Living by God's design

Study 1: A commissioned community

The New Testament is clear that Christian Community has two main elements:

  • we are to be together, worshipping in community (John Wesley once said that “…the Bible knows nothing of solitary religion”)
  • we are to work This has implications of practical partnership: what some have termed body ministry, based on 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14

Although there is always a cost to following Jesus, (Luke 9: 57 - 62), there are still those who are ready to be used by God.

Some belPeopleMakeTheCross.gifieve that because faith is essentially a private matter (after all, it is between us and God), then it should be kept that way. In other words, communal expressions of faith stop at the point where we gather to worship with other believers. Others believe that God will bring His elect into His Church and that our role is simply to disciple them.

Jesus’ commission to the church is a radical departure from such extremes. He sends his disciples out to preach, teach and heal but is usually as co-operative partners rather than as individual workers. Even Paul was rarely on his own!

Missions is not about “What can I spare?” The real question is “What’s it going to take?” Risk. Abandon. Sacrifice. Radical dependence on Christ. Everything. Are you passionately committed to God’s glory among all peoples? (Asia Link Worker)

If the Great Commission is true, our plans are not too big; they are too small." (Pat Morley)

Pause for thought

  1. What do you understand by ”evangelism?”
  2. How can we embrace the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 18 – 20) such that it becomes an integral part of our Christian life and witness?

We may not all be evangelists but we are called to evangelise – that is to share our faith by word and by life with others. By trusting and following God and by telling others about him, we’ll make disciples who will also be committed to the Kingdom.

Please read Luke 10: verses 1 to 24

COMMUNITY INSTRUCTIONS (vv. 1 – 11)

  1. What kind of work and commitment does Jesus expect of the 72 (vv. 2 – 3)?
  2. Why do you think that Jesus sends out the disciples in pairs? (vv. 1)
  3. How important is it to do the work of an evangelist? (see 2 Timothy 4:5) What might stop us from doing that?
  4. How can (do) we cope with the kind of difficult and confrontational circumstances Jesus describes in vv. 3?
  5. What kind of behaviour does Jesus look for in those he has commissioned? (vv.5 – 10)
  6. How might we apply these principles to our work at GHBC?

Luke 10 is not the only example in this gospel of Jesus commissioning and sending others. In fact, the background to the events of chapter 10 begins at Chapter 9 verses 1 & 2. Here, His own disciples are sent out with His authority and power to follow His specific instructions to:

  • drive out demons
  • preach the Kingdom of God
  • heal the sick

There are clear instructions in both cases, as well as a sense of the authority of Jesus being carried by those who represent him in mission. Matthew 28:20 (and verses following) remind us that our call as Christians and as disciples is to be a people who are committed to fruit and to growth.

COMMUNITY CHALLENGE (vv. 12 – 24)

  1. Verses 11 and 12 indicate what kind of response the 72 should make when a town rejects the message. What kind of response do you think is right in today’s world?
  2. What responsibility does Jesus give us (vv. 16)? How might this bring humility to our ministry?
  3. What might stop us from being the kind of church that sends people out?
  4. In what ways might we become arrogant or complacent about our mission outside the church?
  5. Taking these verses as a guide, how might we develop our relational mission in the community and beyond?

To think about this week

We are the only Bible some people will ever read. What kind of story of Jesus do you show to others?

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