Following Jesus: Focus On The Message – Unit 3

 

Description

Welcome to Focus On The Message – the first component of our Following Jesus discipleship program. This web page contains the lessons for:

Unit 3: Matthew 5 – 10

Purpose

Follow this link for information about these key aspects of our training: Purpose, Goals, Habits, Ministries, and Assignments.


Unit 3: Matthew 5 – 10

In this unit each chapter comprises multiple lessons for a total of 32 altogether. You should ideally cover one chapter a week, but please don’t let a week go by without completing at least one lesson.

Matthew 5

Lesson 1: The Beatitudes

Main text and related passages:

  • Beatitutes – Matthew 5:1-12; Matthew 5:3; Jeremiah 5:1-5; 2 Corinthians 8:8-9 NIV – Bible Gateway
    • The beatitudes are intended to be understood as characteristics to emulate, but rather as existing categories of people who, though not necessarily admired by society in general, were being welcomed into God’s Kingdom ( Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy – Chapter 4 (New York: Harper Collins e-books, 2009), 111-121.)
    • Poor in Spirit – these were the people who you went to last when you were looking for spiritual insight. You don’t want to be poor in spirit.
    • Those who mourn – these folks are not going to have keep mourning because they will be comforted.
    • The Meek –
    • Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness won’t have to stay that way because they will be filled.
    • The merciful, though not necessarily admired by the surrounding society were welcome in the Kingdom.
    • Pure in Heart:
    • Peacemakers
    • Persecuted because of Righteousness:

Topics to explore:

    • Notice in v. 1-2 the distinction between the crowds and the disciples. Why are the crowds following Jesus? Why are the disciples following Jesus?
    • Did you ever wonder if people like you were welcome in the Kingdom of God? What about the people you are discipling?
    • If you’ve read Matthew before, consider what you know about what happens through the rest of the book:
      • Do the disciples know everything that Jesus is going to teach them at this point?
      • Are the disciples perfectly obedient?
      • Are all of the disciples going to last to the very end?
      • Why does Matthew already refer to them as disciples?
    • In light of the previous questions, how does Jesus treat them? Are they nervous or insecure about where they stand with him?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 2: Salt and Light

Main text and related passages:

  • Salt and Light – Matthew 5:13-16 NIV – Salt and Light – Bible Gateway
    • As followers of Jesus we illuminate the world around us for others and help to preserve it from spoiling.

Topics to explore:

    • What do we use salt for today? What did they use salt for in the setting of Matthew’s gospel?
    • How effective are you as salt and light?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 3: The Fulfillment of the Law

Main text and related passages:

  • The Fulfillment of the Law – Matthew 5:17-20 NIV – Bible Gateway
    • Jesus now begins to interpret Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) for his disciples.
    • This statement is an overview of how he will fulfill the Law and Prophets. The details are found in the subsequent passages.
    • This is a good opportunity to reflect onTorah in general and on the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20) in particular.
    • Review the commandments and reflect on their significance.
    • This is also a good opportunity to reflect on the 4th commandment – The Sabbath. The discipline of keep a sabbath is one worth establishing early in the life of a disciple.

Checkout the following:

Topics to explore:

    • What does Jesus mean by “The Law”? Is he talking about our legal system?
    • What role has the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Old Testament played in your life?
    • How does Jesus fulfill the Law and the Prophets?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 4: Murder

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

    • Notice the verbal formula: “You have heard that it was said . . . But I tell you . . .”.
      • What does this teach us about where the attention of disciples should be focused?
      • How much of your attention is focused on what you’ve been told about the Bible vs. what the Bible actually teaches?
    • Does this passage make you uncomfortable?
    • How do you deal with your anger?
      • Ignore your anger.
      • Pretend you’re not angry in order to maintain a “good confession”.
      • Talk to Jesus honestly about your anger and take the time the explore with him its root causes.

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.

Lesson 5: Adultery

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

    • Does this passage make you uncomfortable?
    • How do you deal with lust? How do you deal with your sexuality?
      • Ignore your lust.
      • Pretend you don’t experience lust in order to maintain a “good confession”.
      • Talk to Jesus honestly about your lust and take the time the explore with him its root causes.

