Study 1: Spiritual Journey
The goals of this study are the following:
- To affirm that God has been working in the lives of all human beings.
- To embrace the power of storytelling as a process of connecting through mutual dialogue. This study is an opportunity to be active in sharing your faith (Philemon 6).
- To create a narrative framework to support the facilitation of future Bible study.
Study the spiritual journey of the Apostle Paul
Acts 9:1-31 Saul’s Conversion
- The story of Saul begins in Acts 9; where Saul is against God’s movement. In short, God can use anybody.
- Verse 3: we are all on a journey [for Jesus as disciple or against Jesus]
- Jesus sent Paul to Ananias to “be told what to do”. How did Ananias help Saul?
- Saul was obedient to the instructions from Jesus
- He fasted and prayed for 3 days; which means this was a very spiritual event for him. He took this calling very seriously.
Acts 22:1-21 Saul’s Re-telling of his Conversion
- Some years later, Paul has now embraced his “story” as being called by God; certainly not his thoughts in Acts 9.
- Notice how Paul has now added his natural birth and spiritual, theological training to his story.
- Paul also affirms that he was “against” Jesus in his former life
- His new life is evidenced by his “new name” [Saul to Paul]
- Paul affirms the role of Ananias in his life and conversion [Acts 22:12-13]
Acts 25:23—26:32 Saul’s Re-telling of his Conversion to King Agrippa
- Now Paul has fully embraced his “story” by confirmation of God working in his life and ministry.
- Notice his confidence in speaking with King Agrippa [Acts 26].
- Paul clearly wants to persuade everyone to become a Christian.
- Paul can confidently ask people to become “like him”. Do you feel like you can confidently ask people to become like you [as Christian]?
Note: Make a list of everything Saul (Paul) did on the way to salvation.
- Saw a light
- Heard the voice of Jesus
- Believed in Jesus
- Confessed Jesus as Lord
- Obeyed Jesus’ command
- Fasted three days
- Prayed three days
- Had a vision
- Received a miracle
- Got baptized
Question[s] to Consider:
- What does Revelation 12:10-12 say about experiencing victory?
- How does your spiritual journey compare and/or contrast to the journey we just explored?
- How have you experienced God’s presence in your life up this point in time?
Study 2: The Word of God
2 Timothy 3:16-17
- All Scripture is inspired by God
- It is to be applied to our lives
- The Word is relevant
- The Word cuts (hurts)
- Learn that it is good to be “cut,” because a scalpel (God’s Word) “cuts” the cancer (sin) out!
2 Peter 1: 20-21
- There is no private interpretation of the Bible
- The Holy Spirit inspired the men who wrote the books of the Bible
- Intellectual belief is not enough – nor can we go by our feelings
- Everyone must hold on to and follow the teachings of Jesus to be a true disciple
- Sincerity does not equal truth
- Religious people can be wrong
- Do not go by traditions or creeds
- Worship by traditions – which contradicts the Word of God – is worship in vain
1 Timothy 4:16
- Watch your life and doctrine closely – they are inseparable
- Which is more important, life or doctrine? Neither – an airplane with only one wing cannot fly
- Why is it so important to learn and to teach and to live the right doctrine? To save yourself and those who hear you.
- Must check what religious leaders say
- Your challenge: Read and study the Bible every day!
- The Word of God is a mirror
- Do not forget what you see – “do what it says!”
- Why study the Bible? The Word will judge us!
Decision: Will I live by the Bible or by my feelings, traditions, desires, etc.?
Study 3: Discipleship
Introduction: Matthew 28:18-20
- What does Jesus want everybody to become?
- Which is the more popular term -“Disciple” or “Christian?” The word
“Christian” only appears three times in the New Testament. It is the name
those in the world gave the disciples, seven years after the church began.
(Acts 11:19-26) The word “Disciple” occurs over 270 times in the New
- SAVED = CHRISTIAN = DISCIPLE
- Jesus came to make disciples. Only baptized disciples will be saved.
Let’s have Jesus define disciple, thus defining who is a true Christian.
- Calling of the first disciples
- Come follow me (Christ)
- Fishers of men – Jesus gave these first disciples the real purpose for living
- If any man...
- Deny self. Notice Christ in the garden (Matthew 26:36-39, “Not my will, but your will.”) Do not give in to moods.
- Carry the cross – daily
- Gain world ... forfeit soul. Lose your life for Jesus ... save it
- If any man...
- Count the cost (v. 28-30)
- Consider the alternatives (v.31-32)
- Love Christ more than any person (v.26)
- Persecutions (v. 27)
- Everything, not just anything (v.33)
- Luke 11:1-4
- Must learn to pray – disciples saw the strength Jesus received from the Father
- Daily personal relationship with God (v. 3); daily prayer
- Love one another
- Be an active part of the fellowship
- Matthew 28:18-20
- Command – make disciples (given to all)
- Who is a candidate for baptism? A person who makes the decision to be a disciple
- You need someone to disciple you to maturity in Christ
- This is the only way to save the world!
