1. We all receive numerous invitations. How do you decide which ones to accept and which ones to decline?
2. What are some reasons we ignore or decline certain invitations?
3. How does the invitation to follow Jesus include both good news and bad news based on one’s response to the invitation?
4. Why might people ignore the invitation that Jesus gave to follow Him?
Matthew 11 represents a great invitation that Jesus gave to people to follow Him. The invitation began with a warning for those who did not choose to follow Him, and then it ended with a call to the weak and weary to follow Him.
Promised Judgement! Read Matthew 11:20-24
(Locate each town mentioned on a map for the class or they could circle the towns in the Personal Study Guide.)
1. Why do you think Jesus said it would be more tolerable for Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom than the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum?
2. How does Jesus’ teaching in theses verses line up with the image of Jesus that you have in your head or that is popular in our culture? (Jesus promised judgment for those who won’t repent. This is contrary to the image of “gentle Jesus” that is popular. While Jesus is kind, merciful, and loving, He is also holy and righteous.)
3. What sins would you list as the five most grievous and destructive contemporary sins? (Murder, sexual immorality, pride, injustice, and lying are among the top.)
4. Based on Jesus’ teaching here, where should rejection of Jesus rank on the list? (Number ONE! With great revelation comes great accountability!)
5. Based on these verses, how could these cities have avoided God’s judgment? (It is simple, repent and accept Jesus.)
That same truth applies to each of us as individuals today! We will be held accountable for what we do with Jesus—accept or reject.
Promised Revelation! Read Matthew 11:25-26
The doctrines of “divine sovereignty” and “human responsibility” are two of the most difficult doctrines to bring into resolution. While they are both truths found in Scripture they are not contradictory. It is like looking down a railroad track that disappears in the distance. Although they are parallel they come together in the distance.
1. What elements of “divine sovereignty” and “human responsibility” are found in these verses? (Only those whom God calls can receive the message. And yet repeatedly Jesus invited His audiences to have ears to hear. It is a glorious mystery of God’s wisdom how these doctrines are a work in salvation. There is no contradiction between the sovereign purposes of God and the need for personal, volitional faith in Christ.)
2. What is the connection between those who arrogantly think themselves wise and those who are blinded to God’s wisdom? (They can’t hear because they refuse to hear.)
The theme of wisdom hidden from those who think themselves wise appears frequently in the Old Testament—Job 12:2; Isa. 19:11-12; Jer. 8:8-9; Ezek. 28:3-12.
3. What is the meaning of “infants” in verse 25? (Those with child-like faith.)
4. How does God react to those who come to Him by faith? (It’s His “good pleasure” to grant us wisdom into the truth of the gospel. God loves to save people, and our attitudes should reflect His!)
5. Do you consider yourself “wise” or are you an “infant”?
Promised Relationship! Read Matthew 11:27
1. What role does Jesus play in our relationship to the Father?
2. How do we come to know God the Father? (Jesus reveals Him to us. He knows the Father and will lead us into a deep intimacy with the Father like He experiences.)
In putting our faith in Jesus, we are promised that we will know the Father and be brought into a relationship with Him. This is important because we will face periods of doubt and worry, especially when we are struggling with temptation. Here we are given hope and assurance for those times.
3. What did Jesus reveal to us about God the Father as He lived on this earth?
4. How do you respond when people label Christians as narrow minded and uncharitable for asserting that Jesus is the only way to the Father, with no other alternative?
5. What implication does the truth that Jesus is the only way, have on our view of evangelism and missions?
People who don’t have Christ don’t have a relationship with God and are lost. Therefore, we must be intentional about sharing the gospel of Jesus with people who have no faith, and with people of other faiths, as Jesus is the only way to God and eternal life.
Promised Rest! Read Matthew 11:28-30
While verse 27 heavily emphasizes the sovereignty of God, these verses emphasize human responsibility, as Jesus invited all the weak and weary to come to Him.
1. How did the description of Jesus in these verses contrast with other religious leaders of His day, including the scribes and Pharisees? (The Jews had expanded the Ten Commandments into 613 laws or rules you had to follow to be accepted by God. No one could be totally accepted by their rules. They overburdened the people rather than helping them.)
2. What comes to your mind when you think of putting on a “Yoke”? (Work. Restriction.)
3. What did Jesus tell the people about His yoke?
4. Jesus promises that following Him is a life of rest, serving Him is an easy yoke, and bearing His burden is light. What factors make this true? (Usually a yoke was for two animals, so they could pull together. When we are in the yoke Jesus is on the other side. We are operating under his guidance and strength. Yes it is work but it brings joy, peace and contentment.)
5. How does the character and promise of Jesus contrast with what the world offers us? (In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees heaped difficult rules and burdens on the people as they thought this was the way to salvation. Today, our world encourages us to achieve salvation ourselves, but this leaves us burdened because there is no way it can be attained apart from the grace of Jesus. Jesus on the other hand, shows us that the gospel is concerned not with our effort, but with faith in Jesus’ righteousness on our behalf.)
Summarize and Challenge!
1. In light of Jesus’ invitation, how might you explain to a nonbeliever or a person who has been “burnt” by religion, that Jesus’ message and promise is different?
· Explain that Jesus calls us to come to Him and rest in Him. He has done the work on our behalf.
· Jesus asks for faith, while man-made religion demands that we do things to earn God’s favor. This is Satan’s ploy to convince us that it is useless to try.
· The difference is that we can never do enough to earn God’s favor. Jesus instead asks us to stop, come to Him, rest in Him, and follow Him.
2. In light of the truth that Jesus offers salvation to all who trust Him as Savior and Lord, what might we do that we are not doing now in efforts to bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus?
There is a person in your life that needs a relationship with Jesus. Be intentional by making a conscious decision to pray for His or her salvation and needs every day this week. Also, make an opportunity to personally share the gospel with him or her.