Romans 1:1 – 1.24.16

INTRODUCTION
Paul’s introductory sentence communicates a ton of information. He informs his readers of his owner (Christ), office (Apostle), and mission (Gospel). Like Paul, we too may know who owns us and what we are called to do for our good master Christ.


What Does This Say About God?

•    Paul first mentions that he is a bondservant of Christ. To achieve this status, slaves first needed to achieve freedom from a patron. God is like the patron who sets a slave free.
•    Paul says he was called to be an apostle, which means ‘one who is sent.’ The source of the gospel, then, is God. He is making a kingly proclamation to the world about his redeeming work.
•    God set Paul apart for the gospel, a good indication that he actively works to select individuals for his purposes.

What Does This Say About Humanity?

•    In order to become a bondservant, a slave first needed to be freed from slavery. Consequently, humanity is currently enslaved to sin.
•    The fact that humanity is either slave to sin or slave to Christ means we are constantly serving one of two masters.
•    While it is true that the office of Apostle (capital A) no longer exists, it is equally true that the office of apostle (lowercase a) currently exists. As people set apart for the gospel, disciples of Christ are lowercase apostles, ones who are sent, with the mission of carrying the gospel to the world.

What Will You Do About It?

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For more insight to this passage listen to One More Thing – where our teaching pastors discuss the passage in greater detail using these discussion questions.

The Life of Paul: The Missionary

Discussion Questions
Paul the Missionary

INTRODUCTION
Paul leveraged his citizenship, natural and spiritual gifting, relationships, and resources to see the gospel go out to the ends of the earth.


DISCUSSION
1. Paul uses his Roman citizenship as a passport of sorts to gain access to places otherwise off limits. How can you leverage your education, talent, job, and relationships to bring the gospel into an area others in your group may not have access to (e.g., school, workplace)?

2. Discuss the following quote: “Proximity to God dispels fear.” Do you experience fear when it comes to sharing the gospel with others? Where do you think that fear comes from?

3. Jesus said, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15, ESV) According to Paul, Christians are God’s co-workers. We are participating with him in seeing his kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. How does the thought of participating with God change the way you think about the Great Commission?

4. Paul argues that while some plant the seed of gospel truth, and others water, only God can grant growth. How can this encourage you in your evangelistic endeavors?

APPLICATION
Take turns sharing about a non-believing person whom God has placed on your heart. Draw up a plan of action where you will make an effort to share the gospel with that person this week. Open your next meeting with a time of accountability: asking each other how your gospel-interactions went.

The Life of Paul: The Martyr

Discussion Questions
Acts 20:22-24

Paul the Martyr

INTRODUCTION
Paul’s passion for the gospel drove him to complete the task to which God called him. His chief goal was to see Christ magnified in himself, whether that be in life or death.


DISCUSSION
1.    The word martyr, from the Greek ‘to witness’, describes a person who is willing to act as a faithful witness to Christ even to the point of death. What drives such faithfulness?

2.    Paul knew that imprisonment and affliction awaited him, but left for Jerusalem anyway. What would you have done in Paul’s situation knowing that hardship awaited you?

3.    While Paul experienced the loss of his liberty after being arrested in Rome, he nevertheless experienced greater gain by writing four books of the New Testament. Has there been a moment in your life when God allowed you to experience loss to give you greater gain?

4.    Paul viewed every circumstance, good or bad, as an opportunity to share the gospel and to testify of God’s grace. What can we do to adopt this philosophy?

5.    Discuss the following quote: “Faithfulness leads to finishing and finishing leads to immeasurable joy and reward!”

APPLICATION
Paul’s life was one marked by a passion for the gospel. As a community, we are continually meant to remind one another of the good news. What are common obstacles to we encounter when reminding one another of the gospel? How do we overcome them?


PRAYER
Spend some time in prayer with one another for things drawn out of the discussion.

The Life of Paul: The Convert

Discussion Questions
The Life of Paul: The Convert
Acts 9:1-9

INTRODUCTION
In the life of Paul, we see that god took one of Christianity’s most vicious persecutors and transformed him into its most ardent proclaimer. Paul’s conversion lets us know that no one is a lost cause, and that God uses the unfit and disqualified.


DISCUSSION
1.    Jesus asked Paul why the zealous Pharisee was persecuting him, not the Church. What does this say about the way God views persecution against the Church?

2.    Paul immediately recognized that Jesus was Lord. Why is this ironic? What does this say about encountering Christ?

3.    Paul had an extremely sinful past, calling himself the foremost sinner (1Ti 1:15). God took him from murderer to missionary. What does this say about God’s ability to use you despite your past?

4.    Paul no doubt felt the consequences of his sin of persecution as his terrible reputation preceded him. What does this say about God’s forgiveness of our sin with the reality of its fallout in our lives?

5.    There has never been a more unlikely candidate for apostle than Paul. Many people would have written him off as a lost cause, but God had other plans. How should this encourage us to continue praying for the “lost causes?”

APPLICATION
Paul’s conversion experience was immediate and abrupt; however, not all people experience conversion in this way? If you are comfortable doing so, share your conversion experience with the group.


PRAYER
Spend some time in prayer with one another for things drawn out of the discussion.