The Gospel Project Vol. IX

Notes Journal

Volume IX (Fall 2014)

Session 13 “Kingdom Perfected”

I chose to teach another lesson from The Revelation for this session. I used Revelation Ch. 2:1-3:22 (The letters to the seven churches). After putting columns on the dry-erase board, we worked through each one discussing and listing what specifics Christ affirmed and what He pointed out as issues.

Then we discussed two questions:

a. “What parallels do you see to modern church life?”

b. “How do we practically pursue the attitude of the Philadelphia church?”


Session 12 – “Kingdom People”

I’m changing the point titles (and verse separation) to reflect reaching back into chapter 1. I feel like 1:22-25 should be included for proper context. The overall point of the first section is “The Word” (1:23, 25a, 25b, 2:2, 8b), which sets up the latter part that addresses life before the world. I’m starting the discussion off with a question similar to the book’s example:

Opening Discussion: “Have you ever had an encounter with a customer service person that left you with a distinct impression of their company (positive or negative)?”

I. Kingdom people are founded on the Word (1 Peter 1:22-2:3)

A. The purity of the Word (uncontaminated by added things)

B. The incorruptible nature of the Word (staying power)

C. The graciousness of the Word (speaks to the individual right where they are)

Discussion: “Why should there be a specific focus on the purity of the Word? What can happen when there isn’t?”

II. Kingdom people are being built up in the Word (1 Peter 2:4-8)

*Israel rejected Him (v.7-8a), which is a rejection of the Word (v.8b), but those following Him are:

A. Living stones as God’s house

B. A royal priesthood serving God

C. Living sacrifices as daily offerings to God

Discussion: “What’s significant about Jesus doing the building, instead of us “self-building” (v.5)?”

III. Kingdom people honor the Word in their works (1 Peter 2:9-17)

A. There is a battle inside to be aware of (v. 11)

B. As sojourners it’s temporary (v.11)

C. Submission is a decision that involves our will (v.13)

Discussion: “What do you think he means by “for the Lord’s sake” in verse 13 by being submissive to authorities?”

For the week: Remember, you are the face of the Kingdom to the world.


Session 11 – “Kingdom Proclamation”

I’m tweaking the point titles and telling a personal story of friend who had a universalism belief. We discussed the Bible regularly and had some specific points of disagreement regarding Jesus being the only way to heaven (John 14:6). Then, I’m opening with this question:

Opening Discussion: “What are some ways you’ve experienced something similar?”

I. God’s people must declare the Kingdom specifically through Jesus (Act 4:1-12)

A. Teaching and preaching wasn’t the problem (it was the name)

B. The Holy Spirit testifies to the Son (v.8-12)

C. They connected the dots as they declared

Discussion: “Why is it harder to stay consistent with specifically pointing to Christ compared to a general statement about God?”

II. God’s people must declare ultimate allegiance to Jesus (Acts 4:13-22)

A. Their connection to Christ was unmistakable

B. They bore witness to what they knew (not what they didn’t)

C. They pointed to Christ even when an “edit” would smooth things over

Discussion: “What can cause disconnects with people identifying us with Jesus?”

III. God’s people must declare their dependence on Jesus (Acts 4:23-31)

A. They sought the Lord through prayer

B. They asked for boldness specifically to preach the word

C. They followed through (would soon include the Gentiles too)

Discussion: “What would this kind of prayer look like for us?”

For the week: Observe how general statements about God are more common than specific references to Jesus. And pray for opportunities to give testimony about faith in Christ.


Session 10 – “Kingdom Power”

I’m tweaking the points and starting off with this question:

Opening Discussion: “When you hear the description, “powerful person”, what’s the image you think of?”

I. Kingdom power originates in Heaven (John 18:33-38)

A. His kingdom predates earth (John17:5)

B. His kingdom defines truth (v.37)

C. His kingdom liberates with truth (v.37)

Discussion: “Jesus didn’t try to convince Pilate of His kingship; how does that differ from worldly power?”

