Week of March 24-31, 2019
Ice-breaker: Ask the group if anyone has had a recent conversation with an unbeliever about the person of Jesus Christ. Did this person have a solid understanding of who Jesus really is?
Intro: Jesus refers to himself as “Son of Man” 43 times in the Gospels. We will learn why this title so important and what it means for us in the future.
The Son of Man understands fully the plight of mankind
- Poverty, Luke 9:57, 58 (Consider that Jesus was born into a poorer family. He lived in a large family, four brothers and at least two sisters. Likely Joseph died young since he doesn’t appear during Jesus’ Ministry.)
- False accusations, Matthew 11:19
- Suffering the cruelties of mankind, Matthew 17:12, 22
Can you think of any reasons why Jesus would refer to himself as “Son of Man” and not “Son of God”.
The Son of Man is a fulfillment of Daniel’s prophetic vision in Daniel 7:13, 14. From this passage, answer the following:
- What was given to the Son of Man?
- Who worshipped the Son of Man?
- Describe the kingdom of the Son of Man.
Most people think of Jesus as a great teacher. Few see him as Lord of all. The Son of Man is the Son of God, the One who will judge all mankind. Before him every knee will bow!
- Revelation 14:14-16 who harvested the whole earth?
- Matthew 25:31-33 who separated the sheep and goats?
Philippians 2:12, 13 the proper response to the Lordship of Jesus is to
______________ your salvation with ___________ and trembling.
How could you do a better job of responding to Jesus Christ’s Lordship?
Lost Things: The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Can you think of a time that you lost something of value and later found it? How did that feel?
Read Luke 15:11-19
What stands out to you about the younger son? What stands out to you about the father?
In what ways are we like the younger son? What can we learn for these two characters?
Read Luke 15: 20-24
Is this the reception the younger son expected? What compelled the father’s reception?
Read Luke 15:25-32
What stands out to you about the older son? Was the father’s response different?
In what ways are we like the older son?
Next level: If we are made in the image of God then we should reflect God to those around us.
How can we reflect the father in our lives?
In this world, “selling out” has negative connotations. It speaks of betrayal to the people and culture which have defined you. Selling out for Jesus is betrayal against a world that doesn’t believe in his transforming power. In some ways, we become an “outcast” by “selling out” to Jesus.
In Matthew 13:44-46 the kingdom of God is compared to a field worker and a merchant who both “sold out” to get something they highly valued.
- What did this “sellout” cost them?
- What indicates they did this great exchange willingly?
- What is the likelihood they regretted this decision?
- From these parables, what is the key to truly selling out for Jesus?
A walk with Jesus is the most joyful decision we will ever make and also the most costly.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer reflects on real grace: “It’s costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”
- C. Sproul “Do you have to give up your wealth? Of course. Even if the Master allows you to continue to steward it for Him. Do you have to give up your reputation? Of course, even if He allows you to live in peace and quietness with all men. Will you have to give up your loved ones? Of course, even if they are with you until your home going. You have to give up everything, just like He did. And, like Him all you will receive in return, is everything.”
The Cost of Following Jesus
- Luke 14:26 What is the cost?
- Luke 14:27 What is the cost?
- Luke 14:33 What is the cost?
Two important considerations:
- The cost is infinitely small compared to what we receive. That is why there is so much joy in receiving the gift of eternal life. We gave up so little to receive thus precious gift.
- The cost is not what we pay to receive eternal life. It is what we pay since we have received eternal life. It is part of the package.
- 1 Tim 3:12.
- Philippians 3:8
Pray to stay strong when the cost of following your Savior gets tough. Rejoice over what you have received because of his great sacrifice for you.
SBBS Matthew 13
Perhaps you have reached out to a friend or family member and it felt like talking to a brick wall. Or, maybe someone you witnessed to made a profession of faith but later fell away. Don’t be discouraged. Jesus said that would happen. (It happened to Him.) Yet, some you witness to will grow beyond your wildest expectations! Take a moment to share when one of the above scenarios happened to you.
Read Matthew 13:1-9
- Describe the 4 soils in your own words.
- Describe the sower.
- Was there anything wrong with the seed?
Why parables? Matthew 13:10-17
- A way to conceal, vs 11 (The disciples were proving their spiritual hunger by following Jesus. Many of the others were there for food and miracles. Their hearts were not ready for deep spiritual truth)
- A way to reveal, vs 15, 16 (For those willing to see, hear and understand the privilege of turning in repentance and being healed is granted).
What this parable means, Matthew 13:18-23
- Note: all 4 “heart-soils” received the same valuable seed and had the same atmospheric conditions.
- Name some of the things that kept the seed from producing fruit.
- Name some ways believers produce fruit a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Which one are you?
Interesting, Jesus doesn’t tell us what to do (personally) with the truths presented in the parables. Why?
Prayer: Share what you will do with the truth of the Parable of the Sower and pray together.
