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The Life of P a u l : A c t 9

The Life of P a u l : A c t 9

Oh to be Obedient…

Acts 9 | The Life and Obedience of Paul and Ananias

 

While this week brought so many uncertainties, one thing that we knew wouldn’t change was having a space for our ministry to gather and talk about the Word of God. In the midst of social distancing, we have learned to be creative when it comes to studying God’s word tougher and so this past Sunday we tuned in via Skype to hear Rob bring us a good word as we continue in Acts this semester.

If you didn’t get the chance to join us, don’t worry! We will be writing recap posts like this one each Sunday so whether you were on the Skype call or not you can come back and have a resource to help study the scripture.

Take a minute to read through Acts 9 now.

Make your own notes, write your questions down, sit with the passage.

Now here’s some thoughts we had as we gathered this past Sunday Morning:


We started by looking to answer two simple questions: (1) So who is this Saul guy anyways? and (2) How is Saul persecuting Christ through his actions?

By looking at verses 1 and 2 we are met with the identity of someone who spent their life seeking ways to persecute followers of the Lord.

v. 1-2 "But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 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." 

See, Saul wanted to present physical evidence of people’s disobedience to the high priest and sought to bring them back to be found guilty and worthy of murder. In verse 5 we see that Saul’s efforts to persecution the people of God was not just an account against believers, it was actually an offense against God.

v.4-5 "And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."

Saul was very much against the mission of the Lord. Instead, he was for the mission of stopping the work of the Lord.

–> Think about times in which you have been actively against the mission of the Lord. Times you have felt an urge to reach out to a new believer to invite them in and decided not to. Times you had hours to spend doing anything you please and sat your bible to the side in order to fill your mind with trash TV. Times you have been a part of a conversation that led to gossip and hateful words and decided to add to the convo more jokes and hurt instead of diffusing the conversation back to something edifying.

 

It’s important to note who Saul was before Christ in an effort to see the full beauty in his part in God’s handiwork moving forward, much like it’s important for us to remain in awe that the Lord chooses to use each one of us for His work.

–> Take some time to think about who you were before Christ. What were you living for? What was the aim of your life? What was your mission? BUT GOD, being merciful chose to call you out of that identity into a new life, a new creation.

 

We continued to dive into the scripture reading v. 6

v. 6 "But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."

Here we sat with the following idea:

God not only called Saul to stop doing certain things, but he called him into new action.

The following questions were asked during our conversation:

–> Why is it easier at times to simply stop doing bad things and forget that the Lord has called you to be an active member in carrying out His work here on Earth? Why do we get lazy and think we aren’t to be his workman, looking for ways to advance His Kingdom? Why do we stop short with just removing sin and forgetting that we have been called into a life on mission as instruments in our Redeemer’s Hands?

 

Saul was given an action to follow and a way to move forward with the Lord instead of against Him.

 

Sit with the idea that Saul was blinded for 3 days (v. 9). What do you think was going through his mind? What do you think the conversation between him and the Lord looked like?

 

While we studied Saul’s obedience in this passage, something we leaned heavy into was Ananias’ role in the story.

 

v. 10-12 " Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”

 

We see God meeting Ananias with a command, and a confusing one at that. See Ananias then responds with admitting he doesn’t quite get it. Lord, you want me to go lay my hands on someone who has done so much evil? Really?

Let us find comfort in the fact that Ananias was able to voice his confusion, his doubts to His father and then choose to be obedient. The Lord was faithful to ease Ananias’s mind and remind him that He’s got in under control and is the one who decides who is to be used for the Kingdom of God, not man.

 

In our conversation on Skype we talked about why we like to be the judge of who get’s to bee “chosen instruments” for the Lord.

Why do we like to choose who is worthy to be used for the Lord? Worthy of our time? Worthy to be shown compassion?

 

Ananias could have not been obedient. He could have said, “Nah, God. I think I’m going to pass on that one. It sounds a bit far fetched”

And you know who would have missed out on something beautiful? Yes, Saul wouldn’t have been shown the light of the Lord and regained his eye sight right away. BUT, Ananias would have also missed out on being a first hand witness of the redemption of one of his brothers in Christ (v.17)

 

We must remember that our obedience to the Father is good not only for His Kingdom plan, but it is good for us!

Take a second to think about all of the acts of obedience that were present just in Acts 9 alone. There are so many little steps of faithfulness we must take in our daily lives as we follow God. Steps that add to our lives of obedience. Steps that keep us close to the hands of the Redeemer, the hands of the Creator of all things good.

 

We stopped our discussion in v.18-19 where we see Saul’s vision restored.

v. 18-19 "And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened."

In what ways did Saul have corrected vision? (both spiritually and physically)

There was clarity in Saul’s life, in the true way of life. Let us continue to be a people willing to be corrected, willing to be shown the way forward.

 

 

There is SO much good stuff from this passage that we could share but this is just a start to get your mind turning. Rob encouraged us as we were meeting to not simply be satisfied with reading scripture and answering the easy questions. Rather, let us continue to sit with it. Meditate on it. Let the truths lead us to prayer, to action. We must be willing to let the scripture penetrate our hearts and affect us.

 

Let’s continue the convo on Acts 9 with those we are speaking to this week!

 


Here is a list of the questions we discussed. Use the comments section of this post to write your own thoughts on each of the questions.

(1) Why is it important to know who Saul was before Christ?

(2) Why do we get lazy and simply remove the sin without adding the action of the Lord into our lives?

(3) In what ways do we let our past self negate the work the Lord can do through us?

(4) What can we learn about God’s character from this passage?

(5) What can we learn about our place in His story from this scripture? 

(6) How is Ananias’ obedience something we can learn from?


 

Thanks for reading! Keep getting in the Word this week, it will provide such comfort and clarity in an uncertain time.

