upside down kingdom

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Part 1: "Jesus is Proved the King"  |  06/14/20

Study Questions for Matthew 1:1-17


1.  How does Malachi (the book we studied last series) relate to the gospel of Matthew?  What was the state of God’s people at the end of the OT?  What would God’s estimation of the people’s hearts be?  What would the Jews be expecting of God?


2.  Read Matthew 9:12 and Ephesians 2:8.  Think about what it must have been like for a Jewish person to see Jesus having a tax collector as one of his closest friends.  What does this show us about the Kingdom of God that Jesus was introducing?  How is this Kingdom different to the traditional Jewish ways of being religious?


3.  Read Read Galatians 5:24-25.  Matthew’s life changed completely when he chose to follow Jesus.  Why should it be the same for us as followers of Jesus?  Share with each other how Jesus has changed your life since you started following Him?


4.  What stood out to you about the genealogy of Jesus? 


5.  Matthew 1 records Joseph’s lineage, therefore Jesus' legal right to the throne, and Luke 3 records Mary’s lineage and therefore Jesus' royal bloodline.  Why was Jesus’ lineage important to validate Him as King?  

     a)  What insight about God does this detail and timeline give you?


6.  Jesus’ family line included people guilty of terrible sin.  What is your response to people with very broken lives, who sinned so greatly, being included as part of Jesus genealogy? 

     a)  What does the inclusion of Ruth as an immigrant say about who Gods kingdom is for? 

     b)  What implications does that have for us as we share the message about Jesus?

     c)  How is the inclusion of the women in this list counter-cultural and what does it say about God’s Kingdom? 

     d)  How does this speak into our kingdom duty as advocates for the oppressed?


7.  How have you experienced grace?  How can you extend this same grace to others in your life right now as a child of God’s Kingdom?


Part 2: "The Kingdom is Near"  |  06/21/20

Study Questions for Matthew 1:18-4:17


1.  What kind of 'kingdoms' have you tried to build in your life?  What did it cost and what has been the outcome? 


     a)  Why do our self-made kingdoms cause us problems?


2.  Think of Old Testament examples of God entering into human experience to bring His Kingdom.  Now recall some OT prophecies about the Messiah.  How do these impact you as you contemplate Jesus birth in Matthew 1?


3.  How can a negative story in your life be transformed by the presence of Jesus - by knowing and growing in relationship with Him?


4.  Read Matthew 3:13-15.  Why did Jesus participate in a baptism when he had nothing to repent of?  


     a)  What does Jesus identifying with you in your sin and suffering show you about God’s heart for you?  If you’re going through tough times, how does that affect the way you go through it?


5.  Read Matthew 4:1-11.  What does Jesus’ response to the temptation of power teach you about what power looks like in God’s kingdom?  


6.  Read 1 John 2:15-17.  Reflect on what Jesus example shows us about what we should and shouldn’t be pursuing in life.



Part 3: "The Kingdom is Revealed"  |  06/28/20

Study Questions for Matthew 4:18-5:16


1.  Take a few moments to talk about what the Jews were expecting Jesus to do and be.  How was He different from that? 


     a)  Now reflect on how we might expect God to act differently than He actually does today.


2.  Read Matthew 4:17 and 4:19.  What is the requirement for joining the Kingdom?  


     a)  What is the mission Jesus gives anyone who claims to follow Him? 


     b)  How does your life match up to these expectations?  What adjustments do you need to make to truly follow Jesus?


3.  How is the Kingdom of God “now, but not yet” in our experience?  Why is it that way?


4.  Matthew 5:1-10.  What common themes do you see in these verses that speak about what’s essential in this upside-down Kingdom?


     a)  Share with each other how God has been developing these essentials in your life recently.


5.  Read Proverbs 14:121 Timothy 4:2Jeremiah 17:9 and Galatians 5:16-1825.  Do you live, and are led, more by your conscience or by the Spirit's conviction?  Why?


6.  Read Matthew 5:11-16.  What does being salt and light show you about how Jesus expects you to live.  How could you live like this right now?



Part 4: "Understanding The Kingdom"  |  07/05/20

Study Questions for Matthew 5:17-48


1.  How do we sometimes get confused about how God wants us to live?  


2.  Read Matthew 5:17-19.  Discuss the difference between the Torah being thought of as an expression of who God is versus a set of rules? 


     a)  If the Torah is an expression of who God is, then what is the real goal of keeping it (think about the spirit of the law)?


3.  Read Matthew 5:10.  How is the righteousness of the kingdom of God different to what the Jewish leaders were teaching?


4.  Read Matthew 5:2123-25.  What is God’s way of dealing with interpersonal conflict?  What does this tell you about the importance of self-examination when it comes to our motives?  


     a)  Why is it important for us to deal with what’s in our heart, not just our outward behavior?


5.  Read Matthew 5:38-45.  What’s the difference between standing up for your rights and standing up for what IS right?



Part 5: "Having the Right Why, What and How for Kingdom Living"  |  07/12/20

Study Questions for Matthew 6-7


1.  Read Matthew 6:1, 46 and 18.  What does it mean to do things “in secret”.

2.  How can we make sure our WHY stays right?

3.  Read Matthew 6:24.  What is your response to the statement that if we say we follow God, we have to obey Him? 

     a)  How will it affect your life right now for you to seek His Kingdom first?

4.  Let's talk about worry.  How does it affect you?  What is your worry based on? 

     a)  Read Matthew 6:25 and 7:7.  Why don’t we need to worry?

5.  Talk about the new vision God gives us for others in Matthew 7:12.

6.  Read Matthew 7:7-11.  What does this tell us about our Heavenly Father?