July, August, September 2015
Want to learn more about Biblical Missionaries? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.
Lesson 1: The Missionary Nature of God (Genesis 1-3, John 3)
Put yourself in God's place. Assume you created humans and they turned against you. Would you go to heroic efforts to save them? Or, would you just scrap the current crop (God did warn them that sin caused death - Genesis 2:17) and create a new crop of humans? How many times have you scrapped a project and started anew? For some reason God did not start anew with us. He determined to rescue us from sin, and that provides a learning opportunity for us with regard to missions. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!
Lesson 2: Abraham: The First Missionary (Genesis 12, 14 & 15; Hebrews 11)
Everyone should be a missionary of some type, right? Perhaps you thought you were not good enough to share the good news about Jesus? Abraham is one of the most celebrated men in the Bible, and he is a giant of faith. But, Abraham had some issues that will give encouragement to those of us who realize our own flaws. We should not wait to advance God's kingdom until our flaws evaporate, for Abraham also teaches us about the blessings of advancing God's message. Let's jump into our Bible study of Abraham's story and consider the tension between being flawed and being blessed!
Lesson 3: The Unlikely Missionary (2 Kings 5)
When you think about your future, what do you want to happen? You want good things to happen! Good health, good jobs, good relationships are the things we want. For some, the hope is even more basic: enough to eat, freedom of speech, freedom to work, freedom of religion. When bad things happen instead, we have a hard time understanding how a loving God could permit it. John 9:1-3 records a discussion about a blind man. Jesus explained he was blind "so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." When we face difficult times, it presents an opportunity for God. Let's jump into our Bible study to learn more about this intriguing idea!
Lesson 4: The Jonah Saga (Jonah 1-4)
Which would you rather do, predict military success for your country or help the enemy of your country? Unless you don't like your country, the answer is easy. Think about how popular you are predicting success, and how unpopular you are helping the enemy. These questions give us insight into our study this week about the prophet Jonah. 2 Kings 14:25 tells us that Jonah predicted military success for Israel. No doubt he was a national hero. Then God came to him with a different missionary ministry. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!
Lesson 5: Exiles as Missionaries (Isaiah 39, Daniel 1-2)
Two weeks ago we discussed the Israeli slave girl in Naaman's home. What an amazing missionary adventure she started! This week we look at more captives, this time from Jerusalem. Their lives are turned upside down. But, instead of blaming God, they decide to be faithful, and they change the world. Let's dive into our Bible study and learn more!
Lesson 6: Esther and Mordecai (Esther 1-8)
Your life is probably not centered on one great event in which you can step up and stop a holocaust. More likely, your life is a series of smaller decisions about right and wrong. Will the way you make decisions in the small things of life reveal how you would make the great decisions of life? If you fail in the small decisions, will this force you into larger, more difficult decisions? Let's dig into the story of Esther and look at this familiar story in a little different way!
Lesson 7: Jesus: The Master of Missions (Matthew 10 & 28, Mark 16)
What does Jesus teach us about sharing the gospel? What "missionary" tips does He share? One interesting tip is about light and mission. Another tip helps us understand better the "Kingdom of God." Let's dig into our study of the Bible and learn more!
Lesson 8: Cross-Cultural Missions (John 4, Matthew 8 & 15, Luke 17)
How good are you when dealing with cross-cultural issues? I'm not very good because I have not had much practice. Two cross-cultural events stand out in my mind. When I started law school about a third of my fellow students were Jewish. I thought Jews were Biblical characters. It was surprising to have them in my class competing with me for grades! One time when I was traveling in Canada, a French-Canadian demanded to know why I did not speak French. French? I replied that I lived in the United States and that the alternative language to know was Spanish. I'm doubtful that I made a friend. How do we deal with cultural differences in sharing the gospel? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!
Lesson 9: Peter and the Gentiles (Acts 2 & 10)
"Peter and the Gentiles" sounds like it might be a singing group! Peter brought a sound alright, but it was the sound of the gospel to the Gentiles. Peter, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, broke through barriers of race and religion to expand the work of God. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn from Peter's evangelistic work that will guide us in our missionary efforts today!
Lesson 10: Philip as Missionary (Acts 8)
What would you say if you were not getting your fair share of food? For some, this is called being on a diet, but in the early church it was called racial discrimination. According to Acts 6:1-2, allegations were made that widows of one race were not being given equal food under the church feeding program. The church decided to select seven deacons to take care of this "wait[ing] on tables" problem. These deacons, according to Acts 6:3-4, were to be men "full of the Spirit and wisdom." Stephen and Philip were chosen. Shortly thereafter, Stephen was killed by Jewish leaders in Jerusalem for sharing the gospel. Let's plunge into our Bible study by picking up the story of Philip!
Lesson 11: Paul: Background and Call (Acts 9, Galatians 2)
Three weeks ago we witnessed Jesus sharing the gospel with a Samaritan woman at the well. Two weeks ago, we learned about Peter's vision that led him to share the gospel with Cornelius, a Roman Centurion. Last week, we read the great things Philip did to bring the gospel to Ethiopia and Samaria. Paul, the man we study this week and the next, is the early church leader most identified with bringing the gospel to the Gentiles. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and learn more about his amazing story!
Lesson 12: Paul: Mission and Message (1 Corinthians 1 & 9, Romans 7)
When I was young, my father told me stories about how he was always the fastest worker. I took those stories to heart, and when I had manual jobs I always tried to be the fastest. In school, I applied this idea to try to get the top grade. Mental health experts might worry about this kind of thing, but I never thought it harmed me in the long run. At some point I noticed that I was not the smartest guy around, and so I had to become more reasonable about my goals. In our study of the Bible this week, Paul talks about this kind of attitude. He says, in 1 Corinthians 9:24, that only one person wins a race. "Run in such a way as to get the prize." Let's race into our study of the Bible and learn more about winning the prize!
Lesson 13: Must the Whole World Hear (Acts 4, Romans 1, Ephesians 2, Revelation 20)
Religious leaders tell me that the gospel must be preached to everyone before Jesus can come again. They are not making this up, for this statement is found in Matthew 24:14. Is this literally what Jesus means? Without thinking about it, I've taken it literally. People nudge me in that direction by showing me parts of the world that have not heard the gospel. They say we need to target those places, and then Jesus can come. The logical problem arises with all of the people who have already lived and died in a part of the world not reached by the gospel. What about them? How do they impact our goal? Let's dive into our final study about being a missionary and see what the Bible says!