A number of fellowships relating together here in Virginia have started a Sunday evening discipleship class, focusing on leadership development and laying a foundation of sound doctrine. Most of those attending have a desire to learn and grow in the Lord, so they in turn can help others.
Our initial topic is “Repentance and the Kingdom of God”.
I’ll be sharing some more in another blog about that multi-fellowship class and how it fits with our focus on planting local, participatory fellowships in existing communities and subcultures – with indigenous believers and indigenous leadership.
In the meantime, that Sunday evening class is being taught by three leaders among our various fellowships – who are proven mentors and highly respected, have a history of actually starting and being part of a local fellowship, are gifted teachers who have spent years studying scripture, and whose lives exhibit the truths found there.
I had the privilege of doing the inaugural teaching – accompanied by great discussion.
As these classes progress, I hope to share some of my own outlines. If they resonate with you, feel free to use them.
Repentance and the Kingdom of God
• The Kingdom of God was the central focus of Jesus’ ministry while on earth and is to be our focus also (Matt 4:23 & Matt 24:14).
• Jesus proclaimed over and over that the Kingdom of God is “at hand”, but we need to repent to grab hold of it (Mark 2:14-15).
• Repentance is not just a one-time event, but an ongoing process of deciding to surrender our will – including our own thoughts, perceptions and beliefs – to God’s will and His thoughts, perceptions and truths. Only then will we naturally act different, in obedience to Him (this in inherent in the meaning of Greek word used in the New Testament for repentance, which is “metanoia”).
• The Kingdom of God advances as we do the will of the Father “on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:9-10) – in all aspects of our lives, relationships, circumstances and the many areas of influence (our families, relationships, jobs, businesses, communities, education, professions, the arts, government, society, etc.) where He may call and send us.
• The Kingdom of God and the peace it brings is ever increasing, beginning with the incarnation, and is continually advancing through history – including today (Isaiah 9:6-7).
• The Kingdom of God advances even in the face of opposition and persecution – but by consent and never coercion – as we have confidence to apply His will wherever He calls and sends us (Matt 5:11-13).
• There is no aspect of creation or sphere of human endeavor over which Jesus has ceded His authority (Matt 28:18-20).
• God gives us the gifts needed to serve in those areas where He calls us, and we are equipped to do so through the multi-faceted Body of Christ – where our diverse abilities are knit together in local fellowships under Christ’s rule, while building each other up through love by ministering one to another (Eph 4:1-16).
• When we do His will – His way and in His timing – and make His Kingdom real (whether internally in our own lives, or externally around us), “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” are the result (Rom 14:17).
• We can differ on the details, but when we understand who is our King, and understand His Kingdom, there is no basis for either the defeatist, or the isolationist, eschatologies prevalent today (Col 1:15-20).
Spot on Jim. Repentance was a key part of the good news shared by Jesus, Paul and others. “Repent, believe, follow” is how it went then; so should our gospel be today.