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Weekend Bible Study
Theme of the Week: Change Your Life Through Service
Saturday, August 23, 2014

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When reading today's passage, we can get bogged down with questions that take us far from the point Jesus wants to make. For instance: "Is Jesus saying that good works get us into heaven?" No. Such an interpretation contradicts both Christ's reason for coming (to die for our sins) and the Bible's full teachings about salvation. Here's another question that takes us way off point: "Is God really that person you're serving?" Again, no. God is God and people are his creation. Still, there is a sense here that God is somehow present in a special way with the world's hurting people. There is one truth, however, we must not miss amid all such questions: God cares deeply about the needs of hurting and lost people and we should too.

  1. How do you feel about reaching out to needy people? What are reasons to do so?
  2. Why is ministry to needy people often messy and difficult?
  3. Why do you think people will be judged by the way they've treated people in need?
  4. How is a Christian who believes in salvation by grace to make sense of good works and God's judgment? (See 1 Cor. 3:10-15; Eph. 2:8-10; James 2:14-26; Rev. 11:15-18.)
  5. Fill in the blanks: "I feel I have seen God's face—experienced his presence—when I served ____ or reached out to ____."

Key Study Passage:

Matthew 25:31-46

Spend Time in Prayer: Thank God for opportunities you've had to reach out to those in need. Confess ways you've "looked the other way" when you've seen a need. Ask God to show you how to live out the message of today's passage.

Matthew 25:31-46

The Final Judgment

31 "But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'

37 "Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?'

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Prayer for the Week
Lord Jesus, help me to see serving others not as a "Christian obligation" but as an exciting path to a truly fulfilling life.

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ANTHONY Swaggerty

August 24, 2014  8:33am

I think Is appropriate to ask simple not open ended questions if you are going to help someone while caring for them. Allow them to tell their story, a little bit. Discernment is then the key. If you have given and got duped or felt duped, let God deal with it, it was your heart attached to do it. Let it go.

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Waldo Smith

August 23, 2014  7:52am

How do you differentiate between someone in need and someone who panhandles for a living?

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