Stewards of the Kingdom: 24th May
Small Group Notes
Theme: The new Kingdom means breaking with the ideas of the old
Icebreaker: Think about a major change point in your life – changing or losing a job, moving, marrying, becoming a parent, losing a spouse. What had to be given up to cope with the change? What were the rewards?
Read the Passage in Acts 1:1-14:
Consider the following questions:
What was going to be different for the disciples from this time on?
Notes: This passage marks a major transition for the disciples as they move from being the followers of a leader to becoming leaders themselves. Their lives would be different and although they were not fully aware at the time, Jesus knew how big the change was going to be and is preparing them for it.
What were they losing?
Notes: In essence they would be losing the physical presence of Jesus. But in addition their lives will never be the same again, because they are now part of God’s Kingdom, and that means that what the world values – such as the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel are no longer relevant for them.
Challenge: what do we value? Is it relevant to our future in God’s Kingdom?
What did Jesus say they would gain as a result?
Notes: Jesus promises them the Holy Spirit who would bring Spiritual power into their lives. Later on Peter reflects on this and emphasises that the believer has ‘an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in Heaven’ 1 Peter 1:4 which is part of the new birth into a living hope. Bring that passage in at that point.
Supplementary question: Is the Inheritance Peter promises ‘valuable’? How would your non-Christian neighbour view it?
What was their reaction?
Notes:The disciples at this stage do not fully understand what Jesus is saying to them- just like a new Christian might not fully understand what being a Christian is all about. What they do, do, though, is pray – they communicate with God, and eventually that will bring Revelation.
Supplementary Question: When we don’t understand what God is asking what do we do?
Read Luke 12: 16-26 – The Parable of the Rich Fool
Consider the following questions:
What fundamental mistake did the rich man make?
Notes: The rich man forgot that he was not really in charge of his life, and assumed that what he had really belonged to him [the definition of a steward is someone who looks after something on behalf of someone else] and he planned accordingly – storing up treasures on earth.
To think about: Do we do the same? Do we forget what we are really here for?
Why do you think he made that mistake?
Notes: This can be taken at several levels: his lack of awareness that his life did not belong to him; his desire to control everything in his life; greed; Lack of knowledge of God.
What do you think rich toward God means?
Notes: We may feel at sea with this one too! After all what does being rich towards God mean? Use Matthew 6:19 in order to address this one. If you look at the verses before this one Jesus talks of prayer and fasting as means to reward – heavenly reward. At base though the reward is the eternal life talked about in Peter’s letter ‘He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade –kept in Heaven for you’ [ 1 Pet. 1:3-4]
How should his life [and ours] have been different?
Notes: Dwell on this question: are we looking to a Heavenly inheritance? Or do we forget and look for the rewards in this life? What do we think we would lose if we ‘wholeheartedly’ put ourselves in the Kingdom of God rather than this world, what would we gain?