Investing God’s Resources
Read Matthew 25:18, 24, 25
We have spent the month of February learning key principles about stewardship from the story of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. The little boy became the star by sharing what he had for Jesus to use. Our Lord will multiply what we surrender to Him!
In Matthew 25, three servants received varying amounts of money from their master with the full expectation that it would be invested and grow. Imagine their excitement at being trusted with such extravagant gifts!
- However, if you were the servant who received 1 talent and knew the others got more would you harbor ill-will toward the master for giving you less?
- How did the “one talent” servant invest the master’s money?
- What was this servant’s excuse for not doing better? Vs 24
The man called himself “fearful”. What did the master call him, Vs 26?
- This servant was wicked. Wicked people don’t just occasionally do wrong. They are evil at their core and deserve their reward, Psalm 1:5, 6. See also Matthew 25:30.
- This man was lazy. This lets us know that investing the master’s money took initiative, creativity and work. Read Proverbs 14:23 for a promise about work. Have you seen this Proverb prove true in your life?
- Fear can be crippling. If this servant felt afraid, he should have gotten some investing advice from a trusted friend. What would you have told him?
- Wickedness is a matter of the heart. It always leads to wrong conclusions. What wrong conclusions might he have come to about his fellow servants, his master and even his talent?
- He was also lazy. All of us have times of laziness. How do you stir yourself up when the lazy feelings come?
This parable is all about investing what God has given us. He expects to get a return on what He gives us and is not kind to those who waste their resources. Pray with your small group about how to best use what God has given you.
Jesus loves obedience
Sermon-Based Bible Study
The Loaves and Fish, Mark 6:33-44
Read the passage
Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking God needs us to do mighty things upon the earth. (Isaiah 55:8, 9) The focus rather is in how we get to work together with Him. What a privilege!
- So about how many people ate loaves and fish on this day?
- How much food did the disciples start with?
- Who was the MVP of the day?
Our Awesome God has invited us to partner with Him.
- The large crowd could have found food elsewhere. All day they had been fed spiritually in ways they had never dreamed of. Jesus didn’t owe them a meal. So, what does this story tell you about Jesus?
- Jesus could have easily performed this miracle by himself, yet he used the lunch of a boy (John 6:9) and the labors of his disciples. The food didn’t multiply in Jesus hands but in the hands of his disciples. What does this tell us about Jesus?
- Apparently, the desire of Jesus all along was to have his disciples feed the crowd. “You feed them”, verse 37. How important was their obedience in this miracle? Does anyone in your group remember a time God gave them something to do that was so far above their abilities it was almost laughable?
The lies of the evil one tell us we have nothing to offer or that if we offer our gifts, our efforts will be fruitless. These lies limit our obedience.
- Like the boy with the loaves and fish, you have a gift or two to offer, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (especially vs 7)
- It is God’s gifts in you bearing the fruit, John 15:5
- Obeying the guidance of the Holy Spirit will cause our meager efforts to accomplish impossible things. Think of one way God has been leading you to use your limited abilities to fulfill his will. Will you obey His guidance?
The God of the Impossible
After reading the story discuss how Jesus wanted the man to respond to his gracious invitation. How might this story have ended differently?
Review our memory verse: This is the work of God, to believe in the One He has sent. John 6:29.
God must delight in doing things which men think are impossible:
- He gave a baby to a 90 year old infertile woman named Sarah
- He quenched the thirst of a million Israelites by making water come out of a rock
- He stopped the foolishness of Balaam by giving him a message through a donkey
- He calmed the raging seas to comfort 12 frightened disciples
- Add a few others that come to mind
In our story, Jesus offers to do the impossible. He offers eternal life to someone who didn’t have it.
- What gripped the young ruler’s heart so tightly he would reject Jesus offer?
- What do you think was going on in his mind as he walked away from Jesus? Verse 22
- The disciples were astounded! This rich ruler seemed to have the right heart, vs 17 and the right kind of life, vs 20. What more could Jesus possibly want?
- The answer is faith, faith in the God of the impossible. Read verse 27 out loud again.
- If this ruler had chosen to fall down before Jesus with a cry of “Lord help my unbelief” Jesus would have helped him. But he walked away. That is the one thing you cannot do in the walk of faith- walk away. The world will have you feeding pigs until you come to your senses and go running back to your Father who is patiently waiting.
The memory verse brings us back to center:
This is the work of God, to believe in the One He has sent. John 6:29.
The hardest work you will ever do is to keep your faith in Christ strong and vibrant. This was the crisis of faith the rich young ruler faced. He just couldn’t believe Jesus could help him through his entanglement with material things. Yet Jesus made it clear to his disciples: with God all things are possible. Even the rich young ruler could have gotten his miracle that day if he would have asked for it.
So list the mountains that must move to have a satisfying life. Do you have a relationship problem or a money problem or a health problem? Are you going to walk away “saddened and grieving” or will you fall before Jesus with a cry for help with your unbelief?
Our church has a space problem. Will we cry out to Him and believe?