Today is Tuesday, October 10. How does the church proceed after one of her leaders is murdered? What does the Gospel of God’s saving love mean when your life is at risk? Today we might see how to move beyond fear to embrace the purpose of God.
(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ Based on what you read yesterday, did you find yourself more welcoming of believers who were much different than you?
_ How is the Lord impacting someone you are walking with (to help grow in or discover Jesus)?
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.
DISCOVER [Acts 11:19-30]
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn? (Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)
19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
_ What was the persecution which arose over Stephen? What happened to him and why?
_ In v20 what is different about the mission of the early church?
_ What happened to this community who previously were not reached?
_ What did the leaders of the church do?
_ Who does Barnabas bring to Tarsus?
_ What does it mean that this community of Jesus-followers were given a new name and identity?
27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). 29 So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
_ How does this new church in Antioch begin to contribute to the wider church?
_ Who coordinates the aid given to the Judean church?
+ HOW am I compelled to confess sin and how does the gospel compel me to respond with a simple step of action/obedience? (Here are some thoughts to discuss in break-outs)
_ Like the Jewish missionaries who did not yet know that their saving message was for ALL people, are there people in your life you do not think will be receptive to the Gospel?
_ Do you like Barnabas include others in your life and ministry? Who could you reach out to?
_ When Christians in other parts of the world are in need, do you contribute to their needs?
+ WHO are you walking with to discover or grow in Jesus and what is your next step with them, how can we help?