Introduction: Many years ago, a distant relative was having a serious
conversation with me. I hardly knew him, but he was reviewing his
life and sharing with me that he had made many bad choices. He wanted
to know if I had the same experience. When I thought about it, I
could not think of a single major decision that I regretted. He could
not believe it. He was annoyed, and doubted my honesty. Friend,
having no regrets about major life decisions is a life goal. While I
am no longer as annoying as I used to be, I believe our lesson will
help us to reach the goal of making right choices in life. Let’s dive
into our study of the Bible!

  1. Storm Choices

    1. Read Matthew 7:21-23. This is difficult to understand.
      Jesus first says those who “do the will of my Father” will
      enter heaven. It sounds like Jesus says we can work our
      way into salvation. But, when followers list the most
      remarkable set of works a Christian can do, Jesus calls
      them “evildoers” and says that He “never knew” them. How
      would you resolve this conflict?

      1. If doing the will of the Father is not prophesying,
        driving out demons, and performing many miracles,
        what is it? (My solution to this is to conclude that
        “doing the will of my Father” is reliance on God.
        Someone who relied on the Holy Spirit for those great
        deeds would not claim credit for them.)

    2. Read Matthew 7:24. What does the “therefore” mean? (Jesus
      says, “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine
      …” What Jesus says next follows logically from what He
      just taught about who enters the kingdom of heaven.)

    3. Read Matthew 7:24-25. What does this “house” symbolize? (I
      think it symbolizes our life.)

      1. How do we have a strong house in life? (If we put all
        of these verses together as a single teaching, Jesus
        tells us that listening to the Bible, listening to
        the Holy Spirit, and then making choices consistent
        with that guidance gives us a “strong house.”)

    4. Read Matthew 7:26-27. What happens to those who only
      listen to the words of God? (Their “house” collapses.)

    5. Are we talking about salvation? Is Jesus teaching us
      about salvation? (Let’s look at the context.)

      1. Read Matthew 7:13-14. Is this teaching about
        salvation? (Yes, because it refers to “life” and
        “destruction” as opposite choices.)

      2. Read Matthew 7:15-19. Is this teaching about
        salvation? (Indirectly. It tells us that a “good”
        person can be recognized based on his “good”

      3. How would you summarize Jesus overall teaching in the
        verses we have studied? (Jesus doesn’t know those who
        do great works on their own. However, He does know
        (and saves) those who listen to Him and who then act
        consistently with His words.)

        1. Is this salvation by works? (I don’t think so.
          But, it is a check on whether you mean what you
          say. It is a check on whether you are honest
          when you accept what Jesus has done on your

    6. Let’s consider more context. Read Matthew 7:7-8. Is Jesus
      talking about salvation here? (This sounds like our life
      on earth.)

      1. Is Jesus suggesting a two-way conversation with us?
        (Previously we learned that we should listen to God
        and do what He says. This tells us that we can speak
        to God and He will respond with an open door.)

    7. Read Matthew 7:9-11. How confident can we be that Jesus
      will give us “good gifts?” (Would you give good gifts to
      your children? Of course! God loves us and wants the best
      for us.)

      1. Did you always give your children what they requested
        when they asked?

    8. Read Matthew 7:12. Jesus tells us that this guidance on
      our choices “sums up” the law. Why would you not want to
      obey the law? Why would this be “heavy lifting?” (The next
      two verses, Matthew 7:13-14, tell us that “few” are
      willing to live a life that reflects this basic

      1. Why do you think that is true?

  2. Friend Choices

    1. Read Proverbs 12:26 and Proverbs 22:24-25. Why do our
      friends make a difference in the quality of our life?
      (Have you found yourself using expressions that you hear
      from your friends? Everyone has an influence on those
      around them. Your friends change you.)

      1. If your friends change you, do you change your

        1. If the answer is “yes,” do you have a
          responsibility for the nature of your

      2. Read 1 Corinthians 15:33. Should you choose bad friends in
        order to have a positive influence on them? (This tells us
        that just the reverse will happen. We will be corrupted.)

      3. Read Proverbs 22:11. Have you heard someone say that a
        certain church is “not friendly?” Or, someone report that
        they are having trouble finding friends? What does this
        verse suggest is the key to having friends, even friends
        in high places? (Having a “pure heart” and “gracious”

        1. What do you think it means, in the context of finding
          friends, to have a pure heart and gracious speech?

      4. Read Ephesians 5:28-32. How many times do you see married
        couples and one complains that they work more than their
        spouse? Or, complains that something else about their
        spouse is deficient?

        1. If your answer is “yes, I hear that,” what is the
          problem in those marriages? (These couples do not
          understand that they are no longer two, but one. They
          still look at their marriage as if two rivals were in

        2. How do you fix this? (The statement “he who loves his
          wife loves himself” is key to this. Loving your wife
          is the best thing for loving yourself. This helps to
          renew the “one flesh” idea.)

        3. Why does Ephesians 5:33 talk about a husband loving
          his wife, but a wife respecting her husband? Do we
          have different obligations? If so, why?

  3. Career Choices

    1. Read Ecclesiastes 2:1-3. I hear young people who say that
      they should be able to “retire” when they are young, and
      work when they are older. Or, the goal is to retire as
      soon as possible. What does this text say about making
      retirement a priority? (It tells us that pleasure and
      laughter are not the ultimate goal in life. I think they
      are the “vacations” in life.)

    2. Read Ecclesiastes 2:4-9. What is Solomon’s goal in all of
      this? (To become the greatest.)

    3. Read Ecclesiastes 2:11. Does this conclusion make sense to
      you? (Striving to become the greatest, is “chasing after
      the wind.”)

    4. Read Ecclesiastes 2:21-22. Is this view consistent with
      the rest of the Bible? (No. The Bible teaches eternal
      life. It teaches that we should bless others. In all of
      the work that Solomon described, much of it was a blessing
      to others.)

    5. Read Ecclesiastes 2:24-26. Solomon seems to be talking
      through all of these issues, and this is his conclusion.
      Do you think it accords with the rest of the Bible? (Yes,
      we find satisfaction in work. We should enjoy eating and
      drinking. We should strive to please God. If we reject
      God, then we are faced with no future, and giving our
      “stuff” to those who survive us.)

    6. Friend, would you like a “strong house?” Would you like to
      live a life of no regrets for past decisions? Why not
      decide right now to live in accord with the teachings of
      the Bible, to strive to please God?

  4. Next week: Preparing For Change.