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Sermon Outline

God’s Mission My Mission

God’s Mission to Us: Part 2

Lesson #2 for October 14, 2023

Scriptures:John 20:21-22; Matthew 28:16-20; Revelation 7:9-10; 14:6-7; Deuteronomy 7:6,11-12.

  1. All through Scripture, we note that God has done everything He can to establish and maintain a relationship with the human family. He has gone to incredible lengths to try to convince us to follow His ways which are the best ways. At the time of the flood, He preserved Noah and his family because they got on the boat and because He was about to completely lose contact with the human race. Later, He called Abraham because Abraham was surrounded by idolaters who would corrupt him. And the story goes on.
  2. But, we know the end of the story.

1 John 3:2: My dear friends, we are now God’s children, but it is not yet clear what we shall become. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is.—American Bible Society. (1992). The Holy Bible: The Good News Translation* (2nd ed.,1 John 3:2). New York: American Bible Society [abbreviated as Good News Bible].†‡

  1. God’s ultimate plan for those who do choose to do things His way is for them to become “partakers of the divine nature.”
  2. But, now in our sinful condition, God has to work through various media and work around the sin problem to try to reach us. All the while, Satan and his associates are working hard to separate us from God.

Isaiah 59:2: It is because of your sins that he doesn’t hear you. It is your sins that separate you from God when you try to worship him.—Good News Bible.*

  1. God could have assigned the task of spreading the gospel to human beings using holy angels. However, we need that experience ourselves. We need to experience God’s love and experience what it means to share that love with others.
  2. A careful look through Scriptures, especially the Gospel of John and some of Paul’s letters, make it clear that all three Members of the Godhead are busy at work in that effort which began before this world was created.

Ephesians 1:4: Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him.—Good News Bible.*

1 Peter 1:20: He had been chosen by God before the creation of the world and was revealed in these last days for your sake.—Good News Bible.*

  1. From our limited human perspective, it is hard to imagine why God would have created Adam and Eve if He already knew all that was going to happen. But, He did! And now, He is engaged in an all-out effort to woo and convert and preserve as many of us as possible.
  2. Of course, the most important effort that God undertook to win us back was the sending of His Son. He did it at the right time, “the fullness of time.” (Galatians 4:4) God looked down on a world that was involved in every kind of evil that one can possibly imagine. And at the same time, He saw the Pharisees and Sadducees with such a rigid understanding of what a right relationship with God would be and how to carry it out that nobody would be attracted.
  3. Just before He died and was resurrected and returned to heaven, Jesus told His disciples:

John 14:26: “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.”—Good News Bible.*

  1. The Holy Spirit was given the job of coordinating God’s outreach to us human beings.

John 16:13-14: 13 “When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own authority, but he will speak of what he hears, and will tell you of things to come. 14He will give me glory, because he will take what I say and tell it to you.”—Good News Bible.*

[From the Bible study guide=BSG:] Even though the word “trinity” is not found in the Bible, mission-focused evidences involving all Three Persons of the Godhead are numerous. For instance, after His resurrection, Christ appeared to His disciples and promised them: “ ‘I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high’ ” (Luke 24:49, NIV; emphasis added). Here we find the reality of the Godhead’s mission in one sentence: the Father’s promise, the Son’s assurance of the fulfillment of the promise, and the promise itself, the coming of the Holy Spirit (see alsoLuke 3:16; Acts 1:4, 5, 8).?Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* for Sunday, October 8.‡§

Luke 24:49: “And I myself will send upon you what my Father has promised. But you must wait in the city [Jerusalem] until the power from above comes down upon you.”—Good News Bible.*

Acts 1:4-5,8: 4And when they came together, he gave them this order: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised. 5John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”...

8 “But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”—Good News Bible.*

  1. Later, on a mountainside in Galilee, He told them:

Matthew 28:16-20: 16 The eleven disciples went to the hill in Galilee where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshipped him, even though some of them doubted. 18Jesus drew near and said to them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”—Good News Bible.*

  1. While the Matthew 28 passage is a familiar one that most of us memorized at some time, similar passages are found inMark 16:15-16; Luke 24:44-49; andJohn 20:21-23.

