Ministry in the New Testament Church (2019, Quarter 3, Lesson 9)

by admin admin August 24, 2019

Ministry in the New Testament Church (2019, Quarter 3, Lesson 9)

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Sabbath (August 24): Ministry in the New Testament Church

Matthew 28 closes the story of Christ’s ministry on earth with three powerful instructions mentioned by Jesus to his disciples. Those directions are what we call the great gospel commission. Each of these three instructions represents an aspect of the power of the Gospel in the lives of those who accept it.  In today’s lesson we will look more closely at these three instructions and look for lessons about how we can accomplish the great gospel commission.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Matthew 28:16-17. Notice this important point. Before the great commission is given, who were following Christ? (The eleven disciples.) Where did Jesus ask them to meet? (At a mountain in Galilee.) Were there any more besides the eleven? (Certainly, as the implication is found in verse 10 regarding Jesus commending all his followers, not just his eleven disciples, to meet in Galilee.) Notice the two types of worshipers. Which type of worshiper are you? (Answers will vary.)

  • Read Matthew 28:18-20. What is the first promise of the great commission? (All power is given to Jesus in heaven and earth.) What is the first instruction given? (Go therefore and teach all nations.) What is the second instruction given? (Baptizing them in the name of the father, son and Holy Spirit.) What is the third instruction? (Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.) What is the second promise of the great commission? (I am with you always.) How could each member fulfill this individual call? (Answers will vary.)

Sunday (August 25): A New Kind of Community

The early church, as described in the opening chapter of the book of Acts, quickly formed a unique Christian society where the gospel was both preached and lived. The results were phenomenal, with people being “added to the church daily” (Acts 2:47). In today’s lesson we will look at what enabled the early church to experience God’s blessings in such remarkable ways.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Acts 2:41,42. What do these verses reveal about the kind of relationship that quickly developed between the disciples and those who were baptized? (It seems that a “brotherhood” quickly formed between them.) What elements of a healthy Christian society are found in these two verses? (Knowledge and acceptance of the truth, fellowship with Christ and one another, “breaking of bread,” and prayer.)

  • Read Acts 2:44,45; 4:32. What additional aspect of Christian living is found in these verses? (The believers shared their material possessions and cared for the needy among them as need and opportunity arose.) Was this focus on welfare ministry any different than God’s plans for ancient Israel had been? (No. Compare Deuteronomy 15:4, where God said that there should be no poor people among the Israelites.) Israel largely failed in accomplishing this purpose, while the early church appears to have achieved it, at least for a time. What made the difference? (Answers will vary. The early church was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit [see Acts 1:8; 2:3,4,43; 4:34].) What is the lesson for us today? (We need the power of the Holy Spirit too!)

  • Read Acts 2:47; 4:33,34. What resulted from the life and witness of the early church? (God was praised, they had favor with all the people, new converts were added daily, the gospel was preached with power, and there was no needy person among them.)

Monday (August 26): Dorcas’s Ministry and Witness

All of us have been called individually to the ministry (or service) of others.  To some degree or another, we all know people in need around us. Usually, we have little or no control over other people’s lives, but we do have a choice in how we respond to their needs. Today’s lesson takes a closer look at an example of a woman who lived a life of service, the impact of her witness, and the example she left for us today. 

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Acts 9:36. What two special characteristics are mentioned here in regard to Dorcas? (She was full of good works and almsdeeds/acts of mercy. It is not enough just to do “good works,” but do them as acts of kindness, with a merciful and loving heart to those less fortunate.)

  • Read Acts 9:37-39. What type of impact did Dorcas have upon those whom she served? (Even though she died, they believed the great gospel commission that all power is given unto Jesus and his disciples.) Have you seen a disciple of Jesus who has the same testimony that was shown by Dorcas? (Answers will vary.)  Has your life testified to others in a way that people would not cease to intercede and pray for you? (Answers will vary.)

  • Read Acts 9:40-42. Why did Peter choose to resurrect Dorcas? (He saw that this woman was a living testimony of the great commission, and he prayed and the Lord granted his request.) Why was Dorcas’s resurrection important for the gospel? (It brought many to the knowledge and acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah). What can we learn from Dorcas that can be applied to us today? (Answers will vary.)

Tuesday (August 27): Giving as a Way of Sharing

In today’s lesson we look at Paul’s encouragement and advice to the church members in Corinth. Their challenge, as ours so often is, was to follow Christ’s example of selfless and sacrificial giving so that others might be blessed.

Discussion Questions

  • Read 2 Corinthians 8:7. What is Paul’s desire for the church members in Corinth? (That in addition to maintaining their faith and growing in the knowledge of God, they would be liberal and generous in their gifts, offerings, and care for others.)

  • Read 2 Corinthians 8:9. What great motivation for Christian liberality is revealed here? (Jesus Christ gave all of Himself and “became poor” for us, that we might become rich in Him.)

  • Read 2 Corinthians 8:10,11. What important point does Paul make here regarding active and sacrificial service for others? (It is important to recognize others’ need and desire to help, but this must be followed up with action.) What things can often prevent us from taking action on what we know we should do? (Answers will vary.)

