(Prior to the session write the following phrases on the board or poster paper: “Guaranteed for life,” “Too good to be true,” “Guaranteed or your money back,” “I’ve heard that before,” “Lifetime warranty,” “$5,000 a week for life,” and “It’s life changing.”)
1. When have you heard these phrases, or something similar?
2. What do these phrases have in common? (Generally speaking, they are designed to get you to buy something, or put your trust in something.)
Paul knew that he had something that was life changing to share, and he used every opportunity to let people know how Christ had changed him. He knew it wasn’t too good to be true, and it guaranteed eternal life.
3. What would people give to be assured they would live forever?
When most people think of living forever, they think of living in this life forever! What a miserable existence to be trapped in this mortal body for eternity.
But to live forever as the Scripture defines living is eternal joy! What must a person give to have this eternal life? Give your mortal life for Jesus! Sounds like a pretty good bargain to me!
(Consider having a class member give a summary of the events that have occurred since last week’s study.)
Our focal passage today picks up after Paul had been in Rome three days! Paul was permitted to stay in a rented house with the soldier who guarded him. These events occurred four years after Paul wrote the letter to the churches in Rome—Romans!
The Journey! Read Acts 28:17-20
After all of these years of ministry Paul’s approach has not changed. He went first to the Jews in Rome. Inscriptions found in Rome that date back to this period contain the names of at least eleven synagogues in the city. We are not told how Paul got them to come; perhaps they had heard about him and were open to hearing what he had to say.
1. How did Paul connect with his audience?
2. Why would Paul say he was wearing chains for the “hope of Israel?” (The Christian message does not undermine the religion of Israel but is in truth its ultimate fulfillment!)
3. What was Paul’s purpose in initiating the meeting with the Jewish leaders?
4. What are some things God uses to prepare a person to hear the gospel?
5. How does God use a variety of things to demonstrate His sovereignty in our world?
6. How do you see God’s sovereignty working in Paul’s life here?
7. Why is it important for us to recognize God’s direction in our lives? (Like Paul, it is important for us to acknowledge God’s hand in directing our paths when we meet people who do not know Christ.)
8. Do you believe anytime you meet someone it is just chance and not God working in your life?
God can use a variety of means to bring believers into contact with those who need to know Christ. The main objective is to make sure we take advantage of opportunities to witness.
The Seekers! Read Acts 28:21-23
1. How would you describe the Jewish leaders’ response to Paul?
No one in Jerusalem had asked the leaders in Rome to get involved, so in their own self-interest they were not going to join the conflict. They knew about or had heard about those who had become Christians, but they considered it to be a sect—in other words these people had turned away from Judaism. They were curious enough to come back to Paul. In verse 23, we note that the second meeting lasted a full day, and that Paul spent every moment presenting the gospel. (This was the first record of “All day preaching and dinner on the grounds.” LOL!)
2. What makes the gospel message so intriguing and interesting? (It doesn’t talk about what we can do for God but what God has already done for us. It fulfills prophecies given thousands of years ago! It is so exact in its fulfillment of these prophecies.)
3. How does that intrigue open the door to share the gospel with others? (It piques our interest in the mystery of God’s love for us.)
Any level of government should be elated to have Christians among their constituents because we are driven by a moral code and standards that promote peace, unity, and obedience to our rulers as long as the laws meet God’s moral code!
4. Have you ever had a time when someone wanted to hear from you about the Christian faith?
When people express an interest in the things of God, we should engage them in further conversations. The key is to point them to the truth about Jesus. He is the One of whom the Scriptures speak!
The Response! Read Acts 28:24-28
1. What was the response from Paul’s listeners to the gospel? (As will be the case most of the time, some will believe and some will reject the truths about Jesus.)
2. What do you think caused the Jews to disagree among themselves, as they left? Was the disagreement about who Jesus is or about taking the message to the Gentiles?
3. Why do you think Paul shared this passage out of Isaiah 6:9-10?
4. How did this passage from Isaiah strike right to the heart of the issue involving Jesus?
Spiritual hardheartedness and spiritual blindness prevented the people from hearing Isaiah’s message, repenting and receiving God’s healing. (see 2 Chron. 7:14) In the same way some of the Jewish leaders were unable to comprehend Paul’s message and accept Jesus as the Messiah!
Notice verse 28. Paul let it be known that the gospel was for all, both Jews and Gentiles.
5. How does the gospel divide and unite at the same time?
6. Why does the gospel have this kind of effect on people? (Jesus’ holy character exposes our sinful humanity—the pride, lust, and hatred we have in our hearts. We can draw near to Him for His help and forgiveness, or we can run from Him because we don’t believe He is who He says He is or that we are worthy of His love.
Summarize and Challenge!
1. If the gospel is for all and some will respond and some will not, how would you describe our responsibility as believers today? (We don’t know who will accept and who will reject. It is our mission to “go tell” it is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to convict and the hearer’s responsibility to respond!)
2. Our lesson title today is “Always on Mission.” Do you see yourself as always on mission?
3. Do you follow Paul’s example and initiate conversations?
(Leader read Acts 28:28-31.)
Rather than using his “house arrest” as an excuse, Paul used it as an opportunity. As people came to see him, he shared the gospel and, I believe, discipled many Christians over the next two years!
We have had a very strong emphasis these last 13 weeks about sharing the gospel. I pray, first of all for myself, that I would keep my “spiritual radar” on and detect anyone needing to hear the gospel.
I pray the same for you.
May we all be Always on Mission spreading the gospel!