Date: May 22, 2016
The Point: Jesus can transform even the most hostile opponent into a faithful believer.
- Get Into the Study
- Study the Bible
- Additional Questions
- Member Extra
- Tips for Leading Bible Study Groups
Get Into the Study
Use the following illustration as an optional introduction to today’s session.
On April 1 the Napier family celebrated the birthday Meagan who was killed by a drunk driver while in college. Many might find it impossible to forgive the man who took the life of their child, however, Meagan’s mom, Renee, has chosen to do just that. The man responsible was sentenced to twenty two years of prison, yet Renee stepped in and asked for the sentenced to be cut in half as part of the healing process.
Renee was able to see past the mistake and tragic accident committed in order to forgive a man who didn’t feel like he deserved it. Only through Christ was Renee able to do this and much more.
As your group goes into their time together you may show part of the clip from YouTube about Renee’s story or you may simply want to recount their story in your own words after watching the clip.
Ask members of the group what they think about Renee’s decision and even Eric’s response to her forgiveness. Use this discussion as a bridge into the scripture passage for the lesson as you look at the redeemed life of Paul.
—Dr. Beth Masters works with college students at Mississippi College where she is the Director of Christian Life and Ministries. She has a PhD in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Beth loves to bake and drink coffee.
Study the Bible
Read or summarize the following material to complement your group’s exploration of Paul’s encounter on the road to Damascus.
The long-awaited Captain America: Civil War recently hit theaters. It was a huge smash at the box office, bringing in $182 million over the opening weekend. People love Marvel comic movies for the action-packed adventures and for the odd cast of characters who have found deep, challenging friendships together. That’s why this film in particular was so intriguing. It’s aptly named “Civil War” because the whole premise of the film is that heroes are made to choose between two ideals — and that choice divides them in both conscience and action. Former friends become enemies for the sake of their beliefs.
The film is heartbreaking, particularly because the friendships and the love between the characters is still so clearly alive.
On the road to Damascus, Paul was faced with a choice. As a matter of fact, he was faced with Jesus himself. As a result of that encounter, Paul was forced to choose between his convictions — what he knew to be true — and the Jewish leaders who’d been his friends and mentors for years. In that moment, Paul learned that Jesus changes everything. In the end, Paul’s conversion created a man set on bringing the good news of the gospel to the Gentiles. In doing so, he helped change the world.
— Ashley Emmert wrote this Leader Extra. She is a freelance writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her sweet Southern husband and their small scrappy dogs. Find her at ashleygraceemmert.com or on Twitter @ashgemmert.
- When have you switched sides?
- How do we depict people who change from our side to the enemy?
- How would you initially respond if an antagonist to Christianity suddenly announced their conversion?
- What types of opposition to Christianity do we encounter?
- How can you respectfully engage people who oppose Christianity?
- How should believers respond to those who scoff at Christianity?
- What dramatic way did God use to bring you to Christ?
- When has God “stopped you in your tracks” to teach you something about Himself?
- How have you changed because you met Jesus?
- How has God most recently changed your life?
- Who have you given up on ever believing that they would come to know Jesus?
- Do you have a clear mission regarding your work for God and His Kingdom? What is it?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: