Matthew - Discussion

WEEK 3: Into the Wilderness

Read this overview 

Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. He is Messiah, the long awaited king of Israel and the world. Jesus came to usher in a new era of human history called the kingdom of God and to show us a new way to be human. This is good news for all of us. Join us as we walk through the Gospel of Matthew and encounter the Jesus who changes everything.

Begin with silence and prayer
5 min

Gather together as a LifeGroup, as a family or find time alone in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of the living room, etc.). Invite the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time. Then spend a few minutes in silence. 

Why silence, even while together? Because we live in a busy, noisy world, under a non-stop assault of distraction. In the midst of all the chaos, it’s hard at times to hear the voice  of God, and that of our brothers and sisters. As we gather together as a family, we want to hear what the Father is saying to and through each of us, and respond in turn. A great way to do that is to begin each time with silence and prayer.

Reflection on Sunday’s Sermon
15-20 min

If you are in a LifeGroup of 10 or more, divide into small groups of 5 – 7 people each (ideally same gender). Spend a few minutes catching up on life. Then talk about the following debrief questions:

1. What thoughts or reflections do you have about the sermon?

2. Who was John the Baptist? What role did he have in the life and ministry of Jesus?

3. Were there any specific things you heard from God?

Open the Bible together
15-20 min

Have somebody read Matthew 3.

Discuss the following questions:

1. What are some characteristics of John and his message that stand out?

2.  We talked about this in our Acts series, but the Greek word for witness is martus, which is where we get the word martyr. John the baptist is one of the many biblical figures who live into this. And even today, there are witnesses and martyrs for Jesus. What does it mean for the church to be a witness today? What does it mean for you to be a witness today? What do we need to do to live into that?

3. What can we learn about the person of John about how God intends for us as those called to be witnesses? Or to put it another way, How can our stories, our lives, effectively point to the story, the person of Jesus?

Work through these reflection questions
10-15 min

As David began his sermon his central thought centered around the question, “what is the message of John and how is it good news for us?” There were 4 aspects of his message that we explored: repentance, confession, judgment, and hope.

1. What do you think about when you hear the word repentance? What do you find difficult about repentance?

2. In verse 6, we see John baptizing people in the river Jordan and people were confessing sins. David defined Confession as an essential aspect of our lives as followers of Jesus. What does confession mean to you in your life and walk with Christ?

3. In the sermon we heard how “judgment is something we have become anxious about in the church. We dread being perceived as judgmental. People get upset when we talk about God’s wrath or justice.” But as one pastor said, “Sin is not a measure of bad you are, it’s a measure of how good you are not.” How then is this message of judgment good news?

4. How is this a message of hope for all believers? How does this message of hope shape and impact your daily life?

Close in prayer
5-10 min

Share prayer requests and end with this confession and absolution all together (link to this guide is on the website for all to share). 

Almighty God and Father, we confess to you, to one another,
and to the whole company of heaven, that we have sinned,
through our own fault, in thought, and word, and deed, and in what we have left undone.
For the sake of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us,
forgive us our sins, and by the power of your Holy Spirit
raise us up to serve you in newness of life, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

May Almighty God grant us forgiveness of all our sins, and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Amen.