Small Group Curriculum

A Great Commission

08.18.19 | Sermon Series: A Great Church

PREPARATION

STUDY | Spend the week studying Matthew 16:13–20. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.

DETERMINE | Which discussion points and study questions will work best for your group.

PRAY | Pray for our pastors and this week’s message, the upcoming group time, your group members, and their openness to God’s Word.

LANDING POINT | I will build my life upon the Great Confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, my risen Lord, and Savior.

Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion

  1. Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
  2. No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
  3. No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
  4. Sharing. Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Don’t talk too much or too little. Every person brings something valuable to the group. 

INTRODUCTION

As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.

Missions, after all, is simply this: Every heart with Christ is a missionary, every heart without Christ is a mission field. - Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf

GROWING AND GOING

In previous lessons, your group has discussed that a great church has a foundation of beliefs (Great Confession) and lives to love God and others (Great Commandment). This week you will discuss how a great church has a God-given purpose (Great Commission).

A great church is filled with men and women who live their lives on purpose for God’s mission. As they grow in faith, they are moved to go. They see that obedience to God means obedience to His call to be a witness and make disciples.

If you’re a follower of Jesus, you’re a missionary. You are sent out to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others. There’s no greater purpose you can live for in life than this one. And there’s nothing more rewarding and eternally valuable than giving your life to fulfill the Great Commission.

Q: What happens when we lack purpose? What about when we have purpose?

Q: Name someone you know who lives their life on mission. What are they like?


LEARN

Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.

THE KING REIGNS

Matthew’s gospel ends with the resurrected Jesus speaking to His disciples on a mountain in Galilee. There, Jesus says to His disciples, “All authority over heaven and earth has been given to me.” In this declaration, we see that the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 has become the resurrected King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus has defeated sin and death at the cross, and His resurrection proved His deity as the Son of God. Now He reigns as King over all creation.

Read: Matthew 28:16–20. Why does Jesus first speak of His authority before giving the Great Commission?

Q: If Jesus has all authority, how does that change the way you look at difficulties and obstacles in life?

THE KING’S CALL

Jesus has completed the mission the Father sent Him to fulfill. Then He gives instructions to His disciples that give them new purpose and direction in life: “While you are going about your life, make disciples of all nations by baptizing and teaching them. And look to me and remember that I will always be with you.”

This is the passing of the torch from Jesus to His disciples. From this point forward, they would have the authority and call to carry on God’s mission. Their mission was to be witnesses locally and globally to all that God has done through His Son Jesus (Acts 1:8). As Paul would later write, believers would be King Jesus’s ambassadors, proclaiming the Good News of reconciliation between God and humanity (2 Corinthians 5:11–21).

Q: Recall a time when you changed purpose or direction in life. What happened?

Q: What does it mean to be a witness for Jesus?


LIVE

Select 2-3 questions from this section to answer.

GO, BAPTIZE, TEACH

We hear a lot about making disciples in the church. Many have heard the Great Commission before and know it’s important. But a lot of us aren’t exactly sure what a disciple is or how to make them. A disciple is someone who learns from Christ, lives in Christ, and leads others to Christ.

In the original Greek, the Great Commission includes two commands: (1) to make disciples, and (2) always look to(or “behold”) Jesus. The other three verbs—going, baptizing and teaching—show us what it looks like to obey the two main commands.

• Going – to take the first step to build relationships with non-believers.

• Baptizing – to help others identify with the person and work of Jesus Christ.

• Teaching – to equip others to live out their faith in obedience and service.

Q: What roadblocks might keep someone from becoming a disciple-maker?

Q: Where would you like to grow as a disciple-maker? How could you do this?

ONE STEP CLOSER

Jesus met people where they were and built intentional relationships with them. He always challenged people to take one step forward spiritually. And He led people down a path to take them from unbelief to spiritual maturity.

There are people you interact with on a regular basis at different stages along the path towards spiritual maturity. It may be your child, your boss, your neighbor or the barista at Starbucks. Whoever they are, this person has needs. If you can find out what those needs are, you can challenge them to take one step closer to Jesus. 

How do you discover someone's needs? That depends on the person. To discover a person's needs you need to:

• Take initiative. Take the first step to start a friendship or go deeper with someone you already know. Showpeople you genuinely care about them by your initiative.

• Be curious. Ask lots of questions. The truth is we are pretty self-centered as humans. To focus your attention on someone and listen to their story is quite rare. So be rare.

• Pray. Ask God to reveal what this person needs to move forward. The Holy Spirit can reveal what someone needs when you ask Him.

