Read Ellen G. White, “God’s Purpose for His Church”, pp. 9-16, in The Acts of the Apostles, and pp. 822-828 in The Desire of Ages.
The New Testament church faced the danger of failing to understand the purpose for its existence. Ellen G. White describes this danger: “The persecution that came upon the church in Jerusalem resulted in giving a great impetus to the work of the gospel. Success had attended the ministry of the word in that place, and there was danger that the disciples would linger there too long, unmindful of the Saviour’s commission to go to all the world. Forgetting that strength to resist evil is best gained by aggressive service, they began to think that they had no work so important as that of shielding the church in Jerusalem from the attacks of the enemy. Instead of educating the new converts to carry the gospel to those who had not heard it, they were in danger of taking a course that would lead all to be satisfied with what had been accomplished”. — The Acts of the Apostles, p. 105.
1- Look carefully at the Ellen G. White quote above, especially the last line. Why must we even today be careful of that same potential danger? In the face of the missionary challenges before us, why would such an attitude be so terribly, even tragically, wrong?
2- Why do you think each of the Gospels ends with a similar command? Read Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, 16, Luke 24:46-49, and John 20:21. What did this mean to these first-century believers, and what should it mean to us today?
3- Can witnessing and service ever become a substitute for genuine spirituality? If so, how so, and how can we be careful of that trap?
4- In class, talk about the answer to the question at the end of Tuesday’s study, regarding how witnessing and ministering impacts your own spiritual growth. What are some things you have learned that can help others? What mistakes have you made that you could help others avoid?
5- Dwell on the amazing fact that God loves each one of us individually. How do you understand what this means? How should this, perhaps the most important truth in all the universe, impact how you live?