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 6: Divorce

Main text and related passages:

Checkout the following:

Topics to explore:

    • Does this passage make you uncomfortable?
    • Divorce is a complicated subject. Make sure you review all of the suggested links, books, and videos!
    • Has your life been impacted by divorce? If so, how? What is your view of marriage? Are you married? How is your marriage?
    • How do you deal with marriage issues?
      • Ignore them.
      • Pretend that there are no issues in order to maintain a “good confession”.
      • Talk to Jesus honestly about marriage issues and take the time the explore with him their root causes.

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 7: Oaths

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

    • Does this passage make you uncomfortable?
    • Does your “yes” mean “yes” and your “no” mean “no”? Do you manipulate people in order to seem more believable?
    • How do you deal with your desire to influence or manipulate others?
      • Ignore it.
      • Pretend that you don’t manipulate in order to “get away with it”.
      • Talk to Jesus honestly about your willingness to manipulate and take the time the explore with him its root causes.

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 8: An Eye for an Eye

Main text and related passages:

  • Eye for eye – Matthew 5:38-42; Leviticus 24:17-20; Deuteronomy 19:15-21 NIV – Bible Gateway
    • Most people have had the experience of dealing with people who hurt them, but this passage holds special challenges for people who are subject to systematic oppression. Be prepared to discuss:
      • Racism
      • Sexism/misogyny
      • homophobia

Topics to explore:

    • How do you handle insults and attacks? How do you deal with enemies? How do you handle oppression and injustice (racial, sexual, etc.)? What’s God’s attitude to oppression and injustice?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 9: Love for Enemies

Main text and related passages:

  • Love for Enemies – Matthew 5:43-48; Leviticus 19:15-18; Leviticus 19:33-34; Deuteronomy 23:4-5
    • Jesus assumes (as does the Old Testament) that we love ourselves. He expects us to love our neighbors (as does the Old Testament). This alone however leaves open the question of who is our neighbor (addressed in Luke 10:25-37). Jesus short-circuits this question however by telling us to love our enemies and, by implication, everyone in between. Note that the word translated “love” here is less about warm feelings and more about positive actions of benefit.
    • Most people have had the experience of dealing with people who hurt them, but this passage holds special challenges for people who are subject to systematic oppression. Be prepared to discuss:
      • Racism
      • Sexism/misogyny
      • homophobia

Topics to explore:

    • How do you handle insults and attacks? How do you deal with enemies? How do you handle oppression and injustice (racial, sexual, etc.)? What’s God’s attitude to oppression and injustice?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Matthew 6

Lesson 10: Acts of Righteousness: Giving to the Needy

Main text and related passages:

  • Acts of Righteousness – Matthew 6:1
    • The Jews of Jesus’ day acknowledged 3 key “acts of righteousness”: giving, prayer, and fasting. Jesus begins this teaching by explaining that these are not to be done for show.
  • Giving to the Needy – Matthew 6:1, 2-4
  • Prayer – Matthew 6:1,5-15
    • Pray simply so that others can simply pray!
      • Church life subjects you to subtle and not so subtle pressure to pray in ways that result in recognition and affirmation. If you don’t deal with this pressure, you will eventually find yourself praying fancy, religious prayers in church settings.
      • When your prayers are “fancy” new believers who hear you will be inclined to think of public prayer as something that they could never do. This is actually bad for the Kingdom.
      • When you pray publicly, pray simply so that new believers listening to you will think: “I can do that!”
  • Fasting – Matthew 6:1, 16-18
    • In Jesus’ day, food preparation took a lot of time. Fasting potentially freed up some of that time for prayer.
    • Today, food preparation requires much less time, but there are other things that consume our time (entertainment, email/internet, phone, television, radio, etc.). Consider fasting from some of these as well.
    • Be careful not to turn fasting into a quest for human approval.

