Class starts at 9:30 am in the Multipurpose Room with singing and prayer followed by a mission story and then the lesson study. Anyone is invited to attend this class and we sincerly hope to see you bright and early Sabbath morning as we discuss and share together about our Saviors love for us!
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Daily Adult Sabbath School Lesson Study Guide
Memory Text: “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are“ (Acts 15:11, NIV).
After more than two years, Paul and Barnabas returned to Syrian Antioch. Because the whole church there had been involved in sending them out as missionaries, it was natural that they would give a report to the church. The report’s emphasis, however, was not what they had accomplished but on what God Himself had done through them.
The object of the report, of course, was the success of the mission among the Gentiles, though many Jews had also come to faith. Since the episode of Cornelius, however, the conversion of uncircumcised Gentiles had become an issue (Acts 11:1-18), but now that large numbers of them were being admitted to church membership, things became particularly complicated. Many believers in Jerusalem were not happy. For them, Gentiles would need first to be circumcised, that is, to become Jewish proselytes in order to become part of God’s people and have fellowship with them.
Acts Chapter 15 is all about the Gentile problem’s reaching a critical level and about the church’s working together to find a solution. The Jerusalem Council was a turning point in the history of the apostolic church in relation to its worldwide mission.
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, August 25.
Further Study: “During the life of Christ on earth he had sought to lead the Jews out of their exclusiveness. The conversion of the centurion and of the Syrophenician woman, were instances of his direct work outside of the acknowledged people of Israel. The time had now come for active and continued work among the Gentiles, of whom whole communities received the gospel gladly, and glorified God for the light of an intelligent faith.
The unbelief and malice of the Jews did not turn aside the purpose of God; for a new Israel was grafted into the old olive-tree. The synagogues were closed against the apostles; but private houses were thrown open for their use, and public buildings of the Gentiles were also used in which to preach the word of God.”—Ellen G. White, Sketches From the Life of Paul, p. 51.
“In all their missionary endeavors Paul and Barnabas sought to follow Christ’s example of willing sacrifice and faithful, earnest labor for souls. Wide-awake, zealous, untiring, they did not consult inclination or personal ease, but with prayerful anxiety and unceasing activity they sowed the seed of truth. And with the sowing of the seed, the apostles were careful to give to all who took their stand for the gospel, practical instruction that was of untold value. This spirit of earnestness and godly fear made upon the minds of the new disciples a lasting impression regarding the importance of the gospel message.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 186.
8 comment(s) for this post:
- Maurice Ashton:
16 Aug 2018 This weeks lesson has been about Paul's first missionary journey and while some approach was made to the Gentiles, it seems that much of the real work was among the Jews. I see a parallel with modern times where we are to continue to spread the gospel to the whole world, yet we are in danger of ignoring our own unchurched neighbors. If Jesus or Paul was to come into our churches today, I wonder if they would be preaching to us about the mind-shift that we need to make in order to spread the Gospel to our "Gentiles" - the unchurched secular people of the world. Would we perhaps be admonished to give up "traditional ways" of talking about spiritual things? Personally, I have a burden for the unchurched, because so many of my secular friends reject Christianity, not because they disagree, but because they see the hypocrisy that masquerades as Christianity. The only spiritual language that these folk understand is the one where they see us living a life consistent with the principles that Jesus taught. We use a lot of spiritual self-justification to explain why we cannot convince these folk about Christianity, but maybe we need to examine ourselves more deeply. So much of our discussion in our Bible study is in a language that our "Gentiles" would not understand. I have made this point before but I would like to restate it here. In the modern context, if the Holy Spirit was poured out on us and we spoke in tongues, would the language that we speak be one that unchurched folk would understand?
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matt 28: 19-20
- Newbegin Devaraj:
16 Aug 2018 Saturday: Commitment - Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him. Sunday: sought - Someone might seek HIM (Jesus), with curiosity, for political advantage, and some with a true desire to know HIM but the Spirit of the Lord uses every opportunity of the seeker to germinate a new blade of grass in the heart of the one who is seeking. Monday: Know - the Jewish leaders did not KNOW Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath but the bible says, my sheep know my voice. Tuesday: law - Sinners redeemed by grace is no longer under the suppression of the law. Those who are under grace, the moral law is written within the heart so that they might not sin. Wednesday: Message - for I made the decision to know nothing [that is, to forego philosophical or theological discussions regarding inconsequential things and opinions while] among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified [and the meaning of His redemptive, substitutionary death and His resurrection]. Thursday: Faith - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. Friday: Presentation - The gospel presented to the Jews in the biblical historical perspective (Acts 13). The gospel presented to the gentiles in Lystra, Paul mentions creations, rain, fruitful crops which would be related to the gentiles (Acts 14). When we present the gospel, we must ask for discernment to present the gospel in clarity of the audience.
