HAPPY LIFE: MONEY IS A TEST

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

Last week, Dave Oakley reminded us that God never intended money to be a tool used for personal happiness, but rather, a tool to advance His purposes in the world. Money is a gift given to us by God; it’s a tool to be used, not for our own personal advancement, but primarily for the fulfillment of God’s purposes in the world. Money is also a test of where your heart’s allegiance lies. Whom do you serve?

SCRIPTURE

17As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up to Him and fell on his knees before Him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18“Why do you call Me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” 20“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” 21Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” He said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” 22At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Mark 10:17-22

GROUP QUESTIONS

What is the most valuable thing you’ve ever owned?

Read Mark 10:17-22. What does the question the man asked reveal about him?

Why do you think Jesus asked the man, “Why do you call me good….No one is good – except God alone”?

Read Exodus 20:1-17. Which of the commandments did Jesus mention? Which ones did He leave out? Why do you think He didn’t include these in His question?

How did the man respond? Do you believe he was telling the truth?

What was the “one thing” Jesus said the man lacked?

Why do you think Jesus didn’t say anything about grace, faith, or being “born again” (see John 3:3)?

What did the man’s response reveal about his attitude towards his possessions?

Read Mark 8:34 and Philippians 3:7-9. How do these verses relate to Jesus’ response to the man to sell everything?

How do you think Jesus’s instructions to “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor” apply to you today?

APPLICATION

There was one thing holding the man back from God. One thing keeping him from experiencing the happy life. One thing that kept this man from experiencing the fullness of God in his life; and it had everything to do with the allegiance of his heart. Jesus said that you cannot serve both God and Money. This week, consider what one thing is God calling you to “sell” in order to follow Him. This is not limited to material possessions – it can be pleasures or plans or dreams or even comforts and securities.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Aaron said that Money is capitalized in this passage because Jesus personified money as a rival to God. He suggested that money has intrinsic power that seeks to dominate. Money can be god-like, and because of this, Jesus knows that money is the chief competitor for your heart. Look up the following verses and list the principle you learn about money.

  • Psalm 24:1
  • Proverbs 3:9
  • Proverbs 11:28
  • Proverbs 22:9
  • Ecclesiastes 5:10
  • Matthew 6:1-4
  • Matthew 6:21
  • Matthew 6:24
  • 1 Timothy 6:10
  • 1 Timothy 6:17-19

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HAPPY LIFE: MONEY IS A TOOL

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

There are 2000+ Bible verses on money, wealth and possessions. Jesus spoke about money a lot and 11 out of His 39 parables touched on it. God knows that money, though morally neutral, can capture your heart and make you enslaved to it. However, when money is used as tool to invest in God’s kingdom, it becomes a powerful instrument for His purposes.

SCRIPTURE

38As He taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” 41Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:38-44

GROUP QUESTIONS

Are you a “saver” or a “spender”?

Read Mark 12:38-44. What is Jesus’ warning about the “teachers of the law”?

What does it mean to “devour widows’ houses”?

Why do you think Jesus sat down near where the offerings were gathered?

What is the difference between the widow’s offering and everyone else’s?

Was the widow looking to be noticed? Do you think she knew Jesus was using her as an object lesson?

Discuss what it means to contribute “out of … wealth” and “out of … poverty.”

While Jesus held the widow up as an example of sacrificial giving, what other statement did He make about the religious, political, and social establishment?

Do you view money as a tool for God or as a tool for you?

APPLICATION

Examine your financial records in the last year. Write down your annual income, the amount you gave away (and where you gave it), and the amount you spent on possessions. Bring these figures before God and ask Him if He would like you to change the distribution of your income. Write down anything you sense Him telling you to do.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Read Mark 12:38-44, 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, and 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. List principles of giving you learn from the 2 Corinthians passages.

How do these principles compare with the kind of giving Jesus commends in Mark 12?

Compare your list of principles with your current giving patterns. In what ways should you re-evaluate/change your giving in light of these teachings?

