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Monday, December 14, 2015

Jesus Came to Fulfill the Law (Matt. 5:17-20)

Outline: Matthew 5:17-20
  1. The Old Testament fulfilled in Jesus
  2. The Old Testament fulfilled in us
Summary: Jesus tells us plainly how He thinks about the Old Testament (OT) and, by implication, how we should think about the OT: Jesus did not come to void out but fill out the OT.  What began budding in the OT started to bloom when Jesus came and will be in full bloom when He comes a second time.  Since Jesus did not come to abolish the OT, we should not relax in our obedience to the OT.  Or, to put it positively, since Jesus came to fulfill the OT, we can and should excel in our obedience to the OT.  But our obedience to the OT must be shaped by a growing knowledge of how Jesus has fulfilled, is fulfilling, and will finally fulfill the truths of the OT.  Jesus' fulfillment of the OT is a process and we are part of that process.    

Discussion Questions:
  • Jesus' reference to "the Law or the Prophets" is shorthand for ______?
  • Who was the OT all about (cf. Luke 24:13-49)? [Living room analogy].
  • What does Jesus mean when He says that he did not come to abolish the OT?
  • What does Jesus mean when He says that he came to fulfill the OT? [flower analogy] 
  • Why is the fact that Jesus came to fulfill the OT good news for sinners?
  • What are some examples from the OT that have been, are being, or will be fulfilled?
  • How should the fact that Jesus came to fulfill the OT shape our obedience? (v.19)
  • How can a Christian's righteousness exceed that of scribes and pharisees (v.20)?
  • When will the process of OT fulfillment be complete? (v.18)
  • How does this passage relate to the Beatitudes and to being salt and light?
Application Questions:
  • In the past, how have you thought about the OT? How does Jesus want you to think about it?
  • How should the fact that Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Law shape your relationship to Jesus and to the Law? 
  • Does your righteousness exceed that of the most meticulous law-keepers of Jesus' day? Explain?
Prayer Points:
  • Praise Jesus for being the perfect Law-keeper who bore the curse of the Law on your behalf.
  • Praise God that the Spirit of the Law-keeper is inside of you empowering your obedience.
  • Confess to God your wrong or perhaps shallow view of the OT.
  • Ask God to open your eyes to see more of Jesus in the OT and to awaken fresh appreciation and admiration for Jesus as a result of what you see.
  • Pray that God would help you to depend on the Holy Spirit and thus excel in obeying the heart of God's word. Pray that you would hear the heart beat of Christ in the OT and march obediently to the beat of His drum.   

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Salt & Light (Matt. 5:13-16)

Outline: Matthew 5:13-16
  1. Two metaphors 
  2. One main point
  3. One all-consuming goal
Summary: Good works grow out of good character.  Having described in the Beatitudes the type of people his followers ought to be in terms of their character, Jesus now illustrates with two metaphors what his followers ought to do in terms of their good works.  Just as salt enhances food and light illumines darkness, so too the Christ-follower's life is to be filled with good works.  By living a life of good works, Christians become noticeably distinct in this bland and dark world and their distinctiveness is precisely what causes unbelievers in their spheres of influence to encounter the living God.  Jesus commands us to be distinct, to be salty and bright, that others might taste and see that God is good.  

Discussion Questions:
  • What is the relationship between the Beatitudes and the call to be salt and light?
  • What can we learn about salt and light from our text? 
  • What is the shared main point Jesus emphasizes in these metaphors? 
  • What is the all-consuming goal of living salty and bright lives?
  • What is the relationship between salt & light, good works, and God's glory?
  • What can we learn about our Savior's heart by what he commands in v.16?
  • Note: the "you" is plural (y'all).  Thus, this teaching applies to the church as a whole not just to individual Christians.  How does a church become salty and bright, distinct from the world?
Application Questions:
  • In what ways am I distinct from unbelievers in my life and thus a means for them to see God?
  • In what ways am I not distinct enough and thus hindering them from seeing God?
Prayer Points:
  • Confess to God ways you are not distinct and look too much like the world.
  • Praise Jesus, the Distinct One, the Light who shined in our darkness allowing us to see God.
  • Thank God for all the ways He is helping you live a distinct life.
  • Acknowledge how much you need God to help you shine brighter and brighter!
  • Pray for a love for unbelievers in your life, that through your distinctness they might taste and see that God is good.