Ask, Seek, Knock

  1. What role does prayer play in your life right now? Are you more comforted or challenged by the privilege of prayer? Why?


Read: Matthew 7:7-11


  1. How is it significant that Jesus invites you to speak with God in prayer (v.7-8)? What, if any, reluctance do you have in turning to God in prayer?


  1. What is the significance of Jesus saying that God promises to respond when we pray (v.7-8, 11b)?


  1. What may the progression of “ask…seek…knock” be indicating about how we ought to pray?


  1. Who is the “everyone” God promises to answer in v.8? What do you make of those who argue that God plays “favourites”?


  1. Why do you think Jesus emphasizes that when we pray, we are coming to our Heavenly Father? How does this encourage or discourage you to pray? What does that say about your “father picture” and how is that being played out in your prayer life today?


  1. In what ways does God out-stripe an earthly father? Why does Jesus mention that here? One reality that Jesus challenges us in these verses is whether or not we really believe that God is good. Have you ever struggled with whether or not God is a giver of good in life? If so, when, and why?


  1. How does God giving only “good gifts” or “good things” to His children determine how we pray and what we can expect from prayer?


  1. Briefly discuss the four ways God hears and answers every prayer that were mentioned on Sunday. Which one was new to you or opened a new avenue of insight to you? Do you struggle to believe that God always responds to His children?   If so, why?


  1. What can you do this week to lean into the privilege of prayer more intensely?


  1. What has God’s Spirit been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

Do Not Judge

  1. If you think of your immediate or extended family what kind of actions, attitudes and behaviour destroy good family relationships?


Read Matthew 7:1-7

  1. In this passage, Jesus deals with the deadly way in which we try to manage and control those closest to us.


  1. What kind of judging is Jesus addressing in v.1?


  1. Is there a difference between judging and being judgemental? Explain.


  1. What is the connection between judging and condemning?


  1. Where do we judge and exclude people today in our society?


  1. Have you ever felt judged? How did it make you feel? What consequence did it have for you?


  1. In v.2-5 Jesus addresses blaming as another tool that destroys relationships.


  1. Why is blaming so hurtful?


  1. What leads people to blame others? What is the underlying intent?


  1. According to Jesus’ words what should we do before we blame someone?


  1. V.6 addresses the practice of pushing things of God upon people whether they are ready for it or not.


  • Can you give examples of that? Have you experienced it yourself?


  • How do people respond to pushiness? What is your response?


  • Where are you guilty of condemning or blaming people or forcing your wonderful solutions on them? What do you need to confess?


  1. What do you need to do in response to Jesus’ words?

Winning Out Over Worry

  1. What are some things you spend time worrying about? How do you think worry helps or harms you?


Read: Matthew 6:25-34

  1. Do you agree with the statement that worrying is acting like you don’t believe God’s promises?


  1. How does it feel to know that God cares about you and is going to take care of you?


  1. Does the flower analogy put into perspective how silly it is to worry about clothes?


  1. What are some ways you can seek God’s Kingdom – His rule in your life – first?


  1. Why do you think we worry so much, even though we know God will take care of us?


  1. Why do you think God tells us not to worry?


  1. In what way does talking to God about the things you are anxious about help you worry less?


  1. How would you feel if you told your child or your best friend that you were going to bring them lunch, but they spent the whole morning telling everyone they were worried that they weren’t going to have anything to eat that day? How do you think God feels when we worry about those things He’s already said He’d take care of?


  1. What can you do this week that will help remind you to not worry?


  1. What has God’s Spirit been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?


Sending It On Ahead

No recording available.

1. “Pass it on ahead.” What are your first thoughts when you think about this phrase?

Read Matthew 6:19-21

2. What are some things on earth that you invest in?

3. Would you agree or disagree that “success promises but rarely delivers”? Why?

4. In what ways do you feel that you invest in heaven?

Read Matthew 6:22-23

5. How do you make sense of the C.S. Lewis quote “aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in, aim at earth and you will get neither”?

6. In what ways do you bring health to your eyes? In what ways do you bring unhealth? Do you feel like your eyes are healthy?

Read Matthew 6:24

7. What does “be 100% loyal” to God look like in your life?

8. When has God asked you to do something where you had to make a choice between following God or following your own selfish desires?

