[Thought questions for Discipling the Nations March 5, 2014]
1. “My house…of prayer for all nations.” When you find a place in your church this Sabbath for the worship service, will you think of yourself being in a “house of all nations”? How do the intense efforts of the evil one to separate us from one another in every possible way give proof to God’s far-reaching plan to draw us together in love for Him? How could it be that God’s chosen people could be so sure the gospel was, first and foremost, for them? Are we tempted in these last centuries to have a similar attitude towards the Second Coming?
2. The prophets foretold the plan. Why didn’t the prophecies, stated so many times in so many ways, come true that the nations of the world would seek salvation from the Children of Israel? What was the key problem? (Hint: where should they have been looking? Where were they looking instead?) Do we have the same lack of focus today? Have we already suffered consequences as a result? Explain.
3. Asleep or awake? Our lesson author notes that Christ wanted His people to “wake up.” Wake up to what? How severe did God tell us that the penalty would be for not sharing the wonderful blessings of salvation with those of other cultures? See Matthew 11:20 to 24. What was the utmost desire of the Greek worshippers joining the Jewish people for Passover? What was Jesus’ response to their quest?
4. Breaking down barriers. Has God raised up a people who love Him supremely and do not permit barriers of race, culture, or language to separate them from any of His creation? If not, why not? Why do those barriers still persist in alienating us from those with whom God yearns to share eternity? Imagine walking down an empty street and coming across the writhing body of a person in agony. Nobody else is nearby. What would you do? What does God expect of us in circumstances like this? 05. The Great Commission.
5. The Great Commission. With the earth’s population growing so fast, is it feasible for ordinary people like you and me to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to everyone? Suppose you could calculate that it is a physical impossibility to do so. Would that stop you from dedicating your life to sharing the good news of the gospel to others? Have you ever been an overseas missionary? Or do you know someone who has left familiar culture comforts to help spread the gospel abroad? What can you and I do to encourage cross-cultural witnessing?
6. About money. Do you believe in the message our church proclaims to the extent that you give to support the worldwide missions programs of our church? How do you explain the fact that churches with a strong record of missions support are also more successful in reaching their church’s other goals? Should we be looking for opportunities to encourage more support of missions in our churches and schools?