Paul the Apostle
Family Meal Discussion
Greeting + Meal
Take the first 45 minutes to gather into the home, share some food, listen to each other.
Transition from the dining table to a more relaxed area, like the living room, if possible.
This weeks story to share:
Paul shares a letter to the church of Ephesus, telling the results of spiritual salvation through Christ, saying:
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. (Ephesian 2:7-10 MSG)
Luke writes a letter about Saul of Tarsus: the conversion of a persecutor. Saul is traveling when he is knocked off his feet:
He said, “Who are you, Master?”
“I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next.”
His companions stood there dumbstruck—they could hear the sound, but couldn’t see anyone—while Saul, picking himself up off the ground, found himself stone-blind. They had to take him by the hand and lead him into Damascus. He continued blind for three days. He ate nothing, drank nothing. (Acts 9:5-9 MSG)
The congregation in Antioch was blessed with a number of prophet-preachers and teachers:
Simon, nicknamed Niger,
Lucius the Cyrenian,
Manaen, an advisor to the ruler Herod,
One day as they were worshiping God—they were also fasting as they waited for guidance—the Holy Spirit spoke: “Take Barnabas and Saul and commission them for the work I have called them to do.”
So they commissioned them. In that circle of intensity and obedience, of fasting and praying, they laid hands on their heads and sent them off. (Acts 13:1-3 MSG)
But the Master said, “Don’t argue. Go! I have picked him as my personal representative to non-Jews and kings and Jews. And now I’m about to show him what he’s in for—the hard suffering that goes with this job.” (Acts 9:15-16 MSG)
If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!
If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best! (2 Corinthians 4:7-18 MSG)
The first thing I did was place before you what was placed so emphatically before me: that the Messiah died for our sins, exactly as Scripture tells it; that he was buried; that he was raised from death on the third day, again exactly as Scripture says; that he presented himself alive to Peter, then to his closest followers, and later to more than five hundred of his followers all at the same time, most of them still around (although a few have since died); that he then spent time with James and the rest of those he commissioned to represent him; and that he finally presented himself alive to me. It was fitting that I bring up the rear. I don’t deserve to be included in that inner circle, as you well know, having spent all those early years trying my best to stamp God’s church right out of existence. (1 Corinthians 15:3-9 MSG)
So Ananias went and found the house, placed his hands on blind Saul, and said, “Brother Saul, the Master sent me, the same Jesus you saw on your way here. He sent me so you could see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth than something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes—he could see again! He got to his feet, was baptized, and sat down with them to a hearty meal. (Acts 9:17-19 MSG)
The Call of God on Paul's Life
- Included Submission
How was Paul under submission?
- Included Suffering
What are some of the ways that Paul suffered?
- Was to Never do it Alone
Who did Paul do ministry with? Who are you doing ministry with?
Closing + Goodbyes
Ask if anyone has additional thoughts or questions about the story or points. Close with an appropriate prayer time based on the faith level of those there tonight.
DNA Group Discussion
DISCOVER (PRE-WORK) Before and while you read these passages ask the Spirit of God to illuminate your heart and mind and bring conviction and clarity of his truth for your life. Take some time during your own personal study to read through these four key questions:
Scripture to study this week:
1. Who is God (what does this passage tell me about God’s character)?
2. What Has God Done (how do I see God’s character in action here)?
3. Who Am I (How does God’s character and action shape how I see myself)?
4. What Do I Do (if I believe 1-3 how would I respond and relate to others)?
QUESTION: What did you DISCOVER during your study?
NURTURE Confess out loud to one another areas of personal struggle or unbelief that the Spirit revealed during your personal study.
In light of this week’s sermon, consider these questions together:
- How was Paul under submission?
- What are some of the ways that Paul suffered?
- Who did Paul do ministry with? Who are you doing ministry with?
QUESTION: How will you REPENT and BELIEVE the gospel?
ACT In light of your time together, what steps will you take to act on your new discoveries and affirmed beliefs?
Consider these questions:
1. What is a tangible way that you can bear witness to the gospel in your school, workplace or neighborhood this week?
2. How can you demonstrate God’s involvement in your life? How can you be more aware of it and draw attention to it?
QUESTION: What will you DO and who will you TELL about what God has done?
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Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
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