II. Kingdom power is God’s (John 19:15-16)

A. The very circumstances display God’s providence (timing, etc.)

B. Pilate’s actions were completely at God’s discretion

C. He uses His power as He chooses

Discussion: “Why is it significant to remember that all powerful people on earth are subject to God’s ultimate authority?”

III. Kingdom power is extended through the Holy Spirit (John 20:19-23)

(Pre-Pentecost work of the Holy Spirit)

A. Peace comes with His presence

B. Enabling comes with His presence

C. Understanding comes with His presence (Luke 24:44-49)

(v.23 describing proclamation regarding authentic belief, not absolution of sin)

Discussion: “In what ways do we struggle with worry and fear in Kingdom service?”

For the week: Remember the words of Jesus, “Peace to you!” (including the exclamation point). It’s not a passive statement, walk in it this week!


Session 9 – “The King’s Presence”

I’m teaching this lesson with a little different focus than written, so my title is “The Unusual Nature of the Kingdom”, and trimming down the amount of verses read in class. I’m starting out with a few examples from military history where similar patterns and success led to overconfidence in outcomes, then pointing out that we can also fall into the trap of thinking God will act in certain ways based on previous actions. God is always consistent with His character and scripture, but still “unpredictable”.

I.The herald was unusual (Matthew 3:8-11)

A. His focus was narrow (repentance, Kingdom, and Messiah)

B. Even though fiery, his attitude was humble (not worthy)

C. He spoke bold truth

Discussion: “Has God ever used someone unusual to teach you?”

II. The followers were unusual (Matthew 4:18-22)

A. “Follow me” had great meaning when a Rabbi said it

B. They changed careers with no clear future

C. They weren’t always well received (Acts 4:13)

Discussion: “What’s significant about the calling of the disciples and their backgrounds?” Hint: I will make you…

III. The Messiah was unusual (Matthew 21:1-3)

A. His style of teaching

B. His interaction with people

C. His Church broke the boundaries of Judaism

Discussion: “How is there still “unpredictableness” in His leading and methods?”

For the week: Consider the many ways God has uniquely worked in your life. Are you looking for new things, or just a repeat of something from before?


Session 8 – “The Promise of the King”

I’m starting out with a personal story of discipline regarding promised (and later carried out) punishment, and have also made adjustments to the point titles.

Opening Discussion: “What’s the difference between an empty threat and warning of punishment?”

I. God gave one last chance (Jeremiah 22:1-5)

A. Clear expectation of the king, servants, and the people (v. 1-3)

B. Clear promise of reward to the king, servants, and the people (v. 4)

C. Clear warning if the message wasn’t heeded (v. 5)

Discussion: “How does He communicate expectations/warnings to us now?”

II. God punished evil leaders (Jeremiah 23:1-4)

A. God is mindful of overseers’ conduct

B. God unilaterally chose to shepherd His sheep

C. God raised up more shepherds

Discussion: “What does this tell us about the role of spiritual overseer?”

III. God provided a Messiah (Jeremiah 23:5-8)

A. Jesus is the Righteous Branch

B. Jesus accomplished the mission

C. His Kingdom is still unfolding

Discussion: “What practical application is there in knowing that God’s Kingdom is still expanding and unfolding?”

For the week: God is actively involved in the lives of His children. This week, consider what He’s expecting of you and promising through His word.


Session 7 – “A Glimpse of the King”

I’m rearranging points II & III, and also making title changes to fit the way I’m presenting. For the opening, the underdog theme works to set it up.

Opening Discussion: “What’s your favorite underdog story? Why?”

I.God doesn’t judge based on worldly expectations (1 Samuel 16:1-13)

  • Appearance can be misleading (both over and under expectations) (v.7)
  • God specifically looks at the heart (v.7)
  • The Spirit of the Lord came upon him (v.13)

Discussion: “What are some ways we make wrong assumptions based on appearance?”