The Blunt Truth

The Blunt Truth

Medical Marijuana. What is it? How does it work? How does it impact YOU?

It’s time to learn the TRUTH about Medical Marijuana. Get the facts straight and get your questions answered.

Come learn everything involved with Medical Marijuana and the impact legalization will have in our state. Major Frank O’ Neal will be giving the presentation and he will open up a time for questions at the end.
Continue reading →

Sing! National City Tour – with the Gettys

Sing! National City Tour – with the Gettys

On October 18th, Keith & Kristyn Getty, along with their troupe of talented instrumentalists, will be coming to Columbia for a fun filled day of events all leading up to their evening concert taking place @ 7:00pm in the Sanctuary of First Baptist Columbia. It’s a free concert, and no ticket is required to attend, but a love offering will be taken up during the performance.

The other events of the day start in the morning and extend to early afternoon focusing on teaching and workshops designed to help worship leaders, pastors, and church musicians lead their congregations in deeper and more personal worship.

The concert is free but if you want to attend all of the workshop events then please click here to go to their website and purchase tickets, as well as find out more information about the entire days events.

We look forward to seeing you on October 18th!

Our Response of Sacrifice

Our Response of Sacrifice

Lesson on Romans 12:1-3 originally delivered on 4/22.

 

Here are some takeaways from the lesson:

  • Romans has three movements
    1. Our condition without Christ
    2. God’s act of salvation
    3. Our response
  • Because of Romans 1-11, we should respond (Romans 12)
    1. Plea to lay down ourselves (V. 1)
      • The only thing we can really give is ourselves
        • Christ bids man to come and die
        • The condition of the life we offer matters
          • Leviticus 22:19-22
          • Ephesians 1:4, 5:27, Colossians 1:22
    2. Why we should respond this way (V. 2)
      • Conformity to the world happens without intentionality in the other direction
        • 2 Corinthians 4:18
          • We are called to the eternal
        • Hebrews 11:10
          • What can I do to turn my gaze to heaven?
      • The process is not the result
      • We know the will of God by laying ourselves down (Submitting to Him)
    3. How do I live God’s way?
      1. Think about ourselves correctly by immersing ourselves daily in the reality of who we are in Christ and who He is to us
      2. John 4:34 – Like Jesus, we must desire the will of the Father.
  • How is the Holy Spirit asking me to respond?

Continue reading →

The Content of the Gospel – Part 2

The Content of the Gospel – Part 2

Lesson originally delivered on 1/28

Here are some takeaways from the lesson:

  • Romans 2:1-16
    • God’s judgment is right
      • Ezekiel 18
    • God’s impartial judgment is based on what we do
      • Free grace is not a license to freely sin
      • V. 4-11- God’s grace is given to us so we can do good
  • Romans 2:17-29
    • Paul is not condemning the church here, but rather asking them questions. Condemnation comes only if we don’t line up our actions with our beliefs.
    • God judges both Jews and Gentiles by their actions
    • All people who live by faith in Jesus are saved
  • Romans 3:1-4
    • Even though all are judged equally, it is of advantage to have grown up in the Covenant
      • Growing up in the church is an advantage, but we should take better advantage
    • Wherever we are with our walk with God, He only desires us to grow closer to him

Additional Resources to consider

Becca Vandekemp | What We Get Wrong About “Giving Our Testimony”

Carolyn Mahaney | The Cure for Most of Your Unhappiness

Russell  Moore | Have Bible Quoters Replaced Bible Readers?

Glen Stanton | New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Not Shrinking, But Gro

The Content of the Gospel – Part 1

The Content of the Gospel – Part 1

Lesson originally delivered on 1/21

Here are some takeaways from the lesson:

  • The point of studying Romans is not to argue over theological jargon, but to focus on what Paul is seeking for us to understand about the gospel and its implications for our lives.
  • Four parts
    • The Content of the Gospel (Romans 1:1-6)
    • The Power of the Gospel (Romans 1:15-17)
      • 1 Thessalonians 1:5, 1:9; 2:13
        • Gospel Proclamation has effect through the power of the Holy Spirit and its ability to change lives
      • Paul lived as if the Kingdom of God was at hand
      • Righteousness = A fulfillment of expectations
    • Why the Gospel is Necessary (Romans 1:21, 28-32)
      • The Gospel changes our lives. How we live changes the lives of others.
    • We are both special and not special at the same time (Romans 2:1-16)
      • God shows no partiality
      • This should both scare us and comfort us

Additional Resources to consider

The Bible Project | The Gospel of the Kingdom

Tim Keller | The Meaning of the Gospel

David Nicholas, Ed Stetzer | What is the Gospel?

Rob Nicholes | Gospel Proclamation Handout

 

Christmas Prisoner Packets

Christmas Prisoner Packets

 

Many men, women and youth have no one who cares for them. They have no visitors, nor do they receive gifts at Christmas. You make Christmas special for them through this ministry. You provide hope and love. As a result, some have received the true Christmas gift. They have come to know Christ because you care.

Consider a gift this year to the Christmas Prisoner Packet Ministry. Click Here for more details

Thank you.

For more information please contact Harriet Johnson at 803.318.3853

Take a Nap

Take a Nap

“Sometimes the most spiritual thing a person can do is sleep.” – C. H. Spurgeon

Every now and then I get really busy, and I mean so busy to the point where if you asked me what superpower I want if I could have any (which, by the way, is a question I hope you have considered before now) my answer would actually be the power to stay awake forever. Gone are the days of wishing I could fly, because even if I could there would still be several hours of the day when I couldn’t fly because I would have to sleep. We all know what it’s like to be busy and stressed out. I’m sure you have found yourself wishing there were more hours in the day, so I want to ask, how many hours in a day do you set aside to rest? Continue reading →