The task of evangelism is not finished. When I visited Mongolia with English Language Institute/Mongolia, I was once again reminded of the sad darkness that holds so many in the world captive. After the first week of teaching and before class began on Monday morning, I asked one of my students what she had done over the weekend. She was a very intelligent, beautiful and articulate woman in her late twenties who was training to be an English teacher. She told me that she had spent the weekend traveling about 400 km to the Mother Tree, where they offered prayers for her mother who was suffering from a severe stomach ailment. And so the whole family made the exhausting trip to this Shaman shrine in hopes of having their prayers heard for their mother's healing. It broke my heart to hear of her love for her mother expressed in praying to a dead tree. Later I wrote her a note about the living Savior who does hear our prayers.
The task of telling the world that Jesus is the Savior is not finished. This week we will hear from Matt. He works developing businesses as mission opportunities. In order to prepare for what he will share with us this Sunday, let's look carefully at Jesus' call to gather His scattered sheep.
Read Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-16; Luke 24:45-49; John 20:21-23 (17:18-23); and Acts 1:6-8.
1. What has been your personal experience with evangelism?
* What sort of emotions run through you when you hear a call to evangelize?
* How do you feel when you read these texts?
2. Which of these five passages catches your attention the most? Why?
3. According to the passage in Acts 1, what was the Lord's program? What was His vision for His followers and for the world?
4. Matthew 28:16-20 is best known as the Great Commission. What are the followers of Jesus commanded to do here and how are they to do it?
* What is in the Lord's heart? (c.f., Rev. 5:9-10)
* In verse 18 there is reason for great confidence and great humility. What is it?
5. Why might it be encouraging to know that we are called to be witnesses and not simply advocates of the Gospel? What is implied in being a witness? (compare I John 1:1-2)
* What does the Lord tell Paul in Acts 23:11, and what does that tell us about the content of our witness?
6. What lessons might we draw from Acts 18:9-10 about this task of evangelism?
7. Wherein lies the power to be an effective witness? (compare Rom. 1:16)
8. Saint Francis of Assisi is frequently quoted as saying: "Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary, use words." Ed Stetzer, co-host of BreakPoint This Week said, "This statement is a bit like saying, 'Feed the hungry at all times, if necessary, use food.'" What do you think about St. Francis' and Stetzer's remarks?
9. What obstacles (excuses?) do you face in bearing witness to Jesus?
10. What do you need to do to participate in finishing the unfinished task?
God be with you, and hope to see you on Sunday!
PS: I have included a hymn first written in 1929 by Frank Houghton who was working with China Inland Mission. Even though the church in China was suffering persecution, the vision and heart of CIM was to call 200 new missionaries to proclaim the light of Christ in China. By 1932 the last of the 200 set sail for that dark country.
Frank Houghton's heart was broken for China and so he wrote this hymn which has been renewed by Keith Getty and Kristyn Getty and sung to the tune of "The Church's One Foundation."
Facing a Task Unfinished
Facing a task unfinished
That drives us to our knees
A need that, undiminished
Rebukes our slothful ease
We, who rejoice to know Thee
Renew before Thy throne
The solemn pledge we owe Thee
To go and make Thee known
Where other lords beside Thee
Hold their unhindered sway
Where forces that defied Thee
Defy Thee still today
With none to heed their crying
For life, and love, and light
Unnumbered souls are dying
And pass into the night
Bridge: We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ The Lord
We bear the torch that flaming
Fell from the hands of those
Who gave their lives proclaiming
That Jesus died and rose
Ours is the same commission
The same glad message ours
Fired by the same ambition
To Thee we yield our powers
O Father who sustained them
O Spirit who inspired
Saviour, whose love constrained them
To toil with zeal untired
From cowardice defend us
From lethargy awake!
Forth on Thine errands send us
To labour for Thy sake
(Bridge repeats twice)
Original Words by Frank Houghton, Music by Samuel Wesley. New Words and Music by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Ed Cash, and Fionan de Barra; © 2015 OMF International, Getty Music Publishing (BMI), Alletrop Music (BMI), and Fionan de Barra (all admin. By MusicServices.org)