Sabbath School Lesson for October 7-13, 2023
Overview of Lesson 2, God’s Mission to Us (Part 2)
Memory Text: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Matthew 28:19 NKJV
What to expect from this week’s study:
- Sunday: The Triune God: The Origin of Mission–where does our mission message come from
- Monday: Making Disciples: The Focus of Mission–what should be our focus
- Tuesday: The Eternal Gospel: The Message of Mission–what is our message
- Wednesday: God’s People: The Channels of Mission–who gives the message
- Thursday: The World: The Arena of Mission–who receives the message
- Friday: Our Challenge–how we can join in God’s mission
Knowing the loving, caring God of mission motivates us to know more about what that mission is. The main thrust of it seems to be to restore His image in us–the image that was damaged after Adam and Eve’s grievous sin in the Garden. In addition to giving us a new heart that loves and trusts Him (Ezekiel 36:26), He promises to “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Our whole planet will have a makeover when His mission is completed.
Throughout the history of humanity, God has been revealing Himself to us in such a way that we find ourselves wanting to share with others the experience of our spiritual journey. Exploring the elements of God’s mission helps us accomplish more successfully the task God has given us. As we work together with Him, we will continue to grow closer in all our relationships–the true mark of achieving our missionary goals.
Sunday: The Triune God–the Origin of Mission
Although the word “trinity” isn’t found in Scripture, there are multiple evidences of its existence. All three members of the Godhead are mentioned, for instance, in how we are to spread the gospel to the world.
John 20:21, 22 is a perfect example of how the triune God is involved with the mission of saving the world from Satan’s clutches. John mentions the Father sending His Son, and how the disciples were to receive the Holy Spirit, who would guide them in their mission-related work. See also John 14:26.
How comforting to know that we have a triune God, manifesting Himself in so many ways, to aid in our gospel mission. With the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we have ample spiritual armor to defend the honor of our God and expand His Kingdom of righteousness.
John 20:21, 22
- How does each member of the Godhead contribute to our mission?
- For what reason(s) do we need the belief in a triune God–the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–to shape our mission in the world today?
Monday: Making Disciples–the Focus of Mission
One of the best ways to know what our mission should be focused on is to read what’s been called The Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20. Jesus’ final words here, intended for them to go out on His mission, are found in some form in all four of the New Testament gospels–Matthew, Mark 16:14-18, Luke 24:44-49, and John 20:19-23. Even the book of Acts speak of Jesus sending out the disciples (Acts 1:6-8).
But we find in Matthew’s account the most comprehensive commission given to believers. They were told that He came to them under the Father’s authority, they were given the task of making disciples, and that He would be with them through the Holy Spirit to the end of the earth. The discipleship process would include teaching, baptizing, and sharing the teachings of Jesus to the whole world.
It appears this disciple-making would include any who received their witness and accepted Jesus into their heart. The world-wide nature of being a disciple means it has no geographical, social, or ethnic limitations. Therefore, all Christians should be involved in the work of making more disciples. That, essentially, is the main purpose of our mission–to reach out to others with God’s love and win them to His cause. Then, doing all we can to be their mentors, providing fellowship and keeping them strong in the Lord.
- What are some of the activities involved in making and keeping disciples?
- How can the ordinary church member be part of the work Jesus calls us to do?
- Why must we concentrate more on the quality experience of God’s followers, rather than the numbers of them? In other words, why is making disciples more than just the number of baptisms we perform?
Tuesday: The Eternal Gospel–the Message of Mission
Just what message are we to give to the world? The first angel’s message in Revelation 14:6, 7 is the only place the gospel is connected with eternity, calling it the “everlasting gospel”. This message, too, is a worldwide one, and not surprisingly, includes a warning about the final judgment.
For those living now, the eternal gospel message becomes more prominent in our minds with its emphasis on the judgment. As we come to the end our earthly lives, we naturally think more passionately about the topic of eternity, causing most of us to increase our efforts to love and reach out to those we love. For all of God’s people, this same passion should encompass our God-given missionary work in the last days.
Preparing others for the judgment means we are to share the story of how Jesus died for us, rose from the grave, is now in heaven, and will soon come again to take us to live with Him forever. Many are thirsting for this good-news gospel, and we must be ready to tell them what it means for those who experience and believe it.
Revelation 14:6, 7
- Why and how is the gospel message linked to the judgment?
Luke 9:23, John 13:34, 35, and 2 Corinthians 5:17
- Besides the Second Coming and the judgment, why are the elements in these verses important to share: taking up our cross, loving one another, and becoming a new creature?
Wednesday: God’s People–the Channels of Mission
God’s people have always been those who have been called by God and accepted His invitation to receive His grace. In doing this, they become God’s instruments for spreading His love to others in the world. They are in a covenant relationship with Him, based on their continued faith and obedience to the tenets of His holy cause.
God has used every strategy to make this covenant work with His treasured, chosen ones. Before Christ, the nation of Israel was to conduct itself so that they would draw all nations to them, and thus be His channels of mercy to the world. The Israelites were not always successful in accomplishing this. So, after the Promised One arrived, another strategy was used. Jesus announced that instead of the world coming to them, they must go to the world.
Although methods and strategies have changed, God has never abandoned His original goal for mission: that of saving men and women who are perishing and need to experience God’s love. The church’s mission likewise has always been that of Jesus: “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
Genesis 12:1-3 and Isaiah 49:6
- What was God’s purpose in making the nation of Israel?
- How would God’s nation be a blessing, and a curse to the nations around Israel?
- Why did the tribes of Judah often fail to be a light to the Gentiles?
- What was God’s renewed strategy for His people, delivered by Jesus to His disciples?
- How do we know this strategy is still ours today? And, how are we fulfilling it as a church, and as individuals?
Thursday: The World–the Arena of Mission
The two mission directives given to us, the one by Jesus Christ (The Great Commission) and the one in Revelation (the three angels’ messages), both declare the place we are to preach is to the whole world–every nation, tribe, tongue, and people. Everyone must hear the good news about how to be saved. National and ethnic prejudices must not be barriers to this holy mission.
We are further told by Jesus, in the first chapter of Acts, the most effective, inclusive way to achieve this goal (Acts 1:8). You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, He said. Therefore, mission must first be to reach those closest to us–our family, neighbors, and friends. Then, “in all Judea and Samaria”, meaning to those who we don’t normally have contact with, perhaps even in another city or country nearby. And finally, to “the end of the earth”. Our ultimate goal is to reach those far away from home and family.
Simply stated, our place of mission is to those…
- at home
- near home, and then
- far beyond home
Surely, there are several, creative ways for each of us to accomplish this missionary appeal and do our best to reach all of God’s lost children, no matter where they live.
Acts 1:7, 8
- How will we be able to reach everyone with the gospel?
- Why must we not be discouraged by our mission results, or the timing involved?
Friday: Our Weekly Mission Challenge
Pray every day this week for the community where you live. God has placed you there for a reason.
Research the demographics of your area (what kind of people live around you)–ethnic and religious background, old, young, poor, wealthy, languages spoken, and so on. Ask God to show you how you may be a channel of His love to them.
For Discussion: Why is reaching those closest to us a sensible way to approach our mission to the world? Where can we get such information about our community?
Next Week: God’s Call to Mission
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