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Kingdom of Heaven

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THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN 

Scripture: Matthew 6:33, 13:44–50

Memory verse: Matthew 6:33
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Lead—In

Ask the students to name some clubs or organizations to which they belong. Ask if the students had to do anything (fulfil any requirements) before they could become a member of the group. Then lead the class in discussing the responsibilities and privileges involved in being part of these clubs. List these on the chalkboard.

Explain that being part of a club can be fun because the members become close friends—almost like family. Stress that although they may belong to other organizations, there is one membership that is more important than any other. Every person needs to be a member of the kingdom of heaven. Encourage the students to listen to this week’s study to find out more about the requirements for membership.

Hearing God’s Word

Some people do not believe in heaven. Yet we know that heaven is real.

Ask: “How do we know this?” (Allow a few moments for discussion.)

We know heaven is real because Jesus talked a lot about it. The kingdom of heaven is mentioned several times in the Bible. This week we are going to talk about some of the things Jesus taught about the kingdom of heaven.

The Kingdom of Heaven

Jesus often used parables when He taught the people.

Ask: “Do you remember what a parable is?” (Allow a volunteer to explain. If no one remembers, briefly review the meaning of “parable.”)

Ask: “Why did Jesus teach in parables?” (Allow responses.)

As Jesus taught the people, He wanted them to understand how very precious the kingdom of heaven is. So He compared it to things on earth that are worth a lot to people. Let us look at three parables Jesus used to teach about the kingdom of heaven.

A Hidden Treasure

(Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 13:44.)

Ask: “What did Jesus say the kingdom of heaven is like? (Allow responses.)

Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a treasure that was hidden in a field. When the man in this parable found the hidden treasure, he was overjoyed. But then he did something we might think is quite unusual. He went and sold everything he owned so he would have enough money to buy the field in which the treasure was hidden. He did not take something that belonged to someone else. He bought the field so it would belong to him. This man considered the treasure worth more than all of his possessions.

Being Part of God’s Kingdom

What does the treasure mean to us? First, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to salvation. When we are saved, we actually become a part of God’s kingdom. This happens when we accept Jesus as our Saviour and let Him cleanse our hearts from sin.

Some people live for many years without accepting Jesus. Then one day they become aware of God’s love for them and the wonderful gift of salvation He offers. They are willing to give up everything to become part of God’s kingdom. When they come to Jesus, they see that nothing in this world can compare to the treasure of having eternal life with God. Being part of God’s family becomes their most treasured possession.

A Pearl of Great Price

(Ask a student to read Matthew 13:45, 46.)

Ask: “In this parable to what did Jesus compare the kingdom of heaven?” (Allow responses.)

This time Jesus talked about a merchant, or salesman, who had been patiently searching for the best pearls to buy. One day he found a pearl far more valuable than any he could imagine. He wanted the pearl more than anything in the world. But it was so expensive he did not have enough money on hand to buy it. The man did not give up.

Ask: “What did he do?” (Allow responses.)

He sold everything he owned and bought the beautiful pearl. That pearl meant more to him than all of his earthly possessions, and he was willing to give up everything he had to get it.

Jesus is teaching the same truth here as in the parable of the hidden treasure. Eternal life is the most important treasure a person can have.

Ask: What could be as important and lasting as eternity with God?” (Allow discussion.)

In order to receive this treasure we must be willing to give God full control of our lives. If we seek God first in all we do, God will take care of our lives.  Our memory verse promises this. (Repeat together several times Matthew 6:33.)

Willing to Give All

Ask: “Do you remember the parable Jesus told about the foolish rich man?” (Briefly review last week’s study.)

Ask: “How was the rich man different from the two men we have just discussed?” (Allow responses.)

The foolish rich man kept all of his earthly possessions to himself. The men who found the treasure and the pearl gave up everything they owned to get them. The foolish man never gave any thought of his soul or of God, while these other men represent those who give up everything for God.

The Fish in the Net

Let us look at another comparison Jesus made that shows something different about the kingdom of heaven. (Instruct a student to read Matthew 13:47, 48.) This time Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to catching fish in a net. That sounds a bit strange, does it not?

Ask: “What does fishing have to do with eternal things?” (Allow responses.)

After the fishermen had pulled the net full of fish up on the shore, they separated the fish into groups. The fish that were useful were put into baskets. Those that were no good were thrown away.

Ask: “What do you think Jesus was trying to teach the people?” (Allow responses. Then ask a student to read Matthew 13:49, 50.)

Someday time on earth, as we know it, will come to an end. At that time the good—those who have accepted salvation and served Jesus—will be separated from the wicked—those who have ignored God and the salvation He offers.

Ask: “Do you remember another parable that had a meaning quite similar to this one?” (Review the parable of the wheat and weeds in Study 3.)

Jesus wants everyone to have eternal life in heaven with God. He wants all people to be part of God’s kingdom. That is why He spoke about it so many times. He does not want anyone to be cast aside.

Jesus is coming back someday to take believers to heaven. But some people think they have a lot of time to make a decision to accept salvation. They want to wait until they are older or after they have done all the other things they want to do. But not making a decision to accept Jesus is the same as rejecting Him. Those who reject Him will never find the treasures of heaven He offers.

The Benefits are Worth the Cost

Is being part of God’s kingdom important to you? Is it worth the cost? (Call upon a volunteer to stand in front of the class and act as a scale to help you demonstrate that the benefits of God’s kingdom outweigh the cost. Place a plate on both outstretched hands of your volunteer. Then as each cost is described, add a bar of soap or potatoes to one plate.) Are you willing to pay a price like the two men who found the treasure and the pearl?

Becoming a member of God’s kingdom is free, but it is not cheap. In fact, it costs your life. That does not mean you have to die to become a member of God’s kingdom. It means (add first soap) you must be willing to let Jesus become Lord and Master of all that you are and ever will be. It also means you must be willing to let God guide you in all areas of your life, including your time (add second soap), abilities (add third soap), and possessions (add fourth soap). That is the price.

There may be times when you think this price is high. But remember the benefits of being part of God’s kingdom. (Place a brick or large stone on the other plate. Label it “eternal life.” Ask your volunteer to dramatize that the brick weighs far more than the soap.) Eternal life far outweighs the costs of becoming a member of God’s kingdom! Eternal life in heaven is worth everything we have.

Accepting God’s Word

Sometimes youth have knowledge of salvation and how to be saved but fail to act upon that knowledge. Point out that each person must ask Jesus into their life and commit everything to God’s control. Emphasize that this is a small price to pay for all that God offers in His kingdom. Explain that God has given everyone an invitation to become a part of His kingdom. We can do nothing at all to earn salvation; we must simply ask Jesus to forgive our sins and be our Saviour.

Africa Challenge

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Revival Across Africa

1. Unreached persons to hear the gospel, believe and be saved,
2. Thousands of messengers tp be sent to the unreached tribes,
3. Our youth group actively participate in reaching the unreached.                                      

Prayer Promise

"Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved" (Mark 16:16).

Remember: THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

Memory verse: Matthew 6:33
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

1. Heaven is a wonderful place and the Bible tells us about it.
2. One must make Jesus King of their life in order to go to heaven.
3. By God's grace, I will make heaven my eternal home.

Pray for Revival Across Africa.

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Study 7 | All the World/Great Teachings | africaatts.org/go-teach

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