Bible Study: Through the ‘Six Streams’ in the Life of Jesus
Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ. We will now move into the second ‘stream’ in the life of Jesus—The Virtuous Life. However, before moving on, I wanted to offer a final thought about prayer from John Dalrymple:
“The truth is that we only learn to pray all the time everywhere after we have resolutely set about praying some of the time somewhere.”
As the Lord’s Prayer is an invitation, so too, is all prayer. I hope that you accept Jesus’ invitation to pray and converse with him “all the time everywhere”.
Week 2: The Virtuous Life
“You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1Peter 1:16
The Israelites defined holiness as a way to separate the clean from the unclean—obeying the laws while ignoring the ‘word of God’ (Matthew 15:6). Jesus, on the other hand, included the inward signs—purity of heart. The Pharisees focused on rituals of washing the body, not working on the Sabbath, only eating certain foods, and avoiding sinners. Jesus rebuked this thinking in Matthew 15:11—“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles”.
Jesus came to push the standards for God’s people even higher than Moses. He wanted Israelites to understand that relationship with God was more important than religious service. More than legality—it is an act of love for God, self, and others. We must push beyond the outward rituals and into the heart because this leads us into a virtue-filled life. My hope is that you will use this session as a ‘stepping off point’ to consider all the ways that we stumble in being virtuous.
Read: Matthew 5: 21-30
1) Anger and lust are two examples of emotions that exist in the heart before the outward actions occur. How can we move into virtuous behavior before we allow our emotions to damage our relationships?
Read: Matthew 6:1-4
1) Pride is another emotion that Jesus speaks to.
a. What are some of the ways pride has caused you to create broken relationships?
i. How does it feel when someone takes credit for your work?
1. How do you respond?
ii. How does it feel when you do something for someone and do not receive thanks?
1. How do you respond?
b. How would you like to respond? Practice ways in which to respond so that when an opportunity arises, you will be ready (in a mirror or talking to an empty chair).
Read: Acts 2: 42-47
1) What a beautiful vision of community—sharing everything, selling what they owned to support the community of faith, breaking bread together, and praising God. These actions come from the heart rather than from the law.
What do you believe keeps us from being like the ancient disciples?
Throughout this coming week, pray for the strength to live a more virtuous life.
Matthew 7:21-23; 1Corinthians 13
Take time with each section of the scripture, completing the whole text at the end of the week.
Next week we will look at The Spirit-Empowered Life. Grace and peace to you and yours.