  • Read 2 Corinthians 8:12. What is the most important factor in our service to God and to others? (Our works of service must come from “a willing mind,” or from an attitude of love and appreciation for what God has given us. There is no merit in acts of service if the heart is doing it from wrong motives, or unwillingly.)

  • Read 2 Corinthians 8:15. What promise is given to those who give back to God and others? (Like the Israelites gathering manna in the wilderness, every person will have what they need, even as they give to others.)

Wednesday (August 28): Paul’s Guide to Living and Loving Well

In the letter to the Romans, many have erroneously thought that the idea of Paul is to just uplift the cross of Jesus. Sadly, this is erroneous as it is an incomplete Gospel. Paul instead uplifts the crucified Savior and holds onto the resurrected Savior!  Justification is possible because Jesus lives and thus the “power of the Gospel” is the power that not only paid the price of our sins, but is the living power to transform our lives from enmity to goodwill. Today we will look at the lessons for our lives that can be learned from Romans 12.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Romans 12:1. What three elements are described as a reasonable service? (To present our bodies as a living sacrifice, as holy, and as acceptable unto God.) What does “living sacrifice” mean to you? What does “holy” mean to you? What does “acceptable unto God” mean? (Answers will vary.)

  • Read Romans 12:2. Will those who are doing a reasonable service to God be different? (They are not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of the mind, which is possible by the study of the Scriptures.) Why is this not an option but a requirement for the disciple of Jesus? (To prove what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.)

  • Read Romans 12:3-5. What does Scripture give as the requirement for any individual who accepts its call to ministry? (To not think more highly of himself than he ought to. God has given equal value to everyone.) In what ways do academic degrees become Satan’s snares for many Christians today? (Answers will vary.)

  • Read Romans 12:6-13. What ministry is superior to all others? (None, as all are equally important in fulfilling the commission of Christ.)

Thursday (August 29): James “The Just”

The book of James has been called the first of seven general epistles written to the Christian church at large. Its author—whose exact identification remains unclear—picks up the themes of sacrificial service and generosity that characterized the early church, and stresses their importance for all Christians, including us today.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read James 1:27 and Matthew 6:31-33. What advice did Jesus give in Matthew 6 that, if followed, will help people to remain “unspotted from the world”? (Christians are called to focus on obtaining the spiritual riches of heaven, rather than accumulating worldly wealth.) Within this context, what worldly attitudes might James have particularly had in mind when he wrote James 1:27? (The “world” often judges people based on their material possessions, and despises those less fortunate. However, Christ pronounced a blessing on the poor and revealed that His kingdom will be largely made up of the poor [see Luke 6:20-25].)

  • Read James 2:1-5. Why do the poor of this world often find it easier to be “rich in faith” than the more wealthy? (Answers will vary. The possessions of the rich often become a substitute for trust in God. Humans usually base their judgment on external factors [see 1 Samuel 16:7], but Christians are called to live by faith, which by definition means being spiritually aware of realities that are invisible in the merely physical realm [see Hebrews 11:1]. Too much focus on material things can easily prevent the development of this kind of spiritual vision.)

  • Read James 4:17 and 5:1,4. For what reason will many “rich men” “weep and howl” in misery at the end of time? (It is not because they were rich, but because they rejected God’s call to use their material possessions to bless and help others. In particular, they have withheld wages from those who worked to make them rich.)

  • Read James 5:7. What are Christians called to do while living in this unjust world? (Remain faithful and patiently wait and pray to receive the outpouring of the Spirit in the former and latter rains.)

Friday (August 30): The Ministry of Pure Religion

In today’s lesson we look at the principle of pure religion as described in James 1:27. We read that pure religion involves two characteristics. The first is seen by the world and the second is known only to the individual. First, because we are all children of God, we are to provide service, mercy, and love for those in affliction; and second, we should keep ourselves uncontaminated by the world. The Bible describes how this is accomplished.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read James 1:27. What great truth is brought out in this verse? (Pure religion is here described.) What implications does this have for Christians in our attitude and assistance toward those who suffer affliction? (Christians must be involved in personally doing something for the needy and the less fortunate around them until they are no longer in their affliction.) What does it mean to keep “unspotted from the world”? (Christians are not just to do good works, but to be overcomers of sin. If sin has a hold in your life, you have defiled Christ and the Gospel, even if no one else sees it.)

Pure and undefiled religion is not a sentiment, but the doing of works of mercy and love. This religion is necessary to health and happiness. It enters the polluted soul temple, and with a scourge drives out the sinful intruders. Taking the throne, it consecrates all by its presence, illuminating the heart with the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. It opens the windows of the soul heavenward, letting in the sunshine of God's love. With it comes serenity and composure. Physical, mental, and moral strength increase, because the atmosphere of heaven as a living, active agency fills the soul. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory.—The Review and Herald, October 15, 1901. {WM, 38.1}

  • Read James 2:14-17. What important truth is James describing regarding impure, defiled religion? (It’s not enough to say you have faith, for unless your faith is evident by works, such faith, or religion, is dead.) As Christians today, what should be the ultimate goal of our faith? (To have an undefiled and pure relationship with Christ, and with others.) Is there ever a danger of losing sight of this goal and simply being satisfied with being considered “good” by others? (Answers will vary.)

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