Lesson 9

Our Mission

(Matthew 5, Luke 24, John 20, Revelation 14)
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Introduction: Most Christians know that Jesus taught us to share the gospel. How much time do you spend thinking about how to accomplish this goal? If you are like me, your focus is more inward: How do I accomplish some work-related goal? How do I get someone to think I'm worthy of respect or likeable? How can I better enjoy my free time? How would your life be different if the first and most important question of the day was, "How do I bring glory to God today? How do I advance the Kingdom of God today?" Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about how to advance God's Kingdom!

  1. Salt and Light


    1. Read Matthew 5:13. What is the purpose of salt? (To enhance the flavor of your food.)


      1. What happens when you have too much salt?


      2. Jesus compares us to salt. Can you have too much Christian witness? (We know that we need to be careful about the use of salt. I think we also need to be thoughtful about how we witness.)


      3. What happens if we don't witness at all? What good are we?


    2. Read Matthew 5:14-16. How does "a city on a hill" logically fit into this series of statements? The city on a hill cannot be hidden, but a light can. So, why make reference to the city? (Jesus seems to say that Christians will be noticed. The question is, "In what light will they be noticed?")


      1. What is it that we want to have noticed? (Our good deeds. This reinforces our lesson of two weeks ago. We are saved by grace alone, but someone with true faith will be on the road to righteousness. Influencing others for good is one important reason to be on that road.)


      2. What is the goal of our light and works? (To bring glory to God.)


      3. Read Deuteronomy 4:1-2. I think Christians fall into the ditch on both sides of this road. Either we teach people not to take God's commands seriously, or we make up commands God never gave and try to enforce them. Matthew 5:16 is helpful. Instead of making up our own commands, why not suggest that in every activity we ask, "Is this giving glory to God? Is this leading to praise to God?")


      4. What do you make of the fact that Jesus refers to people "seeing our good deeds" as opposed to "hearing our good words?"


  2. Salt and Light Coach


    1. Read Luke 24:46-49. Why do you think that God told the disciples not to begin their witnessing in earnest until they received the gift of the Holy Spirit? (It is essential. We need to learn this lesson.)


      1. If you are still thinking about the deeds/words issue, what is the role of words here?


    2. Read Acts 8:26-29. If you are not familiar with this story, finish by reading Acts 8:30-39. What do verses 26-29 suggest about witnessing while having the power of the Holy Spirit work in us? (The Holy Spirit is like GPS! The Spirit can lead us right to the exact people who want to know more about the gospel.)


      1. Have you ever wondered if you should witness to a certain person? How about asking the Holy Spirit to lead you to the right people?


    3. Read John 20:19-23. How else can the Holy Spirit help us in our witnessing? (Jesus has the power to forgive sins ( Mark 2:5), and He tells us to forgive those who have sinned against us, or we will not be forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15). It seems contrary to the rest of the Bible to conclude that one human can forgive (or refuse to forgive) the sins of others in a way that binds our sovereign God. However, at a minimum this text suggests that the Holy Spirit has a powerful role in working with us to defeat sin in the world.)


    4. Read Matthew 28:16-17. Jesus meets with His disciples after His crucifixion and resurrection. These are His closest followers. What problem do you see? ("Some doubted.")


      1. What do you think they doubted? (That this was Jesus.)


    5. Read Matthew 28:18-20. What is Jesus' response to the doubt? (He says that all authority has been given to Him, and that He will be with us "always, to the very end of the age.")


      1. Making disciples seems inconsistent with doubt. How can you make disciples if you yourself have doubts? (This must be another reason why Jesus refers to His authority. That authority gives proof that He is alive.)


      2. What is our mission, according to Jesus? (It has three features. We seek out everyone to become a disciple. We baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and we teach them to obey God.)


  3. End Time Mission


    1. Jesus tells us that He will be with us until the end of the age. Will our message or our audience change then?


    2. Read Revelation 14:6. Is the audience the same? (Yes, we are still targeting everyone.)


      1. Has the message changed? (No. It is the "eternal gospel" which is to believe that Jesus died on our behalf to save us from sin, was raised from the dead, and now has all authority in heaven and earth.)


    3. Read Revelation 14:7. Wait a minute. Has the eternal gospel changed? (The urgency has changed. The "hour of judgment has come." The need to repent and believe is urgent.)


      1. Why does the angel include the discussion about fear, glory, and the creation? (I think this goes back to "all authority" has been given to Me. The call is still to acknowledge Jesus as God.)


    4. Read Revelation 14:8. What is the adultery of Babylon? (Nelson's Bible Commentary tells us that "the world in rebellion against God is called 'Babylon'." Thus, the adultery is rebelling against God.)


      1. Why is that "maddening wine?" (Wine dulls our senses. Rebellion against God is nonsensical. It is crazy. The great news is that the rebellion has collapsed. It has fallen.)


    5. Read Revelation 14:9-10. How often do you hear this message: "Inside tip, make the wrong decision and God's anger will hit you full-strength in the form of burning sulfur?" What reason would we have to avoid sharing this message?


    6. I think the message of the three angels is a logical argument. Let's go through the logic. The first angel says the Creator of the world has decided to bring matters to a final judgment. The second angel says that God's opposition in the debate has just collapsed. It is done. The third angel announces that being on the wrong side is a really bad idea. Painfully bad. What do you think about sharing the message that it is judgment time, we won, they lost, choose carefully?


      1. Is there any merit to arguing that this is the end-time message, and not the message for all times - therefore a focus on it might be unbalanced? ( Revelation 14:6 says that this is the "eternal gospel." It does not say that it is only the end-time gospel.)


      2. Let's see if this matches our perception of reality. Is it correct to say that the opposition has collapsed? That the time of judgment is here?


    7. Read Revelation 12:13-17. Has the opposition collapsed here? (The opposition got booted out of heaven. It lost at the cross. But, it is still dangerous for those "who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.")


    8. Let's go back to Revelation 14. Read Revelation 14:12. What group do we see here? (The same one, the group which is obedient to God's commands and faithful to Jesus. The same group targeted by Satan.)


      1. Why does this group need "patient endurance?" (I think we are beginning to get the whole picture. Our message is the gospel. Our message is that we have won and the opposition has lost. Our message is that making the wrong choice is a very bad idea. But, we need patience because this is not obvious to everyone. Satan is still roaring around.)


    9. Friend, have you taken the gospel message personally? Will you accept Jesus as your Creator, Savior and Lord? Will you remain faithful to Him and to His commands? The wrong choice is unthinkable. Choosing to lose is illogical. Why not accept Jesus right now and share this message with others?


  4. Next week: The Law of God.

Discussion

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