Series: Thy Kingdom Come
Sermon – Kingdom-Centered Community
Scripture Readings: Revelation 1:1-6, Matthew 16:13-19
Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17-19)
Monday July 1 — Matthew 16:13-19
The word, “church,” is used sparingly in the Gospels, and very rarely by Jesus. As the Gospel narrative looks toward Jerusalem and Jesus’ death and resurrection, he asks his disciples who the people think he is and who they think he is. In response, Peter replied, correctly, that Jesus is the Messiah. What Jesus says next points to the Church’s ministry after Jesus is gone. Jesus’ commission to Peter and the disciples insists that the ministry of the Church will be kingdom ministry. In what ways do you see evidence of God’s Kingdom in your congregation?
• Prayer: Eternal God, I believe that Jesus is the Messiah. I also believe that I am a member of your Church, which has been commissioned to serve you in Kingdom ministry. Amen.
Tuesday July 2 — Matthew 16:21-28
After Jesus affirms his identity as “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), and gives Peter the keys to the Kingdom, he teaches the disciples that he will not be the kind of Messiah they expect (or want.) This means that God’s Kingdom will not be the kind of kingdom that the disciples are expecting. What does Jesus’ death and resurrection say about God’s Kingdom? What does Jesus’ death and resurrection say about the Church?
• Prayer: Gracious God, forgive me for being like Peter and not fully understanding what Jesus’ death and resurrection says about you and what it means for me. Amen.
Wednesday July 3 — Luke 14:15-24
Many of Jesus’ parables are parables of the Kingdom. They help us envision how God’s Kingdom contrasts with the kingdoms of the world. In the parable of the great banquet, Jesus teaches us that in God’s Kingdom everyone is welcome – including people who would have usually been excluded. (See Luke 6:20-26 for other examples.) Jesus also warns us about making excuses. If the Church is expected to have Kingdom ministry, how does Jesus’ parable reflect your experiences of the Church. What do you think about Jesus’ list of excuses (Luke 14:18-20)?
• Prayer: God of Love, I am grateful that you have invited me to be a citizen of your Kingdom. I am sorry for making excuses and not trusting you more fully. Amen.
Thursday July 4 — Revelation 1:1-6
Revelation was written to congregations, in what was called Asia Minor, encouraging them to keep their faith, trust God, and worship God. The Revelation describes the Christian community as a Kingdom of priests who are serving God. As priests, we not only have access to God (in worship, prayer, … etc.) but also have responsibility for the mission of the community. We are expected to continue Jesus’ Kingdom ministry. In what ways are you serving God and God’s Kingdom?
• Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for allowing me to serve you and your Kingdom ministry. Teach me your ways and help me fulfill my responsibilities to you today. Amen.
Friday July 5 — Revelation 5:6-10
Revelation 5:9-10 are verses of a song composed to worship God and celebrate what God has done. It points to God’s desire to include everyone (“from every tribe and language and people and nation”) in a Kingdom of priests who serve God. Consider your life in light of the message in these verses. Do you see yourself as someone who has been saved by God’s grace? Do you see yourself as a member of God’s Kingdom? Do you see yourself as someone called to serve God?
• Prayer: God of Salvation, I confess today that I am a sinner who needs to be saved by your love and grace. Thank you for offering forgiveness and new life through Jesus. Amen.
Saturday July 6 — Revelation 11:15-29, Revelation 21:22-23
In the end, according to Revelation 21:22, there will be no Church. God will have finished the work that began in Jesus and God will reign forever. The promise that, in God’s time, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord” (Revelation 11:15). The point is that the Church is temporary. When its mission is complete, it will no longer be necessary. The Church is God’s means to the end, not the end itself. How does this information change the way you think about your congregation and the Church universal?
• Prayer: Everlasting God, thank you for your Church. Help me remember that the Church is not your ultimate goal. Help me to seek your Kingdom, today and always. Amen.E