Year Preacher Disciple
1 365 2
2 730 4
3 1095 8
13 4745 8192
32 11,680 the world, 5 billion+
Conclusion Questions: Am I a disciple? Am I a Christian? Am I saved? What do I need to do to become a disciple?
Study 4: The Cross
Passion Account: Read Matthew 26:31 – 28:10
Suggested Reading Intervals:
Read the medical account of Jesus’ physical death.
- Personal Responsibility
- Remember there were many others who died by crucifixion in the first century. It was not that Jesus was physically crucified that makes Him unique; it was that He was crucified for you, in your place. He died on the cross for you.
- Share the sins that you committed before being baptized and your feelings of being forgiven at baptism.
- Ask the person with whom you are studying to share and confess their sins.
Isaiah 53:4-6 (substitute your name).
- If possible, immediately after this study watch either The Cross or The Passion video.
Study 5: Repentance & Baptism
Acts 2:36-41 (NIV)
- When we come to the realization of God’s saving grace on the cross, our response should be
“What shall I do?”
- Peter sums up the teaching about salvation: to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins.
1 Peter 2:9-10
- Becoming a Christian means we move from the darkness to the light, and it results in a transformational change in our lives.
People of God Not a People of God
Received Mercy No Mercy
Royal Priesthood No Priesthood
Holy Nation Unholy
2 Corinthians 7:10-11
- Repentance means to “change mind”, which leads to “changed behavior”
- Difference between godly and worldly sorrow. What does godly sorrow look like?
- Called to repent [Acts 3:19; 17:30; 26:20]
- Why are we baptized into Jesus’ death? This is where the blood was shed.
Matthew 28:19-20 (Great Commission)
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
- Command: Make disciples, of all nations, baptize them, and teach them
- Promise: Jesus will be with us
1 Peter 3:18-22 (NIV)
- Baptism is not a bath--Baptism is pledge of good conscience towards God
Questions to Consider:
- In the book of Acts, what was preached?
- What was the person [people’s] response to the preaching?
- How long did it take for the person to respond?
- Have you ever been baptized before? If so, when and how were you baptized?
- What was the motivation for your previous baptism?
Here are some additional conversion narratives found in the Book of Acts:
Acts 2:38-41 - the very first believers were Jews; the start of the church at Pentecost
Acts 8:5-12 - Philip preaches in Samaria. People respond in faith by being baptized
Acts 8:26-40 - Philip teaches the Ethiopian eunuch who responds by being baptized
Acts 9:18 - the conversion of Saul [Paul]
Acts 10:47-48 - Cornelius the first Gentile (God-fearer); the “Gentile Pentecost”-God shows Peter the
Gospel message is not for Jews alone:
Acts 16:15 - the conversion of Lydia (dealer of purple cloth) and her household
Acts 16:16-34 - Paul and Silas’ jailer (and his household) respond in faith and are immediately baptized
Acts 19:1-8 - Apollos, the gifted preacher.
Acts 18:8 - Crispus, the synagogue ruler
Acts 19:3-5 - those that had not heard yet of Jesus are baptized [not John’s baptism]
Acts 22:16 - Paul’s story revisited --his sins are washed away, calling on the name of the Lord in Baptism
Study 6: The Church
Colossians 1:15-21; Ephesians 1:22-23
- What is the head’s role in the body? Direct and lead the body.
Membership of the Church: 1 Corinthians 12:12-26
- When a person is baptized into Christ, they become a member of his body, which is the church.
- It is important to be part of a healthy, spiritual body.
- Others in the body need you, and you need others in the body of Christ [12-27]
Support of the Church: 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
- Your financial contributions pays for facilities, staffing, helping the poor, supplies, missions, etc.
- OT standard of giving is 10%.
- NT does not specify any specific amount, but it does life up the example of those whose “extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”
Leadership of the Church: Ephesians 4:11-13; Hebrews 13:17, 24; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
- God’s plan for the church includes leadership. Leaders play a crucial role in equipping disciples to be their best for God.
- It is important to be supportive towards ALL facets of leadership in the church.
Study 7: Count the Cost
Luke 14:25-27 – Is there anyone or anything that should come between you and God?
- Is that which costs nothing worth anything?
- What is the significance of the tower-builder? Luke 14:28-30.
- What is the significance of a king going to war? Luke 14:31-32.
- What does Jesus mean by forsaking all? Luke 14:33.
- Is Jesus Lord of your life?
- Are you ready to make Jesus Lord of your life?
- Meet the person where they are at. Ask them if they have any questions or anything that may be on their conscience.
- Good to read: 1 Pet. 3:21, Rom. 12 and 1 Cor. 15:33
- Good to ask about nearest Bridge Group, Commitment to Tithe, Discipling Partners and Follow-Up studies.
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