January 15, 2023
Pastor Ricky Smith
An encounter with God produces change!
How would you share your faith story?
Describe your life before trusting Christ.
Describe your life after trusting Christ.
Describe your life while trusting Christ.
I. Brought From Death to Life
For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.
Sincerity cannot bring you to salvation if you do not sincerely believe the truth.
II. Called For a Purpose
But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God
Our past positions us to fulfill our calling.
III. Fellowship Around the Mission
Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
A. On the essentials, we must align.
B. On the non-essentials, we must show grace.
C. In all areas, we must show love.
An encounter with God produces change!
- I confess my sin and turn to Jesus as King for the first time
- I choose to walk in unity as a member of Calvary.
- I commit to share Jesus with others this week.
- How has your encounter with Christ changed your life?
- How would you counsel a person who claims to be a Christian yet shows no evidence?
- Read Ephesians 2:4-9. How has God intervened in your life?
- Who are some faith leaders that have impacted your life. Why?
- What are the benefits and dangers of following faith leaders?
- Read 1 Corinthians 11:1 and discuss how a leader can point others to Jesus.