Small Group Curriculum

I’ve Lost Perspective

04.28.18 | #TheStruggleIsReal

PREPARATION

STUDY | Spend the week studying Matthew 6:33, 13:44–50 and Revelation 21:1–8, 22:1–5. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.

DETERMINE | Which discussion points and study questions will work best for your group.

PRAY | Pray for our pastors and this week’s message, the upcoming group time, your group members, and their openness to God’s Word.

LANDING POINT | When I choose to live for God’s kingdom, I get a right perspective on my person, place, and purpose.

Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion

  1. Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
  2. No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
  3. No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
  4. Sharing. Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Don’t talk too much or too little. Every person brings something valuable to the group. 

INTRODUCTION

As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.

WE LACK PERSPECTIVE

Our lives are busy. That report is due to your boss by Monday. You’ve got a to-do list so long you wonder how it’s even possible to get half those things done. Finals are coming up, and you see a few all-nighters in your future. Often it feels like life has us by the tail instead of the other way around.

It’s easy to get lost in the here-and-now, isn’t it? When we focus on what’s right in front of us, we can lose perspective on what truly matters in life. Our choices today matter for eternity. God made you for Himself, and you were meant to live for Him in His kingdom. Jesus teaches us to see life with a kingdom perspective. When you do this, you get a right perspective on who you are, where you belong, and what your purpose is.

Q: What causes you to lose perspective in life?

Q: Describe the following statement in your own words: “Our choices today matter for eternity.”


LEARN

Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.

TILL KINGDOM COME

Jesus came to establish God’s kingdom and Himself as its king. Jesus called His followers to live radically different lives, which means living with a different perspective—a kingdom perspective. Think of the kingdom of God as “life as it was meant to be lived.” Everyone seeks happiness in one way or another. God designed us to seek what will make us happy, but true happiness—ultimate joy and satisfaction—is only found in Him. Our problem is that we seek happiness in lesser things that can never give us what we truly desire. When we seek happiness in lesser things, we lose perspective. We forget who we are, where we belong, and what our purpose is. This is what sin does to us.

Read Matthew 13:44–50

Q: How does Jesus describe the kingdom of God?1

Q: How does sin make us forgetful?

TWO KINGDOMS, TWO DESTINIES

Jesus taught His followers that they had a choice—to live for God’s kingdom or live for the kingdom of self. Those who live for God’s kingdom allow Jesus to reign as king. There’s no area of your life beyond His authority. When you live with Jesus as king, you let Him lead you to real joy. Living for God’s kingdom leads to eternal life. Eternal life is life with God, unhindered by sin. This is our ultimate destiny as God’s children.

But there’s another choice—to live for yourself. When you live for the kingdom of self, you build a tiny kingdom of one where you are king. Living this way makes you see everyone else as your servant. Everything revolves around your needs, wants, and desires. Living for the kingdom of self leads to hell. Hell is a real place of torment. But the most terrible thing about hell is that is that you spend eternity separated from God.

Q: Why are we reluctant to let Jesus reign in every area of our lives? What are we afraid of?

Q: Describe how someone acts who is living for the kingdom of self.


LIVE

Select 2-3 question from this section to answer.

PERSON – GOD IS YOUR FATHER

Living for God’s kingdom gives you a right perspective on who you are, where you belong, and your purpose. First, Jesus brings you into God’s family as a son or daughter. As your Father, God now works in you to give you the life you were meant to live (Romans 8:28). He loves and cares for you, His child. That doesn’t mean life will always be easy. Jesus never promised us an easy life, but He did promise us an abundant one (John 10:10). 

Q: Where do you experience abundant life now? Where is it lacking?

PLACE – YOU BELONG IN HIS FAMILY

Second, when you’re in God’s family, you are loved and accepted as a child of the King. You are royalty in His eyes. Being in God’s family is another way to say you belong to His kingdom. Before you took your first breath, God had a place for you in His family (John 1:12–13). And there’s nothing that will ever separate you from His unending love (Romans 8:31–39).

