Give a brief summary of your athletic prowess: Did you play sports or take part in athletic programs? If so, were you a superstar, backup, benchwarmer or none of the above?
This Sunday, Pastor Scott wrapped up our series on the Beatitudes. Begin by having someone re-read the entirety of the Beatitudes.
Read Matthew 5:3-12. As we’ve discussed throughout this series, Jesus’ understanding & statements of blessing exemplified in these Beatitudes is profoundly counter-cultural (both then & today).
First, consider the key arenas of our own culture & society (finance, entertainment, public service, politics, etc).
In hindsight, where do you see these upside-down blessings being embraced within our larger culture or society? Which are totally at odds with the commonly held understandings of “being blessed” in our culture & society?
Which of these upside-down blessings have impacted you the most of the course of this series? Where have you found it easiest & hardest to adopt Jesus’ vision of “being blessed”?
Next, read Matthew 25:31-46. In this parable of the Sheep & the Goats, Jesus uses two animals that, on an external level, are nearly identical to contrast between two groups: the blessed & the cursed (the opposite of blessedness).
What commonalities exist between these two groups? What does Jesus highlight as the fundamental difference between them?
Why do you think both groups are surprised by the judgments rendered over them? What does this reveal about how each group understands themselves, others, & God?
Ultimately, Jesus uses this parable to highlight how one should respond to being blessed. That is, those who recognize that they are blessed seek to become a conduit of blessing to others. As the Scriptures often remind us, faith without action is never considered to be a completely true expression of faith.
Why do you think this relationship between being blessed & becoming a blessing is so essential for healthy spirituality?
How might this passage & the vision of spirituality presented within it both comfort & challenge you in terms of how you live your life?
Coming out of the hole
Take time to reflect on the Sunday sermon & how this week’s teaching might speak into your daily life.
- How can you engage your faith to a greater degree by pursuing a blessed life based on these Beatitudes & Jesus’ parable?
- How might your growth group serve the least of these in this next season? Maybe consider taking part in E3’s month of Service in December!
- Where do you need to recalibrate your understanding of being blessed? Consider, in particular, where your definition of blessedness reflects the unhealthy ones held by our surrounding culture.
- How might shifting your understanding of blessedness to focus on Jesus’ closeness to us & becoming more like him in response provide you with encouragement in this season? How might it motivate you to lean into discipleship over this next season of life?
Journal, reflect, & pray on how God might be speaking to you through each week’s teaching. Share your experience with your growth group next week!
The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
Matthew by Stanley Hauerwas
Christ & Culture by Stanley Hauerwas
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Peculiar People by Henry Clapp
Coming Up This Week:*
Sunday, October 22nd: Join us next Sunday for BAPTISM SUNDAY or, as we like to call it, THE BEST DAY EVER!
* Please see mye3.org for details.