The Power of Suffering
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persecution

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Timothy 3:12, NIV

When I awake each morning, I can enter my den and open my Bible for morning Bible study with nary a thought that anything should prevent me from enjoying this time in the Word. I can also pray for my needs and the needs of others before an open window where the morning breezes may carry my words to heavenly ears. [...]

Daniel, Paul and Thessalonica
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danielgoat

“The goat became very great, but at the height of its power the large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.” Daniel 8:8, NIV

The story of Thessalonica begins in the loins of Philip II of Macedon. Philip not only fathered the well-known son, Alexander the Great. He also fathered a daughter, Thessalonike. Philip fought many enemies to consolidate his power over Macedonia. At the time of one of [...]

Evangelism and Thessalonica
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FloggingWhipsmall

“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5, NIV

 

A Parable Loosely Based on Acts 17 and Modern Evangelism

Theophilus was excited! This weekend was the big event! All of Thessalonica would be there! He had seen the painted billboards for weeks. [...]

Further Study: Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles
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future_study

For the relationship between personal conversion and the church, read Ellen G. White, “Individual Independence,” pp. 430–434, in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3. For a helpful map of the early life of Paul and commentary on his conversion, see The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, pp. 226–234.

“Paul had formerly been known as a zealous defender of the Jewish religion and an untiring persecutor of the followers of Jesus. Courageous, independent, persevering, his talents and training would have enabled him to serve in almost any [...]

Paul learns to love the Gentiles – Discussion Points
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Imagine it. Lights and a voice, and you’ve been knocked to the ground blinded by the flash. And then you hear this voice, powerful and deep: “Why have you been persecuting Me?”

Bewildered, frightened and not a little bit worried, you look up. You can’t see.

You muster the courage to speak. “Who are you?” you call into the depth of darkness.

“I am Jesus…”

“Jesus,” you’re thinking. “You’re Jesus!” Your knees are trembling.

The voice continues, “I am Jesus whom you [...]

Thursday: Conflict Within the Church
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9-28

Of course, nothing human is perfect, and it wasn’t long before trouble began within the early community of faith.

For starters, not everyone was pleased with the entry of Gentile believers into the early church. The disagreement was not over the concept of a Gentile mission, but over the basis on which Gentiles should be allowed to join. Some felt that faith in Jesus alone was not sufficient as the defining mark of the Christian; faith, they argued, must be supplemented [...]

01: Apostle to the Gentiles – Teaching Plan
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9-23

October 1, 2011

Key Thought: God changed Saul’s opposition to the young church resulting in a strong ministry to the Gentiles..
1. Have a volunteer read Acts 6:9-15.

A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.

B. What was Stephen being accused of? Were these accusations true, partially true, or completely false? Share.

C. Personal Application: How do you think you would handle being partially or falsely accused in [...]

Wednesday: The Gospel Goes to the Gentiles
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Paul and Barnabas in Antioch Acts 15:2

Where was the first Gentile church established? What events caused the believers to go there? (Acts 11:19–21, 26). What does that remind you of from Old Testament times? (See Daniel 2.)  

The persecution that broke out in Jerusalem after Stephen’s death caused a number of Jewish believers to flee three hundred miles north to Antioch. As capital of the Roman province of Syria, Antioch was second only to Rome and Alexandria in significance. Its population, estimated at five hundred thousand, was extremely cosmopolitan, making it an [...]

Tuesday: Saul in Damascus
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9-26

During Saul’s encounter with Jesus, he was blinded and then instructed to go to the house of a man named Judas and to wait there for another man, Ananias. No doubt Saul’s physical blindness was a powerful reminder of the greater spiritual blindness that led him to persecute the followers of Jesus.

The appearance of Jesus to him on the Damascus road changed everything. Where Saul had thought he had been so right, he had been dead wrong. Rather than working [...]

Monday: Saul’s Conversion
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9-25

“And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads’”(Acts 9:5, NKJV).

Although Saul’s persecution of the early church begins rather inconspicuously (as he only holds the coats of Stephen’s executioners), it quickly intensifies (see Acts 8:1–3; 9:1, 2, 13, 14, 21; 22:3–5). Several of the words Luke uses to describe Saul paint a picture of a wild, ferocious beast or a pillaging soldier bent on the destruction [...]