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1 Paul s Ministry Session 1 A New Name, Paul s Conversion Session 1 Paul s Conversion Jesus saved Saul from his sins As soon as the Church was established in Jerusalem and began to grow exponentially, the enemy got organized and motivated to put a stop to it. Their efforts were centralized in one man Saul of Tarsus a young Pharisee who had a zeal for the Law of Moses and who could not stomach anyone who proclaimed a different way to God. Thus, his passion would be the catalyst to ignite a severe persecution against the Church. As Saul began to round up, imprison, and even kill people of the Way, members of the Church scattered in all directions. Many of them went to a city far to the north called Damascus. Saul was not deterred; instead, he sought permission from his superiors to pursue these law-breakers as far as possible, in order to bring them to justice. However, on his way to Damascus, the Lord confronted Saul, got his attention, and changed his life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Several truths surface from Saul s conversion. First, persecution is not always a bad thing, as God uses it to disperse Christians and the Gospel. Second, no one is out of the reach of God; even the most hardened criminal can be changed by Christ. Third, when Saul was converted to Christianity, he was given a new name Paul. Isn t it true, when we too come to Christ for salvation, that He gives us a new name Christian a new hope, and a new purpose? Praise God for these truths! Before you take the lead... Praise God for your new name, new hope, and new life in Christ! Acts 8:1-3; 9: Corinthians 5:17 How did Jesus change Saul s life? Jesus saved Saul from his sins. 1) What is persecution? How does God use this bad thing for His good purposes? 2) What happened to Saul s eyes? How is this a picture of what happens when we are saved?

2 Paul s Ministry Session 2 The First Mission Trip, Paul s First Journey Session 2 Paul s First Journey Acts 13:1-15:35 Matthew 13:3-9 A missionary is someone who obeys God s call to go and tell others the good news about Jesus After his conversion, the Apostle Paul wound up living in Antioch, the place where the followers of God were irst called Christians (Acts 11:26). It would not be long until God called Paul and his friend Barnabas to travel to nearby cities and share the Gospel. This trip became known as Paul s irst of three missionary journeys. The two men were joined by John Mark, and the three of them sailed to the island of Cyprus and then to the Roman province known as Galatia. Their strategy was simple. They went to the synagogues where the Jews met and worshiped, and there they would ask to speak. Paul would remind the Jews of the stories of ages past but then tell them that their ful illment was completed in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, the Promised Messiah. While some listened and believed, most Jews rejected the news. Matthew 13:3-9 Paul s experience is an example for us. God has work for us to do and that work is to share the Gospel with those who will listen. While not everyone may feel called to travel to distant lands, we are all called to bear witness to what Jesus has done to free us from sin. In sharing the Gospel, we should expect two responses. There will be some who will listen and believe, but there will be many who will reject the news. Satan will do what he can to distract and discourage people from hearing the Gospel. Still, we are called to share; the Lord will do the rest. Before you take the lead... Don t be guilty of focusing on your work and neglecting the Lord s. What is a missionary. A missionary is someone who obeys God s call to go and tell others the good news about Jesus. 1) What is a missionary? Who is called to be a missionary? 2) What are we supposed to share with others? Why does God want us to share that?

3 Paul s Ministry Session 3 One Person at a Time, Paul s Second Journey Session 3 Paul s Second Journey Acts 15:36-16:40 Romans 10:14, 15 Paul started churches and taught people about Jesus After Paul and Barnabas completed their irst missionary journey and returned to Antioch, it was not long until they decided to go again, this time to check on the churches they had started. However, God had different plans in mind for Paul. Not only would he go with a new partner Silas but he would be called to go where he had never been Macedonia. Upon seeing a vision of a Macedonian man inviting him to come, Paul and Silas took the Gospel to Europe for the irst time. While they met with resistance in Europe, as they did everywhere else, they also met with success in a place called Philippi. A woman named Lydia was the irst European convert. They found a young man named Timothy, who would become a great leader in the Church; and, they were also able to convert a jailer and his family to Christianity, after God sent a startling earthquake. He was doing some amazing things, and He was using Paul and Silas to do so. Their persistence brought people to Christ. Romans 10:14, 15 The Apostle Paul was an amazing preacher and prophet, but his strategy for impacting the world for Christ was simple one person at a time. It was Lydia, then Timothy, and, then, the jailer and his family. Though Paul had the ability to reach thousands at a time, he did what we can do personal evangelism. Tell the people we know and meet about the salvation found in Jesus Christ. Now Paul could not be everywhere at all times, so he revealed the second strategy for spreading the Gospel starting churches. He encouraged and organized those who converted to join together into local bodies of believers, to minister to each other and to reach out to the community. The Church is God s means for reaching the lost. Before you take the lead... Are you sharing your faith with others, one person at a time? What did Paul do as he traveled? Paul started churches in other cities and taught people about Jesus. 1) Why did Paul split up from Barnabas? What good came of this disagreement? 2) Why was Paul called to Macedonia?

