Conversatio Divina

Part 3 of 7

How to Step into the Kingdom and Live There

Dallas Willard

01.  Before You Lead

For the best experience in leading your small group, it’s very important to preview session three of the video and, if possible, follow along in chapter three of the book, Living in the Presence of Christ. Familiarize yourself with the session outline and gather the necessary materials.

02.  Session Outline

  1. Introduction (4 minutes)
    1. Welcome and Opening Prayer (1 minute)
    2. Talk About It (3 minutes)
  2. Video Teaching (78 minutes or if you choose to divide this session into two parts, 42 minutes for the lecture and 36 minutes for the conversation between John and Dallas)
  3. Video Discussion (12 to 15 minutes)
  4. Closing (3 minutes)
    [Note: You should be able to compete the session in either one 2-hour block or two 1-hour blocks.]

03.  Introduction

Welcome participants to the study and briefly pray if you would like. Ask if anyone has a question from last week’s lesson and reflections, then introduce the theme for this week, “How to Step into the Kingdom and Live There.”

Ask participants the question, “What does the phrase, ‘Kingdom of God’ mean to you?”

04.  Video Teaching

Show the video segment for this session. Students may wish to have a notepad and pen or pencil for taking notes.

05.  Video Discussion

Following the video presentation, explore the topic further by allowing the group to consider the following questions.

  1. Dallas Willard says that the first step toward living in the kingdom is to study Christ and his gospel of kingdom availability. Given that through Christ, the kingdom is a here and now reality, how would you describe your part in learning to live in the kingdom now?
  2. To venture on Christ and his teaching is suggested as the next step into experiencing life in the kingdom—the test of experience. What have been some of your experiences of living more and more of the moments of your life with God? [Hint: “Living in the kingdom is a matter of living with God’s actions in our lives.”]
  3. Second Corinthians 5:17 states, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (NKJVScripture quotations marked (NKJV) are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.). What do you think Dallas meant by saying that this was one of the most abused passages in all of Scripture?
  4. What is beyond the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees?
    NOTE: If your group has decided to take two sessions to complete the first topic, ask the following questions after viewing the conversation between Dallas and John.
  5. What does it look like for you to be seeking the kingdom in your work, play, and intimate relationships?
  6. What is the best thing to do if you discover that seeking the kingdom is not your number one priority?
  7. Dallas Willard often said, “If you want to go to heaven, go now.” How does that idea relate to living in the kingdom now?

06.  Closing

Before wrapping up, encourage the students to read and reflect the following passage before next weeks group meeting.

  • Verse Eph. 2:1–10; John 3:1–8 — God’s Part
  • 5:20ff; 11:25; 18:1–4 — Our Part
  • 6:33 — Our First Priority
  • 29:13; 2 Chron. 15:4, 15; — Why is seeking required?
    Matt. 13:13–15
  • John 8:31–32 — The path of certifiable knowledge for the disciple

Then close with prayer. Pray that each member would be willing to personally experience God’s invitation to live all of life as his apprentice.

07.  Additional Reading

Willard, Dallas. The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Your Hidden Life in God. San Francisco:
HarperSanFrancisco, 1988. See chapter three: “What Jesus Knew: Our God-Bathed  World.”