Lesson 6

Hope: Motivation for Mission

(Matthew 9&10, 2 Corinthians 3&4)
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Introduction: How are we to witness to others? How do we get their attention? What do we have to offer that will attract the secular person to what we have to say? Does our hope have anything to do with how we witness? Let's dive into the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. Jesus' Method For Attracting Crowds

    1. Read Matthew 9:35-37. Have you ever held an evangelistic series in your church? What is your first goal for your evangelistic series? (To get people to come.)

      1. What was the problem with the witnessing that Jesus was conducting? Was His problem the same as ours? (He did not have a problem with getting people to come. He said the problem was the lack of workers! He had more people who wanted to hear than those workers who wanted to share the gospel.)

      2. Why do you think Jesus' problem was just the opposite of our problem? (Verse 35 tells us that Jesus "healed every disease and sickness.")

        1. Would we attract huge crowds if we healed the sickness and disease of everyone who came to our meetings?

      3. Is it reasonable to conclude that the tool we need for witnessing is to heal people?

  2. Jesus' Method for Attracting Crowds Applied to Us

    1. Read Matthew 10:1. Do we today have the same authority as that given to Jesus' disciples?

      1. Our lesson (Monday) points out that we have hospitals and "medical missionary workers" around the world. Is that an admission that we (ordinary Christians) do not have the authority given in Matthew 10:1 to heal every disease and sickness?

        1. If you could heal every disease and sickness, then you would obviously not need a hospital, right?

    2. This brings us to a very important decision. If we have the authority to heal diseases and sicknesses, and we are not using it, then we have a serious spiritual problem. On the other hand, if we no longer have the same authority as was given to the disciples in Matthew 10:1, then we need to figure out what we can do to attract people to the gospel.
      1. So, which is it? Are we unspiritual or unauthorized? (If we were just talking about me, then I would be inclined to vote for "unspiritual." I would figure there must be something wrong with me. However, it is hard for me to believe that everyone is unspiritual. No one that I have ever seen or heard about in modern times can heal every disease and sickness in a city. We have "faith healers" like Benny Hinn. I cannot and will not pass judgment on this well-known minister. However, assuming everything I ever heard about his faith healing is true, I have never heard that he healed everyone in a single hospital, much less everyone in an entire city.)

    3. If, as I think, we do not have the authority to heal everyone we encounter, then what is the modern equivalent of what Jesus did in Matthew 9:35? What can we do that will come as close as possible to Jesus' example?

      1. Is the answer hospitals and medical missionary workers?

        1. If so, do we need to shift our careers to the medical field and our work to the hospitals?

        2. Should our evangelistic efforts be held in hospitals?

  3. Our Method For Attracting Crowds

    1. Those people that Jesus healed: Do you think they lived forever? Or, did they ultimately die?

    2. How big a crowd would Jesus have attracted if He gave people a permanent cure for disease, sickness and death?

      1. When I was a boy, Camel cigarettes had the slogan, "I'd walk a mile for a Camel." How far would you walk to have your physical diseases cured?

        1. How far would you walk to obtain eternal life free from disease or sickness?

    3. Let's read 2 Corinthians 3:7-9. What ministry, involving Moses and engraved stone, brought death in the middle of glory? (This refers to the Exodus 24 account of God giving the Ten Commandments in a blaze of frightful glory.)

      1. How did the Ten Commandments bring death? I thought it was the transcript of God's character? (The Ten Commandments do reveal God's view of sin and right living. However, no one is justified by the law ( Galatians 3:10-11). Rather, the law condemns us because we do not obey it.)

      2. Look at 2 Corinthians 3:9 again. What is the ministry that brings righteousness?

    4. Compare 2 Corinthians 3:12 with 4:13-14. What gives us hope? What makes us bold? (Our hope and our belief are that the one who raised Jesus to life will also raise us to life. Jesus does what the Ten Commandments could never do - He justifies us. This gives us hope of eternal life.)

    5. Read Titus 1:1-3. How can we be certain of our hope of eternal life?

    6. Do we boldly proclaim eternal life for those who accept Jesus?

      1. Would people flock to our evangelistic series if they thought we were showing them the way to eternal life?

      2. Should eternal life, a permanent cure for sickness and disease, be the focus of our outreach?

      3. Is offering the hope of eternal life the closest thing to Jesus' method for attracting crowds?

        1. Should that be our focus, instead of tying to focus on healing?

      4. Jesus was healing people immediately and those around could see the results. The healing we are promoting cannot be seen now and will take place sometime in the future. Does that make a difference?

        1. Do we have a "harder sell?"

    7. Read Romans 6:4. When does this new life experience begin? Is it now or is it only some time in the future?

      1. If our lives reflect the "new life" experience now, how will that impact on attracting others to the gospel?

      2. If our lives reflect the "glory" and the "boldness" discussed in 2 Corinthians, how will that impact on the job of attracting others to the gospel?

  4. Our Motivation for Witnessing

    1. Read Ezekiel 3:17-19. Does this warning apply to us? Or, is this something said only to Ezekiel?

      1. Are we "watchmen" like Ezekiel?

    2. If you think this text applies to you, what does it mean (v.18) to "be accountable for his blood?" (It means we have a responsibility for those around us.)

    3. What is the extent of our accountability? Is it just to deliver the message? Or, is it to make sure the person repents? (The Bible tells us our responsibility is simply to give the warning. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit and that individual.)

    4. How does this text fit into our previous discussion about attracting crowds? Instead of God telling Ezekiel to explain to the people that they can have eternal life without sickness or disease, God says "Warn them they are going to die." Is this just the opposite approach? (These are two ends of the same message. Either you have eternal life without sickness and disease in your future or you have death in your future. Since I am an optimist, I prefer to lead with the eternal life side of the argument.)

    5. Friend, we have a tremendous hope - the hope of eternal life free of sickness and disease. That hope attracts the world. Will you share that hope with the perishing world? Or, will you bear responsibility for letting the perishing die?

  5. Next Week: Hope: Too Much or Not Enough?

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