Friday, April 5, 2013

April 5 - 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 who joins them. But because all the Jews knew Tim’s father was Greek, Paul decided to circumcise him… ouch. Paul was all about getting the message of Jesus across to people, and would fix anything that would hinder the message -- including Timothy being uncircumcised.
  • Paul then travels to Philippi. While there, he casts an evil spirit out of a slave. The slave owner grabs Paul, drags him to the authorities and accuses him of “throwing the city into an uproar by advocating different customs." The slave owner has Paul and Silas whipped and jailed. What Paul and Silas did next may surprise you. With raw, bloody backs, behind bars in an uncomfortable jail, not sure what will happen to them next, they worship God, 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 probably not a promise that our being saved guarantees our family will be too. We see in many other verses that each person needs to make their own decision about Jesus. It turns out this this must be what happened with the jailer and his family because they all respond by being baptized.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Paul knew that certain people would be upset that Timothy wasn't circumcised, 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. If the message of "salvation" through Jesus alone offends people, that is fine. But we don't want to unnecessarily offend people with anything else. 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.
  • If you believe, have you been baptized? If not, Verve is about to have baptisms. Let us know if you're interested.