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INTERACTING WITH THE SERMON
SYNOPSIS OF THE SERMON
In this week’s sermon, Corey Garris shared about the story of Deborah in the book of Judges. In this story we discover that God can and will use anyone who is available and willing to be His representative. God is bigger then all the cultural, societal, economic, and gender rules/barriers we can build and throughout scripture often picks the most unlikely of leaders. We often are resistant to His calling because we are in difficult circumstances or we feel we are not capable enough. But we see in Jesus that it is God’s very nature to meet us in our need and call us out of difficulty and into His kingdom purposes.In 5 minutes or less, briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon. What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling? Explain.
GETTING THE CONVERSATION STARTED
These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.
•Share something from Corey’s sermon that particularly stood out to you.
•Have you ever been asked to do something that you did not feel at all prepared for but you did it anyway? How did that turn out? Please share briefly.
•Have you ever refused to do something that looking back on you feel like you were refusing God’s call? Briefly share
God calls us to follow his lead, to be in relationship with him and to love on those who need it; the despised and the destitute. In this study we will look at the call of Matthew and the subsequent celebration that follows. We again get to see another example of God calling someone ordinary into something extraordinary. In this short passage we get an amazing glimpse into who God is, what he is about and how much he wants us to be a part of it!
Read Matthew 9: 9-13
9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 12On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Context: The religious authorities at the time were becoming more and more hostile towards Jesus, especially because of the company he kept. This was seen as offensive to them, but Jesus was deliberately challenging their view of Gods will. Tax collectors in particular, which was Matthew’s occupation, were notorious for exploitation of the poor and their collaboration with the pagan Roman government. They were essentially ostracized by the Pharisees. For a pious Jew, it was unthinkable to eat with them.
•What does Jesus call Matthew to do? When you picture following someone, what comes to mind? What does that mean to you? Simply following someone who is leading us seems like an easy command. In what ways is following Jesus more difficult? How might we be overcomplicating the call that Jesus has intended for us, which is to follow him? Briefly share
•What is significant about Matthew being called? How does this challenge your view of Gods will for people and who God feels is “qualified” to be called?
•Read v. 12 & 13. Who does it say Jesus’ mission is directed towards? What kind of people does God reach out to? This is a powerful picture of the gospel. Share your thoughts about this.
oWhat does this passage tell us about our mission as followers of Jesus? What does is tell us about the mission of the Church?
oThink about our present culture. Who are the social outcasts (immigrants, Muslims, prisoners…)? Who is not invited to the “dinner table?” What does this passage say our response should be? Who should you be reaching out to and directing towards Jesus?
oOf some of these social groups, do you have any positive experiences in reaching out to them? Briefly share.
oJesus reaches out to just one tax collector but now he is eating dinner with several. How can we as people trying to engage our culture be encouraged by this? Do you have any experiences when a “domino effect” like this has happened? Briefly share.
•Try and put yourself in Matthew’s shoes. You are not someone who is well respected and you are openly called a sinner by religious authorities. You are most likely a social outcast and you yourself may feel like you are missing the mark when it comes to God’s will for your life. Yet, you are suddenly being called by Jesus to be his disciple! Have you ever felt like God has called you in a time when you did not feel ready? In a time when your life seemed “messy?” How did you respond? What was the outcome?
•Read Luke 5: 27-31 (Matthew is also known as Levi in the other Gospels). What is Matthew’s response to Jesus’ call? Does he question or hesitate, or does he follow? What does it say is the cost? It says in Luke that Matthew left everything. How does that make you feel when you hear that? How does this compare to what you feel like you are called to? Have you felt like you have made significant sacrifices to follow Jesus? Briefly share.
•What happens after Matthew is called? Between Matthew and Luke’s Gospel accounts we are told that after Matthews call he holds a dinner or a banquet at his home. Inviting someone into your home for a meal is a highly relational activity. What does this say about what Jesus is calling us into? Does he call us to do a lot of works or call us to relationship? What does this say about the level of intimacy that Jesus desire’s to have with his followers?
•Thinking back to Corey’s sermon, and what we read about Jesus in this passage, why do you think God calls those who are oppressed or seem like they are unlikely leaders? According to this passage who does God regard as nearer to the kingdom, the outcast or the Pharisee? What does this say about his character?
Below you’ll see some options for ministry time with your group. We always encourage you to reserve time in your group to pray for one another and wait on the Holy Spirit.
•Who in your life seems overlooked; who seems unlikely to be a leader, but God has placed them on your heart anyway? Pray that they would hear the call of Jesus and follow.
•Pray that the Holy Spirit would give you a heart that breaks for the people that Jesus’ heart breaks for. Pray for opportunities to invite these people into your community.
•Again, pray for each other that you would hear God’s voice and where he might be calling you. Pray against any fear that might be inhibiting that call.