Today is Thursday, September 28th, 2017. Today we’re looking at the book of Leviticus. Just kidding, we’re continuing our study in Acts. Today we see the beginning of the drastic conversion of Saul who came to be known as the Apostle Paul. A man who ended up being responsible for writing almost a third of the new testament was at this time one of the most vicious persecutors of the church. Yet in the midst of all of this, instead of smiting Saul, Christ appears, and brings Saul to a standstill. There is irony in the fact that Saul is blinded in the midst of Christ opening his eyes spiritually. Sometimes like Saul we must be at the end of our rope before we hear God. When things are striped away we can see truth clearly. The wage of our sin is death and instead of dealing that blow Christ intervenes in our lives. The point isn’t how dramatic our conversion was, but that Christ has saved us at all. Christ meets us blind, thirsty, and hungry, and beckons us to true life.
(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ What was your conversion like? Was it drastic like Saul, or was it like a gradual awakening to the light?
_ Does Saul's conversion seem fair? Do any of our conversions seem fair?
_ Do you recognize that Christ died not only for your brothers and sisters, but your enemies as well?
_ Does God want you to stop and listen to what he asks of you?
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the grace and mercy you have given to us through the salvation of Jesus Christ. Just as you hindered Saul in his own sinful motivations, may you cease the sin that so easily ensnares our lives. Blind us with your holiness so that everything else may fade from our vision and take even the worst parts of us and make us new in Christ. Just as you did with your servant Paul. In Christ our Lord's name. Amen
DISCOVER [Acts 9:1-9]
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn? (Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)
1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
_ We see right away in verse 1 Saul is a vicious man breathing “threats and murder”. Why is Saul so angered?
_ Where is Saul heading and why?
_ In verses 3 and 4 what happens to Saul?
_ What does the voice ask Saul in verse 4? Who does the voice belong to?
_ What does the voice command Saul to do?
_ In verses 7 and 8 what happens to Saul and the two men he was traveling with?
_ What happens after this encounter?
+ 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)
_ Are you on a road traveling for your own intentions? Hate? Selfishness? Pettiness? Greed?
_ Is there something in your life right now that is a motivated movement away from the Lord?
_ Do you believe that God can redeem who He will? Do you believe that God can redeem you?
_ Is there any area in your life that The Spirit of The Lord is trying to call your attention to?
+ WHO are you walking with to discover or grow in Jesus and what is your next step with them, how can we help?