Sundays | 9am & 10:30am | The Woodlands, TX

How to Make the Most of Your Life: Matthew 16:24–25

Series Review
John Witte

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.—Matthew 16:24–25 (ESV)

Sunday’s message was the series wrap-up and focused primarily on applying the principles of how to make the most of your life. Allow the Group to fully explore the application to their own lives and lean into the more complicated examples they cite. Is anyone in your Group going through a storm similar to the Pickards?

Ask the Group if anyone attended all seven sessions. If they did, commend them for it and ask which sessions resonated the most. If Group members missed a session, ask someone who attended that session to summarize it. Refer to previous study notes to help them.

Sermon Summary
The core idea of our series has been that we gain our lives by giving them away. Based on such a radical redefinition of how one makes the most of ones’ life, we have identified adjustments we need to make to make the most of our lives:

- Make sure you don’t base your list only on what you can see because Jesus told us there are eternal realities beyond what we can see that determine if we made the most of our lives.
- Make sure not to make excuses that cause you to miss moments that never come your way again.
- Make sure you don’t get your list right and still get your life wrong by not acting on the word of God so it can act on you.
- Make sure you walk in the Spirit so your wants don’t overwhelm your list.
- Make sure you don’t talk yourself out of what Jesus is talking you into.
- Make sure your list can survive and help you thrive in the face of suffering.

Life comes at us fast, like the fastball thrown by a professional baseball pitcher. Decision-making often requires split-second choices that have an eternal impact. It’s easy to get it wrong and often miss altogether. Like a professional baseball batter, we can’t wait until life’s pitch is thrown to ready ourselves.

There are three advantages the pros have that we can learn from:

1. They have above-average eyesight.
2. They get a head start on every pitch.
3. They can see into the future.

Our above-average eyesight is God’s omniscience. That means he knows and sees everything. How do we see life through his eyes? That’s what the Scriptures are for. The Scriptures reveal God to us, showing us how he sees life. Our head start is deciding in advance that we will live according to God’s will, regardless of circumstances. We see the future by placing trust and faith in Jesus, who has revealed our outcome and destination.

Group Discussion Questions
  1. If we know the adjustments to make to our list, what makes it possible to get our list right and still get our lives wrong?
  2. Read Proverbs 1:1-4. These verses promise prudence, knowledge, and discretion. How do these things apply to what we’ve learned about our list of priorities? How can we have a correct list but still get our lives wrong? How is this like having above-average eyesight?
  3. Read the story about Joseph and Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39. What did Joseph do? How is it sometimes wiser to just run away rather than stay to think things out? How is this like getting a head start on every pitch?
  4. How does the Holy Spirit help in our decision-making? Describe a time when he directed your life in unexpected or surprising ways.
  5. Read Proverbs 22:6. How does instilling truth in a child make a difference? Notice the verse says, “when they are old, they will not depart from it.” What about when they are young? Discuss how instilled truth may be abandoned as a youth but returned to as an older person. Has that been true of your life? Discuss.
  6. Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8. How do our future rewards relate to the way we live? What difference does this make?

Dig Deeper: Bearing the Cross
The loyalty Jesus sought was ultimately the same loyalty He offered, the willingness to give up everything, even to the point of death. He asks no less from us. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 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” (Matt. 16:24–27). In modern parlance Jesus asked us to drape a hangman’s noose around our neck, to carry bullets for our firing squad, to strap ourselves into the electric chair. If we resolve ahead of time to pay the ultimate price for Jesus and His words, He promises to be proud of us in the hereafter (Mark 8:35–38). Resting in the guarantee of resurrection and reunion, Paul faced wild beasts in the Roman stadium (1 Cor. 15:31–32). Convinced that Good Friday was followed by Easter Sunday, Peter and John weren’t intimidated by death threats from the Jewish Supreme Court (Acts 4:13, 18, 21).

Watson, Jeffrey A., and Charles R. Swindoll. 2000. Biblical Counseling for Today: A Handbook for Those Who Counsel from Scripture. Swindoll Leadership Library. Nashville, TN: Word Pub.
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