Christ and His Church - Lesson 4

By Stafford North

Christ: The King of His Church

The Submission of the Church

Background for the Teacher


  1. The student can trace the concept of God's kingdom through its three stages.
  2. The student can explain the relationship of our citizenship to Christ's kingship.
  3. The student can explain the relationship of our citizenship in the Kingdom of Christ to our citizenship in a worldly government.
  4. The student can explain the significance of the expression "in the name of Jesus."


  1. Each student will need a Bible.
  2. The teacher should have access to a chalk board or marker board or use the PowerPoint provided with this lesson.
  3. Each student should have access by songbook or printed sheet to sing the song "Onward Christian Soldiers" or "Majesty."


The Kingdom of God means the rule of God in the hearts of His people. He had an Old Testament kingdom, but started a new phase of that kingdom at Pentecost and will have a final stage of the kingdom that begins at the final judgment. The lesson also includes thoughts on our response to Jesus as our king.

Lesson Plan for the Teacher

Introduction: (10 minutes)

  1. Call the roll, note visitors, and have an opening prayer.
  2. Sing "Onward Christian Soldiers" or "Majesty."

Learning Experiences: (30 minutes)

  1. Q: Anyone here ever met a king or a queen? A: (If yes, let the person describe what it was like. If no, then ask the class to describe what goes with the office of king or queen: power, honor, wealth, pomp, etc.)
  2. The Bible frequently calls God a king and Jesus a king. This is a very important concept for us in the church to understand. So in this lesson we are going to study "the Kingdom of God."
  3. First, let's understand something about the nature of God's kingdom. EverettFerguson says the main concept of God's kingdom is that God rules over people rather than over territory (The Church of Christ, 19). Many have expressed this idea by saying that the kingdom of God means "God's rule in the hearts of His people." So, when we speak of the kingdom of God, we are speaking primarily of His rule over people.
  4. Read Psalm 22:38. Q: Over what does this passage say God rules? A: Over all the nations. There is a sense, of course, in which God created everything and rules over everything.
  5. Q: When, however, did God establish a special relationship with a particular group of people? A: When He chose Abraham. Read 1 Samuel 8:7 and 12:12. Q:How does God characterize His relationship with the nation of Israel? A: He is their king. Q: What did God do as king over Israel? A: He gave them their laws, He gave them a land in which to live, He gave instructions about many of their military efforts, He punished them when they wandered into idolatry, He blessed them when they followed Him, and, after they wanted an earthly king,He even chose the first ones of these. Read 1 Chronicles 29:23. Q: Even after Israel had earthly kings, who remained their ultimate king? A: God.
  6. Read Daniel 2:44. Q: What is the setting for this verse? A: Nebuchadnezzar's dream about coming kingdoms. Q: What strikes you as strange about the statement in this verse? A: God already has a kingdom but says He will establish one. (Tell the class to hold that thought and to move forward six hundred years.)
  7. Q: What was the primary message of John the Baptist? A: Repent for the kingdom of heaven is coming. Read Matthew 3:1-2. Q: When does John say the kingdom of heaven is coming? A: Soon. Q: Did God have a people who were His kingdom at the time John said this? A: Yes. The people of Israel.
  8. Q: What was the primary message of Jesus as He travelled from village to village? A: Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near. Read Mark 1:14-15. Q: Did God then have a people who were His kingdom? A: Yes. Q: So what didJesus and John mean when they spoke of a coming kingdom? A: They were speaking of the kingdom of which Daniel (and other Old Testament prophets) had prophesied. While God had a kingdom in Old Testament times, He was going to establish a kingdom of a different type. Q: Do you recall a verse of scripture in which Jesus explained this? A: John 18:36- "My kingdom is not of this world."
  9. Summarizing-God had a kingdom in the Old Testament, a people over whomHe reigned. This arrangement, however, was manifested in a physical kingdom,a nation like other nations, with physical territory, an army, taxes. Even during that time, God said through Daniel He would establish another kingdom. It would still be a kingdom to be characterized by God reigning in the hearts of His people, but this kingdom would be different than the kingdom God already had.Unlike the kingdom God had with the Israelites, this one would be a spiritual kingdom.
