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|Sermon Discussion Notes: From Acts 11:27-30||| Print ||
|Written by Albert Cerussi|
|Saturday, 17 September 2011 14:28|
Sermon Notes for Acts 11:27-30
Introduction: Great tragedies, such as the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001, change us forever. Few people I know, especially New Yorkers, look at the world in the same way in a post-9/11 event world. However bad, tragedies have the potential to promote unity among and even across people groups. New York city had to band together to survive - a very diverse city indeed. But the entire country - Democrats and Republicans amazingly enough - came together in response to this horrible tragedy. Even other nations showed support for America during our difficult time.
Can you think of a tragic event that occurred in your life? What do you remember about that time period?
What people did you turn to in the aftermath? Who showed you the greatest amount of support?
How did that event alter your faith in Yeshua? Did it drive you to seek God? Sid it challenge your belief or perhaps your assumptions about God? Or did you withdraw from God?
Tragedy struck the early congregation in the form of a large famine (Acts 11:28), and don't forget some persecution had just occurred as well (Acts 11:19). Things were tough all over, but especially in Judea.
What was the response of the believers in Messiah Yeshua to the famine (Acts 11: 29)? Was it "only" to pray or something more?
Would you consider their response to give famine support to be like a "tithe," even though these goods did not go only to "ministers?" Before you answer, please check out Deuteronomy 26:1-15.
Acts 11:29 states that each gave "according to his ability." Apparently then there was not a uniform financial level for all of the believers.
Should we give what we don't have? Should, say, a single mom at the poverty level be expected to donate as much as say a strong Orange county middle-class family?
What does this say about the financial spectrum of the believers? Will they necessarily all be the same, and do you think that the more fortunate should help the less fortunate?
It is also very interesting to note the composition of the believers who donated for famine relief in Judea. These donors were in Antioch - called Christians (Acts 11:26) - and likely comprised a good number of Gentiles (Acts 11:19-22).
What impact do you think this gift had upon the Jews in the Judean congregations: to see Gentile believers help them in time of tragedy?
Were the "Christians" viewed as a "second class" form of believers? (Hint: see Acts 11:29)
How do you think all this unity between Jews/Gentiles acting together in Messiah impacted Saul? Could this event have shaped his later mission to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles and make them part of the family of faith?