The Kingdom: Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course Lesson 1 : Podcast of Lesson 1 - The Kingdom with M.T. Clark and James Morgan
In 2020, I completed my master’s program of study with a thesis that posited the position that Recovery Programs such as AA and Celebrate Recovery could and should be integrated with additional Christian discipleship teachings to foster a better understanding of some core Christian doctrines and the encourage a Christian Disciple’s lifestyle to drive and maintain successful recovery.
Instead of ripping down the 12 Steps of AA or the 8 Principles of Celebrate Recovery, I developed 7 lessons to integrate into those programs to try to facilitate a decidedly more Christian pathway on the Road to Recovery. The seven lessons I developed can be integrated into either recovery program or they could be taught separately as their own discipleship program or Bible study. I call my 7 lesson’s the “Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course”, (CFDC).
I just received word that my local church is going to be closed for another week and I won’t be teaching my current series of discipleship classes until May 27th!
I miss teaching and have decided that until my classes resume I am going to present a lesson from the Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course (CFDC), here on the mt4christ.org blog and on the mt4christ247 podcast today and next week.
I’m posting tonight’s lesson, CFDC Lesson 1: The Kingdom, this morning and will record and podcast it later this evening.
I am also going to post the integration schedule that I developed to show where the CFDC lessons would be taught within 12 Step or Celebrate Recovery Program.
If you would like your own copy of tonight’s lesson, email me at email@example.com.
Discipleship Principle 1 – Our worldview, relationship with God, and our lives must be defined by and lived within the context of the kingdom of God.
14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
The focus of “the gospel” of the latter 20th century and early 21st century has been the redemption of man. The salvation of man has become the pinnacle of focus with the emphasis on the forgiveness of man’s sin accomplished through the cross of Christ as the benefit of Christianity. Modern messages focus on salvation and forgiveness as the means to fulfilling man’s pursuit of happiness on earth and his ultimate happiness in heaven. Christ, the suffering servant relieves the guilt of sin and guarantees life after death so man can live the life he chooses.
Scripture however presents the gospel as God’s call to man to repentance and service to God’s kingdom. Christ brought the kingdom of God with His earthly ministry. It is here presently through His word, the church, and the Holy Spirit who lives in believers. It will be fully realized when Christ returns to rule and reign. So, the kingdom of God has come and is yet to come. The kingdom is both now and not yet.
What is the gospel of the kingdom of God and how can understanding it impact recovery?
The “good news” of the kingdom of God is that Jesus made a way for us to enter it! Through faith in Christ we become members of the kingdom. In short, discovery of, entrance to, and participation in the kingdom of God is life itself. Becoming part of and serving the kingdom is life’s meaning and purpose. The gospel of kingdom of God, as the central theme of the Bible, establishes the context in which we will live out our lives on earth and discover our eternal destiny.
For recovery, a revelation of the kingdom of God provides meaning and empowers you to repent of your sins and overcome any hurt, habit, or hang up. Revelation of the kingdom infuses life with purpose that establishes and maintains victorious living.
KINGDOM DEFINED: The active, dynamic reign and rule of God over and through His “royal priests” (man) over His realm (creation). – Dr. Christopher Romano
Covenant – The Key to the Kingdom
Step 3: We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.
CR Principle 3: Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.
What just happened? By making the conscious choice “to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control”, with a verbal proclamation that specifically names Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we enter a covenant with God.
Galatians 3:17 (NKJV)
17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.
Our covenant with Christ reconciles our relationship with God that was broken by Adam’s sin. When we come into covenant with God through faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the promises of God.
29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
· We are forgiven of sin.
Galatians 1:3-4 (NKJV)
3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,
4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
· We are given eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
· We become God’s children
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
· We are given the Holy Spirit.
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"
· We are given power over sin.
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
· We become members of the kingdom of God – royal priests and co-heirs with Christ.
Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV)
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Our covenant with God not only establishes what we receive, it declares whose we are, which in turn defines who we are and what we are to do. Our covenant relationship gives us a new identity and purpose for life: to serve the kingdom.
The specificity of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is essential as it is through Christ’s blood that covenant relationship with God is established. To claim peace with God or to be an inheritor of the promises of God without a covenant through faith in Christ, is to make a false claim to the kingdom for it is through Christ alone that we are forgiven, blessed, and given entrance into the kingdom of God.
What do we need to know about the Kingdom of God for Recovery?
1. The kingdom is real! - Most Christians do not have a revelation of the kingdom. So, we first have to “know”: There is One! There is a kingdom over and above all creation and Christ is the King. He brought the kingdom to earth and He will come again to rule and reign for all eternity.
Matthew 28:18 (NKJV)
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
John 18:36-37 (NKJV)
36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of
this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the
Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."
37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
Matthew 6:10 (NKJV)
10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
God is in control and is working all things toward the culmination of His coming kingdom and for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28). We can be at peace knowing there is a higher meaning and purpose to life, and we are secure as kingdom members through our faith in Jesus.
2. The kingdom of God is the gospel. The “gospel of the kingdom of God” is what Jesus taught and commanded His followers to teach.
23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
Our goal in life is to enter the kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ. After we received the “good news”, part of our kingdom mission is to share it, praying that God will use us to bring others into the kingdom.
Luke 9:1-2 (NKJV)
1 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.
2 He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
We may be saved from separation from God and delivered from our hurts, habits, and hang ups but we are saved to represent and work for the kingdom and to assist in delivering others to the kingdom where they can find life, healing, and purpose.
Matthew 5:10 (NKJV)
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The point in sharing the “kingdom” is to express God’s sovereignty and majesty and the truth of His ultimate reality in addition to sharing His mercy and grace. The kingdom gospel is about more than just us and our personal sins, it is a gospel that encompasses all of creation, human history, and the coming divine government.
3. Heaven is temporary. The kingdom of God culminates in a new heaven and a new earth. The gospel of the kingdom aligns with scripture to dispel the common myth of an ethereal realm of the afterlife as our final destination.
Revelation 11:15 (NKJV)
15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea.
The kingdoms of the earth will pass away, but God’s kingdom is eternal. When we have a revelation of this, the things of God become more important than the things of this earth. When we have a revelation of the kingdom, we will endure to the end.
4. As members of the kingdom of God, we are to use the King’s power to overcome our hurts, habits, and hang ups, to give glory to God, and to better represent the kingdom. Sanctification is kingdom work to be done on ourselves.
Romans 12:1 (NKJV)
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
Our recovery is a kingdom work as we are doing God’s will for our lives to repent and to be healed. Our choice to overcome our hurts, habits, and hang ups is to realize our purpose for a higher cause than our personal well-being. We are conforming ourselves to represent the kingdom through our transformed life and our testimony becomes evidence of the King’s power.
5. The kingdom has an enemy who has enslaved us and seeks to destroy or disable us. He must be recognized, fought, and defeated for victory.
John 10:10 (NKJV)
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Matthew 6:13 (NKJV)
13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
The kingdom of God recognizes there is a kingdom of darkness to be delivered from and continually fought until Christ returns and establishes His kingdom on earth fully.
Beyond our own fleshly desires and patterns of behavior, the enemy has been leading us into temptation and encouraging our destruction. In Christ, we have the power to be victorious over the enemy in spiritual warfare.
6. Assisting others to join and participate in the kingdom of God is your calling from God as your testimony can be used to help others overcome.
Mark 16:15 (NKJV)
15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Our pain and struggles become a message of hope for others as we represent a transformed life that results from becoming a member of the kingdom of God through our faith in Jesus Christ.
23 But they were hearing only, "He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy."
24 And they glorified God in me.
Revelation 12:11 (NKJV)
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
What the enemy meant for evil, God has turned for good. Our stories were of darkness but now are of light, life, and hope.
