October 11, 2015
This week: Christ, Courage and Finishing the Mission
In this week’s lesson we look at the necessity for Christian Courage which comes directly from strong faith. Too often, we lack faith to walk in obedience to the Lord, not because we desire to be disobedient, but because we are afraid. Fear and faith do not go well together. Fear is the enemy of faith, and points to evidence that we are more concerned about our own well-being than trusting God to take care of us, even if He chooses to send us into dangerous, life-threatening situations.
We will also look at the threat of affluence and how our comfortable lifestyle combined with our untamed fear leads us to become Christians unwilling and unable to take even the first step towards obedience to Christ in finishing the mission.
This Week’s Resources:
This Week’s Take Home Truth
The courage we need to finish our mission is not something that we can simply arouse in ourselves. Hebrews talks of those who “were made strong out of weakness” (Heb. 11:34). The implication is not that they made themselves strong, just that they made themselves available. As a result, they were made mighty. God is able to do more than we can imagine.
- When you hear the word “missions,” what is the first thing that comes to mind?
When you hear the words “go and make disciples,” what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
When we hear that missions is going to cost us something, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
Read the Text (Hebrews 11:32 – 12:2)
Hebrews 11—known as the Bible’s “Hall of Faith”—is a testimony to those who followed God regardless of the cost. These were the men and women of courage who obeyed the Lord, even if it meant their own death. The writer to the Hebrews concludes this chapter with a rousing summation describing those who were flogged, mocked, imprisoned, stoned, and even sawn in two! As you read this familiar passage, don’t let the fact that this description is of people who lived centuries ago; may God impress upon you the real pain, and courage, that made these men and women heroes of the faith. Read Hebrews 11:32-12:2.
4. As you read the scenes described in Hebrews 11:32ff, do you find it difficult to even imagine such times as this?
5. Are there examples from our current events that ring similar to what is described in Hebrews 11?
6. Is there any reason from a biblical perspective Christians should expect to be free from persecution?
7. What do we learn John 15:27, which is the verse immediately before John 16?
8. Is it possible to be a witness for Jesus without any personal cost?
9. As Christians, how should we respond to opportunities to share the gospel, even in places that are not physically safe?
10. As an encouragement, how would you summarize the message of Hebrews 12:1-2?
11. If Jesus is clear in His command to be witnesses to an unreached world, even in the face of persecution, what is the primary reason we fear persecution?
12. In your opinion, aside from fear of persecution, what is the single greatest hindrance to Christians fully and actively engaging in missions and discipleship?
13. What is something the Lord has been impressing upon you to do out of obedience to Him that is going to cost you something?
14. What is causing you to not follow the leading of the Lord?
15. Are you willing to commit this issue to the Lord in prayer this next week, asking Him to give you the faith to be fully obedient to Him as He calls you into active service?
When we talk about courage, we often talk about it in the face of unlikely odds or in the face of the unknown. Yet Christian courage is of a slightly different order. We know what the final outcome will be. The Lamb wins. Hence why “some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life” (Heb. 11:35). The outcome of our own lives is unknown to us, but it is known to God. So we may have great confidence in the errands on which he sends us.