Summer on the Mount: Week 11
Welcome and Opening Prayer:
Welcome the group and open with a prayer.
Practical Kingdom Living with Close Relations:
In this week’s passage in Matthew 7:1-6, Jesus switches the focus from storing up treasures to judging others. He is describing what living in God’s Kingdom looks like with those closest to us. Jesus uses the vivid and comedic images of two people working with wood and an image of throwing pearls before pigs to highlight His point about not judging unfairly.
Read Matthew 7:1-6 and then sit silently with the passage for 5 minutes. Reflect on what the Holy Spirit might point out to you in this passage and what He might be asking you to do in response to it.
Jesus’ Right Measure of Judging:
Matthew 7:1-2 serves as the theme and main point of Matthew 7:1-12. It introduces what Jesus has in mind practically when He invites His disciples to live in His Kingdom while we live in community with those around us. It deals with the “down-to-earth issue of unfairly critical attitudes toward others, which, combined with a naïve lack of self-criticism, threaten to disrupt the close-knit community such as that of Jesus’ first disciples” (R.T. France, Gospel of Matthew).
- Jesus is speaking here about our tendency to judge those we are in community with: family, friends, neighbors, etc. What seems to be Jesus’ point?
- When you read “Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” what comes to mind, or what do you feel? Are there any experiences or memories that come up for you?
- When is a time you have felt misjudged by someone or misjudged others?
- In light of this conversation, how does Jesus seem to describe judgment? What does He think of it?
Judgment and Self-Awareness:
Jesus draws on His personal experience as a carpenter and a carpenter’s workshop to illustrate not judging others unfairly. Jesus communicates through the metaphor of a splinter and plank of wood in two people’s eyes.
- Imagine this metaphor of a plank and splinter actually happening between two people. What does it reveal about self-awareness and judgment?
- Why does Jesus think that self-awareness is important when it comes to judging others?
- What are specks in your own eye that could lead to misjudging others?
Making Amends Exercise:
Read Matthew 5:23-24:
“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”
Take a few minutes in prayer to make a list of all the persons you’ve harmed by judging them wrongly, and become willing to make amends to them all. Ask God to reveal if anyone has anything against you. Pay special attention to anyone who might be in the room.
Make direct amends to any people whom you have judged wrongly whenever and wherever possible (excluding any circumstances where doing so would injure them or others).
- If there is anyone present in the room whom you have judged wrongly, repent directly to them.
- Commit to initiating with anyone not present whom you have judged wrongly.
Read Matthew 7:24-27:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Jesus culminates His Sermon on the Mount with this parable about the importance of practically applying His teaching. Split into pairs and discuss, support, and then pray.
- What is the biggest or most striking idea or invitation from today’s discussion and from Sunday’s sermon?
- What are practical ways you can apply what you noticed? (For example, is there a conversation to have, a commitment to make, or request for help you need to make?)
The sermon next Sunday, August 20th, will be on Matthew 7:7-11. In order to be prepared for Sunday’s sermon and CG next week, try to read these 8 verses daily and take note of how they resonate with you.