II. David was a man after God’s own heart (Psalm 18:1-3)

  • David had a high view of God
  • David personally knew and loved God
  • David had an unwavering trust in God

Discussion: “How would you describe a current day person with a heart for God?”

III. David accomplished decisive victory for God’s glory (1 Samuel 17:45-51)

  • David wanted God to be honored through Israel (v.46)
  • David wanted the people of Israel to trust God (v.47)
  • David stayed with who he was (sling and stone, 17:38-40)

Discussion: “Considering that David didn’t know the outcome ahead of time, what generated his strong trust?”

Conclusion: David was a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah-King Jesus

For the week: Remember to place a higher priority on your trust in God and His character than your focus on challenges.


Session 6 – “Looking for a King”

I’m starting off by reading a list of 1980’s fashion brands (for a light-hearted back-in-the-day moment), then opening with this:

Opening Discussion: “Why is there such a need to “fit-in” and have the popular brands?”

I. God desired a servant-king (Deut. 17:14-20)

A. Not a lot of wives (v.17)

B. Not a lot of wealth (v.17)

C. Not a haughty spirit (v.20)

Discussion: “How would you describe the proper disposition of a godly leader?”

II. The people demanded a king like other nations (1 Samuel 8:4-9, 19-22)

A. They rejected their unique status (v.19)

B. They wanted to look no different than others (v.20)

C. They wanted someone else to fight their battles (v.20)

Discussion: “How do we get caught-up in the same things today?”

III. The first king disappointed (1 Samuel 15:20-28)

A. Saul didn’t fulfill his God-given purpose (v.23)

B. Saul didn’t “own-up” to his own failure (v.21)

C. Saul wanted approval of men more than God’s (v.24)

Discussion: “What’s the primary take-away from Saul’s story?”

For the week: As you go, take notice of how much effort there is all around you to “fit-in” and think about the primary things we’re called to be as Christians.


Session 5 – “And There was no King…”

I’m using the lesson mostly as written, with the exception of changing the title of the last point and adding verse 20 into point III (one of the saddest verses in the Bible).

This is my question to open:

Opening Discussion: “What would happen in a room full of toddlers with one identical toy a piece? (They still fight over toys) Why?”

I. The absence of a king leads us to do whatever we want (Judges 21:25)

A. There is no standard of right and wrong

B. There is no big-picture vision

Discussion: “What are the dangers of deciding for ourselves what is right?”

II. Doing whatever we want leads to a pattern of judgment and deliverance (Judges 3:7-11)

The Pattern:

A. Sin: They abandoned God’s instructions

B. Judgment: God would discipline them

C. Repentance: They would admit their sin and ask forgiveness

D. Rescue: God raised up judges to deliver them

Discussion: “What may God’s discipline look like for us today?”

III. Doing whatever we want squanders God’s provision (Judges 16:20-30)

A. He took God’s gift for granted

B. He forgot the purpose of the gift

C. He ignored the warning signs (v.20)

Discussion: “In your opinion, what is the main lesson from Samson’s story?”

For the week: Be mindful of the gifts God’s has given and prayerfully seek to fulfill the purposes for which they were given.


Session 4 – “The Rebellion on Earth”

I’m taking the first 6 verses as a block and considering two separate thoughts; their challenge and their response to the challenge.
This is my question to open:

Opening Discussion: “What is rebellion? Is it ever justified?”

I. The royal couple’s challenge (Genesis 3:1-6)

A. Something good (but forbidden) was pointed out/used

B. A question was submitted to undermine God’s words

C. A direct lie was submitted to contradict God’s words

Discussion: “How do we experience these same challenges in our daily life?”

II. The royal couple’s responses (Genesis 3:1-6)

A. Response to Satan’s challenge

B. Response to the temptation itself

C. Excuses for their actions (blame)

Discussion: “At what point do you think Adam and Eve began to err?”

III. The royal couple’s consequences (Genesis 3:7-24)

A. There was shame and secrecy

B. There was separation from God

C. There was an on-set of suffering & death

Discussion: “How is Jesus the only answer for the results of these consequences?”

