Welcome to week six of our fall sermon series called A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus. This week we look at four scenes that tell us what it means that Jesus is a friend to sinners. This conversation helps us understand how to follow him and partake in the gift of fellowship he offers to those who humbly wish to accept his mercy and grace.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
Share Part of Your Story
If you could have dinner with anyone from the past or present, who would it be and why?
What are some things that make a small group a safe place to talk about life’s joys and struggles? How can you make sure your small group is a safe environment?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Work together to take turns reading through Matthew 9:9-13 aloud. Recap what’s going on in the story. Why was this dinner party such a shocking event?
Following someone famous or important today looks quite a bit different than it did in the ancient Middle East. What did Jesus mean when he asked Matthew to follow him? What did it mean for Matthew to follow Jesus?
Was Jesus approving of the things the tax collectors had done by having dinner with them? Why do you think he was really interested in eating with them?
How does Jesus’ call to us today look different than His call to Matthew? How is the call the same? What are some of the things following Jesus might require from a person?
Sharing a meal in the first-century was different than today. What did sharing a meal together mean in that culture?
Being in fellowship with someone means extending a willingness to know and be known. How does Jesus offer this by making room for people at the table?
What does Jesus show us about treating others with love by eating dinner with people that many avoided and even despised? Who do we need to make room for at our table?
The Pharisees asked what could be seen as a complicated question (Matthew 9:11). What were the implications of Jesus eating with Matthew and his friends?
Why was it hard for the Pharisees to understand what Jesus was doing? How often do we tend to avoid contact with the scoundrels among us? Why?
Pastor Jeff mentioned a list of things in Matthew 9:12-13 that Jesus said he did or did not come to do. Compare and contrast the items on each side.
We often think we are good on our own—that we don’t need mercy or grace in many parts of our lives. What excuses do people use to justify their lack of need for mercy and grace?
Those who come to know the Friend of Sinners will then be a Friend of Sinners. This is how Jesus asks us to follow Him. What does it look like to follow Jesus in this way?
Today’s conversation was about four scenes where we see Jesus as Friend. Which scene was the most challenging? What’s one step you can take this week to grow in that area?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
Last week you talked about how your group could serve those around you. If you didn’t meet last week, begin that discussion today. Decide who will own it for your group. Talk about different ways your group could serve someone or a ministry. Begin to work toward a specific time and place where you can put this plan into motion. Take some time to discuss and pray together about what this will look like.
Download a printable PDF here.