Thursday, April 6, 2017

April 6 - Acts 16

Today's reading in our daily plan is Acts 16. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • At the beginning of this chapter, Paul sets out with Silas and Luke. They go to the churches Paul had started on his last trip and meet a Jesus follower named Timothy. Paul invites Timothy to join them, but, because all the Jews knew his father was Greek, Paul decided to circumcise him… ouch. Paul wanted to make sure that the message of Jesus was received without any hindrances or objections, including circumcision.
  • In Philippi, they meet a group of women by the river on the Sabbath. Paul takes time to share the good news with them. As a result, a businesswoman named Lydia responds to the gospel and is baptized. She then invites them to stay in her home.
  • While there, Paul casts the evil spirit of fortune-telling out of a slave. As a result, the girl loses her ability to predict the future. This angers her slave owner, who can no longer make money off of her. The slave owner grabs Paul and Silas and drags them to the authorities. He accuses them of “throwing the city into an uproar by advocating different customs." The courts agreed to have Paul and Silas whipped and jailed. However, nothing could keep them down. With raw, bloody backs, feet in stocks behind bars, they worshipped God by singing loud enough for all the prisoners to hear. 
  • In verse 31 Paul tells the jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved -- you and your household.” This verse is not a promise that our being saved guarantees our family will be too. When we look at all of the Bible, we see that each person needs to make their own individual decision about Jesus. That's exactly what happened with the jailer and his family. Verses 33-34 tell us the entire family believed in God and were baptized.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Paul knew that the Jews would be upset that Timothy wasn't circumcised, because of their belief in the laws of Moses, and he didn’t want to offend anyone unnecessarily. As a church, we follow this same principle. We try to create an inoffensive atmosphere for people to hear the message. However, if the message of salvation through Jesus alone offends people, we cannot help that. That is a truth we cannot change. But, there is no need to offend people over inconsequential issues that have nothing to do with our faith and our eternal destiny. The same needs to be true in each of our lives individually.
  • What do you think it is about Jesus that led Paul and Silas to persevere through persecution and still worship God? We need to know Jesus so intimately that even when life goes bad we still worship him for his goodness.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Is there anything in your life that might offend some people and keep them from hearing the message you have to share with them about Jesus? Maybe it's a way you talk about something, or how you treat people. Perhaps it's the way you voice your opinions about politics, or look down on people for the way they eat or use their money. Make a commitment to have nothing in your life that can offend people and turn them off from hearing about Jesus from you.
  • Everyone in the Bible who put their faith in Jesus immediately got baptized. The longest we see anyone wait is a couple days! Do you believe in Jesus? If so, have you been baptized?  Listen to this message to learn more about what baptism is, and let one of the pastors at Verve know if you want to be baptized!