For the week: As you go, remember the pattern and be on the lookout for the undermining questions, good things used in bad ways, and direct lies.


Session 3 – “The Kingdom of Earth”

Similar to what I did in Session 1 “The King of All”, I’m foregoing the scripture for point 3. I prefer to stay with the three Genesis passages and build the lesson from them. I’m also arranging my points to match up to the sequence they appear in scripture. This is my question for the intro:

Opening Discussion: “What is your description of paradise (some of the key elements)?”

I. God’s royal people (Genesis 1:27-31)

A. They were made in His image (v.27)

B. He made them male & female (v.27)

C. He positioned them in authority (v.28)

Discussion: “In what ways does this differentiate people from other created life?”

II. God’s royal garden (Genesis 2:8-14*) *v.15 only in point III

A. His garden reflected natural/organic life (not structures) (v.8-9)

B. It was an abundant, creative assortment (v.8)

C. It was “very good” (full of goodness and purity) (Gen. 1:31)

Discussion: “What can we identify about God’s nature from the design of His garden?”

III. God’s royal purpose (Genesis 2:15-17)

A. Humans were made to be productive

B. Humans were made to be stewards

C. Humans were given free will with a clear warning

Discussion: “How do we still struggle with these three points each day regarding family, work, church, etc.?

For the week: Think about elements of the garden that are still with us today and how we can still reflect much of the original purpose in our circles of life.


Session 2 – “The Rebellion of Heaven”

I’m using the last point of session 1 (Job passage) to launch into session 2. I like the idea of starting with the mention of Star Wars as an introduction, but the “multiple choice” part of it has too much potential for distracting rabbit trails, so this is my question for the intro:

Opening Discussion: “Although Star Wars is a fictional story, are there any parallels between the allure of the “dark side of the force”, and the temptation to sin against God?”

I. The angels were made to glorify God (Ezek. 28:11-19, Is. 14:12-15)

A. The angels shouted for joy at creation (Job 38:5-7)

B. Lucifer was appointed as the guardian cherub (Ezek. 28:14)

C. His position and beauty were God’s handiwork

II. Lucifer rebelled and became the adversary (Satan) (Is. 14:12-15)

A. Pride led to His “I will” statements (v.13-14)

B. His desire was to be “like God” (same words in Genesis 3:5)

C. God took action for the rebellion (v.12,15)

Discussion: “The enemy often plays to our strengths. In what ways can pride sneak up on us?”

III. We must remember we have an adversary (1 Peter 5:8)

A. The enemy’s primary merchandise is lies (John 8:44)

B. The enemy’s schemes are effective

C. Jesus defeated the enemy (Col. 2:15)

D. We must wear the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18)

Discussion: “When considering we have an active adversary, what is the primary thing to remember?”

For the week: Commit to being proactive against the enemy’s tactics through prayer and personal action.


Session 1 – “The King of All”

For this lesson I’m using only the Psalm text (not using the Job passage and saving the angel conversation for session 2). I’m also adjusting the titles for each point and beginning with this question:

Opening Discussion: “How do we see mankind’s tendency to worship, manifested in wrong ways?”

I. The Heavens praise God as they were made to do (Psalm 148:1-6)

A. The heavens declare His glory (Psalm 19:1)

B. He established their order and positioned them as He wanted (v.6)

C. They praise God by doing what they’re made to do (orbiting, shining, etc)

Discussion: “What can we learn about God’s praiseworthiness and majesty from their created order?”

II. Earthly creation should praise God as we were made to do (Psalm 148:7-14)

A. All people groups are included in the charge (v. 11-12)

B. His name alone is exalted (v.13)

C. He exalts people as He chooses (v.14)

Discussion: “What do verses 7-14 reveal to us about a proper perspective (personally) and the way we bear witness of God to others?”

For the week: Think about this; God is King over the universe whether people acknowledge Him or not. So, considering that God is in charge what are some things we needlessly worry about?

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