Be sure to come back next week for our “wrap up” lesson!
Questions to Consider
1. Briefly review the “middle parts” (ex: merciful, poor in spirit) of the Beatitudes, the “salt and light” passage, and the “heart of the law” passage in Matthew 5:1-12, 13-16, 14-20. Now read 7:24-29 in light of those passages.
2. In the Beatitudes, Jesus lists the traits that define Christian character. In much of the rest of the Sermon on the Mount He fleshes out what many of these character traits look like when walked out in “real life”. Which of the traits (the “middle parts” – there could be several) listed in the Beatitudes is Jesus expanding on in today’s passage?
How do: being wise, obedient, “building your house on the rock,” and extolling Jesus’ authority make you salty and bright? (5:13-16)
3. Review from our previous lessons (links above) the idea that the Sermon on the Mount is to the New Testament / new covenant what the Ten Commandments were to the Old Testament / old covenant.
Zoom out and think “big picture” about the Sermon on the Mount and the Ten Commandments. How do they both reinforce the concept of God’s/Jesus’ authority (29) to direct our lives? How do they both impart the idea that we are to submit to Him and obey Him? How do they both demonstrate that God blesses our submission and obedience?
Despite having dropped the “You have heard it said…but I say to you…” framing of His teaching in chapter 6, how is Jesus still shifting the people’s focus from outward obedience to the letter of the law to zeroing in on the attitude of their hearts and the spirit of the law? How must being a genuinely regenerated Believer – being wise, building our lives on the rock of Christ, and bowing to the authority of Christ – be at the heart of our obedience to God?
4. Explain the parable in verses 24-27- What do the…
- wise and foolish
- the house
- the rock and the sand
- rain, floods, wind
- the foundation
5. How does 24-27 flow out of 21-23? In verse 24, how does the introductory phrase, “everyone then” function similarly to “therefore,” and other summarizing or “pivot” words/phrases? How is 24-25 the remedy for 21-23? What are “these words of Mine”? (24) Compare 24-27 to these verses. What similarities do you see? Compare verse 23 with verse 27. What is the main idea both of these verses convey?
6. Consider the concepts of “wise and foolish” here in this passage in light of other Scriptures about wisdom and foolishness that you’re familiar with. (If you’re not familiar, start with these, and use your cross-references.) How do the wise man and foolish man in this passage fit in with Scripture’s overall teaching about wisdom and foolishness? Where does wisdom come from?
Compare the wisdom of the wise man in verses 24-25 to the amazing wisdom Christ displayed throughout the Sermon on the Mount.
7. When Jesus originally preached this sermon, did He mean verses 24-27 in a “big picture” way (believing / disbelieving the gospel) or a “little picture” way (trusting Christ / not having Christ to trust through the “storms of life”)? Is it reasonable, and rightly handling Scripture, for today’s Believer to understand and apply this passage both ways? Why or why not?
Big picture: What is the end result of a life founded on Christ versus a life founded on anything else (i.e. “all other ground is sinking sand”)?
Little picture: How do Believers weather the storms of life compared to unbelievers? What assurances and comforts do we have during difficult times? What are some of the temporal benefits and blessings of believing the gospel and obeying Christ?
8. In verses 28-29, explain the difference between Jesus’ authoritative teaching and the scribes’ non-authoritative teaching. Where did Jesus’ authority in teaching come from? Think about the people Jesus was speaking to, and try to put yourself in their shoes. Why would His speaking authoritatively have been “astonishing”? (Don’t forget to use your cross-references.)
- Imagine you’re an average, first century Jew, trying to live faithfully while waiting for the Messiah to come. You’ve just finished listening to the Sermon on the Mount. Think back over everything you’ve heard Jesus say in chapters 5-7. What are your 4-5 most important takeaways? What’s your impression of Jesus?
- You knew it was coming… :0)