Q: What does it feel like to truly belong somewhere (or to someone)?

PURPOSE – A ROLE IN GOD’S KINGDOM STORY

Third, if you live for God’s kingdom, you have a new purpose. God has a role only you could play in His grand kingdom story. God changes your story. No longer do you live for yourself. God calls you to live like Jesus. Jesus lived to serve God and others.

God’s kingdom story continues in us today, and we each have a special role to play in it. But you can’t play that role if you’re serving any other master except Him. To live out God’s purposes, you must surrender everything to King Jesus.

Q: What’s your biggest hurdle to living out God’s purposes for you right now?

Q: In what ways can your group encourage one another to live out God’s purposes?


LEAD

HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE

Jesus promised His followers that He will return one day to finally establish God’s kingdom. The book of Revelation tells us that when Jesus returns, He will finally defeat the enemies of Satan, sin, and death and reign forever as king. God will restore creation to its original beauty and dwell with His people. Sin will not get in the way.

For now, we experience “life as it was meant to be lived” only in brief moments. The joy and satisfaction we know now is only a taste of what’s to come. But Jesus gives us hope when life gets hard. He helps us in the struggle. He calls us to live with a better perspective, a kingdom one. You have a role to play in God’s kingdom story, and God invites you to let Him write the next chapters of your life.

Read Revelation 21:1–8 and 22:1–5

Q: Where do you see hope in these passages?

Q: What would you like the next chapter of your life in God’s kingdom story to be? Write it down and share it with the group.


PRAY

Praise God that He is your Father. Ask Him to search your heart and reveal any area you haven’t submitted to King Jesus. Ask for wisdom to see your life with a kingdom perspective. Pray for a heart that finds its ultimate joy and satisfaction in Him.


FOLLOW UP

Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:

  • Read Matthew 6:19–34 and reflect on what it means to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first.
  • Ask the group to share any stories or lessons learned where they see God at work in their lives.

COMMENTARY

The Kingdom of God

The kingdom of God is central to Jesus’s teaching. Jesus proclaimed that the kingdom had arrived with His coming (Mark 1:15). This was the good news of salvation. Jesus’s healings and exorcisms relate to the arrival of God’s kingdom and His overthrow of God’s enemies (see Matthew 12:28; Mark 3:22–27). Jesus doesn’t define the kingdom. Rather, He describes it, most often in parables (see Matthew 13:31–32; Mark 4:26–29; 30–32; Luke 13:18–19, 20–21).2

Two Parables

In Matthew 13:44–45, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to someone finding treasure hidden in a field and to a pearl of great value. God’s kingdom is something so joyful that it is worth giving up all you have to obtain it. Contrast Jesus’s words in this passage to His rebuke of the believers in Laodicea for their lukewarm faith (Revelation 3:15–16). When Jesus is our greatest treasure, our faith will be anything but lukewarm.

Revelation at a Glance

The book of Revelation reveals the real spiritual war happening between God and His enemies. Jesus has already won the battle over Satan, sin, and death. However, His church continues to experience opposition and persecution. The book was written to give hope and encouragement to suffering believers that, in the end, Jesus will triumph over all His enemies. Because of this, believers should remain faithful.3

Understanding Hell

Hell is a place of eternal fire where the devil and his allies are destined to go (Matthew 25:41). It’s also reserved for those who refuse to put their trust in Christ as Lord and Savior (Matthew 25:31–46). “The suffering of the lost in hell is eternal (Isa. 66:24; Matt. 25:46; Mark 9:44, 46, 48; Rev. 14:11). The assertion that God would be unfair to punish eternally a temporal sin underestimates the seriousness of sin, the spiritual nature of sin, and the supreme holiness of God.”4

 

 

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ENDNOTES:
1. Matthew refers to the kingdom of God as the “kingdom of heaven” in his gospel.
2. David Seal, “Kingdom of God,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
3. Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2454.
4. Ray Clendenen with Shackelford David G., “Hell,” ed. Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 745.