Lesson for August 30th, 2014
Jesus articulated the gospel mission to the church, and each gospel writer emphasized a different aspect of that commission.
Paper, pens, paper bag, whiteboard, markers
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Of all the projects you’ve been responsible for, which one was the largest? Were you excited to receive this assignment? Scared? How did it turn out? Share your experience with the group.
- How good are you at delegating? Can you easily give responsibility to another person and trust him or her to follow through or is it easier to just do the job yourself? Discuss.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Distribute slips of paper and pens to the group. Have every member complete this sentence: “My purpose in life is to...” After all have finished, fold the papers and put them into the paper bag. Then pass the bag around and have each person take out a piece of paper. One by one, read the papers and try to guess who wrote each one. Then discuss this question: How important is it for us to have a mission in life?
- Thought Questions
What is the best way to shine your light, as Jesus described in Matthew 5:14-16?
- Go to each home in my neighborhood and invite people to study the Bible with me.
- Donate all of my available funds to ministries that broadcast Jesus’ message in foreign lands.
- Do my best to always live an authentic, Christlike life through the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Keep the church open as often as possible—conducting meaningful events for the community.
- Always point to Christ as my hope of salvation, no matter what I do.
Read Luke 24:48-49. Why do you think Jesus told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem?
- The people recognized the disciples as those who were with Jesus, and there was still plenty to do in this field.
- They had a lot to learn before they tried to go out and witness.
- It’s tempting to think that “mission” takes place somewhere else, but their ministry at that time was right around them.
- They needed the Holy Spirit’s guidance as they did their work.
- Jesus needed to see if they could obey this simple command before entrusting them with more responsibility.
How important is it to know that our commission in John 20:21 comes directly from heaven?
- When Jesus commands us to have peace, it’s not just a nice greeting. Jesus actually infuses peace into our hearts.
- It gives our mission authority. We know we’re doing something meaningful.
- It’s helpful to know as good soldiers that our marching orders come directly from the Commander in Chief of the universe.
- We see from this that we aren’t working on our own; we are partners with God in our mission.
- We will have peace only when we are following God’s commands. Any other course in life will be frustratingly miserable.
- It’s happening right now, as we share our message with the world.
- It will happen once we receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
- It will happen once we get the Bible translated into every language.
- It will happen once we get media programing broadcast to every language group.
- It will happen when we trust Jesus completely and keep God’s commandments.
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: Think of ways to finish this sentence: “The purpose of our group is to...” On the whiteboard, write three possible mission statements. When you reconvene with the larger group, share these statements and vote on which one you will adopt. Then make plans to fulfill your mission.
- Option 2: Is your congregation more focused on local missions or on ministries that take place far away? Do you think there is a good mix or is it a little unbalanced? If you need to give more attention to one or the other, write a proposal to present to your church leadership that will bring the ministries into their proper proportions.
- Option 3: Mission doesn’t happen without the power of the Holy Spirit, yet some in your congregation may fear the Spirit. Is there someone in your church who could give a testimony about the power of the Spirit in a way that is uplifting and disarming? Plan a time to share testimonies that will encourage Spirit-filled witnessing.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- In the time allowed, consider your own commitment to our mission. What simple things can you do to increase your commitment?
- Are you a force for unity or division in your church? In the time allowed, consider if you are resting on the Rock or are in danger of being crushed by it. If changes are needed, what can you do to improve your situation?