Small Group Studies

Pressure Point: Week 9

During the weekend, we heard that two-thirds of Jesus' parables spoke directly about money or possessions. Clearly, Jesus understood that money and material possessions could potentially distract followers and non-followers alike, competing with God for our undivided time, attention, and affection. Still today, money is one of the biggest competitors in our lives. Today, we will dive into what Scripture says about money and how to honor God with how we steward our material possessions. After all, it has been said that either we have our money or our money has us.


What traps do some people fall into when it comes to money?


Bible Study Questions

1. Why do you think money is one of the most contentious topics among people, both in the church and out of the church today?


2.Read James 5:1-6. In what ways had the people James describes in these verses misused their finances?

James 5:1-6

 "Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2 Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment. 4 For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven's Armies.

5 You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you." 

3.  Read Matthew 6:19-24. What does Jesus teach about how to view money and earthly possessions?

Matthew 6:19-24

"Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

22 "Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

24 "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

4. How does the way we view our finances, and material possessions give us, and others, a window into our hearts?


1. What has been going well when you think about how you have been handling your finances? Where is there room for improvement?

2. Read Matthew 6:31-33. How is our perspective on our finances and wealth intertwined with our faith?

Matthew 6:31-33

"So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."

3. How can you reorient your perspective on your finances and material wealth?


One way we combat a spirit of hoarding and trust God with our finances is by practicing generosity. Do something generous today for someone you know in need. Whatever you decide to do, commit today to take a few minutes to show generosity. As you do, you will be leaning into God, who has been generous toward us.


Generosity is at the heart of managing our finances well. The book of Acts tells us that the early church practiced profound generosity. They set a remarkable example for us to learn from and follow. Among the members of the early church were a man named Barnabas and a couple named Ananias and Sapphira. Barnabas gave with the right motives, but Ananias and Sapphira did not, and they faced the consequences. Let's learn from their example what it looks like to give generously and what pitfalls to avoid when it comes to giving.

The Early Church:

Before we look at the stories of Barnabas and Ananias and Sapphira, let's look at the story of the early church, which sets the background for what happens with the stories of Barnabas and Ananias and Sapphira. Take a look at the early church's extraordinary generosity.

1. Read Acts 4:32-35.

Acts 4:32-35

 "All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. 33 The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God's great blessing was upon them all. 34 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need."

2. Summarize the generosity of the early church in this passage of Scripture.

3. What was the foundation of the church's generosity?


As we hear about the early church's generosity in Acts 4, one man's generosity stood out as an example. Barnabas, a man known for his encouragement, stepped up and gave generously in order to help support the church and all of the people a part of it.

1. Read Acts 4:36-37.

Acts 4:36-37

"For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means "Son of Encouragement"). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. 37 He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles."

2. What stands out to you about Barnabas and his generosity?

Ananias and Sapphira: 

1. Read Acts 5:1-10

Acts 5:1-10

" But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. 2 He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife's consent, he kept the rest.

3 Then Peter said, "Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. 4 The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren't lying to us but to God!"

5 As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. 6 Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him.

7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, "Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?"

"Yes," she replied, "that was the price."

9 And Peter said, "How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too."
10 Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband."

2. Considering the context of the previous passages of Scripture we read, what do you think Ananias and Sapphira's intent was behind their giving? Where did they go wrong?

3. What message does this passage of Scripture send us about God's view of our giving and generosity?


As we look at the examples of how to live generously and how not to live generously, let's reflect.

1. Compare and contrast the difference between Barnabas' generosity and the generosity of Ananias and Sapphira.

2. What does it look like today to show the same kind of generosity as Barnabas and the early church?

Your challenge this week is to evaluate the intent behind your generosity this week. Consider the heart behind your generosity when you are generous with your time or finances. Ask God to give you a heart that desires to give out of delight and not duty or desire for recognition.

MONTHLY MEMORY VERSE (Available for download on Sagebrush App)
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16