Welcome to week five of our fall sermon series called A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus. This week’s conversation will be from one of Jesus’ last teachings with his disciples. Join us as we discuss what it means that Jesus is Judge and the three windows we may look through to see this description.
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
What is one of your favorite fall family traditions?
Share something you may have written on your notecard this weekend during worship that you want to trust God with.
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Take turns reading through Matthew 25:31-46 aloud. Jesus is having one of his last important conversations with his disciples. What are some of your initial reactions to the text? What was your initial reaction to hear about Jesus as “Judge?”
Sheep and Goats
Jesus is using powerful language and metaphors in this text. What do you think he is trying to say? How do you think the disciples felt about what Jesus said?
What did these instructions mean to the people hearing Jesus? We don’t often have people asking us for food or drink in our daily lives. What are some ways we could follow Jesus’ instructions in West Michigan? What is one thing you could do?
Compassion and Judgment
In the Bible, the wrath of God is closely connected to God’s compassion. How are they connected? Is this a new idea to you?
How have you felt angry over someone you love not receiving the care or treatment that you think they should have received?
Pastor Jeff also mentioned the story of Ruth and Boaz. Have someone in the group summarize that story. What do you see as the connection between these two stories?
If this was the only scripture in the Bible, we might conclude God is going to judge us just based on what we did or didn’t do—that we have to earn our salvation. What do some other passages say about salvation? How can this passage encourage us to find new, creative and non-destructive ways always to be looking to help disadvantaged people?
Guilt, Mercy and Movement
In this teaching, Jesus tells his listeners they will not be judged for the harm they did, but for the help they did not give. Helping others doesn’t get you into heaven, but something is wrong if following Jesus doesn’t change your heart for compassion. Last winter, our series was called “The Grace Effect.” If you were around for it, what were some of the main points?
The disciples would have lived with a religion filled with endless rules on avoiding doing something wrong. How does this teaching from Jesus change the way they view the world? How does it take the focus from themselves and turn it to others?
Jesus seems to be saying that he cares enough for those in need that he compares himself to them. How does this comparison change the way we may look at others? What kind of impact could that make on how we speak or treat the people we come into contact with?
Brainstorm ways that you can each take small steps to begin the practice of seeing the image of God in the people who are needy.
This week’s conversation was about three windows to look through to see the importance Jesus puts on our caring for the marginalized and “least of these.” What’s one practical step you can take this week to treat and see the people around you as if they were Jesus?
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.
This October, our Invest in Others section will focus on service. How can our group work together to serve someone or another family who may need someone to step into their story and fill a need? Take some time to think about who your group could help. Who in your group will take the lead on making it happen?
Download a printable PDF here.