God’s real love is everything you want and everything you need.
Name a “want” you have right now, and name a “need.”
Watch this brief intro together with your group (click picture below):
This weekend, we explored how the world divides itself into an “IN” ring, where those inside enjoy privilege and fortune, and an “OUT” ring, where it is clear that those inside “don’t belong.”
We need a new ring, the third ring of this 3-ring circus, filled with real love where there is true celebration of God’s creation in all its brokenness and beauty. We need to return to the Creator who made us, to the Father who loves us, and to a Savior who longs to walk with us in the way we’ve always wanted. He alone is the Greatest Showman, because His forgiveness, mercy, and sacrifice is all we will ever need, and it is on offer to all who call on His name!
Primary Scriptures: Genesis 1:26-27, Matthew 11:25-30
1. Read Genesis 1:26-27. God spent the first 5 1/2 days creating the universe, planet, heavens, vegetation, and living creatures in preparation for His final creation: humanity. To whom was God referring when He used the pronouns “Us” and “Our”?
2. Discuss what it means to be created in the image of God. How does this differ from the rest of creation? How does this perspective impact your view of God? How does it impact your view of yourself?
3. Read Matthew 11:25-26. Jesus encountered the “IN” crowd, many of which were “intellectuals” that stubbornly did not believe in Him or were indifferent. He shares in these verses true wisdom. What was hidden from the “IN” crowd? What kind of people made up the “OUT” crowd? Why is this important?
4. Read Matthew 11:28-30. Who did Jesus have in mind when He extended this invitation? What kinds of burdens are people carrying today?
5. How does this invitation speak to you? In what ways are you weary or burdened?
6. Is there someone in your life who needs the true inner rest found in Jesus? How will you pray for them? How will you ask God for the wisdom and courage to speak to them and share where true relief from life’s burdens can be found?
7. What does Jesus say we must do to find rest?
8. In Jesus’ day, the Jews were yoked to an unbearable system of laws. It was a heavy load, and they were bruised by it, but remember, Jesus was a carpenter! He could fashion a yoke that fit perfectly so that the animals yoked together would share the burden and not be hurt. How does Jesus’ yoke work in the life of a Christ follower?
Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Matthew 11:25-30 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.
This week, our focus was on real love being everything you want and everything you need. In small groups of 2 or 3, discuss and encourage one another on how you can share with others where true satisfaction and real love in life is found–only in Jesus Christ.
Engage the World Around Us
Engaging at Faith Promise:
Pray as a group to explore ways you can show the real love of Jesus Christ as you serve our church family.
Engaging in Community and the World:
We learned this week about the the 3 ring circus: the “IN” crowd and the “OUT” crowd the world has defined, and the new ring of life in Christ to which all are welcome. In Jesus Christ, believers are accepted, forgiven, and fully and perfectly loved. Consider how you as a group could help local or international organizations embrace the privilege of reaching out and showing the love of Christ to others. Who is God calling your group to bring into His ring?
Expand God’s Kingdom
In Jesus’ call for the weary and burdened to come to Him, under His yoke, He is offering true freedom. Christ followers know true freedom can only be found in Jesus Christ, never in self-rule or self-sufficiency. We are freed from trying to be what we can never be. We are free to fulfill the plan God has perfectly ordained for each of us, and to live in forgiveness and restoration of His grace. He longs to bring us out of the dark so that we can be filled with hope, joy, freedom and purpose. With whom will you share this truth this week?
1. The Trinity, the mystery of 3 persons in 1. Although this is not fully and clearly revealed until the New Testament, the Hebrew noun used here is plural, and the verb used for “create” is singular. For additional support, Deuteronomy 6:4 includes both plural and singular nouns: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” The “Lord” (Yahweh) here is singular, and “God” (Elohim) is plural.
2. We are God’s highest creation, made in God’s image, which means every person is made a personal, moral, spiritual, responsible being with a capacity no animal has, and that is to worship, love and serve God. Knowing the Creator of the universe, the Almighty desires to have a relationship with us is overwhelming and amazing. See Psalm 8:4.
3. God revealed the truth of the gospel to the “infants,” those with childlike faith. These were people who were not impressive according to the world’s standards. They were not intellectuals; they did not hold high positions or qualifications. Salvation does NOT belong to the strong or to those who think they can earn it. It is all of grace. Knowledge of God comes ONLY through the Son for those who believe and come to Him. Through the weak, God’s saving gospel would extend to the world.
4. Jesus extends His invitation to ALL who are weary and burdened. Answers will vary, but may include: People are burdened with guilt over their sin. Satan relentlessly accuses God’s people, in an effort to cause confusion over the vast nature of God’s grace and love. People are also weary from working at religion in an effort to please God and gain His approval.
5. Answers will vary.
6. Answers will vary.
7. Yoke ourselves to Him and learn from Him.
8. We can trust that Jesus has created a perfectly-fitting yoke for each of our lives and for our uniquely ordained purpose. We do not carry the load alone; we were made to be yoked together with Jesus, who shoulders our burdens. See 2 Corinthians 12:9-11; John 7:37; Philippians 4:13.
ALL groups at Faith Promise should follow Jesus Christ and lead others to do the same. Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.
– A follower of Jesus desires to encounter God through the deeper study and application of God’s Word.
– A follower of Jesus embraces people and values relationships on a deeper level so everyone can grow together.
– A follower of Jesus engages and serves the world around them and in their community, through local partners or God-directed opportunities.
– A follower of Jesus expands God’s Kingdom through development and multiplication of disciple-makers, possibly to lead more groups at Faith Promise.