Week 1: The Poor in Spirit (Matthew 5:2-3 / February 2)
- When you see a social media post with #blessed, what’s your immediate gut reaction? (joy, envy, gratitude, annoyance?) If it depends on the post, what factors does it depend upon?
- After hearing this week’s sermon, how would you describe “poverty of spirit” in your own words?
- Describe a time when you felt especially poor in spirit—a time when you were keenly aware of your need for God. How did He meet you?
- Where do you especially need to grow in humility? (at work, as a parent, in your marriage, in the way that you approach church, etc)
- How do you hope to grow or change as a result of this study on the beatitudes?
Week 2: The Mourning (Matthew 5:4 / February 9)
- How did you feel about this week’s subject matter and sermon? Was it encouraging? Challenging? Painful? Explain.
- In 2 Corinthians 7:10 Paul makes a distinction between two different types of sorrow. He writes, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” What’s the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow? Would anyone like to share an example of a time when you experienced either godly or worldly sorrow?
- Would you agree that we tend to mourn over our circumstances more than we mourn over our sin? If so, why do you think we don’t mourn over our sin more often?
- Have you ever experienced Divine comfort? What was it like?
- One of our House Rules at Grace is Radical Hospitality: We go the extra mile to care for others because people’s stories matter. How can we practice radical hospitality to those who are suffering in our midst? How can we be agents of God’s comfort both corporately and individually?
Week 3: The Meek (Matthew 5:5 / February 16)
- Before listening to this week’s sermon, what was your impression of the word “meek”? Did you view it as a desirable attribute? Why or why not?
- Why might culture push back against the notion of meekness, particularly for men? How does the Bible reconcile meekness and masculinity?
- All of the following passages discuss “meekness” (sometimes rendered “lowliness” or “gentleness”): Matthew 11:29, Ephesians 4:1-2, 2 Corinthians 10:1, Titus 3:2, James 1:20-21, Psalm 25:9. Choose a few of these texts and discuss what further insights you uncover about meekness.
- How would you like to grow in meekness, personally? Is there a specific area of your life where meekness is especially lacking?
- In your own words, describe what it means to “inherit the earth”? Why is this a reward worth pursuing?
Week 4: Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness (Matthew 5:6 / February 23)
- Growing up, how did you view desire? Did desire typically lead to disappointment or fulfillment? Was it shameful or normal?
- In his book, Seeing with New Eyes, David Powlison writes, “The evil in our desires often lies not in what we want but in the fact that we want it too much. Natural affections (for any good thing) become inordinate, ruling cravings.” How have you seen a natural desire for something good become a ruling (idolatrous) desire?
- Think about your daily rhythms. Think about where you invest your time, energy, and money. What are your deepest desires, those things that drive your daily life? (Examples: the wellbeing of your family, success at work, etc.)
- As you grow in your faith, how are you seeing your desires increasingly conform to His desires? Or how have you seen this in the life of another believer?
- If we hunger for righteousness, we are blessed and satisfied because God has already given us righteousness in Christ! How does this gospel truth inform your pursuit of righteousness?
Week 5: The Merciful (Matthew 5:7 / March 1)
- Describe a time when someone showed you undeserved mercy, or a time when you extended mercy to someone else.
- Do you think mercy is valued in our culture? Why or why not?
- One of our House Rules at Grace is Grace-Centered Truth: We challenge people to be their best and love them at their worst. As Christians, how do we demonstrate mercy without condoning sinful behavior? Do you think the world sometimes confuses “mercy” with “tolerance”?
- Did you grow up in a home where mercy was celebrated, occasionally extended, or virtually nonexistent? How has that impacted you today (in your relationships with others, parenting, your view of God…etc)?
- I Peter 2:10 says, “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” How have we received mercy through Christ? Has everyone received this mercy? Are you confident that you are among those who have received God’s mercy in Christ?
Week 6: The Pure in Heart (Matthew 5:8 / March 8)
- Read Psalm 51, especially focusing on verses 6, 10, 16, and 17. What do these four verses have in common? Can you summarize their central theme in one sentence?
- Why do you think we sometimes go through the motions of Christianity while our hearts are far from God? What are some signs that our hearts are drifting?
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the spiritual health of your heart in this season? (1=completely closed to God, 10=intimately open-hearted toward God) Explain your answer.
- Matthew 5:8 promises that the pure in heart will see God. How have you “seen” God in your life in the past or the present? How would you like to see God in the future?
- At Grace we value Simple Steps: Everyone has a next step, and we make it easy to find yours. After listening to the sermon and discussing this passage together, what next step could you take this week to grow in your relationship with Christ? How can we encourage, support, and hold one another accountable as we take these next steps?
Week 7: The Peacemakers (Matthew 5:9 / March 15)
- After listening to the sermon this week, would you consider yourself a peacemaker? Why or why not?
- In his book, The Peacemaker, Ken Sande describes two opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to dealing with conflict: peace-faking (avoiding) and peace-breaking (erupting). By nature, do you tend to be more of a peace-faker or peace-breaker? Have you found any helpful strategies for growth?
- How can you promote peace at work? At home?
- Why is it so important to promote peace within the church? Read the following passages and discuss how we can be agents of peace within the body of Christ.
- “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
- “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)
- “I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
- In the current edition of the Grace magazine, Pastor Clint writes, “Ultimately, the role of a peacemaker is to connect people to Christ because He is our true source of peace.” Who in your life needs the peace of being connected to Jesus? How could you take one step this week toward connecting them to Him?
Week 8: The Persecuted (Matthew 5:10 / March 22)
- Have you ever been persecuted for your faith? If so, share an example.
- What are some examples of Christian persecution in the US today? How should we respond to these forms of persecution?
- In the current edition of the Grace magazine, an article on persecution notes these statistics about global persecution in 2019:
- 2,983 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons (that’s an average of eight Christians per day)
- 9,488 churches or Christian buildings were attacked
- 3,711 Christians were arrested, sentenced, and imprisoned without trial
- 260 million Christians are experiencing high levels of persecution for their faith
How should these numbers impact us? How could they stir us to action? How might they inform our perspective of our own daily lives?
- The article goes on to say, “Our aim is not to chase persecution, but to be so devoted to Jesus that we are willing to endure anything for His sake.” How would you describe your current devotion to Christ?
- Read Matthew 11:28-30, John 15:4-5, and I John 4:10. How do we grow in devotion to Christ? (Hint: The answer is not trying harder!)
Week 9: The Reviled (Matthew 5:11-12 / March 29)
- Think about the last time someone insulted, provoked, or spread lies about you. How did you respond and why? When we are defending our own honor, we often become angry and indignant. But Matthew 5:12 says that when we are insulted, persecuted, or slandered for Christ’s sake, we ought to rejoice. Why?
- Do you think much about heaven? How do you feel knowing we will be rewarded in heaven based on how we’ve lived on earth (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10)?
- Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He [God] has set eternity in the human heart.” What do you think this verse means? How do you see evidence of “eternity” in your own heart or in the hearts of others?
- As parents (or grandparents, godparents, aunts/uncles etc) how can we influence the next generation to live for eternity?
- What has encouraged you the most in our study on the beatitudes? What has challenged or convicted you?