Introduction: Do you know someone “on fire” for Jesus? Was that you
at some point in your life? Next question: do you know someone who
is on fire for Jesus their entire life? I’ve seen plenty of people
who are “fired up” at first, but I do not recall anyone who maintains
their initial level of fervor. Why is that? Is that a normal part of
our Christian mission? Is that consistent with God’s will? When we
are called by Jesus to mission, what does He expect of us? Let’s
plunge again into the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. Partners in Mission

    1. Read Acts 1:1-3. What did Jesus do after His resurrection?
      (He spent 40 days with His disciples convincing them He
      was, indeed, alive and He taught them about the Kingdom of

    2. Read Acts 1:4-6. Who would work with the disciples in the
      future? (The Holy Spirit.)

      1. What do you think about the disciples’ question in
        Acts 1:6?

        1. When do you think it was asked? (Notice that we
          just read in Acts 1:3 that over a forty-day
          period Jesus spoke to them about His kingdom. I
          hope this question was at the beginning of the
          forty days and not at the end.)

    3. Read Acts 1:7-8. Given this background, about what are the
      disciples to witness? (That Jesus has been resurrected and
      that He has a coming kingdom.)

      1. Is that our mission today? These words were spoken
        to the disciples then, if you think they are still
        applicable, explain why?

      2. Were they able to do the job on their own? (No. They
        were given explicit directions to wait until they
        were baptized with the Holy Spirit.)

        1. Is that also a requirement today? Must we wait
          until the Holy Spirit comes to work with us on
          our mission?

          1. What about the people who say that the day
            of the Holy Spirit being present in power
            is past? What kind of mission do they

    4. Read Acts 1:12-14. What did they do to prepare for their
      mission? (Prayed together. I think the task remains the
      same. I think the means to do the task remains the same.
      We cannot properly engage in mission without the Holy
      Spirit. If we are not sure the Holy Spirit is part of our
      mission, we need to fervently pray to be equipped by the
      Holy Spirit for mission.)

  2. Mission and Bread-winning

    1. Does the “fire” cool when we realize that we have to go
      out and earn a living?

      1. Or, is earning a living part of the way in which we
        perform our mission?

    2. Read Acts 18:1-4. Was Paul engaged in full-time preaching?
      (Not in these verses. They paint a picture of tent-making
      during the week and preaching on Sabbath.)

    3. Read Acts 18:5. How is Paul occupied now? (He is now
      engaged in full-time preaching.)

    4. Was Paul less on fire when he was preaching on weekends
      then when he was preaching all the time? (I doubt it.
      Meeting his practical needs was a part of his total work.)

    5. Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10. Is secular work a religious
      obligation? (Paul says that because he was engaged in
      ministry he had the right to “help” from fellow
      Christians. At the same time he says the Christian
      community has a religious obligation to work. Therefore,
      they could not all be engaging in ministry.)

      1. Let’s look at the practical side of this. Do you know
        people at work who would never show up at any church?

      2. Do you have neighbors or acquaintances who would
        never show up at church? (If the answer is “yes,”
        then ministry for you is reaching these people with a
        model life and a Spirit-led word. See John 14:26.)

    6. Read Titus 2:7-8. What aspect of our life is ministry?
      (Everything we do provides an influence for good or for
      evil. Our mission is to consider the nature of our
      influence, and through the power of the Holy Spirit seek
      to make our influence positive in every aspect.)

  3. Message in Mission

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 1:18. What does the Bible say is our
      message? (The cross.)

      1. What is the problem with our message? (The world
        considers it foolishness.)

      2. We decided earlier that the disciples (and us) were
        to witness to Jesus’ resurrection and His coming
        kingdom. Is that consistent with our message being
        the cross? (Yes. The cross and Jesus’ resurrection
        shows our opportunity for forgiveness of sin and
        eternal life!)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 1:19-21. Is there good news in
      preaching “foolishness?” (You don’t have to be a genius to
      share this news.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 1:22-25. Do we need miracles or logic
      to promote the message? (As you know, I like to use logic
      – because I think it promotes the gospel. But neither
      logic nor miracles are necessary to our message: Christ

      1. Why is our message Christ crucified? Why not good
        works? Why not the Sabbath? Why not good eating
        habits? Why not exercise, not smoking, or seat-belt
        wearing? (Jesus crucified is the fulfillment of the
        sanctuary service. He is the Lamb of God who takes
        away our sins. John 1:29. Nothing else takes away our
        sins. Jesus’ sacrifice is the centerpiece of our
        message. There are other good, logical and important
        ideas, but the core of our message is the cross.)

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-27. Why does God choose “weak”
      players? He wants the world to look bad? Why is that a
      goal? (Our message is Christ, not us. Can you see the
      consistent theme? The cross, not our works, is our focus.
      Why? Because the cross points to what God did, not what we
      did. Those who have power, intelligence, influence, good-looks have no advantage in the mission. Indeed, they may
      have a disadvantage because the focus is to be on God, not

      1. Read 1 Corinthians 1:28-31. Does that mean that
        smart, influential people are disqualified from
        mission? (Look who wrote these words – Paul, a highly
        trained, highly intelligent person. I think Paul’s
        point is everyone is qualified for mission as long as
        they give glory to God and make Him the focus of
        mission. God does not need human glory to get His job
        done. He just needs willing partners who realize the
        power and glory go to God.)

    5. In the days when I had more influence over who preached in
      the pulpit of my church, I would say the worship service
      “was not amateur hour,” meaning that the unprepared, the
      ill-equipped and the obviously inexperienced should not be
      allowed to preach. The members’ time in church on Sabbath
      was limited and valuable and I did not want it wasted with
      terrible sermons. Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. Was I wrong?
      (I’m disqualified from answering, but consider what kind
      of sermon would come from a “demonstration of the Spirit’s
      power.” The Holy Spirit is no amateur, and if the Spirit
      is in you, then you will be no amateur either.)

    6. Friend, will you take up the mission: in partnership with
      the Holy Spirit share the good news about the Lamb of God
      and His coming kingdom?

  4. Next week: We begin a new series on the epistles of John. I
    cannot wait!