Lesson for March 8th, 2014
Discipling the Nations
Jesus’ call to discipleship is for people of every culture and nationality.
Printed pages from Bibles in several different languages (Greek, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, etc.—www.biblegateway.com is a good resource), paper, pens
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- What is the furthest distance you have travelled from your hometown? Were you traveling for business or pleasure?
- What types of ethnic foods do you enjoy? Are there some you don’t like? Some you’d like to try?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Have each group members select a page of Scripture from a different language. Try to (1) figure out what the language is, (2) determine what the reference is, and (3) for the very adventurous, read it. Imagine now that you didn’t have a Bible in your native tongue. To what lengths would you go to get one?
- Thought Questions
Why do you think Israel didn’t readily accept foreigners after hearing the message of Isaiah 56:6-8?
- They saw this as something that God, not they, would do.
- They saw this as something for the future; they didn't need to concern themselves with it right now.
- Foreigners never seemed to live up to the Israelites' covenant-keeping standards, so none deserved acceptance.
- Foreigners sound funny and eat strange food, so they should have their own service.
- If God accepts anybody and everybody, then maybe I'm not so special.
In John 12:20-32, how did the Greeks get their best glimpse of Jesus?
- When Jesus' disciples did not turn them away, as others might have done
- When Jesus gave them instructions on discipleship
- When God's voice boomed from heaven
- When Jesus said, "I will draw all men (even Greeks) to myself"
- I'm not sure they did—it seems like they ignored the Greeks.
What is the significance of Paul quoting Isaiah in Romans 15:12?
- It established the Old Testament foundation for our mission to the nations.
- If they wouldn't listen to him, maybe they'd listen to Isaiah.
- It gave hope to the Gentiles who heard this letter—God accepted them from the beginning.
- Paul needed scriptural authority to establish this new idea (the gospel to the Gentiles) as present truth.
- It is a positive declaration—"the Gentiles will hope in him."
In Acts 1:6-8, how do you think the disciples felt about Jesus’ answer to their question?
- They wanted to be rulers in a rejuvenated Israel, not missionaries to the world.
- It inspired them for their mission; after all, Jesus was saying this.
- They were baffled and still had no idea what was happening.
- They felt foolish when they realized that Jesus was not establishing an earthly kingdom.
- They were overwhelmed by the thought of the few of them evangelizing the entire world.
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: Outline plans for an International Food Fair at your church. Who could provide the different menu options? When could you do this, where could you do this, and who would you invite? Consider how this can help overcome any cultural barriers.
- Option 2: Sometimes people are more apt to contribute to a specific need than to a general "mission offering." Brainstorm some ideas of specific projects that your group or church could assist with and adopt. Plan to present your ideas to your church leaders.
- Option 3: Does anyone in the group speak a foreign language? If so, choose a song or Bible verse that you can learn together and sing or recite to your group. Have you ever thought about learning a new language?
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- How easily do you relate to different cultures? Honestly reflect on your own thoughts and practices toward other nationalities for the next three minutes.
- Think about a time in your life when you were introduced to a new culture. Was the experience exciting and positive or scary and negative? Pray that you can accept all cultures as God does.