Introduction: How many times have you joined an
“organizational meeting” to receive instructions on how to
accomplish some goal? On a smaller scale, how often have you
sat down and contemplated how you should best do something
new? This used to be a source of minor disagreement between
my brother and me when we worked on construction together.
(He was the boss.) He would say to the men, “Let’s get
these materials over there.” I would respond, “Wait a
minute, let’s figure out how to most efficiently and easily
do this.” Some tasks don’t take a lot of thinking, but for
the one we study today we need to take direction from God.
Let’s dive into our study of the Bible!

I. Getting It Right

A. Read Acts 1:1-2. How were the disciples instructed?
(Jesus taught them in person, and then He taught
them through the Holy Spirit.)

B. Read Acts 1:3-5. What is the subject of this final
teaching directly from Jesus? (It was about “the
Kingdom of God.”)

C. Read Acts 1:6. The context, as we see in Acts 1:9,
is that Jesus is rising up to return to heaven.
What does this question reveal to us? (The
disciples appear to have learned nothing. They
think that Jesus is going to defeat the Romans and
restore Israel to the Jewish people. Of course,
they would be the leaders in this restoration.)

1. Contemplate the 3.5 years of Jesus’ direct
teaching and His forty days of last-minute
teaching about the “Kingdom of God.” How could
the disciples still have the wrong idea?

a. What does that say to us about
understanding our marching orders? (Old
ideas die hard. The disciples needed the
Holy Spirit to continue to work with

D. Read Acts 1:7-8. How does Jesus answer this very
frustrating question asked by the disciples? (He
gives a better answer than we would have given. At
the heart of His answer is the power of the Holy

1. Does Jesus say the immediate task of the
disciples is to be leaders of the new kingdom?
(No. He says something much different – they
are to be witnesses.)

2. Witnesses testify. What are they testifying
about? (He says, “you will be My witnesses.”
The subject of their witnessing is Jesus.)

3. Notice the organization of the witnessing
effort. How would you describe it? (First,
where they are located. Then the rest of the
country, then Samaria, and then the rest of
the world.)

a. Is this still applicable to us? (The
specific geography is different, but it
makes sense that we should start where we
know the people and the culture.)

b. I read a suggestion that we should go
places were we are not comfortable. Is
that a good idea? (Jesus describes
witnessing like one dropping a stone in a
pond – the ripples work outwards. It seems
logical to work where you best understand
the culture and what will be an appealing
argument and what will not.)

c. I’m suggesting an appeal to logic. Is that
what Jesus suggested? (No. Jesus suggested
that we rely on the power of the Holy
Spirit. The Holy Spirit will direct our

II. Involuntary Witnesses

A. After the flood, this happened. Read
Genesis 11:2-4. What is the goal of this organizational meeting?
(To build a tower, become famous, and stick

1. Why would they want to build a tower “with its
top in the heavens?” Why not a beautiful
garden? A stadium? A palace? Great homes for
themselves? (The answer seems obvious – they
were concerned about another flood. Worse,
they disbelieved God when He said He would not
bring another world-wide flood. See,
Genesis 9:15.)

B. Read Genesis 11:7-9. Why did God do this? Is it
because of their pride? Except for the obvious
distrust in tower building, what was wrong with
this ambition?

C. Read Genesis 9:1. Do you think the people of Babel
knew about this instruction from God? (I’m sure
they did. They were resisting God in all ways. If
you read Genesis 1:27-28 you will see this was
God’s original plan. No doubt they knew.)

1. What story do you think these former citizens
of Babel brought to the parts of the world
where they resettled? (I think they were
missionaries of some sort to the power of

D. Read Acts 8:1 and Acts 8:4. What power is behind
this? Is that what is meant by going outside our
comfort zone? (This is the power of evil. But, as
Romans 8:28 tells us, God takes bad things and uses
them to accomplish something good.)

III. Voluntary Witnesses

A. Read Genesis 12:1-3. Consider how Abram would
understand this and how God intended it. Are they
the same? (I’m sure that Abram, like all of us,
looked at this from the point of view of his
personal interest. On the face of it this is a
great blessing to Abram. He will be rich, blessed
(he will become a nation), and protected. We know
that God’s mission in this is much greater. God
will not only begin His nation in the promised
land, but He is putting in motion the nation into
which Jesus was born.)

1. Why do you think God presented this as
something that would be a tremendous blessing
to Abram?

2. Why are the instructions to the disciples
(Acts 1:8) not filled with blessings for them?
(This is a misleading question. Recall that
the disciples were looking for earthly power?
Jesus tells them in Acts 1:8 they will receive
Holy Spirit power.)

B. Read Acts 2:1-4. What is the point of speaking “in
other tongues?” (Read Acts 2:5-6 and Acts 2:9-11.
This allowed the disciples to speak in the language
of those from around the world who were gathered in

1. What does this teach us about being witnesses
around the world? (The Holy Spirit can bring
the world to us. These men returned to their
own nations to share the good news about

2. What has technology done to allow the world to
come to us? (I was just at an event which, in
part, honored Dwight Nelson. His tribute
mentioned the technology breakthrough of using
satellites to share his evangelistic messages.
Long before Dwight Nelson was doing this, Pat
Robertson brought the message of Jesus to the
world through satellites.)

IV. Conclusions on Our Call

A. Let’s revisit Acts 8:1, a text that illustrated
involuntary missionary travels. Why did the
apostles not leave?

B. The prior question is difficult. But consider it
from the overall conclusion that we should reach
based on the texts that we have studied so far.
What is the first rule of our call to mission? (To
follow the Holy Spirit. In each of our examples, we
have God speaking or acting to force the direction
of the mission. That suggests that the correct
answer as to why the apostles stayed is that the
Holy Spirit did not direct them to leave. Some have
argued, reasonably, that they were still obeying
Acts 1:8 which told them to first start in

C. Go back to the introduction where we discussed an
organizational meeting. If you were well into the
project discussed at the meeting, and you were
uncertain how you should proceed next, would you
contact the organizer? (Of course. That makes
perfect sense. Since God is the organizer of our
mission, and since the Holy Spirit is always
available to direct us, then we should seek the
direction of the Holy Spirit. I believe the
apostles remained in Jerusalem because the Holy
Spirit told them to stay and provide central

D. Friend, will you ask the Holy Spirit to help you be
more attentive to His leading? Why not do that
right now?

V. Next week: Sharing God’s Mission.

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail,
but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this
link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.