Let’s Not Pretend This Is Easier Than It Is
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: When traditions and man-made rules became more important than people, it sparked the ire of our Savior. Jesus was angered by those who were always measuring themselves according to their ability to keep the rules, while showing no love for their neighbor. He grew weary of watching people use the law as a way to beat down others. So what did he do? Here’s a hint: He didn’t lessen any of the law’s demands. …
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. Read Exodus 20:1-21. How do the seventh and tenth commandments relate to one another?
2. What does it mean to look at another person “with lustful intent” (verse 28)?
3. What instructions does Jesus give his disciples for maintaining sexual purity (verses 29- 30)? How do you work out this practice of “radical amputation” in your own life?
4. If those who are in Christ have been totally and completely forgiven of all their sins, then why does Jesus so strongly emphasize obedience?
5. “We don’t resist lust (or any sin) by simply digging deeper and trying harder.” If that’s true, then how do we overcome temptation?
6. 1 John 2:1 informs us that when we do sin, “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” How does that encourage and comfort you?
1. “I did not like the essay ‘Sermon on the Mount.’ It was hard to read and made me feel like I had to be perfect and no one is.” [on a slide that looks like notebook paper]
2 “The things asked in this sermon are absurd. To look at a woman is adultery? That is the most extreme, stupid, un-human statement that I have ever heard.”
3. “So what do I make of these responses?… I find it strangely heartening that … the Bible remains offensive to honest, ignorant ears, just as it was in the first century. Whereas the scriptures almost lost their characteristically astringent flavor during the past century, the current widespread biblical illiteracy should catapult us into a situation more nearly approximating that of their original, first-century audience. The Bible will no longer be choked by cloying cultural associations.” – Virginia Stem Owens
4. “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” – Matthew. 23:4
5. Read Matthew 5:27-28
6. 01. The starting point on the journey to salvation is the recognition of need.
7. “To look at a person can be a drive given in creation; to keep on looking—staring—is a drive given in the fall from creation.”
8. “Which of us is not guilty? Honesty before God in these matters may bring us the poverty of spirit which our triumphs never will, and prompt us to cry with the hymn writer: ‘Lord, make me clean.’” – Don Carson
9. 02. We cannot keep the law (and thus need a Savior), but our inability should not prevent us from striving for holiness.
10. Read Matthew 5:29-30
11. 03. Sin is (slowly) curbed by a greater love for God; and love for God is increased by knowledge of his love for us.
12. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – Matthew 11:28-30 MSG