Friday, August 8, 2014

Touching Base - Part 247

TB 247
10 Aug 14
Intersection Series, Part 4
Paul's Conversion

This is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Seeing things clearly can be a difficult task. We are all familiar with illusions and the perceptual tricks our minds can play on us. But, there are some perceptual issues that are less obvious and for this reason the word ‘paradigm’ has become a large part of our language. In a sense paradigms [mental habits, belief systems] influence how we see things. As you can imagine, it is difficult then to see things from a new perspective.

This is the problem that the Apostle Paul faced. He had a very fixed point of view. A point of view that made him see Jesus in a very negative manner. In fact, his point of view made Paul an enemy of Jesus!

Question #1: What beliefs do you have that limit your view of Jesus?

I. A Radical Man

Luke traces the pre-conversion life of Paul so that the kind of man Paul was can clearly be seen. To put it simply, Paul is described as a wild beast, a nasty person. He consents to Steven’s death. He drags men and women out of their homes and commits them to prison. It is not a nice picture.

Question #2: In your pre-Christian days, what behaviours were injurious to Jesus and to Christians in general?

II. A Radical Change

The change in Paul in the book of Acts is spectacular. Indeed, Luke takes great pains to make Paul look a whole lot like Jesus. He faces numerous trials. He is declared not guilty. He is hit by the High Priest’s aides. He is stoned. He is placed in prison.

Question #3: In what ways, since your belief in Jesus, have you changed and come to look more like Jesus?

III. A Radical Confrontation

What brought about the radical change in the life of Paul? The Jesus he thought was a hoax was in fact a reality. When the resurrected Jesus speaks to Paul he can no longer escape the truth about Jesus. He makes a 180-degree turnabout in his life!

Question #4: What radical changes have taken place in your life since you encountered Jesus?

Lew Worrad
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