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 11: Acts of Righteousness: Prayer

Main text and related passages:

  • Acts of Righteousness – Matthew 6:1
    • The Jews of Jesus’ day acknowledged 3 key “acts of righteousness”: giving, prayer, and fasting. Jesus begins this teaching by explaining that these are not to be done for show.
  • Giving to the Needy – Matthew 6:1, 2-4
  • Prayer – Matthew 6:1,5-15
    • Pray simply so that others can simply pray!
      • Church life subjects you to subtle and not so subtle pressure to pray in ways that result in recognition and affirmation. If you don’t deal with this pressure, you will eventually find yourself praying fancy, religious prayers in church settings.
      • When your prayers are “fancy” new believers who hear you will be inclined to think of public prayer as something that they could never do. This is actually bad for the Kingdom.
      • When you pray publicly, pray simply so that new believers listening to you will think: “I can do that!”
  • Fasting – Matthew 6:1, 16-18
    • In Jesus’ day, food preparation took a lot of time. Fasting potentially freed up some of that time for prayer.
    • Today, food preparation requires much less time, but there are other things that consume our time (entertainment, email/internet, phone, television, radio, etc.). Consider fasting from some of these as well.
    • Be careful not to turn fasting into a quest for human approval.

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 12: Acts of Righteousness: Fasting

Main text and related passages:

  • Acts of Righteousness – Matthew 6:1
    • The Jews of Jesus’ day acknowledged 3 key “acts of righteousness”: giving, prayer, and fasting. Jesus begins this teaching by explaining that these are not to be done for show.
  • Giving to the Needy – Matthew 6:1, 2-4
  • Prayer – Matthew 6:1,5-15
    • Pray simply so that others can simply pray!
      • Church life subjects you to subtle and not so subtle pressure to pray in ways that result in recognition and affirmation. If you don’t deal with this pressure, you will eventually find yourself praying fancy, religious prayers in church settings.
      • When your prayers are “fancy” new believers who hear you will be inclined to think of public prayer as something that they could never do. This is actually bad for the Kingdom.
      • When you pray publicly, pray simply so that new believers listening to you will think: “I can do that!”
  • Fasting – Matthew 6:1, 16-18
    • In Jesus’ day, food preparation took a lot of time. Fasting potentially freed up some of that time for prayer.
    • Today, food preparation requires much less time, but there are other things that consume our time (entertainment, email/internet, phone, television, radio, etc.). Consider fasting from some of these as well.
    • Be careful not to turn fasting into a quest for human approval.

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 13: Treasures in Heaven

Main text and related passages:

  • Treasures in Heaven – Matthew 6:19-24
    • Store treasure in heaven, not on earth.
    • “Eyes are good” is an idiomatic way of referring to generosity. “Eyes are bad” is an idiomatic way of referring to stinginess.
  • Do Not Worry – Matthew 6:25-34
    • “Seek fist his Kingdom and his righteousness” is NOT the same as “Seek God first”. IF Jesus had intended to say “seek God first”, he could have done so. The Kingdom (i.e. the Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of God) is the reigning activity of God on earth. Although is encompassed God’s rule throughout the universe, for the purpose of the people listening to Jesus, the Kingdom was the movement, led by Jesus, comprising all of the people who were following him. You cannot obey this verse (Matthew 6:33) by yourself. You can only obey this teaching through demonstrated commitment to being part of a local family of believers.

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 14: Do Not Worry

Main text and related passages:

  • Do Not Worry – Matthew 6:25-34
    • “Seek fist his Kingdom and his righteousness” is NOT the same as “Seek God first”. IF Jesus had intended to say “seek God first”, he could have done so. The Kingdom (i.e. the Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of God) is the reigning activity of God on earth. Although is encompassed God’s rule throughout the universe, for the purpose of the people listening to Jesus, the Kingdom was the movement, led by Jesus, comprising all of the people who were following him. You cannot obey this verse (Matthew 6:33) by yourself. You can only obey this teaching through demonstrated commitment to being part of a local family of believers.

