Paul the Apostle : His Marriages
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:
So we have been in this series “The Apostle Paul,” Talking about a man who influenced the church and world like no other. Just as a side note, Remember, one person can make a big difference in this world. That is Paul a man’s life that was radically transformed by Jesus, and a life that was on a mission to help others experience the same thing!
According to scripture, Paul was not actually married to a woman during his ministry (The Bible talks about some having the gift of celibacy, that must have been one of his gifts). Some scholars think since he wrote so much about marriage and single life, that he may have been married and either his wife left him, or died… The Bible doesn't say….
You shouldn’t have any trouble understanding this, friends, for you know all the ins and outs of the law—how it works and how its power touches only the living. For instance, a wife is legally tied to her husband while he lives, but if he dies, she’s free. If she lives with another man while her husband is living, she’s obviously an adulteress. But if he dies, she is quite free to marry another man in good conscience, with no one’s disapproval.
So, my friends, this is something like what has taken place with you. When Christ died he took that entire rule-dominated way of life down with him and left it in the tomb, leaving you free to “marry” a resurrection life and bear “offspring” of faith for God. For as long as we lived that old way of life, doing whatever we felt we could get away with, sin was calling most of the shots as the old law code hemmed us in. And this made us all the more rebellious. In the end, all we had to show for it was miscarriages and stillbirths. But now that we’re no longer shackled to that domineering mate of sin, and out from under all those oppressive regulations and fine print, we’re free to live a new life in the freedom of God. (Romans 7:1-6 msg)
Paul described what his marriage to the law was like...
Steer clear of the barking dogs, those religious busybodies, all bark and no bite. All they’re interested in is appearances—knife-happy circumcisers, I call them. The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it—even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials. You know my pedigree: a legitimate birth, circumcised on the eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God’s law; a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting the church; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God’s law Book. (Philippians 3:2-6 msg)
The only way you could be accepted in this marriage, and loved in this marriage is if you were perfect. Then and only then, would you feel loved, and accepted, and cared for....
“Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working. (Matthew 5:17-18 msg)
We died in Christ, so we can be released from the law, and married to his Grace!...
So, my friends, this is something like what has taken place with you. When Christ died he took that entire rule-dominated way of life down with him and left it in the tomb, leaving you free to “marry” a resurrection life and bear “offspring” of faith for God. For as long as we lived that old way of life, doing whatever we felt we could get away with, sin was calling most of the shots as the old law code hemmed us in. (Romans 7:4 msg)
Because we were under the law for so long, many times we try to live out our new marriage by resorting back to the way things were in the old one.....
The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness. (Philippians 3:7-8 msg)
3 points about Paul’s Marriages
- He Was Married To The Law
What are some ways Paul was "married" to the law?
- He Never Went Back to His First Spouse
Why do you think Paul decided not to go back to his old love of the law?
- He Fell In Love With his New Spouse
What are some ways that Paul showed his new love?
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: Romans 7:1-6; Philippians 3:2-8; & Matthew 5:17-18
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:
- What are some ways Paul was "married" to the law?
- Why do you think Paul decided not to go back to his old love of the law?
- What are some ways that Paul showed his new love?
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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