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Leading Question: How much do our motives matter in mission? Can I have lousy motives and still do good work for Jesus?

Scripture Focus: Luke 24:1-12, 36-49; Acts 1:12-26, 2:1-41

The Big Idea: It’s difficult to produce a list of “appropriate motives” for mission. Perhaps God can use us for good, even when our motives are mixed.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some examples of less-than-ideal motives for sharing our faith?
  2. What are some of the best motives for sharing our faith with others?
  3. In Philippians, the apostle Paul admits that Christ was sometimes preached out of envy, rivalry, selfish ambition and even a desire to “stir up trouble” for Paul while he was in prison. But rather than lament this, Paul continues, “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice” (Philippians 1:15-18).
    1. If this is the case, then do our motives for mission even matter?
    2. Does this passage suggest that we shouldn’t try to stop someone from sharing Christ, even if we know their motives are not pure?
  4. In the passages in Luke and Acts, Jesus tells his disciples to wait before they go out into the world.
    1. What do they do while they wait? What should we learn from this?
    2. What are they waiting for?
    3. What is the greater danger for us—that we wait for too long before we go to the world, or that we rush out to witness before we are spiritually prepared?
    4. What sort of spiritual preparation is necessary for witnessing? Do we need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit? And what does that mean? Have you ever been through the kind of Holy Spirit “filling”/being “clothed with power from on high” that is described in Luke and Acts? If so, describe the experience. If not, why not?
  5. What is the most important preparation for mission? (It might be wise to review Luke 24 and Acts 1-2 in order to answer this question.)
  6. Who were the first witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus? In what ways is this significant?
  7. What single event was the primary motivation for apostolic witness as well as the primary subject of apostolic witness? How should this inform our witness today?
  8. The Adult Sabbath School lesson says, “Of course, we need a personal experience with God before we can share it with others. . . . In the end, we can’t share what we ourselves don’t have, can we?” Do you agree with this statement? Please explain.

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