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HUNGER AND THIRST: REMOVING BARRIERS TO WORSHIP

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION: Last week we looked at David worshipping God with abandon as he brought the ark back to Jerusalem and asked, “What type of worship pleases God?” This week, we’ll look at how Michal’s, David’s wife, responded to David’s worship, and ask, “What is blocking you from truly worshipping Him with all of your heart, your soul, and your mind?”

SCRIPTURE

16As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. 17And they brought in the ark of the Lord and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it. And David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 18And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts 19and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins to each one. Then all the people departed, each to his house. 20And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” 21And David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will celebrate before the Lord. 22I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.” 23And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death. 2 Samuel 6:16-23

GROUP QUESTIONS

What is your first reaction when you see someone worshipping differently than you do?

Read 2 Samuel 6:12-15. How would you have reacted had you seen David worshipping like he did?

Read through the following and discuss what you learn about Michal: 1 Samuel 18:20-29, 1 Samuel 19:9-18, 1 Samuel 25:44, 2 Samuel 3:13-16.

Read 2 Samuel 6:16-23. What did Michal focus on as she watched David? Why do you think this was her main focus rather than focusing on the ark (presence) of God?

Why do you think she was not worshipping with the rest of Israel but rather was watching from above?

Besides dancing, how else did David worship God?

What were the three barriers Joe mentioned that blocked Michal’s worship? *

Do you see any of those barriers in your life? If so, what will you do to remove them?

* critical heart, self-absorbed attitude, unresolved baggage

APPLICATION

This week do a self-evaluation as to what is blocking you from truly worshipping Him with all of your heart, your soul and your mind. Is it a critical heart, a self-absorbed attitude, or some unresolved baggage? Something else? Ask God to free you from whatever is hindering you from worship.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Many consider “worship” and “music” synonymous. We have learned in the past two weeks that worship that truly pleases God comes from the heart in many different forms. Read each passage, and note what you learn about worship.

  • Genesis 4:1-7
  • Genesis 22:12-14
  • Malachi 1:1-14
  • Mark 12:41-44
  • Luke 7:36-50
  • Luke 22:41-43
  • Acts 5:1-11
  • Acts 16:24-26
  • 1 Corinthians 10:31
  • Colossians 3:17

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HUNGER AND THIRST: A LIFESTYLE OF WORSHIP

INTRODUCTION: There are different types of worship because there are different types of people. Some worship quietly, others exuberantly. Some raise their hands, dance, tap their toes…. No matter your background; preference, or perspective, when it comes to worship, the most important question is: What type of worship pleases God?

SCRIPTURE

12Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, 15while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. 16As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart. 2 Samuel 6:12-16

GROUP QUESTIONS

Share with your group your favorite way to worship.

How did Aaron define “worship”? How would you define “worship”?

Read 2 Samuel 6:1-11. What did the Ark of God represent to the nation of Israel?

Have you ever been in a situation that felt unfair or simply unjustified, so you became angry with God? What did you do when this happened?

Aaron stated that David lost perspective of God’s greatness and His Power, and so he turned from God for a time. If this has happened at some point in your life (or you are in the midst of this), share your story with your group.

Read 2 Samuel 6:12-16. What prompted David to try again to bring the ark back to Jerusalem?

Why do you think he was successful this time? (See also 1 Chronicles 15:1-4,11-15.)

David’s joy in worshiping God overflowed into dancing; what does it feel like for you when you are enjoying God most? How does it outwardly express itself in your life?

Is your worship God-focused or “me”-focused? If it is “me”-focused, what can you do to re-focus your mind’s attention and heart’s affection on God?

APPLICATION

Re-read 2 Samuel 6:14. Pray and think through these questions this week:

  • Does your sense of pride affect your worship?
  • What stops you from worshipping God with “all your might”?
  • How can you better prepare yourself to worship God both personally and corporately?
  • Does your worship please God?

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Next week we will look at Michal’s reaction to David’s worship. In preparation, read the following Scripture and record what you learn about Michal.

SCRIPTURE NOTES
 

1 Samuel 18:1-30

 

 

1 Samuel 19:1-18

 

 

1 Samuel 25:44

 

 

2 Samuel 3:13-16

 

 

2 Samuel 6:12-23

 

 

1 Samuel 14:49

 

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