How to use the Sermon Discussion Questions:
1) Scripture is provided as a convenience to you and for those who may not have a bible.
2) Excerpts are provided from Tom’s sermon to help the group remember the important parts of his message. Feel free to read these together as a group, or you may simply want to use them as a reminder to put in your own words. Don’t feel the need to read everything in this document as a group. Use what you need, skip what you don’t.
John 16:29–33 (NIV84) 29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”
31 “You believe at last!” Jesus answered. 32 “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Matthew 5:3–12 (The Message) 3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. 4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. 5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. 7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for. 8 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. 10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. 11–12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds.
Matthew 5:3 (NIV84) 3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:4 (NIV84) 4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:6 (NIV84) 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Pastor Tom started this message with a few comments about the word good. What are a couple of things in your life that you would describe as good? And why?
1. Toward the beginning of his message, Pastor Tom shared these two conclusions people often come to about God and being good.
- If I do good things, then I am good with God. If good things happen to me, God must be good with me.
- If I do bad things, then I am bad with God. If bad things happen to me, God must be mad at me.
How might believing these statements impact the way someone lives day to day? How have you seen these beliefs in your own life, people around you, or even in teachings?
2. Excerpt from Tom’s Message: And you are on the edge of tapping out of this religion/Christianity thing because it doesn’t make sense and even more than that, it doesn’t work. You try to be a good person. You try to do good things. But life isn’t dealing you a good hand right now.
Have you ever found yourself identifying with this statement: You try to do good things, but life isn’t dealing you a good hand? If so, what was that like? How might you explain why bad things happen to good people?
3. Read John 16:29-33. What does Jesus teach the disciples about life in this world? How might understanding Jesus’ words impact the way the disciples view trials in their lives? How might His words impact the way you view your own struggles?
4. Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Mount to the anawim. We’ve heard about the anawim over the last several weeks.
How might you explain to someone else who the anawim were in Jesus’ day? Who are the anawim today? How does knowing who Jesus is talking to change the way we understand his teachings?
5. Read Matthew 5:3-12 in the Message paraphrase.
Several of the verses in this passage begin with “you are blessed when.” As you read through those statements, which one do you find most encouraging and why? Which one do you find most challenging and why?
6. Pastor Tom shared this definition of Kingdom—Any place where what God wants done is actually done. He went on to say this: Today God’s kingdom is expanding in to how I treat my spouse, how I father my children, how I lead at my place of work or how I see the world and my role and responsibility in it.
What might it look like for God’s kingdom to expand in you? How have you seen God’s kingdom expanding in your own life?
7. Excerpt from Tom’s message: God can change anyone and anything into something kingdom worthy.
How has God made you into something kingdom worthy? Share some stories of how you have watched God transform you or others.
8. Read Matthew 5:6. What do you think it means to hunger and thirst for righteousness and how can you know if you are thirsting after righteousness? What might it look like to be filled by God?
Jesus looks at the faces of the anawim and sees in them an ache, a desire for something more than their own wrecked experiences. They desire a lost innocence, freedom from a guilty conscience. He sees the anawim who live angry lives to cover their emotional distress. He sees the coping mechanisms. Jesus says, “You can live angry. You can pretend. Or you can enter my kingdom and live the With God life.” And in God’s kingdom, we will live satisfied.
How can you know if you are living the “With God life?” What are some areas where God may be calling you to deeper levels of trust in your life?
Toward the end of his message Pastor Tom shared this list of promises from God:
As you read through this list, which words most encourage you? Take some time to write those words somewhere you will see them this week and read them daily.