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Matthew 5:1–12 (NIV)
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us. 7 Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. 8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:6–8 (NIV)
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. Romans 5:1 (NIV)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4–7 (NIV)
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:17–21 (NIV)
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Romans 14:19 (NIV)
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14 (NIV)
As Children of God.
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 (NIV)
“When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” ― C.S. Lewis
Small Group Questions
CONNECT WITH GOD (select one of the below practices to begin your small group time this week or select a practice from a previous week.)
Attending to God through Art (5-10 minutes)
Alone: Using the artwork highlighted on Sunday, February 26th, spend 5-10 minutes reflecting and journaling on what you see in the painting.
Pray that God quiets the many distractions within you and beyond you in order to focus on the gift of this artwork before you.
As you focus in on the painting, you might journal your reflections to the following questions:
- Where am I emotionally and spiritually right now?
- Where does God meet me in this painting?
- What new perspectives is God shaping within me as I reflect on this painting?
Using the Lenten Card for Reflection
Alone: Using the Lenten card passed out on Sunday, February 19th, spend 10 minutes engaging with the suggested practice of confessing, remembering, and returning.
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
- Together: Read Matthew 5:1-12 (focusing in on verse 9), Romans 5:1, Philippians 4:4-7, Psalm 34:14, and Romans 12:17-21.
- After you have read, reflect as a whole group on the two passages. Consider the following questions:
- What comes to your mind when you think about peacemaking?
- What do these scripture passages say about receiving and making peace?
CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Read the passages and review the sermon outline. Then select the best questions or customize the questions for your group.)
- Read the main points from the sermon outline.
- What questions, observations, or reactions do you have after reflecting on the passage and sermon?
- One way to understand the concept of peace is through the Hebrew word shalom. Shalom means peace, wholeness, completeness and carries with it a sense of complete reconciliation. How does this definition of peace compare to the way you have thought about what it means to have peace?
- Which supporting passage from Sunday’s message do you connect with the most and why?
- How does the life of Jesus show us what true peacemaking looks like in the world?
- What does it mean to be children of God (v. 9)?
- How is Jesus shaping a new vision of community in God’s kingdom through verse 9?
CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD
- How would peacemaking look in our communities, country, and the world if we sought the shalom of others?
- How are you sharing the message of peace, shalom, or reconciliation with others?
Together as a small group, spend time entering into a time of confession, remembering, and returning. Share with one another how you have fallen short as a peacemaker and how you would like to be a peacemaker in Jesus’ kingdom. Pray that our church be a witness to the peace of Jesus through how we make peace with one another and pursue the wholeness and flourishing of our communities. Ask God to forgive, equip, and go with you as the children of God.
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.
That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”