Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Friday, June 30, 2017

God’s Honour – vs – Honouring God

Sabbath School Helps - Lesson 1 - 1 July 2017


Getting into the Story

Read Acts 9:1-9

Before meeting Jesus, who was Saul working for? Acts 9:1 (Himself!)

Who does he think he is working for? (God/Jews)

What does he ask the High Priest for? Why? (Authority, to imprison Christians)

What does Saul believe he is defending? (The name/nature of God)

Who is the ultimate defender of the nature of God? Acts 9:3,4 (God himself)

Who steps in and reveals the truth of God’s Character? Acts 9:4,5 (Jesus)

By attacking Christians, who is Saul actually persecuting? Acts 9:5 (God/Jesus)


The Danger of Defending God

Defending God’s honour puts Saul in a position of perceived power. How does this imbalance effect those around him? (Jews respected him, Christians feared him)

What effect did Saul’s misguided passion have on himself? (he was blinded by his own misguided zeal for God)

What ‘oldest teaching in the Book’ does this teach, once again? (Self is the root of Sin)

Some today believe they must defend the nature of God against fellow believers with differing views. What does Saul’s situation teach us? (LOTS! How to deal with our own zealotry. How to deal with zealots among us. How to deal with questions of God’s nature. Primarily: Leave your ego at the foot of the cross and verify you are seeing Jesus clearly!)


Taking the Story Seriously

Read Acts 9:10-20

What was Ananias’ first opinion of Saul? (fear, distrust)

Why did he go anyway? (Jesus told him to go)

What was the result? (Saul was healed and filled with the Holy Spirit)

What impact would it have on you to hear a Jesus hater proclaiming their love for Him?


Read Acts 9:21-25

How did Saul change? (preaching FOR Jesus)

How did Saul stay the same? (strongly proving his views)

Why were the Jews determined to kill Saul? (the power of his testimony and teaching)


Read Acts 9:26-30

Why is it so hard to trust someone who has hurt your friends and family?

How much convincing would you take to believe Saul?

Without Saul/Paul our understanding of Jesus and the Early church would be very different.
This being true, how important is Barnabas to the story of the Gospel? (very!)

Is there someone who has spoken in your defence? What difference did it make?


In the Early Church

Why was the story of Saul’s conversion effective in changing the hearts of Christians? (various reasons, all emanating out from the presence of Jesus in the heart of their story)

Why was Saul’s story unable to change the hearts of the Jews? (They did not believe in Jesus)


In your Local Church

In some parts of the world today, the Christian church is growing rapidly. In others, it is not. Why?


Read Acts 9:31

What was the secret to the growth and health of the early Christian Church? (Respect for Jesus and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit brought peace, strength and numbers)


In your local church, what receives more attention:  

Personal Testimonies – or – Doctrinal Teaching

What does this tell you?

What needs to happen?


When people present views differing from the majority, does your local church:

Listen and Respond – or – Debate and Divide

What does this tell you?

What needs to happen?


Is your church more like the 1st century Christians or the 1st century Jews?

What needs to happen next? (testimonies about Jesus!)


Conclusion

In Acts 9 we see three stories of humility which lead to a healthy thriving church. Saul humbles himself before Jesus after having the ‘self’ knocked out of him. Ananias humbles himself before Jesus’ will. The Disciples humble themselves after hearing the testimony of Barnabas.

If ‘Self is the root of sin,’ what is the antidote? (Love for others is the root of righteousness)

Where does this kind of Love come from? (only from Jesus)

Where is this love / selfless humility illustrated best? (in the love of Jesus for us, for His father, for all of Creation)

How can we become humble? (look to Jesus)

How can we become a church of humility? (look to Jesus and tell the story)

How can we become loving? (look to Jesus)

How can we become a loving church? (look to Jesus and tell the story)


Why is telling the story so important? (because it changes people!)