2. In Matthew 25:35-45 Jesus says that by giving or withholding acts of kindness to the needy, people actually do or do not do those things for Him. Why is this true?
3. Matthew 25:31-46 seems to teach that people will receive eternal life or be sent to eternal punishment on the basis of doing or not doing good works. How do you reconcile this passage with the Bible teaching that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ and not by works (Ephesians 2:8, 9)?
4. The teaching of the prophets (e.g. Isaiah 58:6-9) and Jesus put great emphasis on caring for the poor, yet many American churches and Christians do not. Why do you think this is?
5. As Jesus encouraged His followers to help the poor and needy, He didn’t seem to give any warnings about being taken advantage of or of inadvertently enabling people who are lazy or irresponsible. Why do you think He doesn’t emphasize this more?
6. Talk about someone you know who has been a great example of using their resources to help the needy. Give specific examples of what they have done.
7. It seems that churches often either emphasize preaching the Gospel but aren’t very engaged in helping the needy, or they are very involved in social action but don’t emphasize the importance of being saved. How can we keep these things in balance so that we minister to the whole person without neglecting either spiritual or physical needs?
8. Discuss specific ways your group could become involved in each of the areas Jesus mentioned: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, giving hospitality to the stranger, clothing the naked, looking after the sick, and visiting those in prison.