9. Read Mark 8:34-39. What does this passage mean to you?

10. What do I sense God telling me and what am I going to do about it?

My Secret Life

  1. How do you pray? What do you do? What do you say?


Read Matthew 6:5-8

  1. What was wrong with the way hypocrites prayed?


  1. What does praying “to your Father in secret” look like?


  1. How does the fact that our Father knows what we need before we ask Him, affect our prayer?


Read Matthew 6:9-13

  1. What role does the Lord’s Prayer play in your prayer life? Are you praying it? If so, how? If not, why not?


Read Matthew 6:14-15

  1. What does our readiness to forgive others have to do with our prayers?


Read Matthew 6:16-18

  1. What is your experience with fasting?


  1. What is the purpose of fasting?


  1. What does it mean for our acts of worship and ministry that our Father “is in secret” (v.18)?


  1. What do I sense God telling me and what am I going to do about it?

Approved: By Whom?

  1. What does it take to be a respectable person in your world? Who do you respect?


Read Matthew 23:5-11

  1. How did the religious elite of Jesus’ time try to solicit respect from the people around them?


  1. How should a follower of Christ be different? What is their badge of respectability?


Read Matthew 6:1-4

  1. What trap do followers of Christ need to avoid? (v.1)


  1. What is a hypocrite? What does a hypocrite do?


  1. How do we not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing?


  1. Someone said: “God does not want to be present where He is not wanted.” How does that apply to this text?


  1. In light of what Jesus is saying, how should we go about helping others?


  1. What is God telling me? What do I need to do?

Loving Life’s “Others”

  1. When have you found it difficult to forgive another person? Describe what you experienced.


Read: Matthew 5:38-48

  1. What do you find most difficult about Jesus’ instructions in these verses?


  1. Jesus’ “eye for an eye” quote refers to Exodus 21:24. How would this instruction to those who were judges in Israel clarify the meaning of justice? How would this instruction as a consequence then limit the extent of revenge?


  1. It appears that the Pharisees extended this principle from the courts of law (where it was to belong) to the realm of personal relationships (where it did not belong). What consequences might have resulted?


  1. Have another look at v.39-42. How would you contrast our natural responses in such situations with the responses Jesus expects of us?


  1. What do you feel is accomplished by turning the other cheek or going a second mile? In what situations might Christ’s commands apply today?


  1. Consider v.44-45 again. According to Jesus, how are we to treat our enemies and why?


  1. In what ways is Jesus’ command extraordinary (v.46-48)?


  1. Does this teaching in any way mean that Christians are to be convenient doormats for the world to walk on? Explain your answer.


  1. How was Jesus Himself an example of the principles “Do not resist an evil person” and “Love your enemies”? How can you reflect your Heavenly Father’s character when you are mistreated?


  1. What has God’s Spirit been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

When Promises Are Broken

  1. You’ve been asked by the editor of a publication entitled “Vibrant Family” to write an article on “The top five reasons marriages fail.” What five points would you construct your article around?

Read: Matthew 5:27-37

  1. What, according to Jesus, is the full meaning of the 7th Commandment: “Do not commit adultery” (v.27-28)?


  1. Someone once compared lust to “a cannibal committing suicide by nibbling on himself” (Calvin Miller, “A Requiem for Love,” Christianity Today 34, no.2). How have you seen the destructive nature of lust in your life and in the lives of others? Where do you see it manifested in our culture today?


  1. Some Christians have taken v.29-30 literally and have mutilated their bodies. How do you think Jesus intends us to understand the warnings He gives in these verses? In what situations do you think you need to “gouge out an eye” or “cut off a hand”?


  1. Take a moment and ask God’s Spirit to help you get rid of anything in your life that causes you to sin and ask God’s Spirit to assist you in obeying Him in your attitudes as well as your actions.


  1. In view of v.31-32, we need to know that Rabbi Shammai taught that divorce was permitted only in extreme cases while Rabbi Hillel taught that it was allowed for “any and every reason.” How does this help us understand the easy divorce culture that Jesus took on in His day? What kind of impact do you think getting divorced so easily had on the social fabric of Jesus’ day?


  1. How does Jesus’ teaching contrast with today’s views you and your peers have held concerning marriage and divorce? In what case is divorce allowable according to Jesus? In your opinion, is a marriage salvageable in such an instance? Why or why not?


  1. How might the issue of oaths and vows be connected to the topic of lust, marriage and divorce (v.33-37)? The Pharisees had elaborate formulas for oaths, with some being binding and some not (see Matt. 23:16-22). Why is Jesus opposed to oaths? Does this mean, for example, that we should refuse to give evidence under oath in a court of law? State your reasons.


  1. Why should oaths be unnecessary for Jesus’ followers? If you are married, review the vows you have made with your spouse. Have you been faithful in keeping all the promises you made? If you are unmarried, consider your present sexual behavior. What is your responsibility toward a future spouse?


  1. Ask God’s Spirit to help you resist the pressures to compromise in marriage and speech. Having done that, work now on a different article, one entitled, “Five ways to make your marriage thrive.”


