1. In verses 33-48, Jesus provides three more examples of living the flourishing life, the life of righteousness. As you read these three sections, what are the key characteristics of the kind of life that Jesus is describing? The sermon described this life as "telling the truth, going above and beyond, and loving even our enemies." How does that compare to what you find to be the central meaning of Jesus' teaching here?
2. v. 48 is a highly debated verse. What do you believe is the significance of Jesus calling His followers to be perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect? What lesson are we to draw from that exhortation?
3. How does verse 48 connect to our ability to carry out the 6 examples of righteousness Jesus has given in this section of teaching?
4. Beginning to apply the text, can you think of a recent time when you failed to tell the truth? What idol may have had control of your heart when that was happening?
5. Can you think of a time when you have seen someone go above and beyond for somebody who didn't deserve it? How did that impact you?
6. Jesus calls us to love even our enemies. Take a minute to think about who comes to mind for you when you hear this command. You don't have to share who it is out loud, but reflect on how to apply the two principles that were taught about loving your enemy: praying for one good thing, and finding a way to help them instead of hurting them. Which one of those steps could you work on this week?
7. If God's grace is an invitation for us to be beautiful, how do these verses inform the kind of beauty your life is meant to demonstrate? How does the grace of God motivate you to become that kind of person?
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.