unchristian: reframing our faith through choosing tribulation (part 1)

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

Jesus began to summarize the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:12 – we must choose between giving in to our selfish desires or choose to follow Him and think of others first. In Matthew 7:13-14, He reveals another choice: choose the narrow gate/road or the wide gate/road. Choosing the narrow road means choosing to be poor in spirit, to mourn over sin, to put yourself second, to hunger and thirst to have right standing with God, to overflow with mercy, to have an unmixed heart, to be a peacemaker, to suffer persecution for the sake of the Savior, and to be salt and light. It also means choosing to make heavenly things a priority over earthly things, being willing to trust God with everything, choosing humility instead of judgment, and praying with perseverance. Which road will you choose?

SCRIPTURE

13Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. 15Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:13-23

GROUP QUESTIONS

When you travel, how do you navigate? By GPS, phone, or physical maps? How do you decide on the route you will take?

Read Matthew 7:13-23. This week Aaron focused on the narrow and broad roads in verses 13-14. The word for enter carries a sense of immediacy – enter NOW! Why is it important to choose your road now?

The Greek word for narrow in the original language can be translated afflict, narrow, throng, suffer tribulation, trouble. Though the narrow road is difficult, it does lead to life. Why is it so challenging for some to choose the narrow road?

Our culture asserts that there are many ways to Heaven. It is considered intolerant to believe that there is only one way. Read John 10:9, John 14:6, and Acts 4:12. What do these verses claim? Why do people resist the idea of only one way to Heaven?

Despite the fact that the narrow road is difficult and can bring tribulation, Christ-followers do experience many good things in this life. Read the following verses, and list how God blesses us:

  • Isaiah 40:29-31
  • Isaiah 41:10
  • Matthew 6:31-32
  • John 10:10
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • Philippians 4:6-7
  • Philippians 4:19
  • James 1:5

APPLICATION

If you haven’t already, make a decision to follow Jesus on the narrow road this week. Read through the Romans passages below to help.

If you’re already on the narrow road, share the Good News of Jesus this week with someone on the broad road.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

According to these verses, what are the steps on the narrow road to salvation? (These passages are often called The Romans Road To Salvation.)

  • Romans 3:23
  • Romans 3:10-18
  • Romans 6:23
  • Romans 5:8
  • Romans 10:9
  • Romans 10:13
  • Romans 5:1
  • Romans 8:1
  • Romans 8:38-39

Christ-followers receive good gifts in this life, and even more in eternity. Read Ephesians 1:3-14, and list some of the many blessings received:

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