[BSG:] Disciple-making is the primary focus of the Great Commission, and the main task of mission. Literally, in the original Greek language, the beginning ofMatthew 28:19 says, “Having gone, therefore, make disciples [. . .]” The “therefore” gives to the commission its foundation on what has just been presented (Matt. 28:18): Jesus’ power, authority, and sovereignty—all these coming from the victory attained in His resurrection.?Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* for Monday, October 9.‡?§

  1. Think about the great commission for a moment. It would have been impossible for the twelve initial disciples to have reached out to the entire world. So, we must recognize that the commission Jesus gave is universal in its scope. God intended for every one of us to be involved. There are no geographical, social, or ethnic limitations.

Revelation 14:6-7: 6 Then I saw another angel flying high in the air, with an eternal message of Good News to announce to the peoples of the earth, to every race, tribe, language, and nation. 7He said in a loud voice, “Honour [sic-Br] God and praise his greatness! For the time has come for him to judge. Worship him who made heaven, earth, sea, and the springs of water!”—Good News Bible.*†‡

[BSG:] This is the only place in Scripture in which the words “eternal” and “gospel” are connected. The gospel is the good news of grace offered to all through Jesus Christ. He came into our world to show us “grace and truth” (John 1:14). He lived a sinless life and died on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice [see below] to bear the penalty of our sins (Isa. 53:4, 5; 1 Pet. 3:18). He rose to life, returned to heaven, was exalted by the Father, and today intercedes for us in the heavenly sanctuary (Rev. 1:18,Acts 2:33,Heb. 7:25). He will soon fulfill His greatest promise—to return in majesty and glory and, ultimately, after the millennium to establish God’s kingdom on earth (John 14:1–4,Acts 1:11,Rev. 21:1–4). These are all essential realities of the eternal gospel.?Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* for Tuesday, October 10.†‡§

  1. So, what is a substitutionary sacrifice? A simple answer is that Christ died to take our place, suffering the consequences of sin. To go into more detail, Jesus is the only One who has died the terrible death prophesied inGenesis 2:17. Elsewhere in the Bible, it is called the second death, the death from which for human beings there is no resurrection. But, because Jesus Himself was God, He could rise up in His own power and return to His Father’s throne in heaven. (See Desire of Ages 2.)
  2. Many people have the idea that God is angry with us and is determined to punish someone. And so, Jesus died in our place. That is a pagan concept.

Isaiah 53:4-5: 4 “But he endured the suffering that should have been ours,

the pain that we should have borne.

All the while we thought that his suffering

was punishment sent by God.

5 But because of our sins he was wounded,

beaten because of the evil we did.

We are healed by the punishment he suffered,

made whole by the blows he received.”—Good News Bible.*

  1. Notice that it says: “All the while, we thought that his suffering was punishment sent by God.” However, it was not. Death is a natural result of sin.

Romans 6:23: For sin pays its wage—death; but God’s free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.—Good News Bible.* [Compare with 1 Peter 3:18; Revelation 1:18;Acts 2:33.]

  1. God cannot change the fact that sin causes death without changing His entire form of government.

[BSG:] Nevertheless, the fact that this message is eternal is remarkable. There is only one gospel that can save us. It will remain the same until the mission of God is fully accomplished. There will never be another gospel. Deceitful teachings and doctrines come and go (Eph. 4:14), but the message of salvation, the eternal gospel, is unchanging, and those who believe and live it in obedience will be rewarded (seeDeut. 5:33,Rom. 2:6).?Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* for Tuesday, October 10.‡§

  1. What part do we have in accomplishing the goal of bringing this whole evil story to an end? God is calling us to be disciples: Loving, honest, devoted disciples who are determined, as far as possible, to do His will in our lives. More than that, we are challenged to spread that good news about God to all around us.
  2. Unfortunately, many people have the idea that the work of evangelizing and bringing other people into the church is primarily the work of the pastor.
  3. One church leader that I knew once said that we should measure the success of a pastor not by the number of people that she or he baptizes, but by the number of people that those people bring to Christ.
  4. Do all around us recognize that we are Christians?

John 13:34-35: 34 “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.”—Good News Bible.*

2 Corinthians 5:17: Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.—Good News Bible.*

  1. Way back in Enoch’s day, he walked with God. Abraham was blessed by God; and God promised that through him, He would bless all nations.

Genesis 12:1-3: 1 The LORD said to Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s home, and go to a land that I am going to show you. 2I will give you many descendants, and they will become a great nation. I will bless you and make your name famous, so that you will be a blessing.

3 I will bless those who bless you,

But I will curse those who curse you.

