1) Listen to Podcast here
Seeking First: Salt, Light, and Law
1. Close Reading: After praying for God to enlighten your mind, read through Matthew 5:13-20 a couple times, slowly. Look for these three things: LIGHTBULB – something that shines from the passage, draws your attention; QUESTION MARK – something difficult to understand; ARROW – a personal application. Share the results of your study with your group.
2. Light of the World: Jesus said to His disciples, “You are the light of the world,” and yet we just read of Jesus that “the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great LIGHT” (Matt. 4:15) and later in his ministry, Jesus would announce, “I am the LIGHT of the world” (John 8:12; cf. John 1:6-9). What does this teach us about the relationship between Jesus and his disciples? Are there any dark places you encounter on a week-to-week basis that need Jesus’ light? How might Christ shine through you in those places (2 Cor. 5:18-20)?
3. Fan into Flame: Jesus lists two negative things that can happen to salt or light (5:13, 14-15). What are they? How might a Christian ‘lose his or her saltiness’ (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19)? How might this be avoided (2 Tim. 1:6-7; Heb. 10:24-25)? Have there been times when you’ve been tempted to hide your light beneath a basket?
4. Righteousness Exceeding the Pharisees: The fact that Jesus says, “DO NOT THINK that I have come to abolish the Law,” implies that there was a danger of their thinking so. Why did the Pharisees think so in Matthew 15:1-20? What was Jesus’ response? Where are you tempted to substitute (easy) external performance for (hard) internal heart-obedience?