Another day, another week, another month. Can’t wait to see what God brings us this week. Let’s dive into our study. We are in the last session of Part II: Living as the Church. So we start: Session 3: The Global Church. Come follow along: Multiply.
We talked last week about what our mission was in the local church and how that church needed to reach out to the community around them by growing a great love. So once we reach all the people in our community, we’re done, right? Take a deep breath and relax, right? Not quite.
All the Families of the Earth
At the beginning of the world, humans made a choice. They chose their own way instead of God’s. And they have been making that choice the same way ever since. However, even at the beginning, God made a promise of redemption. Even though this redemption was promised to a few, this redemption was not for only one person or group of people. It was for the world. God’s vision is a lot bigger than just your community, however large it may be. God wants to redeem the WORLD. And as part of His church, we are part of that plan.
Discussion Question #1: In your own words, why is it important to think about God’s plan of redemption in global terms?
Discussion Question #2: When you think about the mission of your church, does the rest of the globe factor in at all? How so?
Where Christ Has Not Been Named
Paul was your classic example of a wandering missionary. He went everywhere preaching the gospel. He didn’t do this just because he thought it was a good idea, this was his passion, his ambition:
“And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; but as it is written,
‘They who had no news of Him shall see,
And they who have not heard shall understand'” (Rom. 15:20-21 NASB).
We believe that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved… but what if they don’t know His name?
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for ‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!'” (Rom. 10:12-15 NASB).
So… if only those who call on the name of the Lord are saved and God’s plan of redemption includes the whole world and there are people who don’t know the name of the Lord, we need to get the word out! This is the mission of the church. Christ commanded we make disciples of all nations, not just the one you live in.
Discussion Question #3: Take some time to think about the following passages (Romans 15:20–21, Isaiah 52:7–10, Romans 10:12–15). How should these truths affect the way we think about our calling?
Before the End Will Come
“This world will not end until God’s plan is accomplished” (82). We don’t have all the details concerning the end of the world (Even Jesus admitted to not knowing all the details – Mark 13:32). We do have this, Jesus says:
“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14 NASB).
He doesn’t say that everyone will accept the message, but God fully intends for every nation to hear the message. Most of us living in the United States just take it for granted that the gospel message is readily available for anyone should they take an interest. But did you know that there are still areas of the world where people “desperately need hope, healing, and salvation, but who don’t have access to the message of redemption” (83)?
Think about Paul’s questions: How will these people call on the name of the Lord if they never hear about Him? How are they going to hear if the message isn’t preached? How will the message be preached if no one is sent?
Jesus preached the good news everywhere He went. If we are to be like the Rabbi, we do as He did.
Discussion Question #4: Have you given much thought to the unreached people groups around the world? If so, how does this affect your thinking and lifestyle? If not, why do you think you have never thought about it?
Working Together for the Gospel
Since we know that God’s mission goes beyond our community, we need to start thinking about what our role may be in completing this mission. Before you start worrying that you have to sell all your worldly possessions and move to Africa, don’t fret. Although He may very well call you to that exact thing, there are many other ways to help the mission. However, we need to be open to God’s plan, not ours. It’s His plan of redemption, He is the One who knows how to carry it out best, He is the One who dictates what your role in His plan is. His glory, not ours. “It may be a terrifying thought, but we have to trust God more than we trust ourselves” (84).
Discussion Question #5: Take a minute to pause and ask God what He wants for your life. Ask Him to break through any excuses you may be hiding behind and idols you might be clinging to. Ask Him to make you willing to follow Him in whichever direction He might lead. If you have any thoughts based on this time of prayer, make a few notes.
Discussion Question #6: How would you describe your role in furthering the gospel around the world? If nothing comes to mind, write down a few things that you can begin to pursue in order to make missions a part of your life.
A Vision of the End
Before you start having doubts about whether or not this plan can succeed, let me tell you: “There is no doubt about whether or not the church will fulfill its mission; we know for certain that this is how the world will end” (87). The apostle John was actually chosen by God to see the fulfillment of the promise made so long ago:
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,
‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.'” (Rev. 7:9-10 NASB).
The mission is going to succeed. Isn’t it exciting to be part of a mission that you already know will succeed? About how many of your other endeavors can you say same?
The church needs our hope, our love, our support. These are our brothers and sisters across the globe. We make disciples and they make disciples and they make disciples. We will reach the “ends of the earth”. And our Rabbi, our Messiah, He will be right there with us “to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20 NASB).
Discussion Question #7: In order to faithfully follow Jesus and play your part in God’s plan of redemption, what should your life look like right now? (This is a huge question, but try to write down a few things to guide you as you seek to put the things you’ve learned into practice.)
Discussion Question #8: Spend some time in prayer. Ask God to help you submit to Him entirely. Ask Him to guide you and empower you in anything He calls you to do. Pray that God would use you in your neighborhood and around the world in any capacity that He sees fit.
Thank you for joining me this week! I hope this study has both convicted and encouraged you to get out there and be a part of this awesome mission. See you next week when we get to dive into God’s Word and learn to use it to help us accomplish this mission. Until then, God bless!