Do you know how the missions community defines “people groups”? And then what an Unreached People Group is? We put together this video to help you learn. Tell us what you think and then tell others!
Why exactly is there such a thing as Christian Missions? Is it mentioned in the Bible? If so, where? And how many followers of Jesus are expected to be involved?
Watch this video for answers to those questions and more. And then share the video to let others know!
I was working with a short term mission team over the weekend and decided to teach them the simple inductive Bible study method we detailed in this previous post. I was incredibly impressed at how quickly the group read the scripture, looked at the words and then came up with a summary statement and obedience actions. So I thought I would share some of what they found.
Here is the text:
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
The Guards’ Report
11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Some of what was noticed when asking the 4 key questions:
What does this teach us about God?
- Verse 6 – Jesus is alive!
- Verses 9 and 17 – He accepts our worship
- Verse 18 – He has all authority
- Verse 20 – He is always with us
What does this teach us about ourselves?
- Verses 4 and 5 – We fear
- Verses 13-14 – We lie to protect our power or reputation
- Verse 17 – We can still doubt God even when He shows Himself to us
Are there any sins to avoid?
- Verse 5 – Fear
- Verse 15 – Lying
- Verse 17 – Doubt
Are there any commands to obey?
- Verses 5 and 10- Do not be afraid
- Verses 7,10 and 19 – Go tell others!
- Verse 19 – Baptize new disciples
- Verse 20 – Teach new disciples to obey
At the end of our time, the group was asked to summarize the entire passage. This is what they came up with:
Do not be afraid! Jesus is alive! Now go tell everyone.
I will challenge you with the very same challenge the group was given:
Now that you have read the commands of Christ, how are you going to obey?
Last week I was enjoying the worship time with my church family and we started to sing “Joy to the World”. It’s a song that we’ve all sung for most, if not all of our lives and we know the words pretty much by memory. (Maybe not the harmony parts, that always seems to be reserved to the extremely talented few. I am not one of those few.)
He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love.
I have to admit, and this may be a little embarrassing, I’d never really noticed the words “and makes the NATIONS prove the glories of His righteousness.” I don’t know why. Right now I’m blaming the fact that the melody of the song inserts a decently long pause after “prove” and “the glories”.
Isn’t that a great set of words though? A deep, powerful nugget of missions truth in a potentially over played and little mediated on song?
HE (God), makes the NATIONS (all ethnic groups, all peoples) PROVE the glories of His RIGHTEOUSNESS!
If you’ve ever hung out with any GFM folks, you quickly learn that we want to remind you that all throughout the Bible we read how God has always loved all peoples. And His desire has always been for all peoples to worship Him. But does He actually use the nations to prove how great He is? Does God actually interrupt other nations’ history besides Israel’s to show that there is no one more righteous than Him? Let’s do a quick check.
Daniel 2:47 (NIV) The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”
Daniel 3:28-29 (NIV) Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”
Daniel 4:34-35 (NIV)
At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.
His dominion is an eternal dominion;
his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
All the peoples of the earth
are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases
with the powers of heaven
and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand
or say to him: “What have you done?”
(You know what, you probably should just go read the first half of Daniel. The Lord did a lot with the most powerful nation on the earth at that time!)
How about with a different nation? What about with Pharaoh during the time of the Exodus?
Exodus 9:15-16 (NIV) For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.
I could keep going, but I won’t in order to keep this reasonably short. But hopefully you see the point?
It’s Christmas time. It is a season where we celebrate the gift of Jesus to each of us individually. What an amazing, precious thing this is. But please do not forget the nations during this time. Jesus was not a gift only for Israel or North America. He is for all peoples and all nations and He uses all of us to prove how righteous and holy He is!
Merry Christmas from all of us at GFM!
It has been over a decade since the horrific tragedy of 9/11 left its mark in history and has effectively generated a roller-coaster ride of fear with ups and downs and twists ever since. Now with the atrocities going on in the middle east, Americans reportedly feel less safe than any time since 9/11. Terrorism has become part of the nightly news.
As followers of Jesus how are we supposed to respond? There are obviously a lot of mixed emotions and feelings that arise when talking about the subject. Is it possible to mourn the tragic nature of that day while taking an eternal view of today’s events? What if we were able maintain our remembrance of that day but celebrate that God can change the hearts of all persons for His glory?
We are first introduced to the man named Saul in Acts 7 where he is present at the stoning of Stephen. Stephen had just finished his speech before the Sanhedrin, and he doesn’t exactly take it easy on them! The men of the court become so outraged that they begin to take up stones. And to ensure they get a full range of motion for throwing, they remove their jackets and lay them at the feet of Saul! And scripture points out that he was “giving approval to [Stephen’s] death.”
If that wasn’t enough it continues on to say that “Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.” Acts 8:3
It picks up again in Acts 9:
“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”
Saul did not just stop with the church in Jerusalem. His hatred for these followers of “the Way” was so strong that he went and asked permission to expand the persecution. He wasn’t under orders. He didn’t try to resist doing it. He himself went to the leaders and vehemently requested the right to hunt them down.
That requires a special kind of hatred. He couldn’t stand their existence. He wanted them gone and with zeal he volunteered to be the one to do it. That is the true definition of terrorism. A systematic use of violence and intimidation to achieve a goal.
With permission granted, Saul rides off to extinguish this threat. But along the way he encounters the one thing that can overcome the power of fear. The one King that can take what is meant for evil and use it for the good. The one man that can speak life into a heart of stone.
With a flash of light Saul is knocked from his horse and Jesus goes to work on his heart.
A terrorist encountered Jesus that day.
And walked away with a new identity.
The Apostle Paul was born.
Paul became the missionary to the Gentiles. He goes on to write the majority of the New Testament. Save from Jesus himself, Paul was arguably the most influential man to walk the earth.
But we have to remember, that before Paul there was Saul. A terrorist focused on destroying the Church that Jesus Himself could have rightfully condemned. But Jesus had compassion on Saul, and invited him into a better way. And in the midst of all the terror around us, Jesus is still calling out to all nations saying “Follow me.”
Jesus’ Church is no stranger to persecution and threats. But let us not be overwhelmed with fear. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Today as we remember what fear and hatred can do, let us also remember that the Gospel of Jesus has overcome it all. As we pray for loved ones and for brothers and sisters going through persecution, let us also remember that Jesus taught us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43)
God’s heart is for all nations. He does not want us to pick and choose who is “worthy” of hearing the Good News of Christ. And in fact, we need to remember that He may very well have chosen someone we consider a “terrorist” to become an apostle. An apostle that becomes the catalyst for the Gospel transforming a people group from unreached to worshipers of the true God!
We never know when the next “Saul” will encounter Jesus. Let us pray towards that end!