Series: Thy Kingdom Come
Sermon – Living a Kingdom-Centered Life
Scripture Readings: Matthew 7:21-29, Matthew 18:1-5
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. (Matthew 18:1-5)
Monday June 24 — Matthew 5:1-12
As Christians, we can’t separate the Kingdom from Jesus. According to the Gospels, he proclaimed the good news of the Kingdom (see Matthew 4:17) and in his example and teaching, we discover the shape and character of Kingdom life. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) describes Kingdom life, starting with the Beatitudes, which insist that the blessings of the Kingdom are also available to people who were excluded by the conventional wisdom of Jesus’ day. As you read through the Beatitudes, where do you see yourself? Does Jesus make you feel welcome in God’s Kingdom?
• Prayer: God of Blessings, thank you for opening your Kingdom to everyone, including me. Help me to see signs of your blessings in my life and in the lives of others. Amen.
Tuesday June 25 — Matthew 5:17-20
Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenges us to see ourselves, others, and the world from God’s perspective. In other words, he challenges us to look at life through the lens of the Kingdom. What we discover is that God has high expectations for citizens of the Kingdom. The good news is that God’s grace helps us become the person that God wants us to be and forgives us when we fall short. How is God helping you grow into a life of greater righteousness right now?
• Prayer: Merciful God, forgive me for giving in to the temptation to be “good enough” or to compare my life with others. Give me courage to seek your greater righteousness. Amen.
Wednesday June 26 — Matthew 6:25-34
Following Jesus is an invitation to trust God. “Do not worry about your life,” Jesus says, inviting us to live with confidence that God will answer the prayer that Jesus has taught us to pray. (In Matthew 6:11, Jesus teaches us to ask God to, “Give us this day our daily bread.”) He insists that we trust God when we, first and foremost, seek God’s Kingdom and leave the rest to God. This is more easily said than done. What helps you trust God when you are worried about some aspect of your life? Read Matthew 7:7-11 for another one of Jesus’ teaching about God’s promises.
• Prayer: Eternal God, thank you for the promises you make to provide for my needs. Forgive me for not trusting you fully. Increase my ability to trust you with my life. Amen.
Thursday June 27 — Matthew 7:21-29
Entering the Kingdom of God and living the Kingdom life is far more than saying the right words or even thinking the right thoughts. It’s about more than our heads and our hearts; it’s about living our lives in a way that pleases God. Jesus says that the Kingdom is for, “only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Later, Jesus says that a wise person is one who, “hears these words of mine and acts on them” (Matthew 7:24). That’s what it means to live a Kingdom life, the life God intends – by doing the things that Jesus teaches us to do. Based on what you have read this week, which words of Jesus do you need to act on?
• Prayer: God of Love, today I ask that you help me understand that your will for my life is revealed in the life and teaching of Jesus. Help me be more like him every day. Amen.
Friday June 28 — Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Jesus’ teaching about God’s Kingdom is not limited to the Sermon on the Mount. Many of his parables are Kingdom parables, including the parable of the sower and the seed. Its message is consistent with the Sermon on the Mount. Kingdom life is one that bears fruit through hearing and obeying Jesus’ teaching. Use Jesus’ parable to review your life? How would Jesus describe your life? How well is your life receiving Jesus’ teaching? How well is your life bearing fruit?
- Prayer: God of Miracles, I surrender myself to you. Cultivate the soil of my life so that I can bear the fruit of living the life you intend for me and help others do the same.
Saturday June 29 — Matthew 18:1-5
Finish this week by reflecting on what you think Jesus means when he says. “unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). It’s important to note that there is a significant difference between “child-like” and “child-ish.” What characteristics of children do think Jesus wants to see in you? What aspects of your life needs to diminish so that you become more of the person that God intends?
• Prayer: Faithful God, help me to maintain the child-like characteristics of Kingdom-life while at the same time growing up in my faith. Show me the life you intend for me. Amen.