Today is Monday, October 16th, 2017. We continue in Acts with the transformation of Saul to Paul. The New American Commentary says “One could say that his zeal as a Christian was even stronger than his former zeal as a persecutor.” We see the transformative effect that Christ has on a life, even someone as far gone as Saul. When Christ meets us, saves us, and regenerates us it brings about a radical about-face turning from the old life we knew to the new life in Jesus Christ. This is not an easy road as those around us may not understand this change of heart just as those who knew Saul were perplexed by his conversion. When we walk in obedience of the Lord the church is multiplied.
(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ What is the single biggest effect that the Gospel has had on your life?
_ Has anyone ever questioned the honesty of your faith due to a flaw in your life?
Take a moment to quiet yourself and thank God for His redemption in your life. In turning to Christ we have turned away from sin in some way. Christ has redeemed you. As Christ said “Go and sin no more.” Take time to train your eyes, heart, and mind to the Lord today.
DISCOVER [Acts 9:20-31]
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn? (Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)
20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. 23 When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.
26 And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord.29 And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him. 30 And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. 31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
_ In vs. 20-21 What did Saul do? Why were those who heard amazed?
_ In vs. 22 Saul increased in Strength? Strength in what? What did he do with this strength?
_ In vs. 22 Why were the Jews confounded?
_ In vs. 23-25 what do the Jews want to do to Saul?
_ What happens in vs. 25?
_ In vs. 26 where does Saul go after leaving Damascus?
_ Why don’t the disciples believe Saul in vs. 26?
_ Who convinced the disciples?
_ What did Saul do in vs. 28?
_ Where did Saul go next and what was the result?
+ 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)
_ Is there an area of your life that you need to make a radical about-face?
_ Saul was never without community. Do you have people in your life who can help you like those who helped Saul escape Damascus and Jerusalem?
_ Are you as bold as Saul in sharing the gospel? Why or why not?
_ Are you walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit?
+ WHO are you walking with to discover or grow in Jesus and what is your next step with them, how can we help?