INSIDE OUT RIGHTEOUSNESS
If Jesus was serious about heart transformation, then our thoughts, motives, and intentions are deeply significant.
Work through the following questions and scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
- What laws are you serious about following? Which ones do you tend to relax on?
2. Read Matthew 5:20-37.
Make some observations about this passage (What does the text say?):
- What do you notice and what are you curious about?
Make some interpretations (What does the passage mean?)
- What do you learn about God?
- What do you learn about humanity?
- What are the implications of Jesus’ repeated statement, “You have heard that it was said…But I say…”?
- How does obeying the Law as Jesus interprets here the way one exceeds the Scribes and Pharisees in righteousness?
Now make some applications (what’s my response?)
- How are you encouraged, challenged, or convicted by this passage?
- What should be our response to this passage?
3. Read Matthew 22:34-40.
- How does this passage connect with the one you read above?
- In what ways does Jesus fulfill the Law and the Prophets?
4. Jesus takes each of these commands to the level of the heart.
- Where is your heart in regards to each?
- In which of these areas are you not loving others in your heart, thoughts and actions?
5. If Jesus was serious, His Kingdom is made up of those who truly love others from the inside-out. He doesn’t just want you to love people in your heart, but actively move towards others in love.
- What’s one way you can move toward others this week in love?
Matthew 5:20-37 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. “Again, 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: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Matthew 22:34-40 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
It’s easy to think we’re doing ok when things are looking good for us on the outside, but when we take Jesus’ words from the sermon on the mount to heart, we can easily find our hearts out of line with His. Take time as a group to repent of the ways you have not been loving others in your thoughts and actions. Pray Psalm 19:14, that the words of your mouth and the meditation of your heart would be pleasing in God’s sight.
TAKE A NEXT STEP
- Consider thoughtfully reading or listening through the whole Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) weekly throughout the series.
- Where has God revealed that your inward life is not matching your outward life? Commit to beginning your days this week praying Psalm 19:14 and asking God for the eyes to see opportunities in your day to participate in the work of restoration that His kingdom is all about.
FOR THE PARENTS
Hey, families! Here’s a look at what we’re covering with your kids so you can help them continue to grow at home during the week.
All month long we are going to be talking about how Jesus defeated sin.
THE BIBLE: Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
THE MESSAGE: Noah walked with God. That means that, in a world where everyone was doing their own thing, Noah was thinking about God. Talking to God. Listening to God. And because he walked with God and was always thinking about Him, it helped him to live a life of obedience and not sin.
THE BIG IDEA: Jesus defeated sin for us!
Because sometimes you and your kid need a conversation-starter that isn’t,
“So . . . how was church?”
- God wants us to give Him our best. What are some ways you can make sure you give God your all?
God is not mad at us when we sin. In fact, it actually makes him very sad when we choose to do our own thing instead of obeying him. But God never stops loving us when we sin! In fact, he loves us so much that he sent Jesus to show us how we can live a life of love, truth, and peace. And just like the rainbow was God’s promise to Noah, Jesus is our promise that God has a better way for us to live.
Next week, we’ll explore the Tower of Babel and how pride is a very destructive sin!