GET ACQUAINTED: Which one people group are you uncomfortable being around? Why? Which one people group are you most comfortable being around? Why?
SCRIPTURE: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 )
Open your time together with prayer. NOTE: This is only a guide! Feel free to select the points you want to discuss and adapt them to your needs.
OBSERVATION: In the “Great Commission” above Jesus told us to Go! However, with the surge of refugees, the mission field is coming to us, and many of these who come are from nations closed to traditional missions. It seems, since we Go so little, that God has reversed the “Great Commission” with many now coming to us. Wouldn’t it be just like God to turn a bad situation into something good and full of glory?! Of course, this reverse commission comes with its own responsibility. In this study we will get reacquainted with ways that we ought to love the “least of these” mentioned in Matthew 25:35-40 . Take a moment and read the passage.
- “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed through the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14 ) According to this verse, what is holding back the coming of Christ? What
responsibility do Christians bear in this? Statistics remind us that the majority of Christians have never shared the Gospel with anyone. Why do you think Christians are hesitant to do so? In your opinion what’s lacking or how could this be remedied?
- “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to ALL people, especially to those who belong to the family of God.” (Galatians 6:10 emphasis added) The NASB version translates this verse (emphasis added), “So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to everyone…” Who is included in the word ALL and everyone? Are there any conditions or concessions made in this verse? How does “doing good” look in reference to the homeless, foreigners, immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees in relation to our Christian treatment of them?
- "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” (Colossians 4:5 ) What does wisdom have to do with the way we act in reaching “outsiders?” What are some examples of ways we can make the most of every opportunity with them? Is God asking us to give more time or simply take advantage of the opportunities given to us in our daily activity?
- “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk only, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:17-18 ) How does the world define love? How does John define love? What are the results when Christians truly love others? What is the best example of love in action that you know?
Personal Application and Commitment: Obviously the Christians response to refugees, regardless of where they come from, must include love. It’s impossible to love someone the way Christ loves us and not face a certain amount of risk. Biblical love always includes risk. When a church, or you as a Christian helps anyone, we open ourselves up to all kinds of risk, no matter what precautions we take! Bottom line - Christians are called to be risk takers. If you are not regularly taking risk for the Lord, you are not exercising your faith.
Prayer: Father, I’m all in! I know that You have called me to love the disenfranchised, the vulnerable and the “least of these”. Help me to see people and the needs they have through Your eyes. Help me to put into practice what John said: “… let us not love in word or talk only, but in deed and in truth.” Use me as I pray daily for myself and my church in our attempts to minister to the “least of these”. Remind me to volunteer and serve in this new ministry and help to provide resources so my church can continue it effectively and without hardship. Father, help me to balance mercy/works sharing the Gospel with those You place in my path. Thank You for allowing me to be part of Sierra Vista and Your plan in reaching the nations for You. Amen.