upside down kingdom
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 14:12, 1 Timothy 4:2, Jeremiah 17:9 and Galatians 5:16-18, 25. 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 5:21, 23-25. 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, 4, 6 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?
Part 6: "The Three C's of Kingdom Living" | 07/19/20
Study Questions for Matthew 8-10
1. How did Jesus prove Himself to be worthy of following in Matthew 8?
2. Read Matthew 8:19-22. What stopped these men from following Jesus? What things can be difficult to sacrifice and why?
a) What's the difference between following and being a true disciple?
3. Read Matthew 9:9. Think about the way Jesus called you. How has God used your story to reach others? How can you see God has redeemed your places of shame?
4. What did it mean for a Rabbi to ask someone to follow them? And what does that tell you about what Jesus expects of us?
5. How does the fact that Jesus says that the harvest is ready affect your confidence to share the good news of Jesus with others?
a) What kind of obstacles stop you from sharing, and why?
6. Discuss Jesus’ style of making disciples. How can we model the way we share the gospel around the same method?
a) Who are the people in your daily life who are open to God?
b) How can you develop your relationship with them this week (be specific).
Part 7: "Who Do You Say Jesus Is?" | 07/26/20
Study Questions for Matthew 11-13
1. What does the Kingdom of Heaven mean? Try and explain it in your own words, as if you were talking to a non-Christian.
a) How do we extend the borders of the Kingdom of God in our daily lives (what are some examples)?
2. Read Matthew 11:21-24. People rejected Jesus despite the miracles. In what ways can we see Jesus as someone who is just a miracle worker instead of our King today?
3. Why does seeing Jesus as King make us uncomfortable?
a) What difference does seeing Jesus as King make to a situation you’re dealing with right now?
4. True repentance is about recognizing we are incapable of saving ourselves. Jesus said we need to die to ourselves in order to follow Him. If we are 'dead' to ourselves, how does that change the way we live?
5. What are the implications of the parables in Matthew 13, of both followers and false-followers living in the world together?
6. Matthew 13:56 is the finale of Matthew’s point in sharing stories of Jesus’ miracles. Read Hebrews 11:6. What kind of faith do you have?
a) How does your faith impact the degree you’re willing to trust Him and take the 'next step' with issues in your life right now?
b) Share what you’re struggling to trust God with. Pray for each other and agree on ways you’ll keep each other accountable.
Part 8: "Expectations of King Jesus" | 08/02/20
Study Questions for Matthew 14:1-17:13
1. What are your expectations of God? Try and list off at 3 things you expect of God.
a) What are these expectations based on? Are the based on God’s word or on your assumptions/traditions?
2. How might your disappointments or hesitation with trusting God be connected to your preconceived ideas and expectations of what God will do in our life?
3. Read Matthew 14:15-20. The disciples expected Jesus to help them in their lives, but not supernaturally. How might you still be thinking of Jesus as a man and not God in a situation you’re going through right now?
4. Read Matthew 16:24-27. What things do you need to be willing to give up in order for Kingdom work to be done in you and through you?
5. Think about the people in your life. What impact could you have in their lives if you were prepared to give up what you want out of life, in order to reach them?
6. Read Matthew 14:25-33. Reflect on the difference between Peter’s experience of Jesus versus those who stayed in the boat. How might you be missing out on experiencing God in a greater way in your life?
a) What 'boats' do you need to get out of in order to experience God in a fuller way?
7. Read Matthew 17:1-8. Chuck said: “There is no possible way to ask too much of God. There is no way of leaning on God too much.” How does this apply to you right now?
Part 9: "Faith in the King" | 08/09/20
Study Questions for Matthew 17:14-20:34
1. How would you define faith?
2. Chuck stated that faith means complete confidence or trust in something. Does that definition change the way you view your relationship with or faith in Jesus?
3. Can you recall a time where you had no other choice but to lean on Jesus?
4. Read Malachi 3:10 and James 1:2-7
a) How role does experience play with faith?
b) Do you actively look for these experiences, for situations where you are totally reliant on God’s promises? Why or why not?
5. When you see an opportunity to rely solely on God, do you hesitate?
6. What is one place this next week that you can take a step of faith, completely trusting God?
Part 12: "The King is in Control" | 08/30/20
Study Questions for Matthew 26:1-28:10
1. We all understand the difference between willing serving a King versus trying to resist a King's control. How does God being a perfectly good King make a difference to how we respond to His leadership and control?
2. What specific things happened in Matthew 26-27 that would have made people feel like Jesus wasn't in control?
a) What are some specific things in your life that can make you feel like God isn't in control?
b) Going deeper: what specifically is it about these things that make you feel like God isn't in control?
3. Look through Matthew 26-28 for references to Jesus being in compete control over the events of his death. How can these statements give us confidence to trust God even when things don’t make sense to us?
4. Read Matthew 26:39-42. Why does true/genuine faith only really start when what God wants conflicts with what we want?
a) It's been said: "God lives at the end of our rope". What does that mean? And why is that often true? What does it say about us?
5. Read Matthew 26:50-56. How can our own “good” intentions for God actually resist His will at times?
a) As sinful people, is it possible to live without opposing God's will for us? What does Philippians 2:12-13 teach about this?
6. Read Matthew 28:2-6. The stone wasn't rolled away so Jesus could get out, it was rolled away so that people could come in and witness the irrefutable fact that Jesus had risen from the dead. What loss, hardship or 'death' is God wanting you to humbly accept and trust Him with so that others can 'come in' and witness the power of God in your life, and have the opportunity to 'repent' and come into the Kingdom of God?
a) What's happening in your life right now where God wants you to believe and trust that He can 'overcome' and bring good from what seems a hopeless situation?
Part 13: "The King's Mission" | 09/06/20
Study Questions for Matthew 28:16-20
1. Think back over the 'story' of the gospel of Matthew. What has impacted you most about these two themes: a) Jesus is the King of Heaven, and b) the Kingdom of God is 'upside-down' compared to the kingdom's of this world (its values and priorities etc)?
2. Read Matthew 28:18-20. What is the purpose/mission of the church? Try to say it in your own words in a single sentence.
a) What does it mean to you that Jesus handed over His mission to us/you?
3. What happens when we mistake the good important and urgent things of the church for the core mission?
4. How does it feel to know you have the full authority of Jesus, the King of Heaven, to make disciples?
a) What difference does this authority make to your fears and hesitations in telling people about Jesus?
5. What is a disciple of Jesus? And what do we have to do to 'make disciples'?
6. Jesus includes baptism and obedience as essential parts of the mission, showing that being a disciple is public and active. So what would you say to someone who says their faith in Jesus is 'a personal thing'?
7. How are you seeking and saving the lost - what specific things are you doing because of the mission?
8. Like carrying unnecessary baggage when climbing a mountain, what's holding you back and causing you to settle for a life not focused on our mission? Take time to identify specific things you can do to live a missional life.