Huddles: October 23rd, 2019

Rescued for a Kingdom: Living Out God’s Word

Basic Instructions

Below is the plan for you to follow as you lead out this study. At the end of this post we have attached the full curriculum that includes some very helpful Bible background and commentary to help you as you prepare to lead. Our prayer for you is that the Lord will bring this Scripture to life in your own life and that your leading will be an overflow from that! Let us know if you have any questions.

The Main Idea

As we wrap up our study of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, we’re going to finish with Jesus’ teaching on what it means to live out His Word. Just like Jesus’ audience 2,000 years before them, we’re faced with a decision: do we merely hear Jesus’ words and put them aside in our lives? Or do we take Jesus’ words to heart? It really is an essential question, one that is super important as those who are seeking to live a Gospel-centered life. This lesson will help us think about our habits toward God’s Word, as well as how we seek to apply it in our lives.

The Lead In

  • Goal: Help students to see God’s Word as something for them to ‘unwrap’ and discover for themselves.
  • Set-Up: Bring two or three different full-size candy bars with you to this lesson.

FIRST, choose a student from your Huddle. Ask them which of the candy bars is their favorite. Once they tell you, hold that candy bar up. Spend time describing it in lavish detail (as if they’d never had one before). For example, if they choose a snickers bar, you might say:

  • Oh man, let me tell you about the Snickers bar. It’s a fantastic experience that begins with creamy milk chocolate. Inside the outer shell of chocolaty goodness sits the perfect combination of savory and sweetness. Peanuts covered in nougat (a substance created by the ancient Mayans in order to cure all minor wounds) and drizzled with caramel. It’s the best candy bar ever!

THEN, set the candy bar down. Repeat the process with another candy bar. Hold up another one and ask who’s favorite it is. Describe it and then set it down.

THEN, present this scenario to the student you’ve called out. Say something like:

  • What if I gave you this candy bar (your favorite!), described it in lavish detail and then you took it and never opened it. You listened to me describe it, took me at my word, but never opened it and experienced it for yourself. Would that ever happen?!

EXPLAIN that a lot of times, this is exactly how we treat God’s Word. Say something like:

  • Though we would never consider holding our favorite candy bar and not opening it and experiencing it for ourselves, that’s exactly what we do with God’s Word. We love to go to church and hear someone else describe it, talk about it, tell us what they think, but we don’t open it, unwrap God’s Word and experience it for ourselves.

Let’s turn to the final part of the Sermon of the Mount to look at a moment when Jesus talks about this exact problem with His disciples. 

Digging In

We’ve been walking through the Sermon on the Mount together over the past month. Through this sermon, Jesus has been showing people what it looks like for them to live as true followers of His.

In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus begins to draw the Sermon on the Mount to a close. He does so by presenting two alternatives: a house that stands and a house that falls. He bases the scenarios on the foundation of the house. One is built on  sand; one is built on the rock. This rock is very clearly the Word of God.

As Jesus finishes His sermon, He’s pushing his crowd to understand one thing: at the end of the day, what really matters is not just what they hear, what they read, or what they understand, it’s also what they do with those words that makes a difference.

Read Matthew 7:24-27 out loud, then ask something like:

  • What are some of the teachings that Jesus has presented in his sermon?
    Answers will vary. Some examples include lavish forgiveness and generosity, no room for anger or lust, etc. Help them see that these are the “words” that Jesus is referring to in verse 24.

THEN, say something like:

  • Jesus is calling us to live out all the things that He is calling us to! This is what it means to be citizens of God’s Kingdom and members of His Family–we are called to live like it.

Help your Huddle walk through the illustration that Jesus uses about the houses. Ask something like:

  • What kind of person does Jesus say we are like when we follow His teaching?
    Answer: A wise man who built his house on the rock – with a firm foundation. (vs. 24)
  • What happens to the wise man’s house?
    Answer: It withstands the storm! (vs. 25)
  • What kind of person does Jesus say we are like when we ignore His teaching?
    Answer: A foolish man who built his house on the sand. (vs. 26)
  • And what happens to the foolish man’s house?
    Answer: It falls with a great fall! It was destroyed and could not withstand the storm, winds and rain. (vs. 27)

Explain to your Huddle that what Jesus wants us to understand is following Him is not just a way of thinking, but it’s a way of living. It’s not only about doing this and that and accomplishing a list of do’s and don’ts, but it’s about listening to Jesus and living that out.

  • Look back at verse 25 and 27. Notice anything similar? Jesus says that the same thing will happen to the wise man and the foolish man – the same storm. What do you think Jesus is talking about when he talks about the rain and the floods and the winds?
    Answers will vary. Let your Huddle talk and hopefully give different examples, but bring them around to the point that hard things will happen in life.

    There will be moments when tragedy strikes, things are hard, and it even feels like God is not around. What will matter most in those moments is what we believe about the Words of Jesus. If you have time, you can reference John 16:33 to make this point.

    The moments when we are challenged in our faith, it will be important that we realize what we’re holding when we’re holding the Bible. These are not just words about Jesus, they are the words of Jesus! When we learn from the Bible, we learn from Jesus himself.

