Sunday, November 8th, 2015
This week we studied Acts 13:1-15:35.
As you begin your study each week, pray that God will speak to you through His Word. Come each week prepared for discussion. Be willing to participate and ask questions. As much as possible, stick to the topic at hand. Be sensitive to the other members in your group and listen attentively.
Intro To ACTS:
In the book of Acts, we see God birth the church by sending the Holy Spirit to indwell followers of Jesus. A great way to frame the entire book of Acts is in the following themes:
The beginning of the church (1:1 – 2:47)
The church and the Jewish authorities (3:1-5:42)
The church begins to expand (6:1-9:31)
The beginning of the Gentile mission (9:32-12:25)
The mission to Asia Minor and its aftermath (13:1-15:35)
Paul’s missionary campaign in Macedonia and Achaia (15:36-18:17)
Paul’s missionary campaign in Asia (18:18-20:38)
Paul’s arrest and imprisonment (21:1-28:31)
As we read and study Acts together, our prayer is that deep study of the Word of God would result in changed hearts and renewed spirits to pursue the things of God in our day and time.
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
Questions for this week:
Starting in Acts 13:16, Paul begins to tell the whole meta-narrative of scripture. What was the purpose of him retelling the story of God’s faithfulness? How do you think those hearing the story for the first time (i.e. the Gentiles) would have benefited from hearing it?
- On the next Sabbath meetings (v.44) a much larger crowd came to hear the message that was being preached and it filled the Jews with jealousy as the crowds were drawing, so they began to create tension between the two crowds. As the church continued to grow the Jews continued to persecute Christians, including Paul. Reflect on this turn of events, where Paul continues to go from persecutor to persecuted.
- Read Acts 13:6-12. How does the encounter with Barjesus correlate with the theme of darkness and light throughout Acts? Why do you think Paul connected so deeply with physical blindness leading to spiritual enlightening?
- Pharisees, as believers in the doctrine of the resurrection, could become Christians without relinquishing their distinctive beliefs: to what they already believed they could add the belief that Jesus had been raised from the dead and was thus divinely proclaimed to be Lord and Messiah. But if their Christianity did not amount to more than this, they remained legalists at heart—unlike their illustrious fellow-Pharisee Paul, whose whole outlook was totally re-oriented by his Damascus-road experience: not only was Jesus revealed to him as the risen Lord but he was called to preach a law-free gospel in his name. In what ways are you still living like a legalist? What do you feel Christ is calling you to live out in freedom?
- Read 1 Corinthians 8:9-13. What are some examples of things that are permissible for us, but are not necessarily beneficial for the building up of those around us?