Welcome back to online Bible study at Women’s Bible Café! This week we are discussing Unit 11 of Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby – “Kingdom People.” In this lesson we look at the big picture – our role, and that of our local church, in the body of Christ. How do we spread our love of Christ to others outside of our home and our church? How do we become Kingdom People who practice Kingdom Living? How do we experience Koinonia with God, other believers, and the Kingdom?
Our daily lessons this week included the following topics:
– On Mission to the World
– Koinonia in the Kingdom
– Essentials of Koinonia, Part I
– Essentials of Koinonia, Part II
Last week we spoke about what it means to be part of the Body of Christ. We talked about our relationship with other believers, primarily within our local church and our local communities. God brought you into a relationship with Himself. He then added you to a local body of believers – your local church. That church is hopefully an active member of the body of Christ in your local community.
This week we expand that thought to talk about our relationship to believers, and not-yet-believers, around the world. Blackaby says “The Spirit who bonds you to other believers in a local church also connects you to all believers around the world. God’s people from every local body of Christ are part of God’s kingdom. Christians are kingdom people, and Christ Himself is the eternal King over His Kingdom” (p. 226). As Christ followers we are to be missionaries to the world. We become involved in God’s mission to reconcile a lost world to Himself. To be in relationship with Jesus Christ means we are on a mission with Him and for Him. As John 20:21 says “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Our memory verse for this week is 1 John 1:7 – “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His son, purifies us from all sin.” Here God tells us that as Christians in fellowship with Him, we walk in the light and are can no longer walk in darkness. Furthermore, as Christians who profess Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are purified from our sins by the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross. So what does that have to do with Kingdom living? It means that all of us who have received this gift are in this together! By accepting this gift from God, we become part of the kingdom and have been entrusted with the responsibility to share the message of Jesus Christ with the world. Pretty cool, huh?
Of course, as you have learned, accepting this assignment will require some adjustments on your part! God will involve you in His work – wherever that may be. The first adjustment we are all called to make is to be in fellowship with other believers. As Blackaby says “You cannot be in true fellowship with God and out of fellowship with other believers” (p. 229). He uses the word koinonia to describe the “fullest possible partnership and fellowship with God and with other believers.” In order to experience koinonia within the kingdom of God we must first experience it with God and with other individual believers. This is the essence of Kingdom Living. Taking this a step further, our local churches are called to be in koinonia with other churches across denominations, both locally and worldwide. It is all about stepping outside our boundaries to live for our God.
This week’s lesson takes us through the Essentials of Koinonia in Days 4 and 5. First we are asked to look at our personal relationship with God because that is the “basic element of salvation and eternal life” (p. 239). As Blackaby says “Koinonia with God is an experience of His presence.” Without that, there just isn’t much else! Second, we are challenged to make our koinonia with God real and personal. Blackaby says “Koinonia is threatened when you allow anyone or anything to make you a spectator rather than an active participant in relationship to God. You must encounter God firsthand or you will become passive and apathetic. If you do not continually encounter God firsthand, your fellowship with God will grow cold. You will quit caring about God’s concern for His church, His Kingdom, and the lost world” (p. 243). Conversely, when you are an active participant you cannot help but care deeply about His Kingdom and the lost world. You cannot help but want to take action.
Christianity is not a spectator sport, ladies. Are you ready to get off the bench and in the game? Are you ready to be a team player for the Kingdom of God?
YOUR ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK:
1) Join a small group for study and fellowship.
2) Complete Week 12 in your Experiencing God workbook.
3) Optional: Watch the Session 12 video or listen to the audio.
4) Record your thoughts in your spiritual journal.
5) Think about what is next for you as this study comes to an end. Turning the last page is just the beginning – where will you let God take you from here?
BIBLE STUDY TIP FOR THE WEEK:
This week let’s take a close look at our roles as Kingdom People. Think about where you experience koinonia and where you don’t. First, revisit one of the questions you were asked last week – what does your relationship with your local church look like? Is it a place where you experience koinonia with other believers? Does your local church promote the koinonia you are called to have with God? Yes, this is a personal relationship between us and God. That relationship is not the responsibility of our local church; per se. Yet the right local church can have such a tremendous impact on our personal relationship with God! And the wrong local church can be detrimental. So think about that and whether or not you have a local church that is the right fit for you and your family. If you do, what can you do to grow that koinonia? If you don’t, what are you going to do about that?
What sort of relationship does your church have with other local churches? With other churches of the same denomination? With churches of different denominations? Challenge yourself to be part of promoting koinonia between your church and others. How can you do that? What does it look like?
When someone asks you what church you belong to, how do you answer? Is your reply an open and inviting response that says “come join me”? Or does it present a closed and exclusive view of Christianity that says “I’m part of an exclusive private club where you may not feel welcome”? Think about that a lot this week because it is important when we are talking about koinonia within the body of Christ and within the Kingdom of God. How can we as Christians and Kingdom People present ourselves as unified and welcoming? Practice focusing on what unites us rather than what divides. That is the essence of Kingdom living.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS WEEK (answer in your small group or post your answers here)
- How is your koinonia relationship with God reflected in your relationship with other Christians? (p. 231)
- Based on the relationship your local church has with other churches and denominations in your local area and worldwide, what kind of koinonia would a watching world see? (p. 235).
- Describe one way your church has experienced koinonia because of a cooperative relationship with another church or Christian group? (p. 238)
- What are some things that can happen in churches that can tempt a person to become more of a spectator than an active participant? (p. 243)
- What is one thing in your past that you allowed to take the place of a personal experience with God? (p. 244)
- BONUS QUESTION: Is God impressing you to demonstrate your love to a specific individual, a particular group of people, or perhaps people who are different from you? If so, how will you respond? (p. 236)
See you next week – for the last time! What a wonderful ride this has been…