And through you I will bless all the nations.”—Good News Bible.*

Deuteronomy 7:6,11-12: 6 “Do this because you belong to the LORD your God. From all the peoples on earth he chose you to be his own special people….

11 “So now, obey what you have been taught; obey all the laws that I have given you today.

12 “If you listen to these commands and obey them faithfully, then the LORD your God will continue to keep his covenant with you and will show you his constant love, as he promised your ancestors.”—Good News Bible.*

[BSG:] God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants had a specific purpose. They were called, created, and commissioned to be agents of God’s mission—channels of blessings to the nations (compare withDeut. 28:10,Isa. 49:6). However, they were chosen within a covenant relationship with God, based on an implied conditionality of faith and obedience (Gen. 22:16–18;Exod. 19:5, 6; Deut. 28:1, 2; 2 Chron. 7:14). This process, that of attracting the surrounding nations to Israel, was God’s “mission strategy” in the Old Testament.?Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* for Wednesday, October 11.†‡§

  1. God chose the children of Israel, the descendants of Abraham, for one specific purpose: They were to spread the truth about God, the gospel message, to the entire world.

Exodus 19:5-6: 5 “Now, if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own people. The whole earth is mine, but you will be my chosen people, 6a people dedicated to me alone, and you will serve me as priests.”—Good News Bible.*

  1. But, unfortunately, as we know, the Jewish people did not accomplish what they were supposed to do. So, the disciples, including Peter, understood that the challenge was passed on to Christians.

1 Peter 2:9: But you [Christians] are the chosen race, the King’s priests, the holy nation, God’s own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his own marvellous [sic-Br] light.—Good News Bible.*

  1. God’s appointed church, His faithful people, now are the ones to carry the message to everyone in the world.

[From the writings of Ellen G. White=EGW:] The mission of the church of Christ is to save perishing sinners. It is to make known the love of God to men and to win them to Christ by the efficacy of that love.—Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church,* vol. 3, 381.1.†‡ [What a responsibility!]

  1. We have already looked atMatthew 28:18-20, “the gospel commission.” CompareRevelation 14:6.

Revelation 14:6: Then I saw another angel flying high in the air, with an eternal message of Good News to announce to the peoples of the earth, to every race, tribe, language, and nation.—Good News Bible.*

  1. Clearly, God intends to reach out through His church to every part of the world.
  2. As we know from the Greek wording of the great commission itself, the disciples were given three areas to which they were supposed to reach out eventually (See Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide for Thursday, October 12.):

Area one: “‘You will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem.’” (Acts 1:8, GNB*) They had a big job to do in Jerusalem; but, they were fairly successful.

Area two: They were to carry the gospel to Judea and Samaria. They were also fairly good at reaching out to those areas. Those were people who spoke a language similar to their own and had a similar culture.

Area three: But beyond that, Christ challenged them to go to the ends of the earth. That would include all languages, all cultures, all places, all nations, all people groups, and all ethnicities. That challenge is ours!

  1. In this series of lessons, we are going to be given some specific challenges. Here are challenges for this lesson:

[BSG:] Challenge: Pray every day this week for the community where you live. God has placed you there for a reason.

Challenge Up: 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.?Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* for Thursday, October 12.

[EGW:] [From the chapter, “For a Witness Unto All Nations”:] The Saviour’s [sic] words, “Ye are the light of the world,” point to the fact that he has committed to his followers a world-wide mission. As the rays of the sun penetrate to the remotest corners of the globe, so God designs that the light of the gospel shall extend to every soul upon the earth. If the church of Christ were fulfilling the purpose of our Lord, light would be shed upon all that sit in darkness and in the region and shadow of death; instead of congregating together and shunning responsibility and cross-bearing, the members of the church would scatter into all lands, letting the light of Christ shine out from them, working as he did for the salvation of souls, and this “gospel of the kingdom” would speedily be carried to all the world.

From all countries the Macedonian call is sounding, “Come over and help us.” God has opened fields before us. Heavenly beings have been cooperating with men. Providence is going before us, and divine power is working with human effort. Blind indeed must be the eyes that do not see the working of the Lord, and deaf the ears that do not hear the call of the true Shepherd to his sheep. Some have heard the call of God, and have responded. Let every sanctified heart now respond, by seeking to proclaim the life-giving message. If men and women in humility and faithfulness will take up their God-given, appointed work, divine power will be revealed in the conversion of many to the truth. Wonderful will be the results of their efforts.—Ellen G. White, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald,* November 14, 1912, par. 1-2.

