During this series we will be walking through four fantastic conversations about what it means for us to make room in our hearts for God’s plan and purposes individually, as a group and as a church family.
If your group did not watch the video from Chip last week, be sure to watch it this week.
RETURN: Come back to this section each week and answer these 3 questions:
+ Individually, what does it mean for me to make room for God’s vision in my life?
+ As a group, what does it mean for us to make room for God’s vision in our group?
+ As a church, what does it mean for us to make room for God’s vision as a church?
+ STUDY | Study Luke 5:27-32. Consult the commentary provided to enhance preparation.
+ DETERMINE | Evaluate and determine which discussion points and study questions will work best for your group.
+ PRAY | Dedicate time to 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 | Making room in your heart means seeing your relationships as a mission field for God’s kingdom.
+ Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
+ No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
+ No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
+ 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.
As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.
Last week your group discussed how to make room in your vision to see your ability to influence others for God’s kingdom. You do this by being obedient to God’s call and allowing Him to grow His kingdom through you. This week you will discuss what it means to make room in your heart for others. We are a people on mission and our relationships are a mission field. God wants to use them to bring others into His kingdom.
+ What does “making room in your heart for others” require of you?
+ How would you describe the phrase “our relationships are a mission field” in your own words?
Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.
After Jesus had healed a paralytic, He encounters a tax collector named Levi (also known as Matthew). Levi’s job was to collect taxes for Rome. In Jesus’ day, Jews hated tax collectors because they represented the occupying Roman government. Every time a Jew saw a tax collector, he was reminded that Israel was not a free nation. Tax collectors were also notorious for being corrupt. Because of this, they were seen as some of the lowest in Jewish society.
While many Jews viewed tax collectors this way, Jesus saw them differently. Instead of a villain, Jesus saw a disciple in Levi. So, Jesus called out to him and said, “Follow me,” which was an invitation into relationship. Everyone present stood in silence waiting for Levi’s response.
+ Read Luke 5:27-32 as a group. What stands out to you in this story? Why?
+ In what ways could you see people differently in your life?
THREE RESPONSES: LEVI, THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS, AND JESUS
What happened next was amazing. Immediately, Levi got up, left everything, and followed Jesus. Levi left his old life in order to follow Jesus into new life. You can imagine the surprise of those who witnessed Levi’s radical response.
To celebrate, Levi invited Jesus to his home for a feast. Other tax collectors were invited, which meant Jesus was one of the few on the guest list with a good reputation. This upset the religious leaders, who questioned the disciples and why Jesus would want to associate with such a despised group. In response, Jesus said, “If you’re well, you don’t need a doctor. Only the sick need one. I’ve come to call sinners, not the righteous.”
+ Is there anything God is calling you to leave behind in your life? If so, what?
+ What does the religious leaders’ response teach you about people? What does Jesus’ response teach you about God?
Select 2-3 question from this section to answer.
What can we learn from this story about making room in your heart for others? First, we learn that Jesus saw people’s greatest needs. Levi was headed down the wrong road in life, and Jesus loved Levi too much to leave him on that path. Levi’s sinful condition had left him sick and in need. He didn’t just need a doctor. He needed Jesus, the Great Physician, to address his needs.
Deep down we all have a need for God. Sometimes people try to mask or compensate that need with things like success, security, money, power, sex, etc. But sooner or later people must confront the reality that a life without God won’t satisfy them. What’s more, a life without God leads to a Christ-less eternity. To truly be a people on mission, we must first understand the needs of those who don’t yet know Jesus as Savior.
+ Why do people try to mask or compensate their need for God with lesser things?
+ What helps people see their need for God?
The second thing we learn is that Jesus did something about Levi’s condition. He offered him new life and healing. Jesus saw how serious Levi’s condition was and offered a solution – to follow Him. That was the only way for Levi to truly turn his life around. Only by following Jesus could Levi experience God’s best.
It’s not enough to just see a need. God calls us to take action and do something about it. Our mission is to bring people to Jesus. He is the Great Physician. He will do the healing. He will give them new life. You are simply called to bring others to Him. You can do this by inviting others into your life, listening to their stories and sharing the life you have as a follower of Jesus.
+ In what ways has God healed you? How might your story lead others to Jesus?
+ Consider one or two people who need to hear the truth of this message. How can you move towards sharing this with them in the next few weeks.
Select 1 question from this section to answer.
A CHANGE OF HEART
The first step towards making room in your heart is to pray for God to change your heart. We can be sinful and selfish; the truth is, our natural inclination is to not make room in our heart for others. But the Gospel changes us and calls out of ourselves and into the lives of others. Like Jesus, we are to put the needs of others above our own.
+ What keeps you from making room in your heart for others?
CALLED TO LEAVE
Part of being on mission is leaving what’s comfortable to pursue those who need Christ. The religious leaders couldn’t understand why Jesus built relationships with sinners. But we understand that He was giving us an example to follow. Jesus left heaven to come down and live among us, and we should do likewise in our relationships.
+ In what ways could you follow Jesus’ example and leave what’s comfortable?
Pray that you would make room in your vision for what God wants to do in and through you (and your group). Acknowledge and praise God for His past faithfulness to Pinelake’s community. Ask for bold faith and a God-sized vision moving forward.
Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:
Read Matthew 13:1-52 and reflect on how Jesus describes the kingdom of God.
Ask the group to share any stories or lessons learned where they see God at work in their life.
In Luke’s Gospel, we see examples and teachings of the radical call to follow Jesus. Jesus called Simon, James and John, who left everything to follow Him (5:11). Jesus described the cost of discipleship as denying yourself and taking up your cross daily (9:23) and leaving your house and home for Him (vv.57-62). Jesus also taught that you must “give up everything” in order to be His disciple (14:33).1
Sin as a disease.
“The scribes and Pharisees saw [Levi] and his friends as condemned sinners, but Jesus saw them as spiritually sick ‘patients’ who needed the help of a physician. In fact, He had illustrated this when He cleansed the leper [Mark 1:40-45] and healed the paralytic [Luke 5:17-26]. Sin is like a disease: it starts in a small and hidden way; it grows secretly; it saps our strength; and if it is not cured, it kills. It is tragic when sickness kills the body, but it is even more tragic when sin condemns the soul to hell.”2
Salt and light.
In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus instructs His disciples on how to show others what life in God’s kingdom looks like by being ‘salt’ and ‘light’ for them. There should be something different about the way God’s people live. As Jesus’ followers, our lives are to be oriented around Jesus and His kingdom. We aren’t supposed to escape the world, but engage it through relationships.
Salt purifies, gives flavor and makes you thirsty. As salt, we reflect God’s purity (or holiness). Our lives should bring flavor into a tasteless, unsatisfying world. When you live this way, it makes others thirsty for God. Hopefully, they will see something different in you and want what you have. As light, you illuminate God’s Word and Truth in a dark world. God wants to use you to make the transforming power of the Gospel visible for others to see. God calls you to be salt and light wherever you are, whether that’s in the home, the workplace or in your dormitory.
1. Robert H. Stein, Luke, vol. 24, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 181.
2. Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 188.