Experiencing Jesus from a distance
In Luke 7:1-10, the centurion chose to encounter Jesus from a distance, even through Jesus was willing to come into his house and heal the servant. The centurion's humility did not permit him to presume a familiarity with Jesus. Only say the word and my servant will be healed. The centurion encountered Jesus from a distance through his friends and through his faith in the word of Jesus.
Since the Ascension of Jesus, we to are able to relate to Jesus from a distance. We have no other choice. Yet, if we trust in the power of Jesus' word to heal and give life, we do indeed encounter Jesus from a distance. All we have to do is place ourselves under his authority, like the centurion.
The Kingdom of God
I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also,
for I was sent for this purpose.
— Luke 4:43
When you are participating in a Bible study and talking about the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven, remember that there are three potential meanings to "the kingdom of God" or "the kingdom of heaven". Be sure to check out the context in which the phrase is found to determine its correct meaning for the Bible verses you are examining.
Generally, the first meaning is the immediate experience with Jesus. The second meaning has to do with God's judgment to those who are not ready. The third meaning concerns the culmination of history, or what some call the second coming.
Ingratitude — Taking Divine Grace for Granted
Ingratitude is a grave offense against God, and the closer to God we think we are, the more we are inclined to take divine grace for granted. Jesus makes this point in Luke 17:11-19. The psalmist continues to develop the theme by pointing out the possible problem with giving thanks. (see Psalm 106: 1-3)
The problem is this: humanity does not have sufficient words to praise God's goodness. So if we are not sincere in the expression of thanksgiving in our prayers to God, our voices may sound like a noisy gong or loud cymbal.
The Christian Lifestyle
Consider Matthew's Sermon on the Mount and Luke's Sermon on the Plain. What was the purpose of these sermons? It would seem the focus is on those people who had already decided to follow Jesus. He was giving them a way of life that he expected them to follow. Guidelines for Kingdom living. For example, Jesus emphasized a type of forgiveness which went beyond the Jewish understanding of forgiveness. If a person speaks ill of you, shake it off. If someone slaps your face, turn your face to receive the second slap. However, you need to understand the reason for your actions. It was because God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful just as your father is merciful (Luke 6:35-36).
It seems the goal of these sermons was to develop a Christian lifestyle which is gracious and generous to others. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you (Luke 6:37-38).