Small Group Questions

Discussion Questions

Heart Matter - Week 3

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.


Scripture Passages:

Matthew 5:21-26 (NIV) 21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 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. 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. 25 “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. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.


John 13:34 (NRSV) 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.


1 John 4:20 (NRSV) 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars;


Matthew 5:9 (NRSV) “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.


Warm Up:

Just for fun, what’s your biggest pet peeve? Or what’s the quickest way for your friends to get under your skin? 


Discussion:

1. Toward the beginning of his message, Pastor Tom talked about how the law was put in place to protect and provide for the people of God.

If you have some kids what are some guidelines you’ve given them to protect and provide for them? If you don’t have kids what are some guidelines that were set for you growing up that accomplished these purposes?


2. Read Matthew 5:21-26.

What does this passage teach about anger? If you were here last week, what are some observations about anger that stood out to you from last week’s message and why? And if you weren’t here, look at verses 21-22. What can we learn about how God views anger from these verses?


3. Now look at Matthew 5:23-24.

What does God teach about giving here? What relationship do you see between giving and reconciliation?


4. Read John 13:34 and 1 John 4:20.

Excerpt from Tom’s message: You, God and me are three things that never operate or relate in isolation.

What might it look like to love others the way Jesus loves you? How do your relationships with people impact your relationship with God and vice versa?


5. Look back at 1 John 4:20.

How can you know if you have hate for a brother or sister? Why do you think it is so common for people to be both religious and angry? What are some ways people might find healing for hate in their hearts?


6. In his message, Pastor Tom defined reconciliation as this: “to bring things to a state of peace/shalom as God intends.”

Have you ever experienced reconciliation with someone? If so what was that like? What advice might you give to someone who wants to experience reconciliation?


7. Look at Matthew 5:25.

What are some of the ways that Jesus tells people to make things right? Why might Jesus have encouraged people to come to terms with others in this way?


8. Excerpt from Pastor Tom’s message: Jesus is not trying to minimize the wrong done to you. He is just starting in the best order. Let’s start by looking at what I have done.  

What value do you see in asking for forgiveness before trying to forgive someone else? What do you think is more difficult and why—asking for forgiveness or forgiving someone else?


9. Pastor Tom made this statement toward the end of his message: Your healing will start the moment you choose to forgive.

How are healing and forgiveness connected? Can you think of times in your own life when this has been true for you? Are there things right now that you need to forgive?


Next Steps:

Excerpt from Tom’s message:

A few things forgiveness is not:

- Forgiveness does not mean we act like it didn’t happen.

- Forgiveness does not mean that there aren’t consequences and things will go back to the way they were before. Forgiveness removes condemnation but not consequences.

- Forgiveness is not a decision to become more passive.

Forgiveness is a choice to take control back from something that has wrongly taken ownership and residency in your life.


As you read the statements above, what do you think is the most difficult truth about forgiveness to swallow?


Are there any areas in your own life where you need to seek forgiveness for yourself or practice forgiveness toward someone else? What is one step you can take this week to move toward finding or offering forgiveness?


The moment you choose Jesus and forgiveness over anger and contempt, something will happen in your worship of God.


Pray together as a group that God would help each of us work through our need to forgive and be forgiven this week.