God’s Passion Our Purpose | The Least | Week 2

Sermon Notes

God’s Passion Our Purpose | The Least | Week 2
Pastor Dave Pretlove

Matthew 25:31-46

  1. Jesus makes the most about the least because it’s an issue of God’s heart and image.
    • Psalm 146:6-9, 68:4-6
  2. Jesus makes the most about the least because we face three giant dangers of getting this wrong. 
    • James 1:27; Isaiah 1:17
    • Apathy and Selfishness 
      • Respond by praying, “God, break my heart for what breaks yours.”
    • Emotional Overload
      • Respond by doing for one/some what we wish we could do for all. 
    • Avoidance and Insulation
      • Respond with intentional engagement.
  3. Jesus makes the most about the least because we were the least so he became the least. 
    • 2 Corinthians 8:9; Luke 4:18-21; Ephesians 1:5

Group Questions

  1. If you were able to help every person in need for one day, what would you choose to do? 
  2. How did the Holy Spirit speak to you through this weekend’s message?
  3. Read Isaiah 1:16-17 together. What stands out to you regarding God’s concern for “the least of these’? What do you notice about our inclination to not align with God’s passion based on this passage?
  4. Read 2 Corinthians 8:7-9 together. In what ways did Jesus experience “poverty” during his time on earth? Can you recall moments in the Gospels where we see this? How does Christ’s act of becoming poor for our sake demonstrate his love and grace toward us? 
  5. Which of the three dangers (apathy and selfishness, emotional overload, avoidance and insulation) do you struggle with most? How can you navigate these dangers and take another step toward aligning with God’s passion for “the least”?
  6. How can your LifeGroup commit to praying for and supporting each other as you seek to align your lives with God’s passion for “the least”? 

Scriptures To Meditate On

“Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.”
Isaiah 1:16-17 NLT
“Since you excel in so many ways – in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us – I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches. You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.”
2 Corinthians 8:7-9 NLT 


Video | “The Least of These” with Sinclair Ferguson and Ligonier Ministries 
“We will never grasp the compassion of Jesus until we understand that he framed his whole thinking about others in the light of God’s purposes and God’s Word.”

Book | Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Timothy Keller 
“We instinctively tend to limit for whom we exert ourselves. We do it for people like us, and for people whom we like. Jesus will have none of that. By depicting a Samaritan helping a Jew, Jesus could not have found a more forceful way to say that anyone at all in need – regardless of race, politics, class, and religion – is your neighbour. Not everyone is your brother or sister in faith, but everyone is your neighbour, and you must love your neighbour.”

Article | Understanding Service by Richard Foster and Renovare
“The towel and the basin are the icons of service … In doing this, [Jesus] redefined for them — and for us — the meaning of greatness.”

Spiritual Practice To Try

This week, try the spiritual practice of service. Richard Foster writes, “it is through simple, daily acts of service that the grace of humility will slip in on us unawares. The risen Christ beckons us to the ministry of service. Such a ministry, flowing out of the inner recesses of the heart, is life and joy and peace.”

For the days this week that you don’t feel like looking for opportunities to serve someone else, pray that the Lord might soften your heart. Ask God to reveal his love to you in a fresh way and seek ways to serve out of the overflow of that love.

Something To Think About

As we talked about this weekend, one of the challenges we face is dealing with emotional overload. Personally, I’ve found guidance in some of the teachings of John Eldredge as I’ve navigated feeling overwhelmed by the world around me. 

John offers a simple and powerful prayer: “Lord, I give everyone and everything to you.” I find myself praying this short prayer at least once a day. When I feel overwhelmed by news, I pause and pray: Lord, I give everyone and everything to you. When I pray with someone and I can’t fix the thing that hurts them, I surrender: Lord, I give everyone and everything to you. When there are too many needs in one day and I can only meet one, I offer a simple: Lord, I give everyone and everything to you.

Jesus can hold all those things. He can care for all of these things so much more than I can. Coming into this awareness gives me freedom – the freedom to give with an unburdened heart and to serve with a spirit of joy.

You can meditate on Jesus’ promise in Matthew 28:20 this week – “Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Not only is Jesus with you, he is always with the very people you want to serve and love. So we can wholeheartedly pray: Lord, I give everyone and everything to you.

Lydia Long
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