God's Mission to Us: Part 2

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(John 20, Matthew28, Revelation 14)
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 2

God’s Mission to Us: Part 2

(John 20, Matthew 28, Revelation 14)

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: What are God’s expectations for us? Is it to simply believe that Jesus is God and that He came to save us? Or, is it more complicated than that? Does it involve us joining God in His mission to save humans? Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and learn about our mission!

  1. Mission for Disciples
    1. Read John 20:19-20. What is the mental state of the disciples? (Terrible! Jesus has been crucified. They fear for their lives. But Mary (John 20:18) says that she has seen Jesus alive.)
      1. How does their mental state change when Jesus appears to the disciples? (The text says that they “were glad.”)
        1. Does that seem to be an obvious understatement? (Read Luke 24:41. This says the disciples “disbelieved for joy.” I think this explains why a word like “glad” is appropriate here. They were in terror for their personal safety, and now Jesus comes to show that He is alive. It was wonderful and hard to believe at the same time. “Too good to be true.”)
      1. Notice in John 20:20 that Jesus shows them His “hands and side.” Why did He do that? (This reinforces the point that they needed proof that He was actually alive.)
    1. Read John 20:21-22. What did Jesus do this first? (He addressed their mental state. Read Romans 5:1. Our most fundamental need is to be at peace with God.)
      1. What did Jesus do second? (He gave them a mission.)
      1. What did Jesus do third? (The receipt of the Holy Spirit was essential to accomplishing their mission.)
        1. Is there a lesson in this for us? Or are these instructions only for these disciples?
    1. Read John 20:23. Do we have the power to forgive sins and to refuse to forgive sins?
    1. Read Mark 2:5-7 and Mark 2:10-11. Without any doubt Jesus has the power to forgive sins. Did He in John 20:23 give that power to the disciples and to us? (Would God give me the ultimate power to refuse to forgive someone of their sins?)
      1. Read Matthew 6:14-15. If we take all of this at face value, then I can keep another person from being forgiven with the result that I am not going to be forgiven. Does that make any sense to you? (Not to me. Why? Because we have humans making the ultimate decision that God alone should make. The commentators I consulted do not believe Jesus is giving the disciples (or us) the power to forgive or withhold forgiveness of sin.)
    1. Look again at John 20:23. If Jesus is not speaking of the power of humans to pardon sin, what can He be talking about? (Let’s look at context. Jesus has just defeated sin. He is giving His disciples the power of the Holy Spirit and is sending them out on His behalf. I think it is reasonable to understand this to mean that by sharing the gospel with others we enable them to have forgiveness of sin. While I don’t think God would leave it only to me to share the gospel with someone, I think the point is that we should not withhold the gospel from anyone.)
    1. Read Matthew 28:16-17. Some doubted what? (This is a continuation of our prior discussion. The disciples are still having a hard time wrapping their minds around the fact that Jesus was crucified and then rose to life.)
    1. Read Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus is given “all authority on heaven and earth,” and because of that He tells the disciples to “make disciples.” How is the commission to go make disciples linked to Jesus’ authority? (Jesus tells us that He won the battle for the earth. He won back authority over the earth from Satan. Now He possesses “all authority in heaven and earth.”)
      1. How does Jesus’ authority shape our mission? (Jesus’ victory over sin is the centerpiece of our message. In every discussion of what is happening in our life and in our world, the baseline is that Jesus won!)
      1. Who should be the target of our mission message? (Everyone. All nations. This is new. God is not using the Jewish nation as His primary focus.)
      1. Why is baptism the first goal of discipling? (Read Colossians 2:11-13. Genesis 17 tells us that God told Abraham that circumcision was to be the sign of the “everlasting covenant” between God and Abraham’s descendants. Colossians 2:11-12 informs us that baptism is the new circumcision. This is how we show that we are in a special relationship with God. It is how we participate in Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is obviously a powerful first step!)
    1. Look again at Matthew 28:19. Why do you think Jesus mentions the Trinity as the reference point for baptism? Why not just say “in My name” since Jesus is the one who died and was resurrected?
      1. Read Acts 2:38. Is Peter following the logic of my prior question and failing to follow Jesus’ instructions? (Albert Barnes Commentary says the Greek used here means baptized for service to Jesus. Jesus brings the entire Godhead into the covenant relationship with us. Notice that Peter immediately brings the Holy Spirit into the relationship.)
    1. Look again at Matthew 28:20. What is the next step of our mission? (After baptism we are to teach obedience to the commands of Jesus.)
      1. Does your church get the cart before the horse? Do you do this backwards, in violation of Jesus’ instructions? (The problem with doing this backwards is not just a matter of obedience, the practical problem is that you are teaching someone who has not first entered into a relationship with the Holy Spirit.)
      1. What other promise does Jesus give to His disciples? (He will be with us always. I hear people claim that we need to reach a state of perfection because we may come to a time when the Holy Spirit is withdrawn and we have to stand face to face with Satan and his demons. That teaching contradicts this text.)
  1. Mission Message
    1. Read Revelation 14:6. Is this angel giving the same message as we were told to give in Matthew 28? If your answer is “yes,” why is an angel giving it? (Since we were previously given this message, I think the point is that heaven is giving additional power to our message. Perhaps one reason is that we have been failing to do our job properly.)
    1. Read Revelation 14:7. Is this the same as the directive of Matthew 28:20? (In fact, this is a different message. Jesus in Matthew 28 refers to the “end of the age.” The message of Revelation 14:7 is that the “hour” of the end is now.)
      1. How would you characterize what we are told to teach in Revelation 14:7? (This is righteousness by faith. Our Creator God is to be worshiped, feared, and glorified because the final judgment is at hand. This suggests the answer to judgment is to rely on the perfect life of Jesus, and the death of Jesus for our sins.)
    1. Read Revelation 14:8. What parallel do you find with Matthew 28:18? (Both pronounce the victory of Jesus over His opponents.)
    1. Read Revelation 14:9-10. What is our mission message here? (We must choose between Jesus and Satan.)
    1. Read Revelation 14:12. Recall that Matthew 28:20 requires us to teach? What does this instruct us to teach? (It has two points. One is “faith in Jesus,” meaning faith in Jesus for our salvation. The other is to “keep the commandments of God.”)
      1. How can you reconcile the second message with righteousness by faith alone? (If you contemplate “faith in Jesus” you must consider why it is that Jesus sacrificed so much for us? Why not just bend the rules and avoid all of that unpleasantness (to put it mildly)? The answer is that Jesus valued the law that much. I believe that the rule of law is the cornerstone of God’s kingdom of love. When we realize the extraordinary importance of the law we will, with the power of the Holy Spirit, aim to “keep the commandments of God.”)
    1. Friend, what are God’s expectations for us? We learned that they are not simply to believe in Jesus, but to share this good news with the rest of the world. Our discipling goals are baptism, teaching, and obedience in the light of a coming judgment. Will you sign on to that mission right now?
  1. Next week: God’s Call to Mission.