 

Q: Why is understanding someone’s needs important to relationship building?

Q: Create a list of 3–4 people you can help bring one step closer to Jesus.

 


LEAD

Select 1 question from this section to ask your group.

Will you join God in His mission by being a witness and making disciples? If you’re ready, here are seven things you can do to live your life on purpose for God’s mission:

1. Learn. Spend regular time in God’s Word and look for ways to discuss what you’re learning with others. Becoming familiar with God and His Word is the foundation for living on purpose.

2. Connect. Be on the lookout and notice the unnoticed. Leave your comfort zone and get to know those who are often overlooked, ignored or lonely.

3. Show Hospitality. Find ways to welcome others into your home. This is huge for building relationships. Chances are a co-worker or international student would be excited to come over for dinner.

4. Give. Take a look at your budget. Are there things you enjoy that you could do without? Decide to eat at home more or pass on that upgrade in order to invest in God’s kingdom work. Support a missionary. Help a neighbor with a financial need.

5. Pray. Become a prayer warrior. Ask others—including non-believers—how you can pray for them, and go to the Lord on their behalf. Start a prayer group. Commit to praying for the nations regularly.

6. Disciple. You know people who would meet you for breakfast or coffee. Use that opportunity to go deeper and get to know that person. Ask if they’d be interested in studying the Bible with you.

7. Volunteer. Look for ways to serve others. Ask around. Do research. There are countless opportunities for you at Pinelake and in your community. Give up your Saturday for an outreach project. Go on a mission trip. Become a small group leader in one of our NextGen environments. Use your time and skills to bless others.

Q: How might outsiders describe your community if everyone was doing the things listed above?

Q: What’s one thing you will start doing to live on purpose for God’s mission?


PRAY

Ask the Father to reveal ways that you can live on purpose for His mission. Pray for the Spirit to reveal how you can be a witness of the Good News of Jesus Christ and a disciple-maker in your life.


FOLLOW UP

Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:

Read Romans 10:14–15 and reflect on what this passage says about your role as a witness for Jesus.

• Ask the group to share any stories or lessons learned where they see God at work in their lives.


COMMENTARY

A Mission to Bless: God’s ultimate mission is to redeem all peoples to Himself. From the beginning, God’s plan has been to fill the earth with men and women who love and worship Him in a relationship with Him.

The Bible begins in a garden. God gives Adam and Eve a command to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:22). Of course, Adam and Eve fall and the plot changes. Sin and death enter the world and all humanity is cursed. So what does God do? He goes on a mission to bless. He calls one man, Abraham, and tells him, “Through you and your family all nations will be blessed” (Gen. 22:18). But the blessing comes with a command to be a blessing to others. Abraham’s family becomes the nation Israel and they are to be a light to the nations (Isa. 42:6). They’re called to bless others by showing them what a relationship with God looks like.

When we get to the New Testament, we see Jesus carrying out God’s mission to bless. Jesus is the ultimate blessing for humanity. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus reverses the curse of sin and death to bring men and women back to God (Gal. 3:13–14). Through Him, we can enter the garden again to be with God in relationship with him.

God’s story ends in another garden, the garden city of the New Jerusalem. This garden city will be filled with a multitude that cannot be numbered from every tribe, tongue, and nation (Rev. 7:9). They will gather to worship Jesus, the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.

God’s story continues today as we obey God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. We become a blessing to others by pointing them to Jesus with our words and actions.

What is a Disciple? “The term ‘disciples’ was the most popular name for the early believers. Being a disciple meant more than being a convert or a church member. Apprentice might be an equivalent term. A disciple attached himself to a teacher, identified with him, learned from him and lived with him. He learned, not simply by listening, but also by doing. Our Lord called twelve disciples and taught them so that they might be able to teach others (Mark 3:13).”

The Promise of His Presence “Nothing the disciples would ever face would be bigger than the resources they now had in Christ. It is this confidence that enabled these men to turn the world upside down in one generation.”


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ENDNOTES:

1. Dave Patty, Ministry Foundations: Creating a Healthy Youth Group Where Young People Grow (Wheaton, IL: Josiah Venture, 2018), 4.
2. Ibid.
3. “The Bible as a Missions Story,” The Traveling Team, accessed August 6, 2019, http://www.thetravelingteam.org/articles/the-bible-as-a-missions-story.4. Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 107.
5. Charles Price, Matthew: Can Anything Good Come Out of Nazareth?, Focus on the Bible Commentary (Fearn, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1998), 330.