Visible Christianity: Good Works
Topic: Good Works Passage: Matthew 5:13–16
Community Group Questions: Visible Christianity: Good Works
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Read Matthew 5:13-16 together as a group, and then work through the following questions:
- We live in a dark and decaying world. Jesus instructed us to be in the world, but not of the world (see John 17:15-18). How easy or difficult is it for you, as a Christian, to engage with the world? What unique challenges do you face in your work place, your home, or out in society as you try to live distinctly, yet engagingly?
- In verse 13, Jesus says that his followers are “the salt of the earth.” In the ancient world, salt was used as a preservative for food, as well as a flavoring agent. Applying the metaphor to our Christian lives, we should influence society as a preservative against moral decay. We should also be “flavorful” as we live noticeably transformed lives that engage the world in compelling ways. We should look like the characteristics described in the “beatitudes” (see Matt. 5:2-12). How would you rate your “saltiness” on a scale of 1-10? What are some practical steps you can take to be saltier in your everyday life? Think of someone you know who is at the top of the “saltiness” scale – what about their life makes them standout?
- In verses 14-16, Jesus says we are also the “light of the world.” He says we are like a “city on a hill” that shines brightly for everybody around us to see. Everywhere we go, we shine the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As you consider your life, what specific places is Christ calling you to uniquely shine his light? (your unique family? Neighborhood? Ministry opportunities? Etc.). How can this community group pray for you, and support you, as you face unique challenges in those spaces where you’re called to shine?
- In verse 15, Jesus warns us to not hide our light. What circumstances have you found yourself in where you’ve been tempted to hide your light? How can you equip yourself to be bold in those circumstances down the road?
- Notice that in verse 16, we’re explicitly commanded to let the world “see” our “good works.” Our good works are an evangelistic tool in the hands of God, and therefore, they should not be hidden. Take a moment to define what Jesus means by “good works” (they certainly include good deeds of charity, service, and generosity, but they also involve daily attitudes and character traits – see 1 Peter 2:11-12, Philippians 2:14-15, Ephesians 2:10). Have you ever encountered someone who was drawn to Christ because they first encountered the radiant good works of a Christian? Share the story. How do good works “visually adorn” our gospel message?
Prayer suggestions: Thank God for sending Jesus as the light of the world. Ask for boldness to faithfully be salt and light in a dark and decaying world. Pray for one another regarding the unique places you’ve been called to share Christ’s light. Pray that God would bless specific ideas for “good works” that members of the group are hoping to engage in. Pray that these deeds would be a platform for sharing the gospel message with people.