The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1 – 13)

Scripture Text:

(click to open in a new window)

Matthew 25:1 – 13

Questions:

1. If a meeting begins at 7:00 PM, do you get there at 6:45? 7:05? Plan to leave your home at 7:00? Hope everyone else will be late?

2. How does this parable relate to Matthew 24?

3. In what ways were the 10 girls alike? What unexpected event takes place (verses 5 and 6)? With what embarrassing consequence (verse 8)?

4. What made the “wise virgins” different from the “foolish virgins”?

  • They had been Girl Scouts.
  • They didn’t fall asleep.
  • They were always prepared.
  • They made responsible decisions.

5. What is the “oil” that keeps your “lamp” lit?

6. Who are you most like in this story?

7. What would you call the refusal of the five wise bridesmaids to share their oil?

  • wise
  • shrewd
  • just
  • unjust
  • mean

8. What did the bridegroom mean when he said, “I don’t know you”?

  • “I don’t recognize you.”
  • “You don’t have an invitation.”
  • “True friends wold take my coming more seriously.”
  • “Your too late.”

9. How do you feel about Jesus saying that the door to the kingdom gets closed for some?

  • It doesn’t sound like something a loving God would do.
  • They had their chance and blew it.
  • We should just be glad people get invited at all.
  • I’m glad this is God’s business.

10. What is the point of this parable?

  • Each of us needs our own relationship with the Lord.
  • You can’t obtain faith in Christ just by being around others who do.
  • There is a limited opportunity to enter God’s kingdom.
  • The second coming of Christ will arrive unexpectedly.
  • Be prepared for Christ’s return.

11. Have you in the past (or in the present) tried to live off the “oil” of someone else’s faith? If so, whose faith?

  • my parents’
  • my spouse’s
  • my friends’
  • my church’s
  • my small group’s
  • other: __________

12. What does it mean to keep watch?

  • try to figure out the signs of Christ’s return
  • patiently wait for a future event
  • actively prepare in the present
  • be ready when Jesus comes back

13. What does Jesus expect Christians to do with their lives in anticipation of His return?

14. In what ways does Christ’s second coming affect the way you live? How are you staying prepared for His return?

15. At the final wedding banquet, will you be escorted inside? How do you know?

.

Watchfulness Because The Day and Hour Is Unknown (Matthew 24:36 – 51; Mark 13:32 – 37; Luke 21:34 – 38)

Scripture Text:

(click to open in a new window)

Matthew 24:36 – 51

Mark 13:32 – 37

Luke 21:34 – 38

Questions:

1. If Jesus returned at 7:00 PM tomorrow, what would you be doing?

2. As a child, what was your favorite time of day? Day of the week? Season of the year?

3. Why do you think the Father has kept the time secret? What is the responsibility of believers in the meantime?

4. In what ways is the Flood like the second coming of Christ?

5. What does it mean, practically, to be ready for Jesus’ return if we do not know when He will come?

6. In view of Christ’s second coming, what does the story of the faithful and wise servant teach you about readiness? About stewardship? Judgment? Responsibility for serving and witnessing to others?

7. Specifically, how are you preparing for the Second Coming? How does the knowledge that Jesus will return some day effect your behavior?

8. How would you explain the end times and the Second Coming to a seeker?

9. How well does your life reflect Luke 21:36? What will you do this week to become better at watching and praying?

10. Over what has God given you stewardship? How would God evaluate the job you’re doing?

.

Jesus’ Discourse on Future Events: The Signs of the End of the Age (Matthew 24:1 – 35; Mark 13:1 – 31; Luke 21:5 – 7)

Scripture Text:

(click to open in a new window)

Matthew 24:1 – 35

Mark 13:1 – 31

Luke 21:5 – 7

Questions:

1. When you were growing up, what were you like with building blocks (Lincoln logs, Tinker toys, Legos, etc.)?

  • meticulous in following the instructions step by step
  • innovative in designing your own structure
  • mischievous in destroying someone else’s creation

2. If you could take two things with you to heaven, what would they be?

3. In school or at work, did you ever get burned because you stood by the truth or refused to go along with the crowd? Was it worth it? Why or why not?

4. Why do you think that Jesus used the discussion about the Temple to begin His discourse about the end of the age?

5. How do the Jewish people (including the disciples) feel about the Temple? What would its destruction symbolize for them?

6. Upon hearing this bombshell, what questions do the disciples ask? What events might deceive them into thinking the end times had come? Of what will these events be a sign?

