And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.
Matthew 7:28 - 8:1

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
-Matthew 7:24-27

1. What makes these closing statements of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount so important? Why is this passage not something to throw away or overlook? Who is this passage directed toward?

2. Both of the builders in the passage are hearers of the word and have likely been in attendance for the entire Sermon on the Mount. What is the difference in the outcome of that hearing? What is the motivation of those who do vs. those who don’t?

3. Both of the builders in the passage are building houses. Keeping with the illustration, the houses may even be built out of similar materials. What is the pivotal difference in the structural integrity of their houses? What are some examples of a sandy foundation and what is the rock solid foundation?

4. Both of the builders in the passage have houses that endure storms (rain, flood, and winds). Why is this important for Christians to understand? What are some examples from Scripture of the righteous enduring the “storms of life”? What happens to the house of the foolish builder? Why? Why is it that the house of the wise builder stays standing?

5. Look back over our time in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus has made a lot of challenging statements throughout about how a Christian should look and act. What have been some of the most challenging/difficult for you? How is it that we do we “do these words” (v.24)?

6. Reminisce together about our time over the last six months in the Sermon on the Mount. End you time praising God for his great gift of salvation, that he has not left us alone to accomplish what he demands of us but has given us his Holy Spirit, and for the hope of the day that we will dwell with him perfectly.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
-Matthew 7:15-23

1. How did this passage impact you? Were there any ways that the Lord convicted, stirred, or strengthened your faith?

2. How does the Bible describe fruit in the life of a Christian?

3. How does that fruit come about? How does it not come about?

4. In this passage, Jesus instructs his listeners to discern between the sheep and the wolves by looking to see if the fruit of their lives matches that of their teaching (vv.15-20). Regarding what we hear and see, how can we discern what is false teaching and what is true? Why is Jesus so concerned with false teaching?

5. For Christians, there is often the temptation to show outwardly the signs of life (fruit) while the root is missing nourishment. Through community what are some ways that we can combat this temptation? Share examples of ways that you’ve been tempted to create a false ‘Christian persona’.

6. What is the key to being received into the Kingdom of God?

  • 7. How is it that it is those who do the will of the Father are those who will be in heaven, and yet many who did good things in Jesus’ name will not? How are we to reconcile that?
    For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.Matthew 7:12-14

1. What is your definition of the good life?

2. How does your definition differ from what we see in scripture?

3. If Jesus came to give us life, how do we experience that life?

4. What does it look like to live out v. 12?

5. How have you experienced the Christian walk to be narrow, hard, and sparsely populated?

6. What does it mean that Jesus is ‘the way, the truth, and the life’?

7. How can we encourage each other to press in to Jesus, rather than living on the way in our own strength?

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"
-Matthew 7:7-11

1. John Calvin once wrote “Nothing is better adapted to excite us to prayer than a full conviction that we shall be heard.” Do you struggle to pray with this sort of conviction? If so, how can you grow in this conviction?

2. How does Jesus describe God the Father in a way that would encourage our asking, seeking, and knocking? Describe the character that Jesus attributes to God.

3. Of all of the promises or ideas communicated in this specific portion of scripture, which is the hardest for you to believe? Why?

4. Breakdown each instruction(ask, seek, knock) and give examples of each.

5. The progression of ask, seek, and knock seems to be intentional. What is this progression communicating?

6. Is there something or a situation in your life where you have been asking, seeking, and knocking? How have Jesus’ words encouraged you to “keep on”?

Pastor Christian Simas – Matthew 7:1-6

October 9, 2016

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.-Matthew 7:1-6

1. Its been said that this portion of the Sermon on the Mount is one of the most often quoted passages of scripture, and yet possibly the most misunderstood. Why do you think that is?

2. What exactly is Jesus forbidding in this passage? What are some examples of what Jesus is talking about.

3. Have you ever been the recipient of harsh/unnecessary judgement? What was the outcome of that experience?

4. In these passages we see a contrast between judging and discerning. What is the difference between judging and discerning? Do you find it difficult to determine the difference between the two?

5. What are the reasons we shouldn’t judge? (Identify reasons found in this passage and/or reasons found elsewhere in scripture)

6. This passage not only has warnings against judging and hypocrisy, but there is a hopeful mention of transformation. What is the transformation that Jesus is talking about in verses 3-5?

