1. (Gen 12:1-3) At first glance, it may seem that God”s calling of Abram is an example of favoritism. However, vs. 3 clearly describes God”s ultimate desire. Why does God bless Abram? What are some other examples from the Old Testament that indicate God”s missionary interest in the salvation of all peoples?
2. (Psalms 22:27; Isa 42:1-4; Isa 66:18-20) What do these passages reveal about God”s ultimate purpose? Have these Old Testament hopes been fulfilled?
3. (1 Pet 3:15; Rev 14:6-12) The Christian missionary clearly must have a message to share. Delivering that message may lead to controversy, even.
A. How can we be honest about sin and deception and yet deliver our message with “gentleness” and respect (1 Pet 3:15)?
B. The message of Rev 14 has often been viewed as a “judgment” message. The text, however, describes it as “everlasting gospel” or everlasting good news. How might our presentation of the message of Rev 14 change if we read this as a missionary text more than a judgment text? Should we read it in this way?
C. What is the greater danger today: that we are too blunt and critical in our missionary message, or that we are so afraid of offending someone that we avoid stating truths that must be shared?
4. (Mat 28:16-20) This “Great Commission” from Jesus is perhaps the best-known missionary text of the Bible.
A. Often, we do not pay much attention to verse Mat 28:17. Should a missionary be sent out if they have doubts? Shouldn”t a person resolve all their doubts before they go to teach and baptize others?
B. Before his commission, Jesus makes a statement about his authority. What is significant about this?
C. What is the essence of Jesus” commission? Is it to baptize? To teach? Or, is it to do something else?
D. Is this commission the exception-or the rule? In other words, should we go unless God calls us to stay, or should we stay unless God calls us to go?
E. Jesus concludes his commission with a promise. What is that promise? If one cannot sense the presence of Jesus, could it be because they are not engaged in mission-or is this a misunderstanding of Jesus” words?
5. (Acts 1:8) What role does the Holy Spirit play in successful mission?
6. (Mat 24:14) In this short text, Jesus seems to connect the missionary activity of his disciples with the timing of his second coming.
A. Is there a connection between successful proclamation of the gospel and the second coming? Do we “delay” or “speed up” Christ”s return based on our willingness to share the gospel? Are you comfortable with this responsibility? What problems might be created if one held this view? Would there be positive outcomes if this view was held?
B. Jesus said the gospel would be preached as a testimony to all nations, and then the end would come. How much work remains? There are between two and three hundred countries in the world today, and these nations have some access to the gospel. The vast majority of these countries have a Seventh-day Adventist presence, even. One might then conclude that the work of missionaries is over. This is NOT THE CASE, HOWEVER. The word translated “nation” in Greek does not refer to geo-political nations, but rather to ethnic or people groups. Using that biblical definition changes the equation because there are 11,565 distinct people groups which exist (according to the Global Research segment of the International Mission Board). Many of these groups do not have the Bible in their language and have no access to the Christian message. Only a tiny fraction of mission giving and mission labor focuses on reaching these unreached. Why have these unreached peoples been so neglected? What responsibility do we have to carry the gospel to these unevangelized peoples?
7. Approximately 33 percent of the world”s population claims to be a Christian. This makes Christianity the largest of the world religions. However, 100 years ago, the percentage of Christians compared to world population was almost exactly the same-or perhaps even a percentage point higher. How should we interpret those figures? Have Christians been successful in their mission?
8. (Jonah) If we fail to heed the Great Commission given by Jesus, is it possible that God will somehow “force” us to carry his message to the world?
9. Ellen White writes, “Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they will not perish. . . . (for) they have heard his voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things the law required. . . . Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as children of God” (Desire of Ages, 638). How would our mission change if we set out to find our brothers and sisters among the “heathen” instead of assuming that we are the ones bringing God to the “heathen”? Would you consider being a part of this great mission?