- Mrs A Stolz:
16 Aug 2018 I agree with Maurice regarding the parallel with modern times. Last night I watched the last of three episodes (on SBS) television of the state of homeless people mainly around Sydney in Australia. What a tragedy it was. We the 'ordinary' walk past these folks; we walk past them on the street and don't look them in the eye, or treat them as humans with their human problems. The program highlighted there is not enough support or places for the mentally ill, or affordable housing for youth and the elderly particularly women who because of the culture of the stay at home housewife after the war -have not been able to put away finance for their old age. Preventative measures for youth also was highlighted in lack of family support, and involvement in domestic violence; generally men are silent in their need for male support; and the program also showed the effects and long lasting damage of paedophilia. I felt the viewing audience had no problem in understanding why a lot of these homeless people resort to taking drugs as they feel incapable of finding solutions they are able to satisfactorily put into place for themselves. Many are in fear of harm from others in like conditions and circumstances. Self harm is often a way of coping or actually suiciding. In my view, a lot of folks seem in the program just wanted simple love. Love for someone to listen to their needs; Love enough for us to share our resources including money. Love enough to adequately supervise any church work/worker, that it is actually not causing harm, and reporting what they find if it is not meeting standards. And love from governments too, but that depends on US leading our politicians in what is necessary in our communities. As church goers I can see we have a lot of work to do in our society. Arguing over the colour of carpets in church buildings or excluding folk to a church service on the way people dress – (or smell) or on the same sex- partner they may have– is futile for a Christ centred people in the city or in the countryside. Godbless today and send to us an increasing measure of your Holy Spirit. Mrs A Stolz.
- Shirley de Beer:
16 Aug 2018 "the purpose of God; for a new Israel was grafted into the old olive-tree" This is one of my concerns that so many Christians do not understand that Spiritual Israel are part of God's plan that started with literal Israel. God's character has not changed! His Principles and His Plan of Salvation for the human race has not changed! Because of human limitation God has had to progressively real His full Plan to us. His Principles of Life have not changed only sometimes the applications may appear different because He takes into consideration the understanding and maturity of the people at different stages. For example EG White once said every woman should learn how to harness a horse to a buggy (if I remember correctly) but that wouldn't apply to day, maybe she would say every woman should be able to change a tyre. The application is different but the Principle is the same - woman should be able to travel on their own.
- Shirley de Beer:
16 Aug 2018 I agree if the 'unchurched' don't see Jesus reflected in our lives they won't be interested in what we say. However if they do see Jesus in our lives and are interested - how would we explain the benefits (in secular terms) of accepting Jesus as one's Lord & Saviour? How or what would we teach them in the beginning
- Maurice Ashton:
17 Aug 2018 I think that sometimes we confuse "teaching" with "learning". As a teacher, it took me longer than it should have to get my head around that idea. As a Chemistry teacher, I initially thought that teaching the right answers was a good thing and it took a lot of failures on my part to recognize that teaching the right answers was not the way. I had to model the way to learn. When students saw me working in learning mode they responded and developed and together we learned. With our spiritual witness, we will be more effective if we ditch the idea that we are spiritual "know-it-alls" and use a "let's learn together" approach. That requires patience and persistence, gifts that only the Holy Spirit can provide.
- Shirley de Beer:
17 Aug 2018 Absolutely "know-it-all" will be the worst case. With people who are churched, I share by saying I am always looking for treasures in the Bible and "look what I have discovered the other day" I understand the Principles you have put forward, what I am looking for are suggestions how to start conversations with unchurched people when they show some interest.
- Sharon Foster:
17 Aug 2018 I believe one of the best ways to get to a point where we can share Jesus is to ignore the teaching for a while and just live like Jesus feed the hungry heal the sick and generally love the broken and unchurched (along with the the churched- never forget that the membership may not all be as understanding as we wish). At any rate I am convince when kind acts are performed without the ulterior motive of convincing the unchurched to see things my way more will see Jesus and want to know more! Try to love without a motive to change and watch the holy Spirit do the changes needed!
The next place Paul and Barnabas visited was Lystra, an obscure village some eighteen miles (about 29 km) southwest of Iconium. Though they spent some time there (Acts 14:6-7, Acts 14:15), Luke reports only one story and its developments: the healing of a lame man, probably a beggar, who suffered from that malady from birth.
Read Acts 14:5-19. What did their reaction to Paul reveal about just how steeped in ignorance the people were?
The crowd was so impressed by the miracle that they mistook Paul and Barnabas for gods—Barnabas for Zeus, the supreme god of the Greek pantheon, and Paul for Hermes, Zeus’s attendant and spokesman. In fact, the people wanted to offer them sacrifices.
