Diocesan Council 2017 – Bible studies
Bible study I
Be my witnesses: Towards a Mission centered Church, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Bible passage - Mark 1:14-20
Jesus began his ministry by proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Then he said, “The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe in the Good News!” This Kingdom of God is not confined to time or space; it is the Reign of God where the power of God is a visible reality. For this mission, Jesus called his disciples to follow him. Therefore the mission of the disciples of Jesus is to repent and believe in the Good News of the Kingdom of God and to proclaim this Good News of the Kingdom. When Jesus called his disciples to follow him he invited them to be with Him and to learn from Him. By doing so he expected them to become His witnesses.
Before Jesus started His ministry he had the Baptism of John. When He was baptized the Spirit of God descended on him and a voice recognized his ministry. This was the revelation to the World that he was filled with the Holy Spirit. He performed his ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore as his disciples in the 21st century we need to recapture the mission of Jesus in our churches. The Church exists to work for the Kingdom of God. If the Church does not work towards the furtherance of the Kingdom the Church loses its authority to exist. Hence all the activities of the Church should be mission centered and needs to be done with the power of the Holy Spirit.
As the Church when we get involved in activities such as Evangelism, Social Service and Interfaith encounters we are called to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom, to call people to become disciples of Jesus. We are expected to become witnesses of this mission by getting involved in the activities of the Reign of God.
This is an ongoing and a growing process. If we are involved in this process our entire life should be a “prayer”. For this to happen it is necessary to have an intimate relationship with the Word of God. This relationship should be established with the three modes of the Word of God. We need to listen to God the revealed Word. God speaks to us through the power of God’s Spirit. Then it is required to study the written Word of God the Bible to comprehend the Word of God. With these two modes of the Word of God we should have an intimate relationship with the incarnate word of God, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
Questions for discussion
1. Do we have a sound understanding of the Mission of God in our churches? Discuss the reasons for the present understanding.
2. How can we recapture this mission with the power of Holy Spirit to become witnesses of God’s Kingdom?
3. Prepare a practical action plan to revive the mission of God in our churches.
Bible study II
Be my witnesses: Towards a Mission centered Church in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Bible passage - Matthew 28:16-20
In this Bible passage we get the significant Great Commission of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In the mission and witness of our Church very often we fail to remember this Great Commission of our Lord. At times we have a partial understanding of this Great Commission. Therefore as disciples of Jesus Christ it is necessary to have a sound understanding of the Great Commission to become a mission centered Church in the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the Great Commission first of all he asked his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. To make people of all nations disciples of Christ, we need to have a profound understanding of who a disciple is?
Who is a Disciple?
Disco(Latin) - Learner
Matetes - μαθητής (Gk) - Disciple, Pupil, Follower.
Sravaka - One who listens at the feet of the Master.
Shishya - One who is with the Teacher (ගුරු - Guru)and learns from him
Why did Jesus call His Disciples?
To become the active members of the Kingdom of God
What is expected of a Disciple?
1. Disciples are called to CHANGE their lifestyle. This change is a FORCE. Jn.3:3-8
2. This change is a DEMAND- Force of change creates a set of demands. Mk.2:22
3. In the process of change the Disciples face CRISES. Mk.13:9-13
4 This changing force CHALLENGES the Disciples. Jn.12:23-26
5 This change is an OPPORTUNITY to serve God and humankind in a World filled with needs. Matt.9:37
6. The RESPONSE of the Disciples is a necessary aspect of this change. Lk.19:1-10
7. The OUTCOME of this change is God centered or ‘the other’ centered lifestyle. Jn.13:4-5
Therefore our main calling is to make disciples. Then in a way baptism becomes the sign of discipleship. When we baptize infants though the grace of God it is our responsibility to bring them up to become disciples of Christ and prepare them for Confirmation to take up their responsibility as a disciple of Christ. Through baptism we become part of the body of Christ. When we become members of the body of Christ, we acknowledge that we are different yet dependent on each other realizing that Christ is the Head of this body. We need to fulfill this mission in the church through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Questions for discussion
1. Have a discussion on various understandings of the “Great Commission”
2. How can we make the mission of God meaningful through the Great Commission?
3. What are the practical steps we can take to implement the Great Commission?