7. After that, what things will happen to the disciples and the early church? What comfort and advocate will aid them to endure their trials?

8. What does “the abomination that causes desolation” mean? (see Daniel 9:27 and Daniel 11:31)

9. What deceptive signs will accompany the “days of distress” unequaled in human history?

10. What should the residents of Jerusalem do when this happen?

11. What dangerous deceptions would Christians need to guard against? Why would believers be susceptible to such rumors then?

12. In contrast, what will mark the coming of the true Messiah? What will His second coming be like?

13. What is the lesson from the fig tree? How does it apply to the disciples’ question (Matthew 24:3) and Jesus’ answer (Matthew 24:33 – 35)?

14. What promises does Jesus give in Mark 13:30, 31? How would this comfort (or discomfort) the disciples? What impact do these promises have on you, over 2,000 years later?

15. How do you reconcile Jesus’ predictions of the destruction of Jerusalem with His predictions of His return?

16. Some people think this passage anticipated the destruction of Jerusalem in70 AD, while others think it refers to the end of the world. What do you think? Could it be both?

17. How does this passage influence your lifestyle?

18. Have you ever faced persecution for your faith? What happened?

19. When you see the forces of evil apparently winning, do you feel like withdrawing from the battle and perching on the rooftop? Or rolling up your sleeves and getting into the fray?

20. What is the most exciting thing to you about the Second Coming? The most distressing? What questions would you like to ask Jesus about it? How do you think He would answer?

.

The Widow’s Offering (Mark 12:41 – 44; Luke 21:1 – 4)

Scripture Text:

(click to open in a new window)

Mark 12:41 – 44

Luke 21:1 – 4

Questions:

This incident takes place in the temple in the court of women, where the treasury was located. It contained 13 trumphet-sized receptacles used to collect donations for the temple.

1. Do you know more rich uncles or more poor widows? Do you treat them any differently? If so, how?

2. When is “more” actually “less”? When is a “little” a “lot”?

3. What do you think motivated the widow to give all she had?

  • She was senile.
  • She loved God very deeply.
  • She was grateful for what she did have.
  • She thought it would earn her some “brownie points” with God.

4. What was Jesus trying to teach the disciples?

  • Poor people are better than rich people.
  • Everyone should give to God.
  • You should give your all to God.
  • Your giving should be sacrificial.

5. What is your opinion of the widow’s actions?

  • Her actions were admirable, but I wouldn’t do it.
  • She was foolhardy and not using common sense.
  • She was doing exactly what God wanted her to do.
  • She should have talked to a financial planner.

6. What is the message of this story?

  • We should be completely “sold out” to God.
  • A willing attitude, not a large amount, is all that matters.
  • You don’t need a big bank balance to be a big giver.
  • It’s not how much you give, but how much is left over, that counts with God.

7. In your opinion, why do most people give money to churches?

8. What kind of faith did the widow possess in order to give the way she did? How does the way you give financial offerings reflect your faith?

9. Why do you give to God’s work? What do you give besides money?

.

Seven Woes Upon the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13 – 39)

Scripture Text:

(click to open in a new window)

Matthew 23:13 – 39

Questions:

1. Review the seven charges Jesus made against the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees. How do they relate to what Jesus says in verses 2 – 7? Do you find anything in common to all seven charges? How do each of these affect the common people?

2. How have the religious leaders corrupted the practice of . . .

  • evangelism (verses 13 – 15)?
  • oath making (verses 16 – 22)?
  • tithing (verses 22 and 24)? see also Micah 6:6 – 8
  • integrity (verses 25 – 28)?

3. In what way are these religious leaders condemned to repeat the past because of their failure to learn from their forefathers (verses 29 – 36)? How is the punishment in verses 33 – 36 appropriate to the crimes?

4. What emotion does Jesus display in verses 37 and 38? How do you think He felt as He was teaching? Why?

5. Where does Jesus catch your attention in this passage? What practices touch close to home in your life? How can you avoid “talking  the talk” but not “walking the walk”?

6. How can you avoid making it hard for others to grow spiritually?

7. What about today’s church do you lament over (as Jesus did over Jerusalem)?

8. When have you seen money in a church become more important than what the church stands for?

9. From reading this passage, what should today’s teachers and pastors be especially mindful of? How have you seen the power of the pulpit abused?

10. What ‘camels’ are easy for you to swallow? What ‘gnats’ are difficult (verse 24)? How will you cheer Jesus when you see Him again?

.