Leveraging your Life for God's Kingdom
"18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.19 And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21 And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him." (Matthew 4:18-22, ESV)
18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers....
"Jesus was on a divine clock, a divine calendar, functioning in response to God’s plan. He began His ministry at the right point when John was cast into prison; in the right place in Galilee of the Gentiles where He would have the greatest hearing, where there was the most openness, the most potential, and the greatest need." John MacArthur (author, "The Gospel According to Jesus")
"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.." (John 15:16, ESV)
v.19 And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
"From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17, ESV)
"Immediately they left their nets and followed Him!
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15, ESV)
LIFEGROUP NOTES - Week 1 – Leveraging Your Life for God’s Kingdom
This weekend’s sermon was about using our lives as leverage for God’s Kingdom. This is of primary impor- tance to the Church because we are meant to be the driving force behind Kingdom growth! Sometimes, however, we choose to leverage our lives for more personal and worldly means than for Kingdom-minded Godly things. If we really want to understand how to leverage our lives, we need to look at the life of JESUS and study and examine how He lived.
When people think of God’s Kingdom within the Gospel of Matthew, many think first of The Great Commis- sion in Matt 28:19-20. The Great Commission is GOD’s vision for building His Kingdom and the reason why JESUS came, but it is the final statement of His Kingdom-building vision, the Grand Finale if you will, not the entire story! As a group, let’s start our study of vision at the beginning of Matthew in the same passage from Sunday’s message.
As a group, turn to Matt. 4:18-20 and read the passage aloud.
1. In v18 Simon and Andrew being identified as fishermen is important because it makes v19 really jump
off of the page. In v19, what is JESUS saying is the difference between their main, secular vocation and what HE is calling them to?
2. How is JESUS’ statement in v19 visionary?
After this Kingdom-building vision has been cast and disciples have begun to follow JESUS, the next few chapters (5-9) give us a glimpse into how JESUS taught the disciples to accomplish this--how to leverage their lives for God’s Kingdom. In chapter 5, JESUS covers anger, lust, retaliation, and treatment of enemies. In chapter 6, generosity, prayer, fasting, possessions, and faith. In chapter 7, judging others, communication w/ GOD, treatment of others, how to evaluate spiritual conditions and JESUS’ authority. Chapters 8 & 9 are all about JESUS modeling and living out for them what HE taught in ch 5-7. Now we arrive at ch.10 where we see JESUS continue to establish His the lesson of leveraging the life that He has given us for the Kingdom of God. As a group, read 10:1-8.
3. How does what JESUS says in 10:5-8 relate to what He said in Matt. 4:19?
4. The typical response to this would be, “but I am still not ready. I don’t know enough...give me some more time and training.” How does Matt. 10:1 answer this objection?
We can see from Jesus’ example that in order to build the Kingdom of God, we must be future-oriented, others-centered, and ultimately prioritize the Glory of GOD over our own life! But there are other things that we can learn also. Read Matt. 10:16-25 as a group.
5. What do we learn about vision from v16-23 this passage?
6. Now, look specifically at v24 & 25 of ch. 10. What else is essential to the call for us to leverage our lives for the Kingdom?
Finally, let’s look at Matt. 28:19-20. Read this passage aloud as a group. This is the Grand Finale of JESUS’ example and calling for us to leverage our lives. It is the complete fulfillment of all that JESUS has called the disciples to, all that He taught them, modeled for them, and had given them authority to do themselves. There are however two distinct differences between what we read here and what we read in Matt. 10:5-8. The first difference is the people to whom the disciples are tasked. In Matt. 10:5-8, the disciples are instructed to go “nowhere” among the Gentiles, but in Matt. 28:19-20 they are instructed to go to “all nations”.
7. As a group, discus what has changed between Matt. 10 and Matt . 28?
The vision of leveraging our lives is very important to the Church. So much so that we see JESUS, throughout the Gospel of Matthew is both casting and laying the foundation of this vision to those who will be responsible for fulfilling that vision after He ascends to Heaven to be with the Father. He called them, taught them, and modeled what He taught for them. JESUS then sent them out, under His supervision, to practice what He had taught them, in preparation for His impending ascension. What is amazing is that to this day, healthy churches are still practicing this same vision--leveraging oneself for the Kingdom of God through self sacrifice!