  1. So, how are we doing as Seventh-day Adventist witnesses in our world. Do the people around us even know that we exist? Do they have any idea what we believe? And why? Do people around us think that we are strange or queer? Or, do they?based on some fortunate event?have a good opinion of our church? If not, what are we doing to change that? Do we fully agree that God has given us these challenges?
  2. Even among the first disciples and the half-brothers of Jesus, there were questions about whether Gentiles should be allowed to become church members until after they were circumcised and practiced all the Jewish requirements. This was a major issue; look atActs 15:1-29 andGalatians 2:11-14. For an even deeper understanding of the challenges that they faced, look at 1 Corinthians 8&10; and Romans 14.
  3. Try to imagine the challenge facing the disciples as they moved into brand-new territories surrounded by pagan people and tried to spread the gospel. What did they say or what did they do to get people’s attention?

Mark 16:15-20: 15He said to them, “Go throughout the whole world and preach the gospel to the whole human race. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17Believers will be given the power to perform miracles: they will drive out demons in my name; they will speak in strange tongues; 18if they pick up snakes or drink any poison, they will not be harmed; they will place their hands on sick people, who will get well.”

19 After the Lord Jesus had talked with them, he was taken up to heaven and sat at the right side of God. 20The disciples went and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and proved that their preaching was true by the miracles that were performed.—Good News Bible.*

  1. Is the ability to perform miracles a good test of whether someone is telling the truth about God? (CompareMatthew 24:24 andRevelation 13:13.)

Matthew 24:24: “For false Messiahs and false prophets will appear; they will perform great miracles and wonders in order to deceive even God’s chosen people, if possible.”—Good News Bible.*

Revelation 13:13: This second beast [apostate Protestantism] performed great miracles; it made fire come down out of heaven to earth in the sight of everyone.Good News Bible.*

  1. I am sure that performing miracles got attention; but, we need to be wary.

[BSG:] A review of discipleship literature reveals three essential dimensions, or processes, of every effective approach to discipleship: rational, relational, and missional dimensions.

The rational (learning) dimension of discipleship is the process by which a believer intentionally learns from Jesus. In its original context, “disciple” (mathetes) referred to someone who apprenticed with a teacher. That person would attach himself to a teacher for the purpose of acquiring both theoretical and practical knowledge. The rational dimension stresses the need for continuing metamorphosis and growth, even for those who have already become disciples. Because “teaching” inMatthew 28:19 is an ongoing process, the rational dimension of discipleship is a lifelong process of learning and growing. However, the goal of this continual learning is not only to impart knowledge but also to instill total commitment to Jesus.

The relational (community) dimension of discipleship develops in the context of a supportive community where accountability can take place. The New Testament portrays a very dynamic communal culture in the early Christian church because of the believers’ understanding of disciple-making as a relational process. Because of its Old Testament roots, the early church continued to emphasize kinship as one of its core values. What was different about this new community was that kinship was not defined in terms of bloodlines and ethnicity but rather in terms of shared faith and fellowship in Christ. The church became an environment of inclusion and acceptance (Gal. 3:28). Membership was open to all on the basis of professing faith in Christ as Savior and the public demonstration, through water baptism, of complete allegiance to Christ (Acts 2:37, 38).?Adult Teachers Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* 26-27.†‡§

  1. Review what you know about how the early churches were organized. They met in individual homes; they did not have dedicated church buildings. They ate together; they talked together; they worshipped together. The early disciples called them a family or part of the body of Christ.
  2. Especially Paul considered this a very important thing for Christians to understand. (See Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12;Ephesians 2:19; Ephesians 4;Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 3:15; and1 Peter 4:17.)

[BSG:] By demonstrating a new way of living, multitudes were attracted to this new community of faith (Acts 2:46, 47). In such a setting, being a disciple was not synonymous with simply accepting abstract propositional truths about Jesus. Being disciples of Christ was about learning from Jesus and modeling in life the knowledge of Him. This brand of discipleship was both what the early believers did on behalf of Christ and how they represented Christ in the world. This communal culture of the New Testament, where believers were integrated members of supportive groups, became a fertile ground for the seed of the gospel to be sown and nurtured.?Adult Teachers Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* 27.‡§

Acts 2:46-47: 46Day after day they met as a group in the Temple, and they had their meals together in their homes, eating with glad and humble hearts, 47praising God, and enjoying the good will of all the people. And every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.—Good News Bible.*

