Friday: Further Study – Paul’s First Missionary Journey

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.

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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.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Dwell more on the story of John Mark’s fleeing them when things got hard. Paul and Barnabas later had an argument over John Mark, when Barnabas wanted to use him again and Paul didn’t (see Acts 15:37). Years later, however, Paul wrote: “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry” (2 Tim. 4:11, NKJV). What lessons are here for us regarding those who, in certain circumstances, prove unfaithful to their calling?
  2. Review Paul and Barnabas’s response to the Lystrians when they were mistaken for gods (Acts 14:14-18). How can we respond when tempted to take credit for what God has done?
  3. Read Acts 14:21-23. Based on Paul and Barnabas’s example, what can we individually and as a church do to nourish or strengthen the faith of new converts?
  4. How can we make sure that we don’t let man-made traditions, or even beliefs that we have held for a long time, get in the way of advancing in truth, as did the religious leaders who opposed Paul?

1 comment(s) for this post:

  1. Maurice Ashton:

    16 Aug 2018
    This weeks lesson has been about Paul’s first missionary journey and while some approach was made to 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?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons