Lesson 9

Releasing Into Ministry

(Luke 9-10)
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Introduction: Last week, we discussed preparing for evangelism. This week we start moving our thinking forward into evangelism. I've noticed that when I take a journey it is helpful to have a destination in mind. When our family used to travel by motor home, I liked the destination to be a bit fuzzy - so that we could enjoy every day and not feel pressured by time. I'm not sure fuzzy thinking is helpful when it comes to evangelism goals. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and see if we can sharpen our vision about God's directions for evangelism!

  1. Setting the Compass


    1. Read Luke 9:46. Is this how we should approach ministry? Is our destination greatness?


    2. Read Luke 9:47-48. The point Jesus is trying to make is not immediately obvious to me. Let's work through this. If you were a very important person, who would you want to meet? (Other very important people.)


      1. Who does Jesus say we should welcome? (Children. Meaning those who have no importance in society, politics or business. A child cannot help advance you in any of those areas.)


      2. Let's test our last conclusion. Is the child Jesus is pointing to of no help in society, politics or business? (This child is of great help.)


        1. How? (Because greeting the child is greeting Jesus. Greeting Jesus is greeting God, the most important Being in the universe.)


      3. What destination lesson is to be learned about evangelism? (No one is too insignificant. When we evangelize unimportant people, we help those who are friends of God.)


      4. Let's revisit our fighting disciples. Why would they want to be the greatest? (They would be given special honor and access.)


        1. How does Jesus answer that? (Special honor and access come from helping the friends of God.)


    3. Read Exodus 18:13-14. Why do you think Moses sat as the supreme judge? (Perhaps it was a touch of the spirit of the disciples. But, see Numbers 12:3 (Moses was the most humble man on earth).)


    4. Read Exodus 18:15-16. How important was Moses' work?


    5. Read Exodus 18:17-22. Probably Moses was not doing all of this work because of pride, but I suspect many of the current church leaders have pride as part of their motivation. What does this text teach us? (That we need to teach others to share the load. If we hold the position because of the "glory," we need to share it.)


      1. What does this suggest about organization in evangelism? (Part of the goal is to be organized.)


  2. Evaluating the Help.


    1. Read Luke 9:49. Is this fellow an evangelist? (He is advancing the Kingdom of God, because he does his miracles in the name of Jesus.)


      1. What is the concern of the disciples? (He was not chosen to be part of their group - the group that has been arguing about who is the greatest.)


    2. Read Luke 9:50. What does this teach us about actual evangelism? (Don't be critical of the work of others. Unless they are "against" the gospel, do not oppose them.)


    3. Read Matthew 7:15. What warning do we have here about some people who claim to be advancing the gospel? (Some are false. Some are ferocious wolves.)


    4. Read Matthew 7:16-20. How does this help us understand Jesus' statement about those who are "against" the gospel? (We can accurately evaluate those who are "against" the gospel by the fruit of their work.)


      1. What was the "fruit" of the fellow who was the target of the disciples? (Re-read Luke 9:49. He was driving out demons!)


    5. What destination theme do we find so far in these texts? (When we greet the least important, we greet Jesus. When we try to do all the work ourselves, we are not sharing opportunities. When we claim to have the only true ministry, we oppose the work of God. Many are producing good fruit. I think the overall goal is to not take ourselves too seriously. Instead, focus on the work of evangelism.)


  3. The Directive


    1. Read Luke 10:1-3. Is this being released into ministry?


      1. How did they decide on their destination? (These were towns Jesus planned to visit.)


        1. How would you follow this directive today? (First, I would ask the Holy Spirit to lead me to where God wanted. If I did not get a clear word from the Holy Spirit, I would look to see where God is working.)


      2. For what were they told to pray? (That God would send other workers.)


    2. Read Luke 10:4. Some commentaries taught me that greetings of this time were long and drawn out. Not the quick "Hi" we use in America. Thus, Jesus tells us that when we go on a specific mission we should focus on our evangelistic work, and not get distracted.


      1. What about the other part of the directive: why should we be completely unprepared? Isn't it prudent to take money, credit cards and an extra pair of shoes?


      2. If you could not take money or credit cards, what would be the alternative? (You would have to depend on God. You would have to depend on God influencing others to help you.)


    3. Read Luke 10:5-7. Is Jesus' instruction about not taking money clarified here? (The primary point is that you should not have to pay your own way. The people who benefit from your evangelism should pay.)


      1. Have you ever said that you would like to go into ministry, but you have to wait until you can afford it? (These people, seventy-two to be precise, were "appointed" by Jesus. Before you rush out to have others support you, be sure Jesus has appointed you for this.)


      2. Why does Jesus tell them to eat and drink whatever their host gives them? (This is a caution about moderation. Yes, your host is supposed to provide room and board, but you are not to have a demanding spirit.)


      3. Why not move from house to house? (No doubt that would waste time. The people who opened their homes to these evangelists were blessed: "peace to this house.")


    4. Read Luke 10:8-9. What is important about being welcomed? (If you are welcomed, you first help the people and then share the gospel with them.)


      1. Do you ever evangelize where you are not welcome? If so, why?


    5. Read Luke 10:10-12. What happens to those towns who reject you? (Bad things!)


    6. Right now I'm teaching a law school class called "Religion in the Workplace." We are reading court decisions about Christians harassing other employees. The Christians no doubt thought that they were doing God's will by evangelizing. But, the target of their witness did not enjoy it and brought suit. What lesson are these Christian witnesses missing? (We are not to beat people up to try to convert them. If they do not "welcome" our message, we need to stop. We have fulfilled our responsibility to God.)


    7. Read Luke 10:13-16. Why can we feel peace even when we are not welcomed? (Jesus tells us that the people are not rejecting us, they are rejecting God.)


    8. Read Luke 10:17-20. What kind of attitude should we have about our victories in witnessing? (We should not feel pride in beating the forces of darkness, but rather we should rejoice that we are doing God's will as citizens of His Kingdom!


    9. Friend, are you ready to go out there and share the gospel? Why not start right now?


  4. Next week: A Love Response.

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