Weekly Devotional | "God's Unstoppable Mission"
This devotional is based on Jeff Purswell's sermon, God's Unstoppable Mission, given on May 29th, 2016.
Day 1: The Power Behind the Mission is the Holy Spirit (v1-13)
- “God Himself is on a mission, and that mission is unstoppable.” Jeff Purswell
- “What is about to transpire [Pentecost] is not an isolated event, in an ancient city, affecting a small group of ragtag believers. No, what’s about to transpire is a momentous event affecting the entire world, even us here this morning.” Jeff Purswell
- “Our experience of the Spirit, it’s going to look different. This isn’t the pattern for each of us . . . This was a turning point in salvation history, but the text does assure us of this, God’s power is behind our mission as well because it’s part of this mission.” Jeff Purswell
- "Here is why we can be so certain that God’s plan for the gospel to go to all nations is unstoppable . . . Here’s why you can be certain that your love for your neighbor . . . your efforts in evangelism . . . a life of integrity before others . . . will bear the fruit that God desires: God doesn’t just give a mandate, he provides the power to fulfill the mandate. The power behind the mission is the Holy Spirit.” Jeff Purswell
Questions and Reflections:
- Jeff reminds us that we should not expect the Spirit’s work in our lives to be as outwardly spectacular as it was at Pentecost. Are you often discouraged because it seems God’s power is absent in your life? How does this text assure that your efforts to serve God’s mission are saturated with God’s power?
- The apostles had no plan, no strategy, no logistical support in place to carry out the mission Jesus had left them with. But he did give them the Holy Spirit, and his presence proved more than sufficient for the task. If your present circumstance reflects that of the apostles, take courage knowing the same Spirit who enabled all the marvelous feats in Acts is with you as well.
- What aspects of your God-given mission are hardest right now? Pray through Luke 11:13 and ask your Heavenly Father for the Holy Spirit’s power and comfort needed to do all he has commanded.
Day 2: The Substance of the Mission is the Gospel (v14-36)
- “The gospel is the news of all that God did to save us in Jesus. All that Jesus did to accomplish our salvation: his life, his death, his resurrection, his ascension . . . Which means that the gospel is fixed, the gospel is objective, the gospel is that, it’s done, it’s accomplished; It’s not what I did, it’s not how I feel, it’s not how I performed, it’s not how strongly I believed, or how faithfully I acted. No, the gospel is what Jesus did and that never changes. Which means the gospel is always good news. The gospel is never going to make you feel guilty; the gospel is never going to make you feel inadequate. The gospel is going to remind you that Jesus is innocent, that Jesus died for you, and he’s completely adequate. Isn’t that wonderful?” Jeff Purswell
- “With all that mission entails, with all that church planting requires, with all that evangelism calls us to: prayer, strategic thought, finances, and sacrifices. At the core of it all, the substance, is this message, the gospel.” Jeff Purswell
- “So regardless of your particular role in the gospel . . . whether it’s your faithful example in the workplace, or a young mom pouring herself into her children . . . whether it’s your attempts to reach your neighbors with Christ, or your fellow students with Christ, or your coworkers with Christ . . . we’re all on the same ground. We all have the same message. It’s all because of, informed by, in service of the proclamation of the gospel for the saving of the lost and the glory of God.” Jeff Purswell
Questions and Reflections:
- When was the last time you thought about the simplicity of the gospel? Take time to meditate on the fundamental message of our faith and enjoy it afresh.
- 1 Peter 3:15 reminds us that we should be ready to give an answer to those who ask about our hope in Christ. Would you be able to explain the gospel concisely and clearly when a non-Christian asks about your faith?
- It is tempting to think that if our role in God’s kingdom isn’t directly tied to church ministry, it is somehow inferior. But that’s not true at all. Jeff reminds us that we are all equal partners in God’s glorious mission because we are working toward the same end. Ask God to open your eyes to the opportunities he has already put in your life to advance his mission.
Day 3: The Fruit of the Mission is the Church (v37-47)
- “So here’s our takeaway so often missed in this mission chapter . . . the fruit of the mission is the Church. The mission of the gospel is not simply to convert individuals. The fruit of missions is the conversion of individuals who then become part of local churches; who become part of that great throng throughout history that God rescues, and redeems, and transforms into a people for his own possession, a people through whom his mission advances.” Jeff Purswell
- “Knowing that we’re a part of God’s mission transforms our mission from obligation to privilege, from burden to joy, from guilt to grace. So if you feel weak this morning . . . inadequate to share the gospel, to take your place in this grand mission . . . simply recognize the power, it ain’t you, it wasn’t Peter. It’s God’s own Spirit bringing God’s own presence and power into your life as you engage the world God has sent you to.” Jeff Purswell
- “How do you respond to that? You pray, you ask, you depend.” Jeff Purswell
Questions and Reflections:
- Read back through Acts 2:42-47. How would the church have looked different if everyone saw themselves as a collection of individuals instead of a family of faith? What is one way you could imitate these early believers in your community group this coming month?
- 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 summarizes God’s entire redemptive plan as “reconciliation”. By entrusting us as his ambassadors, God has swept us all up into this great task of reconciling the world to himself. Ask God to fill you with fresh joy for this incredible calling. Ask him to freshly strengthen our congregation to pursue this calling together.
Group Discussion Questions:
- Read Acts 1:8 to the group. It may be scary to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit. The uncertainty of what it may look like or questioning whether it will hurt. Have you been open to this uncertainty? If so, how has that looked? If not, what’s holding you back?
- Jeff explained how the idea of trusting Jesus was a radical thought for the Jew. Works weren’t sufficient, sacrifice wasn’t sufficient, and self-righteousness wasn’t sufficient. How have you been reminded of Christ’s sufficiency recently?
- Jeff reminded us that wherever your mission(s) field is (work, school, etc.), you are not there to offer “you”. Instead you are there to offer the gospel. How has this reminder manifested itself recently in your mission(s) field?
- Reread verses 42 through 47 again. How does the early church resemble ours? How can we further infuse our church with joy?