Latin poet Ovid (43 B.C.-A.D. 17/18) had earlier recorded a legend of these same two gods disguised as humans visiting a town in the same area (“the hills of Phrygia”) and seeking a place to rest. According to the legend, a humble, elderly couple treated them kindly and with hospitality; the rest of the people were indifferent. Because of their kindness and hospitality toward the incognito visitors, the couple had their house transformed into a temple and themselves into priests, while the rest of the town was completely destroyed (Metamorphoses 611-724).
With such a story circulating in this region, the reaction of the people to Paul’s miracle comes as no surprise. The story also helps to explain why the crowd assumed that the missionaries were those two gods, and not Asclepius, for example, the god of healing. Paul and Barnabas, however, were able to stop their false worship of themselves. In the end, some opponents from Antioch and Iconium caused a complete reversal of the situation, and Paul was stoned and taken as dead.
Read Acts 14:20-26. Where did Paul and Barnabas finish their journey? And what did they do on their way back?
|Paul said: ”We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22, NKJV). What does that mean? How have you, perhaps, experienced what he is saying there? Most importantly, how can you learn to grow in faith from whatever “tribulations” you are facing?|
6 comment(s) for this post:
- Maurice Ashton:
15 Aug 2018 Facebook has introduced the notion of instantaneous fame to us. If you show a photograph or make a comment that people "like" and share often enough for it to become viral then suddenly you are famous. And just as suddenly you are forgotten or worse, you get trolled. Crowd pleasure and displeasure is a fickle thing. Paul and Barnabas experienced this fickleness when they healed the lame man in Lystra. Suddenly the crowed loved them and wanted to fete them as gods. Then the Jews persuaded the crowds that these two were imposters, and just as suddenly the stones were flying and they were dragged out of the city to be left for dead. The experience of Paul and Barnabas is a reminder to us that we are not Christians for either fame or persecution, but because we have a relationship with Jesus. Our faith has to survive both fame and persecution. And sometimes I think that fame is perhaps the harder issue for us to deal with.
2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
- Newbegin Devaraj:
15 Aug 2018 Paul's and Barnabas's focus was always preaching the gospel. They did not go into the cities to do miracles. The miracle merely attracted attention. The miracle itself did not save anyone. The man heard the message The change was observed by Paul. Our change in lifestyle must be observable by others. The action of faith. This man leaped and walked. By faith, he jumped up.
- Robert Whiteman:
16 Aug 2018 Very important point you made concerning the observable change true conversion will bring. Look at Saul/Paul. From "stoning" others to being stoned himself. From arresting others to becoming eventually a prisoner in chains. The Psalmist shares this principle and it's results in Ps 40:1-3.
- Joy Bailey:
16 Aug 2018 Indeed human beings will praise you in one breath and berate you in the next. It was the same crowd that chanted hosanna, waving palm branches and spreading there garments for Jesus to ride on who cried in murderous voices crucify Him. We should not be so concern about the praises of men but be focused on the approval from our heavenly Father...well done thou good and faithful servant.
- Pete Villarreal:
16 Aug 2018 So, brother Maurice, are you somehow disparaging the usefulness and blessings of Facebook? I joined FB from advice of a friend who suggested that I become a FB friend of a lady that was losing her husband to cancer so that I could keep in touch with her on where the particulars of the memorial services etc. I did just that and the wife never accepted my FB friendship. For years I only had about 10 FB friends. I seriously thought of dropping FB about three different times but have since chosen to stay as now I have about 130 FB friends and enjoy the FB fellowship and their regular Godly and practical input there.
- Maurice Ashton:
16 Aug 2018 I used to do a lot of research on Facebook and have a reasonable understanding of how social networking functions. It is fair to say that if you understand the media you can use it to advantage. However, it is a very fickle environment and it is very easy for things to go wrong in a very public way. For what it is worth, I choose not to debate or comment on contentious issues in the uncontrolled public Facebook environment. This lesson blog is not the place to discuss the issues of using Facebook, but maybe I will write a discussion post about Social Networking one day so we can discuss it.
You can view an in-depth discussion of “Paul’s First Missionary Journey” in the Hope Sabbath School class led by Pastor Derek Morris. (Adobe Flash Player version.) A Youtube version of this week’s lesson at Hope Sabbath School is below.
2 comment(s) for this post:
- Janeth Arrey:
15 Aug 2018 Praise God for using all of you in His ministry. We are so much blessed because of your program.May God continually inspire you. Praying for all of you! God Bless!
- Elizabeth Mbau:
16 Aug 2018 Am really blessed by this program,in a country where I can't go to church or get Bible guide but through my smart phone am able to follow.I could not understand the word before but through internet am now able to comprehend