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Matthew 7

Lesson 15: Judging Others

Main text and related passages:

  • Judging Others – Matthew 7:1-6
    • This isn’t the only passage in scripture that deals with judging.
    • The point is not that we should never judge, but rather that we shouldn’t judge hypocritically. We need to assume that our own eyesight may be impaired before trying to fix a problem with someone else.
    • Beyond judging, don’t give share precious truths with people who won’t value them or who can’t appreciate them.

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 16: Ask, Seek, Knock

Main text and related passages:

  • Ask, Seek, Knock – Matthew 7:7-12
    • God is loving and wants to provide generously for his children.

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 17: Narrow and Wide Gates

Main text and related passages:

  • Narrow and Wide Gates – Matthew 7:13-14
    • Following Jesus requires intentional effort. If we don’t make that effort, we will get carried along with the crowd.
    • Illustrations:
      • Heading south on MA-28 onto I-93 S in order to take MA 23S.
      • Heading onto I-93N from South Short Plaza in order to stay on I-93N.

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 18: A Tree and its Fruit

Main text and related passages:

  • A Tree and its Fruit – Matthew 7:15-23
    • Shepherds wear sheep’s clothing. Wolves in sheep’s clothing are pretending to be shepherds, not sheep.
    • Give people time to show their fruit before you entrust them with responsibility.
    • The manifestation of supernatural gifts is NOT proof that Jesus actually knows you.

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 19: The Wise and Foolish Builders

Main text and related passages:

  • The Wise and Foolish Builders – Matthew 7:24-29
    • This closing passage plays a key role in framing the Sermon on the Mount.
    • We must put Jesus’ words into practice. In the parable, both the house built on rock and the house built on sand face the same three challenges: rain, flood, and wind.
    • The house collapsing doesn’t necessarily mean death or ultimately going to hell. It is better to think of it as becoming useless for God’s purposes. Sooner or later, you and the people you disciple will face a crisis that has the potential to “take you out of the game” or make you disengage from the Kingdom. The only way to survive is if you have been putting Jesus’ words into practice.
    • Jesus’s words here refers very specifically to the Sermon on the Mount. Of course Jesus said more that just what is found here and we need to put all of his words into practice. In fact we need to put all of the Bible’s teaching (properly understood) into practice. The Sermon on the Mount however is the foundation. We need to start here!
    • You and your disciple need to develop a plan for regularly working through Matthew 5 – 7 to ensure that you make it part of your lifestyle. The isn’t a “lone ranger” operation. It needs to be done as part of a believing community.

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Matthew 8

Lesson 20: The Man With Leprosy

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 21: The Faith of the Centurion

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 22: Jesus Heals Many

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 23: The Cost of Following Jesus

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

    • ?

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 24: Jesus Calms the Storm

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 25: The Healing of Two Demon-possessed Men

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Matthew 9

Lesson 26: Jesus Heals a Paralytic

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 27: The Calling of Matthew

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 28: Jesus Questioned About Fasting

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 29: A Dead Girl and a Sick Woman

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 30: Jesus Heals the Blind and Mute

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

    • ?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Lesson 31: The Workers Are Few

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

  • What does Jesus believe the problem is?
  • What type of solution does Jesus propose?
  • What alternative solutions existed in the society?
    • Saducees
    • Pharisees
    • Zealots, Sicarii
    • Essenes
  • How might the status of “sheep without a shepherd” apply to our communities today?
    • Is this strictly a “religious” problem?
    • Are there any additional types of leadership (beyond religious) that our communities need?
    • What does Jesus’ directive tell us about God feels about the needs in our community?
    • How should believers respond to the needs of our communities?

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?

Matthew 10

Lesson 32: Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

Main text and related passages:

Topics to explore:

  • Review Christianity, Following Jesus, and our current process/activity
  • Jesus’ process: Follow me, baptism, access to your network. – Peter, Matthew

Additional resources to check out:

Training assignment (do this yourself, and use it to help train someone else):

    • Read the main passage and related passages above.
    • ?


Advance to Unit 4: Matthew 11 – 13

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