7. The Kingdom is not for all
24 "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from,'
26 then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.'
27 But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.'
28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. (Galatians 3:5-7)
All will not enter the kingdom of God as Christ describes entry to be through a narrow gate. The narrow gate is entered through faith in Jesus Christ (I am the door – Johnv10:9). Without Christ, we are workers of iniquity (unforgiven) and unknown (unacceptable) to God.
John 14:6 (NKJV)
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Those who have rejected Christ have refused entry into God’s kingdom. Sobriety without Christ is a good work but leads to eternal separation for salvation is through faith in Christ alone.
Knowing this we must love our enemies and forgive them for they don’t realize the seriousness of their situation. We must be loving and patient for in a moment they could suddenly see the light and come to Christ. Our previous lives in darkness looked like we had no hope, so we of all Christians should know to keep those outside the faith in prayer and extend to them the hope of the gospel of the kingdom.
Having a Revelation of the existence and reality of the kingdom of God can be a key paradigm shift in our recovery and in our lives. Continually discovering how our conscious choice to put our life and will in Christ’s care and control has brought us into God’s kingdom and made us rightful heirs to the promises of God can motivate our success and maintain our recovery as we experience the difference of a life filled with God-given hope and purpose. Belonging to the kingdom, we know:
· The kingdom is real, is here and is yet to come.
· Christ is King.
· This world is temporary, and the kingdom is eternal
· The kingdom was Christ’s primary message and teaching that we should share.
· Membership to the kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ gives us
o Eternal life from which we can live fearlessly
o Power to overcome and heal, to walk out of darkness into His light
o Authority over the enemy and to recognize his role in our temptation
o A present and eternal purpose to represent and usher others into the kingdom
Living in the context of the kingdom brings heaven to earth as we experience the peace that surpasses all understanding regardless of circumstances, knowing that our lives will continue into eternity and that God is presently with and for us and will never leave or forsake us. God has a plan for His creation that results in His followers living with Him in a new heaven and new earth. When we understand the kingdom, we are given a purpose and the power to overcome and endure persecution.
Review and Examine.
1. How can a revelation of the kingdom of God help in your recovery?
2. What are the implications for those in recovery who have not named Christ as Lord and Savior regarding the kingdom of God and their ability to prevent relapse?
3. What promises does one inherit as a member of the kingdom of God?
4. How is the gospel of the kingdom of God different from other gospels taught in most modern American churches?
5. Are there any inherent responsibilities as a member of the kingdom of God? If so, what are they? If not, explain your answer.
6. How does the knowledge of the kingdom of darkness and the enemy impact your recovery?
7. How does the knowledge of the kingdom of God affect the purpose for your life?
The Gospel of the Kingdom by George Eldon Ladd
Rediscovering the Kingdom by Myles Munroe
SYS 208 Kingdom Dynamics by Dr. Christopher Romano
KINGDOM LESSON ENDS
AA Twelve Steps
Celebrate Recovery Lessons
1 – Denial
3 – Hope
4 – Sanity
5 – Turn
6 – Action
CFDC 1: The KiCFDC 1: The Kingdom
7 – Sponsor
8 – Moral
9 - Inventory
10 - Spiritual Inventory Part 1
11 - Spiritual Inventory Part 2
12 – Confess
CFDCCFDC 2: Identity
14 – Ready
CFDC CFDC 3: The Enemy
3: The Enemy
15 - Victory
CFDC 4: CFDC 4: The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit
16 – Amends
17 - Forgiveness
18 – Grace
19 – Crossroads
20 – Daily Inventory
CFDC 5: AscCFDC 5: Ascension
21 – Relapse
22 - Gratitude
CFDC 6: Worship
CFDC 6: Worship
23 – Give
24 – Yes
25 – 7 Reasons We Get Stuck