Reading 1: Matthew 5:31-48
Marriage Is Sacred and Binding
31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except [l]sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
Jesus Forbids Oaths
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of [m]old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let [n]your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
Go the Second Mile
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
Love Your Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 [o]But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your [p]brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the [q]tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Reading 1 questions
- What is Jesus actually doing as He addresses each of these topics (Adultery, oaths, eye for eye, hating your enemies) when He says, “you have heard it said…. But I say to you… ?
- In the context of chapter 5, what are different ways given in which adultery might be committed (this is not to bring guilt on anyone that has been divorced or remarried, we are looking for the recognition a kingdom principle around sin in general)?
- Based on the context of 38-48, why do you think Jesus teaches what He does compared to current belief and practice of the day in these circumstances?
- Where do you think the “church” at large is at today (us included) on common practice compared to awareness and following of Jesus teachings?
- Why does it matter (see Matthew 7:22-25)?
Reading 2: Matthew 6: 1-18
Do Good to Please God
6 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you [a]openly.
5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the [b]hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you [c]openly.
The Model Prayer
7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
[d]For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Reading 2 Questions:
- What is a common thread you find in Jesus’ teachings in verses 1-7?
- Why does it matter?
- What is Jesus addressing in His teaching around not using many words when you pray?
- What do you think Jesus was teaching in this model prayer (or what are our takeaways)?
- Why do you think Jesus includes, “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” in this model prayer?
- What is an aspect of the kingdom of God that you get from this prayer?
Reading 3: Matthew 6:19-34
Lay Up Treasures in Heaven
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The Lamp of the Body
22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is [g]good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is [h]bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
You Cannot Serve God and Riches
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and [i]mammon.
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 Which of you by worrying can add one [j]cubit to his [k]stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not [l]arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Reading 3 questions:
- Contrast laying up treasures here on earth vs. heaven. How might this be connected to the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40)?
- What do you think the eye represents, and what do you take away from Jesus teaching on this?
- How does Jesus’ teaching on money relate to the first and greatest commandment?
- What do you get out of Jesus teaching on worry and provision?
- What is Jesus antidote for worry and to receive what we need?
Reading 4: Matthew 7: 1-14
Do Not Judge
7 “Judge[a] not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what [b]judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
The Narrow Way
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 [c]Because narrow is the gate and [d]difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Questions Reading 4
- What reasons can you find in Jesus’ teaching for not judging others?
- See also: Proverbs 21:2, Matthew 15:8, Mark 7:20-22, Hebrews 4:12, John 5:22-23, John 8:15-16. What additional reasons do you find in these other scriptures for not judging others?
- What does judging look like?
- From what you have seen in the readings above, what will help you avoid judging, or quickly repent of it when you find yourself judging others?
- What is the difference between judging and what Jesus’ teaching on, “you will know them by their fruits?” Matthew 3:7-8, Matthew 7:13-16
seeking, knocking – Matthew 7:7-11
- See also in the Amplified translation: Matthew 7:7-11
- What do you get out of this scripture looking at both NKJV and Amplified?
- What reasons do you find for not giving up on asking, knocking, and seeking?
- How would doing this in faith look different than doing this in unbelief?
is the way – Matthew 7:13-14
- Looking at the above scriptures, why do you believe Jesus said, “narrow is the gate and [d]difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
- Based on Jesus’ teachings, what place does repentance play in the life of His followers and in eternal life?
- Describe the kind of repentance God is looking for?
Reading 5: Matthew 7:15-29
You Will Know Them by Their Fruits
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
I Never Knew You
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Build on the Rock
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Reading 5 Questions
teaching on fruit, trees, never knowing many, and those who do what He says.
- What is Jesus and John teaching about people, and God’s expectations through the analogy of trees and fruit?
- What kind of fruit is Jesus expecting to see from what you see in this section and the additional references?
- How could someone who does amazing things in Jesus’ name be lawless, and Jesus say He never knew them (look at the additional references)?
- How do all of the teachings in this section of scripture all tie together (what is the common tread)?
- Based on Jesus words, how relevant are his teachings for us today, to order our lives by?
- What is the warning for those that do not do what Jesus says and why?