  1. What has God’s Spirit been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

Can’t We Just Get Along?

  1. What makes you really angry?


  1. Is the feeling of anger good or bad?


Read Matthew 5:21-26

  1. What do you think Jesus wants to say in v.21-22? Is Jesus intensifying the Old Testament Law? Is He laying down a new law?


  1. Look at v.23-24. What kind of person would do what Jesus is describing in these verses? What does that have to do with the command “do not murder”?


  1. How do you understand v.25-26? How is that connected to the command?


  1. As you take another look at this text what is Jesus trying to say? What kind of character does a really good person have when it comes to anger and contempt?


  1. How can I become such a person? What kind of spiritual disciplines could help me dealing with anger or contempt?

How to Be Free

  1. Have you ever had a run-in with the law? Describe what happened.


  1. If the Old Testament did not exist, what would be missing in your knowledge of God? Do you feel Christians should be obeying everything the Bible says? Why or why not?


Read: Matthew 5:17-20

  1. This passage naturally divides into two parts, v.17-18 and v.19-20. What does each emphasize?


  1. Why might people have thought Jesus came to abolish the Law and the prophets (v.17)? The Law and the Prophets (the OT) consist of teaching, prophecy, and guidelines for living ethically. In what sense has Jesus fulfilled each of these?


  1. How does Jesus emphasize His high view of OT scripture (v.17-18)? How can Jesus’ words strengthen our confidence in Scripture?


  1. What portions of the Bible have you tended to skip over or even neglect? How can you make studying these a higher priority?


  1. What does Jesus say about the importance of our response to the Law and how it determines our status in the Kingdom of Heaven?


  1. The Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law were zealous about observing the Law. How can our righteousness possibly surpass theirs (v.20)? Jesus states that only those who have this surpassing righteousness will enter God’s Kingdom (experience life under His rule). How can this be harmonized with His statement about the poor in spirit entering the Kingdom of Heaven (5:3)?


  1. Some people claim that Jesus abolished the law for the Christian and that we are only responsible for obeying the “law of love.” Respond to this view in light of Jesus’ words in this passage. How should we study and apply the OT law today?


  1. What has God’s Spirit been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

True Influence

  1. What is influence? What do we mean by saying that people are influential?


  1. Who has influenced you?


Read Matthew 5:13-16

  1. When Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the word” what kind of people does Jesus have in mind? Who is He talking about? (Consider v.1-12)


  1. What makes someone salt or light?


  1. What does salt do?


  1. How does being salt describe the function of a Christ follower among the people he/she lives with?


  1. We know that salt cannot lose its properties of being salty unless it is heavily diluted. What is Jesus trying to say by “if salt loses its flavor?”


  1. What is the purpose and function of light?


  1. To light a candle only to hide it in a box is absurd. What is Jesus trying so say?


  1. When do you function as a light? What is the purpose?


  1. What did you hear Jesus telling you while studying this passage? What are you going to do about it?

So, You Want to Be Happy…

  1. How would you define the word “blessed”? Who do you normally consider to be blessed or fortunate?


Read: Matthew 5:1-12


  1. How does our normal description of those who are blessed or fortunate compare with those Jesus describes as blessed here at the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount?


  1. Jesus teaches that those who are “poor in spirit” (v.3) acknowledge their spiritual poverty, their bankruptcy before God. Why is this a pre-condition for receiving the Kingdom of Heaven? Why is it so difficult for us to admit our spiritual poverty?


  1. Why would those who are poor in spirit feel a need to mourn (v.4)? Those who mourn feel sorrow not only for their own sin but also for the sin they see around them. What have you seen in society or in the news lately that causes you to mourn? How do you think those who mourn will be comforted?


  1. How would a true understanding of ourselves (v.3-4) lead us to be meek (v.5), that is, to have a humble and gentle spirit toward others? From the world’s point of view, why is it surprising that the meek will inherit the earth?


  1. What has Jesus said so far that would lead us to hunger and thirst for righteousness? Biblical righteousness has three aspects: legal, moral and social. What does it mean to hunger and thirst for each of these? Jesus promises that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled (v.6). What can you do to cultivate a healthy spiritual appetite?


  1. Jesus goes on to say that the merciful will be shown mercy (v.7). Why do you think how we treat others will affect how God treats us?


  1. Why would the promise of seeing God (v.8) be reserved for those who are pure in heart?


  1. How can we be peacemakers (v.9) in our homes, in our churches and in society?


  1. Why would the world despise the kind of people described in the Beatitudes? How have the Beatitudes challenged you to be and live differently?