Sabbath School Lesson for November 4-10, 2023
Overview of Lesson 6, Motivation and Preparation for Mission
Memory Text: “ ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ “ Luke 24:44 NKJV
What to expect from this week’s study:
- Sunday: To Share the Good News–women followers of Jesus were motivated by joy to share the good news of an empty tomb
- Monday: A Prophetic Foundation–understanding the prophetic word of God is another factor in our enthusiasm to share Jesus
- Tuesday: Waiting and Mission–prayerfully preparing our hearts and strategically planning with our minds equip us to share the gospel
- Wednesday: “Whom You Crucified”–the Holy Spirit’s miracle at Pentecost was needed to reach even those who had crucified Jesus
- Thursday: A Picture of the Early Church–making new believers equal parts of the church through instruction and fellowship made the church grow
- Friday: Our Challenge–how we can join God’s mission
By looking at events of the early church, right after Christ’s resurrection and ascension, we can more fully understand what we can and should do to participate in God’s mission of saving the world today.
Ideally, our motivation should be honorable (based on love). And secondly, our preparation should be adequate (based on the word of God). Although God can use us despite our lack of either of these factors, the results of our mission are greater and more long-lasting when we pay attention to them.
Even with the right motivation and proper study of the Bible, a third crucial element must be utilized. The workings of the Holy Spirit must not be overlooked. Our discipleship is incomplete without His involvement. Our prayers should include ample requests for the Spirit to multiply and solidify our human efforts to win souls for God’s Kingdom.
Sunday: To Share the Good News
When it comes to what motivates us to share Jesus, having joy in our hearts is certainly something that attracts others to the Lord. How can we not have and share that joy when it comes from a direct experience with God, like the women had at the empty tomb of Christ.
Even though their report to the disciples was met with scorn and skepticism, they shared it with such persistent enthusiasm that Peter decided to go check out their story, and too, was overwhelmed with the good news of Christ’s resurrection.
Other positive motivations might include our amazement at something God has done for us on a personal level. It may even just be our love for others who are suffering and in need, leading to a desire to do something to better their lives. However God has touched you in a positive way, be sure and pass His blessing along to someone else. Your words and actions may be more far-reaching than you could ever have imagined.
- What emotions did the woman experience on that eventful Sunday morning, as they visited the tomb of their Lord?
- Why do you suppose all the disciples, except Peter, didn’t believe the story of the women?
Monday: A Prophetic Foundation
Jesus relieved the disciples’ fears by allowing them to touch Him and by eating in front of them. They were afraid at first He was a ghost, or a demon disguised as Jesus. Their initial fears, like those of the women, were replaced with heartfelt joy at knowing it was truly their Lord standing before them.
The Savior then spoke to them about Messianic prophecies in Scripture to confirm that their feelings of joy were justified. Having this biblical background firmly established in their minds prepared them for the preaching assignment ahead. As witnesses of these predicted events, they were to share with all who would listen that their Lord had risen from the dead and they had seen Him.
We, too, need to have our understanding established by being grounded in God’s holy word. This will prepare us to be effective witnesses of how God has touched our lives with the gospel of salvation. The mission of God continues to be our mission, as we daily study the Bible with joy in our hearts, and work with Him to spread His love to all those around us.
- How do we know Jesus understands the human emotion of fear and how important it was to replace it with joy?
- Why is it better for us to preach with joy in our hearts, rather than using fear as a motivation for others to believe and follow God? How do preachers use fear, both now and in the past?
- Why is the understanding of prophecy more important than just knowing about them?
- What are some practical ways we can increase our understanding of the Bible, including its prophecies?
- Why is lifelong study necessary? Will we ever fully understand all the prophecies, and why?
Tuesday: Waiting and Mission
After sharing prophecies in the Scriptures, Jesus gave them the mission of being His witnesses. They were also given a promise that would enable them to fulfill that mission, and told to patiently wait for it in Jerusalem.
That waiting time wasn’t a time of inactivity, however. In Jerusalem, they continued to unite their hearts through prayer for that promise of the Holy Spirit. But they also took care of business by selecting a disciple to replace Judas Iscariot. There was purpose in their waiting. They were shown the best way to organize themselves so they would be equipped to participate in God’s mission.
It often feels like a waiting time in the world today. We should use our time wisely though by fervently praying for the power of the Holy Spirit and by logistically aligning ourselves with each other so we can effectively preach the gospel to every soul on the planet. Let’s not waste a minute during our time of waiting, both individually and in the church. Pray for power, and then use it for God.
- What do you think such a well-attended prayer meeting prayed about, after seeing Christ’s miraculous ascension into heaven?
- Why was it felt necessary to replace Judas as one of the disciples? How might their prayers have led to this conclusion?
Wednesday: “Whom You Crucified”
Acts, chapter 2, provides a glorious picture of what happened when the disciples had the Holy Spirit poured out on them. Tongues of fire appeared on them (Acts 2:3}. Amazingly, they found that their words of witnessing to the diverse people visiting Jerusalem were heard in the native tongue of those who were listening.
For some, this was seen as the mighty miracle it was, with the purpose being that all the people gathered in Jerusalem were able to hear about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Of course, there were some who mockingly claimed that the various languages they were hearing from the disciples were the result of their being drunk with wine (Acts 2:12, 13).
Peter raised his voice above the others, however, and preached a powerful sermon. He began with a reminder of a prediction in the second chapter of Joel (Acts 2:17, 18). This prophecy verified that miracles such as this would occur when the Holy Spirit was poured out.
Peter’s sermon call to repentance resulted in thousands being baptized into fellowship with the disciples, even some of those who had called for and carried out the crucifixion of Jesus (Acts 2:36, 37).
Acts 2:1-4 and Mark 16:17
- What led to such a miracle being experienced by all the disciples?
- Why was it most likely that the devout people from other nations were the ones who recognized the spiritual nature of this miracle?
- Why was Peter’s sermon so effective? Was it just because it was eloquently delivered?
Thursday: A Picture of the Early Church
Acts, chapter 2, doesn’t end without giving us a snapshot of the early church, composed of those thousands who were baptized after hearing the stirring sermons and seeing the miracles that came at the end of Pentecost.
We are told that the discipleship of these new believers was achieved by providing continued instruction in the word of God and by the loving fellowship they had with one another. Bible study gave them the foundation they needed to build the church; and their tightknit, praying community gave them the building blocks that made it possible to grow the church and survive persecution.
We may or may not be required to hold all possessions in common and meet mostly in our homes, like was required in Jerusalem at the time. But the same principles of discipleship exist today. We, too, should not neglect our study of God’s word. Nor should we avoid loving association with fellow church members, which includes giving to those among us who are in need.
- How was discipleship practiced by the early church?
- How can we apply these principles to our church’s mission today?
Friday: Our Weekly Mission Challenge
Think of someone in your life you wish was a believer. Pray every day for him or her to have a personal experience with Jesus.
Whom are you discipling and leading into a relationship with Jesus? Look for ways to bring him or her into fellowship with other believers.
For Discussion: How do both praying and inviting work together in winning souls for God? Why is our witnessing most effective when both are used? What kind of fellowship do people need? Is it always the same for each person? Why or why not?
Next Week: Mission to My Neighbor
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