A Life God Rewards is a four-week small group study. Being a Christ follower is an opportunity to invest your days in such a way that God’s rewards will change your life in time and for all eternity. Join Pastor Allen and explore the opportunity to live a life that God rewards.
How to use this study
Let’s Get Started!
Each of the four sessions contains a small group video led by Pastor Allen Jackson and the discussion guide for your group.
- What kind of church did you grow up in? What is your least favorite food?
Choose A Life God Rewards
Rewards from the Lord are not random, nor are they an expression of grace. They are linked to our behavior, choices, and practices.
Matthew 5:19 (NIV®)
19 “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
- Jesus teaches on the Mount of Beatitudes about a reward system. What is a determining factor for His rewards?
Matthew 6:1 (NIV®)
1 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 6:2 (NIV®)
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”
Matthew 6:4 (NIV®)
(giving) “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
- Discuss Jesus’ coaching in verses 1-4. What can disqualify us from receiving God’s reward when giving?
- Are there times when doing “acts of righteousness” publically can be of significant value? Give an example.
Matthew 6:5 (NIV®)
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”
Matthew 6:6 (NIV®)
(prayer) “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Matthew 6:16 (NIV®)
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
Matthew 6:18 (NIV®)
(fasting)” …and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
- Jesus says not “if” but “when” you pray and “when” you fast. These spiritual disciplines are expected of us as followers of Christ. Share some of your experiences in learning to pray and fast.
- How have they been beneficial to your spiritual growth?
- Who has been important to you in your understanding and growth in these areas?
The character of God is revealed throughout Scripture. We will not all receive the same rewards. It will be based on how we live our lives toward Him.
Matthew 17:1-3 (NIV®)
1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
- Who did Jesus take with Him to the meeting? Who were the special guests that appeared?
- Are there some persons in your life that you draw close to in important times? What are the qualities/characteristics of these persons that give them that special place in your life?
Disciples Sitting on 12 Thrones
Matthew 19:27-29 (NIV®)
27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
28 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”
- What did Peter ask Jesus? Why do you think he felt justified in asking the question?
- What was Jesus’ response to Peter and for everyone else? How does knowing this change our imagination about choosing a different set of priorities?
- Why does our goal to grow in the Lord have to go beyond saying the prayer of salvation?
The Lord’s Prayer
Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV®)
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
- What have you learned about God since you have been in church and fellowship with believers?
Choose A Life God Rewards
Rewards from the Lord are not random, nor are they an expression of grace they are linked to our behavior, choices, and practices.
- A Reward for Serving God
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV®)
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Mark 1:17 (NIV®)
17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
- What was the promise attached to Jesus’ invitation? What promise/motivation is presented when we consider following Jesus?
Matthew 16:27 (NIV®)
27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
Hebrews 11:24-26 (NIV®)
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
- Moses was a “Prince of Egypt”, had access to learning, wealth, power, and prestige yet, he chose to be identified with slaves & “refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter”. How does this bold God response of Moses go against what we are typically coached toward?
- He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as more valuable than the treasures of Egypt. Do you believe you have the same courage to make the same choice to choose God in such a way, denying immediate pleasure? Have you experienced this? Explain.
- Facts to Know:
The following 7 ideas that we should take to heart to help provide a context for honoring God and living in such a way that He can reward your life.
We will have a life beyond time.
- Why is living a God honoring life more than just a salvation prayer? Discuss the importance of acknowledging “beyond time”.
Our roles in eternity are determined by our choices in time.
- What is an adjustment you have made because you believe this to be true?
God rewards those who seek Him.
- Awareness of rewards enables us to persevere. When the struggle is intense, it is important to know the benefit of victory; as the struggle intensifies, perseverance is linked to awareness of the benefit. Share a persevering season in your life.
There will be a resurrection of the dead.
God’s judgments are not fully expressed in time.
- Sometimes we see good things happen to wicked people and we see good people struggle. What helps you endure the times of trial?
You may inherit the Kingdom of God with a modest reward or a great reward.
Learn what God values.
- Christ followers evaluate success differently than the present world system. Before you were a believer how did you evaluate success? Now? How have you made priority changes due to your faith?
Proverbs 22:4 (NIV®)
4 Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.
- What do humility and the fear of the Lord bring?
- How do you understand the practice of humility?
Psalm 34:18 (NIV®)
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
- What an incredible promise! Where have you seen this promise fulfilled in your life?
- Which one of the above 7 statements is most difficult for you? Why?
- Which one brings you the most hope? Explain
Heavenly Father, I need Your help. I know You are a patient God, a God of mercy and justice. Direct my steps that I might be pleasing in Your sight. Open my heart to understand Your ways, grant me discernment to recognize Your invitations. Give me the strength to complete the course You have marked out for me. Through my life may the name of Jesus be exalted and his kingdom extended, amen.
