Friday: Further Thought – The First Church Leaders

Further Study: “The persecution that came upon the church in Jerusalem resulted in giving a great impetus to the work of the gospel. Success had attended the ministry of the word in that place, and there was danger that the disciples would linger there too long, unmindful of the Saviour’s commission to go to all the world.

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Forgetting that strength to resist evil is best gained by aggressive service, they began to think that they had no work so important as that of shielding the church in Jerusalem from the attacks of the enemy. Instead of educating the new converts to carry the gospel to those who had not heard it, they were in danger of taking a course that would lead all to be satisfied with what had been accomplished. To scatter His representatives abroad, where they could work for others, God permitted persecution to come upon them. Driven from Jerusalem, the believers ‘went everywhere preaching the word.’ ”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 105.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read carefully the Ellen G. White quote above about the dangers the early church faced in regard to being satisfied with themselves and what was accomplished through them. First, it means that, contrary to popular notions, many Jews did indeed accept Jesus as the Messiah. But even more important, what warning should we as a people take away from this today? How can we be sure that we aren’t getting too caught up in protecting what we already have, as opposed to doing what we really should be doing—reaching out to the world?
  2. By the time of the apostles, the relations between Jews and Samaritans were marked by centuries of fierce hostilities. What can we learn from the fact that Philip, likely a Jew, bore witness of Jesus in Samaria? Even as Seventh-day Adventists, we are not immune to cultural and ethnic biases. What should the Cross teach us about how we are all the same before God? What, too, should the universality of Christ’s death teach us about the infinite value of every human being?
  3. How did Philip approach the Ethiopian (Acts 8:27-30)? How can we be more open to opportunities to share the gospel with others?
  4. What have we learned from Acts 6-8 that might help us to fulfill the church mission more effectively?
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons