Opening Questions and Prayer
What are some things you know you should do, but struggle to do them or don’t do them at all? (flossing, exercising, reading the Bible, eating healthy, drinking water, etc.)
How do you get motivated to do those things you listed?
Ask the Lord to guide your time together today as you study the Bible.
Read Matthew 7:13-14
13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
Who is Jesus talking to?
See Matthew 5:1-2 One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, 2 and he began to teach them.
Why does Jesus want His followers to know that the way to life in God’s Kingdom is difficult to get to?
Why is it difficult to enter God’s Kingdom?
Read Matthew 7:15-20
15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
What does Jesus want His disciples to know about people?
Why are actions, and not words, important to judge a person’s motives?
What type of fruit do you bear?
How would you know if you had bad fruit?
What is one action you can take this week to bear good fruit?
Read Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
What is scary about this teaching?
Even though these people did things in Jesus’ name, what had they missed?
Why is it not enough to simply proclaim Jesus’ name?
How does this relate to the good fruit/bad fruit discussion?
Read Matthew 7:24-25
24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.
What is the first part of this parable about?
What are the characteristics of the wise builder?
What happens when trials and storms of life come upon the wise builder?
When trials and storms happen in your life, how do you respond?
Why does Jesus want His followers to be more than just listeners?
Even though the Pharisees had the correct outward actions, what were they missing?
How can you make sure that your actions, and your heart behind those actions are in alignment with God’s will?
Read Matthew 7:26-27
26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
What are the characteristics of the foolish builder?
What do the wise and foolish builders have in common?
How are they different?
What happens to the foolish builder when the trials and storms of life hit?
Why is just listening to Jesus’ teaching, but not obeying it, foolish?
What are some ways you hear God’s word but then don’t apply it to your life?
What is one step you can start doing to help you apply God’s Word to your life?
Read James 1:22-25
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
What does James say about listening to and obeying God’s word?
How is the Word of God like a mirror?
When you see something you don’t like about your character reflected back to you when you read the Bible, what do you do about it?
What are some ways God’s perfect law sets you free?
How can you make sure your life is bearing good fruit by lining up with God’s Word in every aspect of your life?
Matthew 7:24-25 24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.
Closing thoughts and prayer
We have more access to God’s Word now than in any other point in history. We have access to endless amounts of sermons, Bible translations, teachings, and we can even click a button to have the Bible read aloud. But Jesus says if you only hear those things, and don’t do anything about it, then you are a fool. It’s not only our actions as the Pharisees clearly showed us, but our hearts behind those actions. The Pharisees did all the right things, but for the wrong reasons.
Ask the Lord to show you any areas of your life where your heart doesn’t line up with God’s Word. Pray that the Lord would send people into your life to help you when your heart and deeds don’t line up. End your time praying that the Lord would give you boldness to help others in their journey with Jesus.