7. How does the change from hypocrisy to humble help occur in our lives? (Share examples if applicable)

For Reference:
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:1-3

“[Imagine] If every little baby that was ever born anywhere in the world had a tape recorder hung about its neck, and if this tape recorder only recorded the moral judgments with which this child as he grew bound other men… Eventually each person comes to that great moment when he stands before God as judge. Suppose, then, that God simply touched the tape recorder button and each man heard played out in his own words all those statements by which he had bound other men in moral judgment. He could hear it going on for years—thousands and thousands of moral judgments made against other men… Then God would simply say to the man…Now where do you stand in the light of your own moral judgments? …Every voice would be stilled. All men would have to acknowledge that they have deliberately done those things which they knew to be wrong. Nobody could deny it…God is completely just. A man is judged and found wanting on the same basis on which he has tried to bind others.” – Francis Schaeffer

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-26

Pastor Christian Simas – Matthew 6:25-34

October 2, 2016

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.Matthew 6:25-34

For more on Anxiety, please check out the sermon Established in Joy: Peace.

Pastor Christian Simas – Matthew 6:19-24

September 25, 2016

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.Matthew 6:19-24

1. How does the Bible describe treasure?

2. How is the gospel message inform a discussion about treasure?
We were created to treasure and adore God. But as a result of sin, we exchanged the glory of God our Creator for creation, and treasured lesser thing. Because God loves and treasure us, he sent his Son Jesus to give up his all at the cross to obtain us. Through his victory over the grave, he broke the bondage of sin over us, reconciled us to God, and restored us to treasures him above all, forever. As we hope for the bright future of eternal life, the Holy Spirit is at work within us daily to renew our lives and transform our treasure-seeking hearts.

3. Why is the answer to the question “what do you treasure?” so important?

4. What role does your spending play in the discussion about treasure? Explain

5. What role does you sight(vision) play in the discussion about treasure? Explain

6. This portion of the Sermon on the Mount comes with the instructions “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”(6:19-20) What does this mean? And how, practically, can we do this?

7. How has God stirred, convicted, or challenged you as a result of this passage?

Pastor Christian Simas – Matthew 6:16-18

September 18, 2016

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."
Matthew 6:16-18

1. Twice Jesus says “when you fast”(6:16;17). What is so important about this statement?

2. What is Christian fasting? What is it not?

3. How do Christians fast? How should we not fast?

4. Why do Christians fast? Why should we not fast?

5. What has ben your personal experience with fasting?

6. How is God stirring us personally and corporately in regards to fasting?

"Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread,and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from evil."
-Matthew 6:9-13

1. What are some of the ways that God has used our time together in the Lord’s Prayer to shape you? (prayer life, worship, gratitude, priorities, etc)

2. Though we are loved and sovereignly held within God’s grip, the final petition of this prayer reminds us the Christian life will at times be a treacherous journey. What are some examples of the dangers, toils and snares that you’ve faced along the way?

3. What are some truths about God, ourselves, and this world that the end of the Lord’s prayer leads us to acknowledge? Are these things that you are naturally aware of?

4. How is evil, sin and temptation overcome? How can we be overcomers?

5. What is the hope found in this prayer that we can count on?

“Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread,and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from evil.For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
-Matthew 6:9-15

Pastor Christian Simas – Matthew 6:9b-13

August 28, 2016

“Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread,and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from evil.
-Matthew 6:9b-13

1. What does it mean to pray ‘give us this day our daily bread?’

2. Why do you think that it is important that prayers for our own personal needs follow the first three requests in the Lord’s Prayer? Does this order have any impact on our prayers for practical needs?

3. Dietrich Bonhoeffer noted that as a result “the disciples realize that while it is a fruit of the earth, bread really comes down from above as the gift of God alone.” Do you find it difficult to acknowledge your need for daily bread from God? If so, why?