[BSG:] The missional (sharing of one’s faith) dimension of discipleship is concerned with understanding the call to “make disciples” (math?teusate), inMatthew 28:19, as essentially a call to engage in mission and duplicate one’s self. This injunction is the primary command of the Great Commission, and it must remain the primary responsibility of the church in every context. Believers of the New Testament linked together the notion of belonging to a community with the responsibility of sharing what that community stood for. Mission, in the context of the Great Commission, is more than a call to share the gospel with those who do not know Christ. Mission is both a call to share one’s faith and to disciple interested recipients for the purpose of freeing them from the grasp of Satan so that they may fully and continually devote themselves to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Hence, the New Testament uses the word “disciple” to indicate a relationship with, and total commitment to, Christ that comes as a result of learning and internalizing His teaching, being changed by continual growth in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18), living a life of total submission to His lordship through the power of the Holy Spirit (Phil. 3:8), and helping others begin to experience, trust, and follow Jesus (2 Tim. 2:2). From this perspective, discipleship is not to be understood as a church program because it is not an event in time. Discipleship is rather a lifelong process of growing in Christ that transforms believers’ cognitive, affective, and evaluative perspectives on life

Some Perspectives on the Current State of Discipleship

There is a consensus among Christian discipleship scholars today that, compared to the New Testament, the current practice of discipleship has, to a great extent, lost its primacy of focus among Christians. The making of disciples has largely been watered down to merely moving converts to Christianity into church membership. Current church growth is perceived as largely numerical and statistical growth without much spiritual depth, unfortunately. In other words, Christians are, generally speaking, much better at converting people than they are at helping converts become disciples of Christ. Sad to say, this phenomenon implies that one can become a Christian without necessarily having to become a disciple of Christ.?Adult Teachers Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* 27-28.†‡§

  1. Notice some very clear examples of how making disciples was done in the early church.

[EGW:] As soon as she [the woman of Samaria] had found the Saviour [sic] the Samaritan woman brought others to Him. She proved herself a more effective missionary than His own disciples. The disciples saw nothing in Samaria to indicate that it was an encouraging field. Their thoughts were fixed upon a great work to be done in the future. They did not see that right around them was a harvest to be gathered. But through the woman whom they despised, a whole cityful [sic] were brought to hear the Saviour [sic]. She carried the light at once to her countrymen.

This woman represents the working of a practical faith in Christ. Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages* 195.1-2.†‡ Compare Ministry of Healing 102.3-4.

[EGW:] God expects personal service from everyone to whom He has entrusted a knowledge of the truth for this time. Not all can go as missionaries to foreign lands, but all can be home missionaries in their families and neighborhoods.—Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church,* vol. 9, 30.1.†‡

[EGW:] Not upon the ordained minister only rests the responsibility of going forth to fulfill this commission [to carry the gospel to the world]. Everyone who has received Christ is called to work for the salvation of his fellow men. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come.”Revelation 22:17. The charge to give this invitation includes the entire church. Everyone who has heard the invitation is to echo the message from hill and valley, saying, “Come.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles* 110.1.†‡

[EGW:] Wherever a church is established, all the members should engage actively in missionary work. They should visit every family in the neighborhood and know their spiritual condition.—Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church,* vol. 6, 296.2.†‡

  1. Do we consider our lives and our mission and our jobs, all to be a means for spreading the gospel? Do others see us as true Christian examples?
  2. Do our bosses and those we work with recognize in us a strong work ethic? Or, do they think that we get by as easy as we can? And how should parents relate to their children if they want them to develop this kind of attitude?

[BSG:] Through mission-minded mentors, churches can guide younger members in how to connect their professional dreams deeply with their faith in Christ and His missionary mandate….

With the right approach to discipleship and ongoing support, parents can enhance their children’s missionary potentials. Churches should therefore invest in parents’ discipling of their children, helping them reframe the responsibility of raising their children into a calling to make disciples of them.?Adult Teachers Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* 29-30.

©2023, Kenneth Hart, MD, MA, MPH. Permission is hereby granted for any noncommercial use of these materials. Free distribution of all or of a portion of this material such as to a Bible study class is encouraged. *Electronic version. Bold type is added. Brackets and content in brackets are added. §Italic type is in the source. ?Brackets and the content in brackets within the paragraph are in the Bible study guide or source. [sic-Br]=This is correct as quoted; it is the British spelling.

Last Modified: October 6, 2023                                                                                              Info@theox.org