What being called by God looks like: Week 7 – Matthew 4:12-25 – 1/28/24

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Small Group Guide:

Open with prayer.

Go around and give everyone a chance to share about how the past week has been. What’s one highlight? What’s one lowlight?

If your small group has talked about it before, feel free to use this time to hold people accountable to what they’ve asked to be held accountable for previously, and go through the “missional” part of this discussion guide.

Jesus Begins His Ministry

12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”[a]

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”[b] 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus Ministers to Great Crowds

23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.



Have you ever heard a Christian say they were called by God to do something, and wondered what they meant by it? Or maybe you’re curious if God is calling you to do something. Today we’re looking at a passage of Scripture where Jesus calls His first disciples. By taking a look at this part of God’s Word, we can learn what it looks like to be called by God.


Different types of calls:


1.  To have a relationship with God, and be changed by Him

John 6:44, 2 Pet. 3:9,  John 3:16-17, Rev. 3:20, 2 Tim. 1:9, 1 Pet. 2:9, 2

Cor. 5:17, Ez. 11:19, Matt. 28:19-20


2.  A general calling towards something

Rom. 1:1-2, 6, Gal. 1:15, Jer. 1:4-5, Is. 49:1, 1 Cor. 12:7


3.  Specified callings towards something

Acts 22:17-21, Gen. 6:22, Jonah 1:1-2, Luke 16:10


Important things to keep in mind about our callings:


1.  God often calls us right where we’re at

Matt. 4:18-19, 21, 9:9-13, Ex. 3, Judges 6:11-27, 1 Sam. 9, 16, Amos 1:1, Luke 2:8-21, Acts 9


2.  Your calling is unique to you

Matt. 25:14-30, 1 Cor. 3:5-11, 7:17, 12:4-7, Rom. 12:4-8, 1 Pet. 4:10


3.  When we are called, we are to act faithfully immediately

Matt. 4:20, 22, Luke 16:10, Deut. 28:1, Acts 5:29, Luke 11:28


4. Being faithful means leaving what you have

Matt. 4:20, 22, 16:24, Luke 9:23-27, 14:25-27, Mark 10:17-22


5. Your call isn’t about you, it’s about God’s Kingdom

Matt. 6:33, Col. 3:2, Heb. 5:4, 13:5, Rom. 11:29


Getting Started

Have you ever read or heard about this story before?

What stood out to you as we were talking about it?

 What questions have you wrestled with about God’s calling in our lives?  Have you ever seen an example of someone being selfish about a calling? If you’re going through these questions in a small group, share about what you felt like God has called you to before, and how you responded.


Diving In

Read Matthew 4:18-22 again. In first century Jewish culture, the student would typically seek out their teachers. In this passage of Scripture, however, Jesus calls His disciples. Read John 6:44 and think about (or discuss) how it applies to Jesus calling His disciples, and how He calls everyone of us.


– Read 2 Peter 3:9. God’s Word makes it clear that God’s Will is that everyone will have a relationship with Him, and everyone has the free will to either choose to accept or deny Jesus as their Lord and Savior. How did God call you to have a relationship with Him? What circumstances did you go through before you had a relationship with God? Who did He put in your life that helped you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, what’s stopping you?


 In Matthew 4:18-22, Jesus calls His first disciples as they are working their normal job. As we read through Scripture, we see God doing this over and over, calling people as they are going through their normal life (for examples see, Matt. 9:9-13, Ex. 3, Judges 6:11-27, 1 Sam. 9, 16, Amos 1:1, Luke 2:8-21, and Acts 9). When Jesus calls them, He uses the skill set that they have as fisherman, to help them understand what He’s calling them to do. Has God ever used your experiences or skill sets to help you to understand how you can build up His Kingdom?

– What giftings have God given you that you have used to build up God’s Kingdom?

– What giftings do you have that you haven’t yet used to build up God’s Kingdom? What’s stopping you from using those gifts for God’s glory?


Read Romans 12:4-8. Throughout Scripture, God calls different people to do different things. Have you ever struggled with comparing other believer’s gifts with your own?

– What do you think is the root cause of comparing other’s giftings with your own? ‘

– What can you do instead of comparing other’s gifts with your own?


Read Ephesians 2:10 and Matthew 6:33. Oftentimes, it is a temptation to make our calling all about us. Our position, our influence, what we can accomplish. However, our calling is never to be about us, rather about God, His Kingdom, and His glory. Have you ever struggled with making your calling more about you than God?

– How can you make sure that your calling stays in line with God’s Will, instead of building yourself up?


Applying the Scripture

What practical step(s) do you need to implement in your life to apply what God has taught you in this passage of Scripture? How would applying this affect your life and your relationship with the Lord? Who can you ask to keep you accountable to applying this to your life?


Prayer Time:

Pray for each other in your small group to be faithful take the step(s) that you shared above. Pray for each other and the interactions that they have with those who don’t know Jesus. Pray that God would soften the people’s hearts to what He has for them. Pray that God would give everyone opportunities to share the Gospel.

Staying Missional:

Share spiritual/missional conversations you’ve had where you live, work, and play:

Who did you have a conversation with that took a spiritual/missional turn this week?
What questions did you ask to discover where God is at work in their life, even if they are not aware?
How were you able to share your story of life change or how you have experienced Jesus?
How can you be intentional this week with people where you live, work, and play to have spiritual/missional conversations if the opportunity arises?
Who in your life do you think could be discipleable or open to spiritual/missional conversations?

What’s next?

Discuss the next step for your small group. When will we gather again and what purpose will it fulfill?