Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – August 23, 2015
Theme: Responses to the Word
Topic: Apostle Paul
Main Texts: Galatians 2:11-24; 2 Corinthians 11:23-33
Key Verse: Galatians 1:11-12 – ” I want you to know … that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” (NIV) “
Last Sunday we looked at the reaction of The Pentecost Crowd – those bystanders who witnessed the unusual events of that day. We noted how Peter, flanked by other apostles stood up to put the events in Scriptural context, preached the Gospel to the crowd, and called the people to repentance.
Our key learning points are:
Some of us may feel awkward at manifestations of the Holy Spirit in our congregation, but we should accept that the Holy Spirit manifests as He pleases.
The Church leadership has a responsibility to moderate manifestations to avoid disorderliness and ensure the Church truly benefits from ministrations of the Holy Spirit
The Church leadership also needs to always explain the Scriptural context of manifestations of the Holy Spirit, for the benefit of the congregation. (This would be similar to the way the Holy Communion is always explained in Scriptural context.)
We need to have a clear understanding of what the core Gospel message is: It is about salvation through faith in Jesus Christ whom God gave to die for our sins. While we find solutions to life’s challenges such as health and material needs in Christ, this should not be seen as “The Gospel”.
This Sunday, we will be studying the response of Apostle Paul to God’s word at his initial calling. One striking observation about Paul’s early Christian life was that he deliberately chose not to consult the earlier apostles over God’s revelation to him.
The key points to disseminate in this study should include:
There are God’s revelations to us as individuals which He expects us to act upon and not discuss with even those we respect.
The fact that we are acting in obedience to God’s revelation does not mean that the road will be smooth all through. Despite Paul’s obedience, he had a hard time throughout his ministry.
God’s revelations to us of impending suffering may not always be with a view for us to pray that God should disallow the suffering. It may be to prepare us to go through it.
Apostle Paul, in defending the authenticity of his ministry, tells the Galatians about the early days of his conversion. Specifically, he says the Lord Jesus Christ revealed the Gospel to him directly, that it was not something he learnt from the apostles before him. The details of that revelation are not recorded in the Bible, but we do know that when the Lord visited the disciple Ananias in Damascus and told him to go see Saul (as Paul was called then), the Lord said concerning Saul: “This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the
people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” (Acts 9:15-16 NIV). In fact, he says when he received the revelation of the Gospel, he did not even consult those earlier apostles (Peter, James, John, etc.) for any form of clarification or authentication (see vv15-17).
a) In your opinion, why did Paul choose not to consult those who were apostles before him concerning God’s revelation to him?
b) Are there revelations to individual Christians today that may not be appropriate to “clarify” or “validate” with older, perhaps more mature Christians? The Lord had told Ananias concerning Saul, “… I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” This must have been part of the revelation Paul received from the Lord which he did not discuss with anyone. In our second text, Paul catalogues his sufferings in the course of preaching the Gospel. We later read (See Acts 21:10-14) of how God through Agabus revealed that Apostle Paul would be arrested and maltreated in Jerusalem.
c) Why might God reveal to an individual impending sufferings, hardships or calamities?
d) What are our typical responses to such revelations when they concern us or someone we care about? When a Christian undergoes suffering which could reasonably have been foreseen or which had previously been revealed would come, there is often a feeling of regret that perhaps we should have acted differently to avert the suffering.
e) What practical steps can the suffering Christian take when faced with the thought that the suffering could have been averted had he or she acted differently?
f) How can other Christians support such a suffering Christian, particularly in managing the feeling of regret?
There are revelations that are meant for our action only. When we follow God’s directives and we suffer in the process, we should remember that the early apostles had the same experience!
Father, teach me to handle your revelations to me as you intend, and grant me the grace to accept whatever
comes my way in the course of such obedience, Amen