NEXT, help your Huddle connect living by the words of Scripture to our identity as citizens of God’s kingdom. Ask something like:

  • What do you think it means to be a citizen of somewhere – such as what does it mean to be a citizen of the United States?
    Answers will vary. Answers may be along the lines of following our laws, listening to our leaders, participating in our system, etc.
  • What does it mean to be a citizen of God’s Kingdom?
    Answer: Literally, that we’ve chosen to follow Christ! We’re looking to Him to lead our life and guide our steps. We’re learning how to live from Him. We learn how to interact with our world by seeing how Jesus interacted with our world. This is what is so amazing about the fact that Jesus came as God in the flesh to live on Earth. We actually get to see and experience how God would react to people like us!
  • What happens when we disagree with the leadership of our country?
    Answer: Our country is structured in a way that the power is really given to the people. If we disagree, we can put new leadership in place, vote people out of office, and change the laws of our country.

  • But what happens if we don’t want to live the way God wants us to live? What if we disagree with God’s word?
    Answer: If we’re a Christian and this happens, we must check our hearts. Somewhere we will find selfishness that is causing us to choose our own ways over God’s way.

THEN, explain to your Huddle that the concept Jesus is presenting is simple, really. Following God’s Word establishes a firm foundation for our lives. Following God’s Word doesn’t prevent hardship from coming in our lives, but when it does, we know how to react in a way that brings glory to God.

Let’s begin to apply these truths to our lives. Ask something like:

  • What are moments when it’s really hard to follow through with how God calls you to live?
    Answers will vary. As some of these answers roll in, help your students identify the selfish way and God’s way in each scenario.For example, students may be challenged to respect their parents when they disagree. Our selfish hearts tell us to find any way possible to get our way, while God’s Word tells us to respect our parents’ decisions because we know they love us.

    Another example may be moments of peer pressure. Help students see that our selfish hearts tell us that pleasure now is worth any sacrifice, while God’s Word says that some things are better in the right context and are worth waiting for.

    One other scenario is not wanting to invest in our relationship with God. Our selfish hearts tell us that God will always be there and we can get to Him later, while God’s Word says that there is no better place for us to spend time than in His presence.

Let’s wrap up our time together by looking at another writer of the New Testament and what they have to say about how we live by God’s Word.

Last Word & Application

  • Goal: To identify the obstacles that keeps us from knowing and living out God’s Word, and to be motivated to be DO-ers!
  • Set-Up: You will need a small household mirror for this portion of the lesson. 

FIRST, have students turn to the book of James and explain why this book is so interesting. Say something like:

The book of James is a letter written by James to Jewish people about how to live out their faith. James was one of Jesus’ half-brothers: that means he was one Mary and Joseph’s children. Imagine growing up with Jesus. James became convinced that his brother was the Son of God and he lived that out! That’s a guy who’s got a convincing story! Let’s look at what he has to say about this topic.

Read James 1:22-25. Ask something like:

  • Who are the two different kinds of people that James talks about in this passage?
    Answers will vary. Let your students answer, but ultimately point them to James’ phrasing in verse 25: he talks about hearers who forget and doers who act.
  • What does he say the hearers who forget are like?
    Answer: They are like someone who looks at their face in a mirror and forgets what they look like!

NEXT, have a volunteer (preferably with some distinct characteristics like glasses or freckles) come to the front of the room, put their back to the crowd and hold up the mirror to their face. Ask them to study their face for a few seconds. After they’ve looked at themselves, ask them to turn around and take a moment to sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” with everyone. Explain that this should clear their memory.

THEN, ask the volunteer  to describe his or her face. Ask about some characteristics such as hair color, eye color, glasses, etc. Then he or she can sit. Help your students see how ridiculous a scenario James is presenting! Ask something like:

  • Can you imagine that ever happening? Could you really, actually look at yourself in the mirror and forget what you look like?
    Answer: Hardly, but that’s exactly what we do when we read God’s word and then fail to live it out.
  • Who is James calling us to be?
    Answer: James wants us to be doers who act. He wants us to be the kind of people who hear the words of Jesus and then begin living them out.

  • What about this is hard for you to live out?
    Answers will vary. Let your students answer. Talk through some of the difficulties and obstacles that we create for ourselves in actually following through on God’s Word. It may be distractions, not caring or not seeing the value. Sometimes we think we can ”look” like a Christian without actually having to live it out.

  • What is one step of obedience that the Lord has impressed on you to live out as a result of our study on the Sermon on the Mount? How will you apply this?

It’s important for us to realize what James is pointing out in this passage. If you read around this passage, you discover that James is really teaching against living a ‘religious’ life of trying to look perfect. He’s pointing us toward Jesus. James is pointing out that the real motion of the Christian life is that: seeing Jesus, hearing Jesus, learning from Jesus, and then living it out.

Close by helping your Huddle see and understand that following God’s Word is not easy. It’s not fun sometimes. It can be challenging to say no to yourself/the world and yes to God. But it is always the wise and God-glorifying choice. It’s exactly what Jesus is calling us to as disciples. If we are going to live out our faith in Him, we must listen to and obey His word! 

Close in prayer.

Click here to check out the full study!