4. What is the connection between food and worship? Can you give any examples from scripture?

5. Read 1 Corinthians 10:31. What are some ways that this community can grow in its practice of this?

6. God desires dependence and gratitude for his redeemed people. How can these things be cultivated in our lives?

Pastor Christian Simas – Matthew 6:9b-13

August 21, 2016

“Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread,and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from evil.
-Matthew 6:9b-13

1. How has God used the Lord’s Prayer already to shape the way that you engage him?

2. We are instructed to pray “Your will be done”. What is the will of God? (for addition help, reference Deuteronomy 29:29 + Ephesians 1:3-11)

3. How would you sum this petition up in one word? (encourage all group participation)

4. Why could it be said that this prayer is both an ‘unsafe’ prayer and yet a ‘good’ prayer?

5. What difficulties have you faced regarding the will of God?

6. Why are the words “on earth as it is in heaven” so important to the mission of the church?

7. Spend time praying together

Pastor Allen Russell – Matthew 6:9b-13

August 14, 2016

“Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread,and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from evil."
-Matthew 6:9b-13

1. Much like the 1st petition in v.9 for God’s name to be hallowed, why is it important for us to pray for God’s kingdom to come?

2. What types of conflicts arise when we look to the establishment of our kingdoms rather than that of God’s?

3. What purpose(s) does the Church serve in the advancement of God’s kingdom?

4. The Christian resides in the tension of the “already/not-yet”. Describe this tension. In faith, how does this tension motivate the life of a believer?

5. Christians wait with great anticipation for the day of Christ’s return – the final judgement. Why is it sometimes a difficult prayer to ask the Lord to “come quickly”?

6. Close your time giving God the glory for the establishment and perseverance of his kingdom’s citizens, and the advancement of his kingdom’s walls. Pray that more might be added to eternity with God to his glory and the joy of the Church.

Pastor Christian Simas – Matthew 6:7-13

August 7, 2016

And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread,and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from evil.Matthew 6:7-13

1. What is the Lord’s Prayer?

  • What does it teach us?
  • How does it train us?
  • What does it remind us of?

2. What is it not?

  • What was the approach to prayer of the ‘hypocrites’? (vs.5-6)
  • What was the approach to prayer of the ‘Gentiles’?(vs. 7-8)
  • How have these different approaches affected the way that you pray? Do you ever feel that you will be heard on the basis of the quality and/or quantity of your prayer?
  • What is the basis of God hearing our prayers?

3. Discuss together the first petition found in verse 9: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”

  • What does it mean that we call upon God as ‘Our Father’?
  • How does the fact that our Father is ‘in heaven’ empower our prayer?
  • What is meant by ‘hallow be your name’?

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
-Matthew 6:1-6

1. Jesus says to ‘Practice Righteousness’. How has Righteousness already been discussed in the Sermon on the Mount?

2. Why should we ‘Practice Righteousness’?

3. Does ‘Practicing Righteousness’ help our salvation?

4. Why does Jesus assume that His followers would be generous givers? A praying people?

5. What does Jesus warn us against when practicing our faith?

6. What is the correction Jesus gives us when practicing our faith?

7. What is the reward Jesus speaks about?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." -Matthew 5:38-48

1. Why is this portion of the sermon on the mount described as perhaps the hardest call for the Christian?

2. Is Jesus saying we should ignore injustice? If not, how does this fit into the message of justice in scripture?

3. How do these verses challenge our view of self?

4. How do we put these principles into practice in our daily lives?

5. How do we see Jesus embody these values during his earthly ministry?

Pastor Christian Simas – Matthew 5:33-37

July 17, 2016

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil." -Matthew 5:33-37

1. By way of reminder, what is the overall purpose of the Sermon on the Mount? What is Jesus communicating and why?

2. Some have taken Jesus’ words Matthew 5:33-37, regarding oaths, to mean that Christians should never take oaths of any kind. Is that what Jesus is saying?

3. What is Jesus saying about oaths?

4. What is integrity and why is it important?

5. What hope do we have of being people of integrity?

6. How can verse 37 be applied to our personal lives and community?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." -Matthew 5:27-32

1. What is a biblical view of sex and marriage?

2. Why is it important to have a clear and robust theology of sex? [1]

3. How does sex/sexuality according to the Kingdom of God contrast the way the world treats sex/sexuality?

4. Why does God place physical and emotional parameters upon sex?

5. How does the gospel bring hope to a sexually broken people?

6. What drastic measures are to be taken to align with God’s design for sex?

Notes:

[1] “Christians [en]counter an oversexualized culture with an undersexualized spirituality” – Jenell Williams Paris, The End of Sexual Identity

singleness_slide

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny." - Matthew 5:21-26

1. How is a community that is embodying the Kingdom of God described in this portion of the Sermon on the Mount?

2. In the next series of topics in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addresses the matters of the heart. Why is Jesus so concerned with our heart?