  10. Q: What was the subject of most of Jesus' parables? A: The kingdom of heaven.Much of His mission, then, was to introduce people to this new kingdom which would be a different phase of God's kingdom.
  11. Q: According to John and Jesus, when would this new kingdom come? A: Soon, at hand, near. Read Mark 9:1: Q: What does this passage say about when the new kingdom will come? A: During the lifetime of some of those hearing Jesus. Q: With what will the kingdom come? A: With power. Read Acts 1:8. Q: When did power come on the apostles? A: On Pentecost. Q: And what did Peter declare about Jesus on that day? A: God had made Him both Lord and Christ -that is King (Acts 2:36).
  12. Read Acts 8:12. Q: What did Phillip preach and what does this mean? A: The good news about the kingdom of God. Q: What did the Samaritans do to respond to this message? A: They believed him and were baptized. Read Colossians 1:12-14. Q: What two kingdoms are mentioned here? A: Kingdom(dominion) of darkness and the kingdom of the Son. Q: What have those in the kingdom received? A: Redemption, forgiveness of sins. Q: So how does one leave the kingdom of darkness and enter the kingdom of the Son? A: The person does what it takes to be forgiven-believing in Christ, repenting of sins,and being baptized into Christ. Q: What tense of the verb is used here to describe the relationship between the Colossian Christians and the kingdom of the Son? A: Past tense. Qualified you. Rescued. Brought. So the Christians in Colossae were in the kingdom.
  13. Read Revelation 1:6 and 9. Q: According to these verses, who was in the kingdom? A: John and those in the seven churches of Asia. Q: What are the citizens of this kingdom called? A: Priests. Q: What does that suggest? A:That the kingdom is a spiritual one. Remember—"My kingdom is not of this world."
  14. As we read three verses from the early part of Acts, look for something that suggests that the early Christians were acting under the kingship of Jesus. Acts2:38; Acts 3:6; Acts 4:12. Q: What suggest these Christians were acting under the kingship of Jesus? A: They invoked the name of Jesus as their authority.
  15. Q: So are the church and the kingdom of God the same thing? A: Yes and no. The kingdom of God is a concept which began long before the church began but in the phase of the kingdom that is in operation now, a spiritual kingdom phase,those in the church and those in the kingdom would be the same people.
  16. So, to this point we have the physical stage of the kingdom-the people of Israel and we have the spiritual stage of the kingdom-the church.
  17. Read Galatians 5:19-21. Q: To whom is Paul writing these words? A: Members of the church in Galatia. Q: Are they in the kingdom of Christ? A: Yes. Q:According to these verses, what is the penalty for immoral behavior? A: They will not inherit the kingdom of God? Q: But are they not already in the kingdom of God? A: Yes. Q: So what does this suggest? A: That there is another stage of the kingdom yet to come on which they could miss out.
  18. Read 1 Corinthians 15:22-26. Q: Is Christ reigning as king when Paul writes these words? A: Yes. Q: What will mark the end of Christ's reign? A: The resurrection of the dead when He will have conquered the last enemy. Q: Who then begins to reign? A: God, the Father.
  19. Read 2 Timothy 4:18. Q: What is Paul, a member of the kingdom, looking forward to? A: The heavenly kingdom. Read 2 Peter 1:11. Q: What does Peter promise to those who make their calling and election sure? A: Entrance into the heavenly kingdom.
  20. So, we have observed three phases of the kingdom of God-the physical phase with Israel, the spiritual phase of the church, and the eternal phase with the kingdom in heaven.

Application: (5 minutes)

  1. Q: What lessons should we learn from the recognizing that Jesus is the king and we are His people? A: (1) We are subject to Him and should follow His teaching. (Ask the class to give specific teachings that we may be likely to avoid or overlook. Maybe His teaching about being pure in heart, about honesty, about sexual restraint, about marriage and divorce, about patience, about "going into all the world," etc.) (2) We should give Him high praise and honor. (3) We should show our pride in our king by telling others about Him.
  2. Q: If we are subject to Jesus as king, how does this affect our relationship with the earthly governments under which we live? A: We are to respect them and obey them but, if they command us to do things contrary to the orders we have from Jesus, then we will have to give King Jesus priority. (See Acts 4:19-20 andRomans 13:1-7.)


  1. Oral review at the beginning of the next class period.

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