- We are half way through our Life God Rewards small group. What has been a highlight? Who is someone that gave you an invitation toward the Lord that made a difference in your life?
Hearts & Minds
Philippians 3:18-20 (NASB®)
18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;
Colossians 3:1-2 (NIV®)
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
- What are the instructions given in the above scripture?
- What things are threats to cooperating with the instruction?
- Pastor Allen challenges us to intend to push into 10 “Intend” statements for 100 days. When was the last time you took a spiritual challenge? What was your experience and how did it help you or change your perspective?
DAILY COMMITMENTS – let’s look at 3 of the “I Intend” statements of faith.
- I intend to grow —in my faith and God’s involvement in my life.
1 Peter 2:2-3 (NIV®)
2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,
3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
- Is the intent to grow a daily decision?
- What would this look like in your life? What would you lay down or pick up?
- What would be a threat and what would be a motivation?
- I intend to read my Bible this year.
Joshua 1:8 (NIV®)
8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
- Do you currently participate in the WOC reading plan? From the app or online?
- Is it your preference to read the bible or have your smart device read it to you? Discuss.
- Do you prefer to read your bible in the beginning of the day or the end of the day? Why?
- How has making reading your bible a disciple changed you?
- When we read our bible the bible reads us, helps us make adjustments, and lets us check our condition. What is the last scripture or moment in your reading that helped you with life?
- What is your favorite book of the bible and why?
- Have you read the scripture more than once and it feels totally different to you or brings new understanding?
- I intend to pray daily.
Colossians 4:2 (NIV®)
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
- Where did you learn how to pray?
- Is there a person influential in showing you the importance of prayer?
- What was your last answered prayer?
- Do you have a prayer request to share with this group? Take a moment, write down the request and pray for one another.
As we are being challenged to read our bibles and pray it is good to remember that praying god’s word is powerful. Making His promises personal and also proclaiming His word together. Let’s take the following passage from Ephesians and pray it as a group.
16 We pray that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen us with power through Your Spirit in our inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. And we pray that we might be rooted and established in love, 18 having the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
adapted from Ephesians 3:16-21 (NIV®)
- Allen tells his story about Corrie ten Boom. Who has been a hero of faith for you and why?
This has been a great 4 weeks, learning about God and one another. This has also been a time that Pastor Allen has challenged us to grow our imagination that we could lead a group. We want to learn how to be more impactful in how we influence people with our own “Jesus story.” We cannot change ourselves and we certainly cannot change other people. As leaders we have to know God’s power is present and He is willing to help us….. let’s ask Him for help. We do not have to be Biblical scholars to lead a group. Saying “I don’t know” is okay!
- Could you see yourself leading a Faith Group? Would you be willing to say a prayer about it?
Next Intend Statements
4) I intend to honor God in my home.
Joshua 24:15 (NIV®)
15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
- How do you show your family you honor God?
- What do you have in your home that would indicate you follow the Lord? List a few practices that are in place that would identify you as a person of faith.
5) I intend to work with integrity.
Colossians 3:23 (NIV®)
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…
- How we work is an expression of worship. What does working with integrity mean to you?
- How have you changed in your work place as you have grown spiritually?
- Do you see work ethic valued today in the marketplace? Explain.
- I intend to teach my children to respect God and His people.
Deuteronomy 6:-7 (NIV®)
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
- If you have children, how do you teach them to honor God?
- If you don’t have children who are the children/teens you can invest in?
- I intend to faithfully participate in church.
Hebrews 10:25 (NIV®)
25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
- What is the value of worshiping at church? Discuss the benefits you have received from attending church regularly.
- Have you served in the church community?
- I intend to cooperate with the Holy Spirit —recognizing my body as the temple of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV®)
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
- The Holy Spirit is a Person. He is our Helper. In learning to cooperate with Him requires us to invite Him into our everyday life. Discuss a time when the Holy Spirit brought help to you or a time when His correction brought you freedom.
- I intend to live generously. (tithe)
Proverbs 3:9 (NIV®)
9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops…
- What does living generously mean to you?
- What is a promise from God when we choose to tithe?
- Have you given in obedience and then you have experienced a God response?
- I intend to say “yes” to Godliness and “no” to ungodliness.
Titus 2:11-12 (NIV)
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
- Is temptation an age related challenge?
- This present age changes, but God does not. How have you learned to resist temptation through life’s trials and opportunities?
- Which of the above “intend” statements most resonate with you?
- Which statement is your least favorite?
Prayer (adapted from Psalm 91)
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save me from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover me with his feathers, and under his wings I will find refuge; his faithfulness will be my shield and rampart.
5 I will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at my side, ten thousand at my right hand, but it will not come near me.
8 I will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.