Summer on the Mount: Week 5
By: Reality SF
Welcome and Opening Prayer:
Welcome the group and open in a quick prayer.
Following Jesus’ Call to Relational Integrity:
This week focuses on Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:27-37, which is about the ever-intriguing and controversial topics of lust, marriage, divorce, and commitment. Just as Jesus does throughout His Sermon on the Mount, He examines Old Testament laws governing behavior and expands them to postures of the heart. Both early sections (v. 27-30 and v. 31-32) highlight types of adultery—looking upon a person lustfully and divorce. The final section (v. 33-37) highlights the integrity required to live in line with one’s word, and how this is essential for disciples of Jesus.
Praying with the Scripture:
Read Matthew 5:27-37 aloud, and then take 5 minutes of silent prayerful reflection. In particular, consider your personal attachments to these Scriptures—for example, how you have seen lust, divorce, or broken promises affect your life?
Large Group Discussion Questions:
These topics may be sensitive for some people—such as children of divorced parents, the individual who has trouble keeping his or her word, or the person who has been divorced. Therefore, it’s important to remain open and compassionate toward one another while seeking to understand Christ’s teaching. With this in mind, answer these questions:
- How have you been affected by or affected others concerning adultery, lust, marriage, divorce, vows, and/or keeping your word? (Use Mutual invitation.)
- As a group, reread verses 27-32. What guidance does Jesus have to offer? In what ways does Jesus provide comfort, challenge, and instruction?
Jesus’ Teaching Formula:
The final section (v. 33-37) covers the foundational need to keep one’s word. Like most of the rest of the Sermon on the Mount, this section follows Jesus’ teaching formula: “You have heard it said ___, but I say ___.” The first blank recounts an Old Testament teaching. The second blank represents Jesus’ extension of the teaching to a posture of the heart. It does not negate the command previously spoken, but rather expands it beyond being solely a behavior toward also being a state of mind or way of being. This is true when Jesus extrapolates the meaning of “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all.”
Large Group Discussion Questions:
- What does Jesus mean by saying don’t swear an oath “either by heaven… by the earth… by Jerusalem… by your head?”
- Imagine yourself as a first-century individual within a highly religious society hearing this message on vows. How might this challenge, correct, or encourage you?
- What seems to be Jesus’ central message on vows and keeping one’s word?
- In view of your current life, how does Jesus’ message on keeping your word challenge, correct, or encourage you?
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 stood out to you 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, July 9th, will be on Matthew 5:38-48. In order to be prepared for Sunday’s sermon and CG next week, try to commit to read these eleven verses daily and take note of how they resonate with you.