3. According to Jesus’ words in this portion of scripture, what effects do anger (and acting out of anger) have on our own soul?

4. What effects do anger/bitterness have on the community?

5. Anger can manifest in many ways, whether through lashing out or withholding good. What ways have you seen anger surface in your life?

6. As Glen Stassen and David Gushee point out in their book “Kingdom Ethics”, Jesus doesn’t just condemn these things, but also invites us into deliverance, out of the vicious cycle of anger and insult. How is he doing that in this passage? How does he describe that path of conflict resolution?

7. What hope do we have in implementing these things as we endeavor to establish kingdom culture in our community?

Prayer: Father, you’re Son has promised us that the life of peace-making is the blessed life,and yet we often fail to believe that. We see the difficulty and our pride resists the humble path, and yet you have made a way. Give us faith to believe. Let us not walk in the power of our own strength, but in the reconciling power of Christ. Shape our culture into a beautiful,thriving, community marked by love, joy, repentance and reconciliation.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:17-20

1. What is the Law?

2. How does Jesus relate to Scripture?

3. How are we to relate to Scripture? (in light of Jesus)

Pastor Christian Simas – Matthew 5:13-16, John 17:15-19

June 12, 2016

A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. - Matthew 5:14b

1. What does Jesus mean when he says in Matthew 5:14 “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden”?

2. Spend time discussing the context and culture that we are currently living in? (the good and bad)

3. When it comes to the church’s engagement with society, what are some extremes to avoid?

4. How are we to faithfully engage this culture?

5. What examples seen in the person and work of Jesus Christ inform our call to be a ‘city within a city’?

6. Read John 20:19-23. What do we receive from Jesus for this call?

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16

1. What does Jesus mean when he refers to his disciples as salt?

2. What are some examples of ways that believers can be salt in the world?

3. How does the the picture of light explain the role of disciples in the world?

4. In what ways can our community be a light?

5. In what ways has this been difficult or overwhelming for you?

6. How are Jesus’ words in this portion of the Sermon on the Mount much more than mere instructions?

7. What is the desired outcome of the community believers functioning as salt and light?

 

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:7-12

1. Someone once criticized C. S. Lewis for “not caring for the Sermon on the Mount.” He replied, “As to ‘caring for’ the Sermon on the Mount, if ‘caring for’ here means ‘liking’ or enjoying, I suppose no one ‘cares for’ it. Who can like being knocked flat on his face by a sledge hammer? I can hardly imagine a more deadly spiritual condition than that of a man who can read that passage with tranquil pleasure.” Why does he explain it like that?

2. How do the values and virtues of the Kingdom of God(seen specifically in the Beatitudes) contrast the value system of the current culture?

3. Discuss together the fruit of Kingdom life:

  • What is mercy and how is it displayed? 
  • What is purity of heart and how is it lived out? 
  • What does it mean to be a peacemaker? 
  • What does it mean that its a blessing to be persecuted for righteousness? 

4. Why are the promises of the Beatitudes so vital?

5. What do the beatitudes mean for our community? How can they shape the culture of our community?

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6

1. What do you think of when you hear hunger and thirst?

2. We hunger and thirst after many things besides righteousness. What are you hungering and thirsting for right now that cannot satisfy? [1]

3. Why do you suppose the pursuits that we have never truly fulfill us like we thought they would? Why are they poor substitutes for Jesus? [2]

4. What does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness?

  • What does this mean for our relationship with God? 
  • What does this mean for our life? 
  • What does this mean for our relationships? 
  • What does this mean for our mission? 

5. Psalm 34:8 says “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” Close out your time dwelling upon the goodness of God and the satisfaction he alone brings.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:3-12

1. Why do you think Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes?

2. What does it mean to be ‘poor in spirit’?

3. How has recognizing your spiritual poverty been a blessing to you?

4. What role does mourning play in your life?

5. How does the third beatitude (Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth) contrast the world’s idea of who will inherit the earth?

6. How is the gospel revealed in these first three beatitudes?

7. How do the beatitudes inform our mission as a community?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:3-12

1. What is the Sermon on the Mount?

2. How are we to respond to the Sermon on the Mount?

3. What are some ways that the Sermon on the Mount initially encouraged you, stirred you, or challenged you?

4. What do you sense God desires to do in our community through the this season in the Sermon on the Mount?