Jesus Says

Part One      Part Two      Part Three      Part Four      Part Five      Part Six


Part 1

No matter where we were born or which passport we hold, as followers of Jesus we belong to His Kingdom. If we join a sports team, club or community group there are expectations of how we should behave and treat others in that community. Jesus sets out a culture in the Sermon on the Mount. His Beatitudes outline principles and privileges we have as His disciples; they show us what it means to belong to His community, the Kingdom of God.

Engage with God’s Word

Read Matthew 5.

Discuss

  1. What does it mean to belong to the Kingdom of God?
  2. Which of the Beatitudes catches your attention? Are some more challenging than others? Why?
  3. Which culture are you taking your cues from?
  4. What does it look like when people express the values Jesus talks about?
  5. Do we demonstrate the values of the Kingdom?

Respond

We can go about our daily lives, perhaps focused on work or school, and get carried away with what we have to do. Before we know it our attention has shifted away from Jesus and how He wants us to grow. How can you keep Jesus ‘front and centre’ throughout your day and week? The Beatitudes refocus our attention on Kingdom values. Consider memorising them or writing them out and sticking them around your home. What is God asking you to do?

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Part 2

Jesus calls us all to be the salt and light in a world that has many dark and tasteless places. Every day we have many opportunities to represent Jesus as we go about our daily routines. However there is also a risk that we can miss the moments that the Holy Spirit gives us if we are not aware of them. The challenge for us all is to be alert to the opportunities that arise, and then to be obedient in that moment to the prompt of the Holy Spirit; where we can potentially be a bright spot in another person’s dark day.

Engage with God’s Word

Read Matthew 5:13-16.

Discuss

  1. Jesus calls us to be salt and light. What does this mean to you? How can we do this is a positive way?
  2. Why is the idea of being salt and light a challenge to us?
  3. Read Acts 10:37-38. We too have the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. Share a time that you have responded to a prompt from the Holy Spirit to encourage someone who doesn’t know Jesus. What was the outcome?
  4. Sometimes our obedience to the nudge from the Holy Spirit is the win; even more than the potential outcome. Have you ever had an experience of this?
  5. On average it takes 8-14 encounters with Christians for someone to take the next step towards accepting Jesus. Discuss.
  6. One in four Australians would come to church if asked. Have you ever invited someone to church or on a step of the Christian journey? What was the outcome?

Respond

We are all called to be salt and light, and to carry the representation of Jesus into the world in which we live. Take a moment now to plan a way that you can take one step this week to be just that. Who are the people that are in your world that need to know Jesus? What is one next step that you can take in showing them Jesus? Maybe invite them to church or to do Alpha with you? Maybe it is just an act of kindness to show them the love of God. Take one new step this week and share with the group next time you meet.

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Part 3

Ever been in a hurry to get somewhere and everything seems to be slowing you down? Kids can’t find their sports uniform, level crossing closes as a train passes, the car in front doesn’t engage the right gear and then drives 20km below the speed limit and you have no opportunity to pass… Anger can build quickly, can’t it?

Engage with God’s Word

Read Matthew 5:21-26, Ephesians 4:26-27.

Discuss

  1. Consider the difference between Godly righteous anger and sinful anger.
  2. As citizens of the Kingdom of God, what does it look like for us to be radically different from our surrounding culture?
  3. What does it mean to be slow to anger, quick to reconcile?
  4. Which areas need attention in your life? Where do you need to allow in the Spirit of God?

Respond

‘God wants us to change and be different.’ Choosing to self-reflect is a significant step in changing and growing as a person. Take a moment to discuss what triggers anger in you, what causes frustration in your life, and where God might want to help you.

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Part 4

The culture in which we live regards sex as simply a physical transaction. In reality, sex is much more than that. It has spiritual, emotional, psychological and relational dimensions, too. With this fuller understanding, Jesus shared on the Sermon on the Mount that sex needs boundaries, and that even thinking lustfully about a person who is not your spouse can have lasting consequences.

Engage with God’s Word

Read Matthew 5:27-31.

Discuss

  1. We live in a sex-saturated society where sexualised images are used to sell everything. What impact do you see this having on you personally? Has this changed over time?
  2. Read Matthew 5:27-30. Jesus uses hyperbolic language to emphasis the level of alertness needed to guard our hearts against the pathway of adultery (v 28-30). Why does he do this? How do you understand this emphasis?
  3. Read 1 Corinthians 6:15-18. Why is sexual sin placed on a different impact level to other sin? Do you agree with this? Why or why not?
  4. One of the greatest challenges to the current generation is the proliferation and accessibility of pornography. How can we best support one another to withstand this exposure?
  5. What traits do we need to develop now in our children to prepare them for our sex-saturated society? How can we best do this?

Respond

While we may feel limited in what we can do to change the culture of a sex-saturated environment, we are called to be a light in a dark place and to stand up for what is right.

What is one way that we are able to demonstrate the love of Jesus in this area?

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with these areas in your life we would like to assist. Please click here to arrange a meeting with someone from the Crossway Care Team or contact LifeCare on 9886 3899 for counselling services.

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Part 5

Marriage has been a cultural foundation across the globe in most people groups from the earliest of time. The Bible teaches that in God’s perfect plan, the marriage of a husband and wife is for life. No one marries with the expectation that the union will not last, however, the reality in our broken world is that some marriages end in divorce. Relationship breakdown has an impact not just on the couple themselves but also on their children and extended family.

Engage with God’s Word

Read Matthew 19:1-9.

Discuss

  1. In your understanding, what is the purpose of marriage? What are the positive influences on our culture brought about by the marriage of a man and a woman?
  2. If you are married, what can you be doing to continue to invest in and build your relationship with your spouse? How can others support you in this?
  3. Every person who enters a relationship with another brings with them their own baggage of brokenness from their past. Discuss.
  4. Why may it be beneficial for a couple to separate for a time to help sort out issues in their relationship?
  5. Read Matthew 5:31-32. This and other biblical texts on marriage and divorce have been interpreted in various ways over the past 2000 years. How do you best understand these texts today? Are there any circumstances that may create an exception to your understanding of these texts?
  6. How can we best support a family member or friend who is experiencing relational challenges or a divorce? What is not helpful in this situation?

Respond

The church has not always done a good job in supporting couples dealing with divorce. What is one practical way that you could support another person who is facing this challenge? If you are married, what is one thing that you can put in place this week to further strengthen your relationship with your spouse?

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Part 6

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes time to address challenging topics that were significant issues for the people to whom he was speaking. These topics are still very relevant for us today; they traverse time and culture because they are issues of the human heart. Today we look at what Jesus had to say about forgiveness.

Engage with God’s Word

Read Matthew 5:38-48.

Discuss

  1. Think of a time when you needed to forgive another person for an offence. How did you feel at the time?  What changed this?
  2. Why do we find it difficult to forgive when we have been wronged?
  3. There are different levels of offence that may require a different heart level approach in order to truly forgive. Discuss.
  4. When we forgive another person it can feel like we are letting them get away with the offence. Is this true? What did Jesus have to say about this? How do we benefit when we forgive someone?
  5. Read Matthew 5:43-45a. What impact can prayer have in such circumstances? Why does Jesus ask us to do this? Who benefits from this?
  6. How can we love those who are not easy to love? Why is this necessary?

Respond

To forgive someone who has offended against us and to love someone who is not easy to love may run counter to our instinctive human response. However, if we are to reflect Jesus as his disciples we are called to do just this. Take a moment now to ask Jesus if there is anyone you need to forgive or show God’s love to that you don’t want to. What is the first step for you to do this? Commit to taking that first step now.

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