of God’s law. Their religion has to do with outward form without inner change of the heart. They refused to acknowledge the depravity of their own nature.
The Sadducees on their own were theological liberals and anti-supernaturalists, they appeared to hold on to the law of God but they denied many of its teachings like resurrection, angels miracle, immortality and the judgment to come.
The ignorance of these groups of people made them unqualified for the kingdom of God. What necessitate the gospel is the need for people to accept God’s offer of mercy in order to become the citizen of God’s kingdom. Rom. 3:23 affirms that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The fallen state of man made man to run foul of acceptance before God but through the mercy of God, the gospel of God’s salvation which gives room for second chance was proclaimed. The act of God’s goodness to forgive sin and pardon people of their guilt is the heart of the gospel of the kingdom.
PART 3: REQUIREMENT AND REWARD FOR THE RECIPIENT (MATT. 3:1-8; 4:17; 5:19)
Christ came to inaugurate His kingdom by preaching ‘repentance’. This is a free decision on the part of sinners made possible through grace given to them as they hear the gospel. Jesus began His ministry by preaching repentance to the sinners (Matt. 4:17) He went to where the sinners were and preached the gospel of the kingdom to them. This was what John the Baptist centred his message upon – Matthew 3:2. So, also some prophets in the Old Testament.
The primary requirement for becoming a member of God’s kingdom is stated in Matthew 3:8 ‘bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. It can, therefore, be deduced that fruit of righteousness must follow genuine repentance. Fruit of righteousness must be evident in the life of a believer who has forsaken sin. Anyone who claims to believe in Christ and has true saving faith does not live life that does not produce good fruits. This fruit-bearing refers to spiritual virtues, such as the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Gal. 5:22-23 – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control.
It is expected of anyone who is obedient and possesses these virtues to witness God’s power in his or her life here on Earth. Because being a member of God’s kingdom is to proclaim God’s power and thereby enjoy forever in that kingdom.
Genuine believers are given the inner compulsion and power to fulfil God’s will – Rom. 8:13; Matt. 7:21). Those who walk uprightly according to the gospel are made great in the kingdom of God. The reward of believers in the kingdom of heaven will be determined by their attitude toward God’s commandments, that is, teaching and obeying them (Matt. 5:19).
God’s intention for all mankind is seen in His kindness which He had shown through the gospel. Let’s endeavour to be faithful to the requirement of the gospel and allow our external confession of Christ be accompanied by inner transformation of our hearts. (Matt. 5:21-28)
- Why is the understanding of the gospel necessary to believers?
- How did the gospel of salvation preached in the Old Testament become a reality in the New Testament?
- Why are the Pharisees and the Sadducees not eligible for the kingdom of God?
- Explain why salvation is the reason for gospel proclamation.
- State the primary requirement for becoming a member of God’s kingdom.