Tom Scott - 7/04/2013

John 20:19-23

e-study for April 8, 2013

Yesterday in our High School class we talked about Acts chapter five and the persecution the apostles received for preaching in the name of Jesus Christ.   I encouraged the students to pray this week for those being persecuted for their faith in our world today.  North Korea was the country they choice to pray for yesterday.  Each day they are to pick a different country.  The reason these apostles were being persecuted is because of the mission that Jesus gave them before his departure.  In our sermon text we looked at how Jesus was sending the disciples out in the world.  They were to leave the upper room and share the message of God’s forgiveness with others.  I encourage you to read John 20:19-23 again before trying to work through these questions.  If you need to hear the message again, you can find it on the website right under the big banners.

1.    The message began with me sharing some recent figures that were released.  According to some surveys conducted in the last twelve months there are something like 125 million individuals in the United States who claim to have religious affiliation.  One in three individuals in this country have become disconnected from the church.  Less than fifty percent of the American population would identify themselves as being Protestant.  The question is, what is our response to these numbers?  As a congregation and as an individual, how is it possible for us to have any impact on these results?

2.    When Jesus appeared before the disciples at the end of the day on that first Easter Sunday, his first words to his followers were these: “Peace be with you.”  I mentioned that Jesus calmed their fears as they sat in that upper room with the doors locked.  They were afraid of what the religious leaders and Roman officials might do to them.  Had you been in that upper room with the disciples that night, what might you have added to the conversation?

3.    Once the disciples had taken a moment to soak in that Jesus was indeed there in the flesh, they received a mission statement from Jesus.  He told them that he was sending them out even as His father had sent him into the world.  This was not the first nor the last time Jesus would send them out.  What do we notice in each of the occasions when Jesus sent out his disciples?  Look at Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 9:1-6, Luke 10:1-4, John 17:18, Acts 1:7-8

4.    The disciples were not the only ones that Jesus sent out.  It is my firm conviction that Jesus has issued the great commission to all his followers and that includes us today.  I believe that God has chosen us to be his ambassadors to this world today.  Take a moment to read First Thessalonians chapter one right now.  As you read through the chapter, take note that God choose these individuals to have an impact on the region in which they lived.  Do you feel like God has chosen you to one of his ambassadors to this world so that you might impact lives for God in this community?

5.    One of the reasons often given for not doing more to reach others for Christ is the feeling that we are not equipped for such a ministry.  Often we feel like there needs to be some special plan or secret formula for winning people to the Lord.  Some will suggest that they do not know what to say or where to begin.  It can be a daunting task when you go it alone.  Let me encourage you to read Second Timothy 3:16-17 with this thought in mind.  God promises to thoroughly equip us for the works that he has in mind for us to do.  Jesus promised at the end of Matthew chapter 28 that he would go with us to the ends of the earth.  What part are we playing today when it comes to fulfilling the great commission of Jesus Christ?

There is no better time in history for us to make an impact on this world for Christ then right now.  The country desperately needs to come back to the Lord and our Father in Heaven has chosen to send us out with that mission.  Together we can make a difference in our community as we share the message of Christ with those around us.  Join me over the course of the next couple weeks as we continue to look at fulfilling this great commission.  May you realize the blessings of the Lord as you travel through life!

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