JESUS SAYS "ALL NATIONS"
Scripture: Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Acts 2:5–11
Memory verse: Matthew 28:19
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations."
Today we are going to talk about all nations. Let us begin by identifying nations in the continent of Africa. (If there is a chalkboard in the room, draw a large map of Africa.) Ask: Who is the president of our nation? What identifies the boundaries of our nation? (Have the student who responds come to the chalkboard and draw the boundaries of the nation and write its name.)
Now ask the class to name one other nation, give the president's name and identify the nation's boundaries. (Ask a student to draw the nation's boundaries and write the name on the chalkboard.)
Hearing God's Word
Already in this Study series we have discussed Jesus' command to "go" and to "make disciples." A willingness to obey and bear responsibility for achieving this objective has been our response. Today we ask two very basic questions, "Where are we to go and among whom are we to make disciples?
The word "goal" can be defined as "the achievement toward which effort is directed." As believers, the achievement for which we strive is to make disciples among "all nations." “All nations” is the goal.
The efforts of our youth group to make disciples among all nations can be compared to a football team. Each player is committed to fill a particular position on the field. The team moves the ball down the field, through the defence and pass the goalie to score a goal. Every effort is directed toward scoring a goal.
Ask: Who is your favourite local football team? What makes them successful? Are there lessons we can learn from them that would apply in our efforts to make disciples of all nations? (Allow responses.)
The United Nations (UN) is an international organization of independent states, with its headquarters in New York City, New York, USA. The organization includes virtually all countries in the world, with nearly 193 member nations in 2015.
The UN name indicates that a nation is a political entity with geographical boundaries. Consequently, generally speaking, the public attaches the same definition to their use of the word "nation."
The Bible uses the word "country" to describe a political entity with geographical boundaries. For example, in Genesis 12:1 the Lord speaks to Abraham, saying "Go from your country...to the land I will show you."
The Bible gives a more specific and correct definition of the word "nation." Let us begin by examining the use of the word "nation" in Jesus' command in Matthew 28:19.
The original New Testament was written in the Greek language. Thus, examining the Greek words often illuminates the meaning of the English translation. The Greek words for "all nations" are "panta ta ethne."
Now go with me to Acts 2:5, that reads, "Now there were staying in Jerusalem God–fearing Jews from every nation under heaven." "Nation" is the same Greek word as used in Matthew 28:19, but here uses the singular tense "ethnous."
Then in the following verses of Acts 2:9–11, 15 different nations are listed. (Take time to read this passage for your students. Do not worry about getting the pronunciation correct.) These nations definitely do not represent a separate political entity with their own geographical boundaries for they were all under the rule of the Roman Empire with many coming from the same geographical area.
What was it that set them apart as a distinct nation? The answer: They spoke their own native language. Notice how Luke identifies them in Acts 2:
- "Because each one heard their own language being spoken" (verse 6),
- "How is it that each of us hears them in our native language" (verse 8),
- "We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues" (verse 11).
The distinguishing mark identifying them as a nation was having their own language.
Jesus' Goal Defined
We now understand the meaning of the word "nation" to be "A group of people who speak their own distinct language." So, what is Jesus really asking us to do when He commands, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19).
Jesus is sending us as His ambassador to every language group in Africa and the world. Our specific assignment is to make disciples among each group, to see them converted and incorporated into a local church.
Accepting God's Word
Jesus has given us a big assignment! It will take all of us, as a team of believers, to reach the goal. We need to start now, but it is a long-term assignment—taking days, perhaps years. Will we achieve our goal? Only if we see "reaching language groups (tribes)" with the gospel as a biblical truth embedded in Jesus' command—the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19).
Request: Please say the memory verse with me.
How can you respond today?
1. Pray for the tribe presented with this study.
2. Identify the language groups in your neighbourhood, village or town.
3. Become friends with fellow students who are from a different tribe.
4. Determine, God helping you, to obey Jesus' command.
5. Make the following declaration as your teacher leads you:
Declaration of Purpose
Recognizing my responsibility to go and make disciples of all nations, I declare that:
- All nations must be given an adequate witness of the gospel,
- Jesus Christ must be introduced to all language groups,
- Messengers must personally present the gospel to every person within every language, tribe, people and nation,
- I am willing to be sent as an ambassador for Christ,
- I will actively participate in making disciples of all nations,
- The glory will be given to God as His Kingdom advances.
- Amen and amen!
(Spend some time in prayer with the students concerning this declaration.)
Present the information about the Tukulor tribe given below. Show the video, if possible.
Meet the Tukulor
Born-Again Believers: 0.1%
SEE THE VIDEO:
Over one million Tukulor live in the West African nations of Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania, Guinea, and Mali. They are mainly concentrated in the Middle Senegal River Valley near the Dagana River. The Tukulor are thought to have descended from the Fulani and the Wolof or Sereres tribes.
Traditional Tukulor society is divided into four main social classes, each having twelve "castes." Social status rarely changes; however, slaves are freed at every third generation. The Tukulor marry within their class divisions, women usually between the ages of 16 and 18, and men between the ages of 25 and 30. Although it is uncommon, a man may have up to four wives. Families are generally large, with an average of six children per family.
The Tukulor first accepted Islam in the eleventh century. Traditional Muslim beliefs, such as the nature of man and his destiny after death, play a significant role in the people's outlook on life. Muslim brotherhoods teach a mystical approach to Islam: the people seek closer relationships to God through rituals, prayer, and other techniques. However, Islam has not brought any major changes to Tukulor attitudes toward spiritism and magic. The people still use charms, amulets, and witchcraft.
On the Mauritania side of the Senegal River, it is estimated that several hundred Tukulor are born-again believers. On the Senegal side, the response to the gospel has been slower. After 40 years of outreach to it, one community still has only one believer. Three house churches in other areas have perhaps a total of 50 believers.
Recently a national church received a piece of land on which to build an elementary school. Believers are praying that God will use a Christian headmaster and teachers to generate a community of believers. One couple is leading this effort. It will be successful for 1 Timothy 2:3,4 declares, "God our Saviour…wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." One couple plus God equals an advance for the Kingdom. You can make a difference in the eternal destiny of the Tukulor.
REMEMBER TO PRAY
Pray for the Tukulor Tribe
1. Learn to trust Jesus for the Water of Life like they depend on the Senegal River for irrigation.
2. Three existing house churches to reproduce themselves this year.
3. Give existing church planter a bountiful harvest.
"You (Lord) prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies" (Psalm 23:5).
Remember: JESUS SAYS "ALL NATIONS"
Memory verse: Matthew 28:19
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations."
1. "All nations" is referring to all tribes, languages and peoples.
2. Acts 2:5-11 defines the word "nations" as used in Matthew 28:19.
3. Messengers must personally present the gospel to every person within every language, tribe, people and nation.
Pray for the Tukulor Tribe.
Study 11 | Jesus Says Go/We Believe | africaatts.org/go-teach