4 Paul s Ministry Session 4 A Reasonable Faith, Paul Preached in Europe Session 4 Paul Preached in Europe Acts 17:1-18:21 Colossians 2:8 Only the Lord, the One True God, deserves worship During Paul s second missionary journey, the Lord led him to travel to Macedonia and, then, to Greece. Thus, the Gospel made it to the continent of Europe for the irst time. His strategy was the same wherever he went. First, he started with the Jews, talking with them in their synagogues on the Sabbath. At every place he went, some believed and some bickered; but, if enough people were converted, then Paul would start a church there. While in Greece, Paul had the opportunity to stop by Athens, one of the most intriguing cities of the ancient world. He noticed that the town was full of statues, temples, and idols. The most famous temple was that called the Areopagus, where the Athenians invited him to speak. Of course, he took the opportunity and decided to use a statue to the unknown god to introduce everyone to the One True God the God who made the world and all things in it. However, Paul said, since He is the Lord of heaven and earth, He does not dwell in the temples of man. Colossians 2:8 Several times the Bible states that Paul reasoned with those who would listen concerning Christianity in Thessalonica (Acts 17:2), in Berea (v.11), in Athens (v.17), and in Corinth (18:4). Contrary to popular opinion, Christianity is more than a blind leap of faith. Christianity is rooted in reason. In fact, it is the most reasonable religion on earth; it makes more sense of the world than any other view. Though faith is involved, since none of us have ever seen Christ, it is not a blind faith but a logical faith. Our God is the only One logically deserving of worship. Before you take the lead... Be encouraged, your faith is grounded in the most logical and reasonable source the Bible, the Creator, and Christ! Who deserves our worship? Only the Lord the One True God deserves our worship. 1) Why do you suppose Paul started by preaching to Jews? 2) Why would he go to synagogues? 3) What is signi icant about Paul s use of

5 Paul s Ministry Session 5 Awake You Sleepers, Paul s Third Journey Session 5 Paul s Third Journey Acts 18:18-21:16 Ephesians 5:14 Paul told others to turn from their sins and trust Jesus After two missionary journeys, Paul had spread the Gospel to Cyprus, across Asia Minor, and into Europe, covering both Macedonia and Greece. Everywhere he went, he started churches, and scores of people were coming to know the Lord. Of course, there were those who rejected Christ, despised Paul, and chased him out of their towns; but, despite the persecution, God was granting Paul success. For his third missionary journey, Paul retraced his path from the second trip, revisiting the cities, the people, and the churches from before, checking on their progress and encouraging them in the faith. He even wrote several letters to them, which we have in our Bibles today. While there are many amazing stories from Paul s third journey, there is one that is quite symbolic. A young man in Troas named Eutychus dozed off while Paul was preaching and fell three loors to his death. However, Paul rushed to his side, prayed to the Lord, and his life was restored. Ephesians 5:14 In a way, Eutychus symbolizes the people of Europe and Asia at the time of Paul. They were fast asleep in their idolatry and false religions and falling headlong into death and judgment. However, Paul, who had the Gospel, the true source of light and life, shared the good news with them and awakened them from their spiritual slumber. In a way, by sharing the Gospel of Christ, Paul brought new life to the people of Asia and Europe. Before you take the lead... While it may seem that you live in a much more sophisticated world today, the truth is that you are surrounded by people who live in spiritual slumber or death. Are you awakening them to the hope of Christ by sharing the good news of the Gospel? What did Paul tell people to do? Paul told people to turn from their sins and trust in Jesus. 1) Why did Paul set up churches everywhere he went? 2) How does Eutychus story relate to the lost today? 3) What does it mean to

6 Paul s Ministry Session 6 Greater Progress of the Gospel, Paul s Ministry to Rome Session 6 Paul s Ministry to Rome God protected Paul so that he could keep telling people about Jesus We have followed the Apostle Paul now on three missionary journeys. He has taken the Gospel and planted churches all throughout Cyprus, Asia Minor, Macedonia, and Greece. However, his third journey ended up in Jerusalem, where he was attacked by the Jews and arrested by the Romans. When the Jews threatened to kill Paul, the Romans moved him to another city for protection. However, when Paul appealed to Caesar, the Romans were forced to transport him to Rome itself. On the way, Paul s ship encountered a tremendous storm and wrecked on an island. Paul and the rest of the crew were stranded for some time. Eventually, Paul made it to Rome but only to be kept in prison until he could stand trial before Caesar himself. Philippians 1:12-14 Although Paul suffered many dif iculties and setbacks, he remained positive. He saw his circumstances as God s will, and rather than obstacles in his way, he viewed his trials as opportunities to share the Gospel. For example, he wrote to the Philippians, I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the Gospel. He knew that God had protected him and sent him to prison so that he could share Christ with the people he d meet. Before you take the lead... Do you view your God-ordained trials as obstacles or opportunities? Acts 21:17-28:31 Philippians 1:12-14 How did God help Paul on his journey? God protected Paul so he could keep telling people about Jesus. 1) Paul knew that he would be arrested in Jerusalem. Why did he go then? 2) How could being shipwrecked be a good thing?

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