Acts 28:17-31; Romans 1:7, 8; Romans 15:14, 20-27; Ephesians 1; Philippians 1:12
Paul had faith in the church members in Rome and paid them a personal visit. As we study this early church, we discover that the counsel given to its members is also for us.
Paper, pencils, crayons, copies of “The Great Commission Christian” reading found at https://www.dramashare.org/cart/scripts/Great%20Commission%20Christian.pdf
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
A. Write a letter to your church. Choose one area of weakness that you believe is harming your church. Don’t mention names; just focus on what caused the problem and how it is harmful, and then offer solutions.
B. Write a letter to your church. Choose one area of strength you believe makes your church appealing to your community. Explain why this strength is so important in spreading the Gospel. Suggest ways to build on this strength.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
A. The church in Rome helped shape today’s Christian church. These believers must have done something right because Paul said that their faith was “spoken of throughout the whole world.” What can your church learn from them?
B. Thought Questions
Read Romans 15:20-22. Paul’s highest earthly ambition was to “preach the gospel where Christ was not known.” Is this our highest ambition? What kinds of things prevent us from following Paul’s passion?
- We don’t think we have time to add one more thing to our busy schedules.
- We don’t feel that we know the Bible well enough to teach others.
- We expect pastors and evangelists to fulfill this responsibility.
- We’ve been rejected by people before and are afraid to try again.
- We don’t have the close relationship with Jesus that Paul had.
Read Acts 28:16-31. On his way to preach in Rome, Paul was arrested, yet he witnessed even while under house arrest. What can we learn from his strong faith?
- Our plans are not always God’s plans.
- Sometimes when we feel all is lost, we realize that God really does know best.
- Compared to God’s plans, our plans for the future are very limited.
- Our faith needs to be strong, but we should not be stubborn.
- Our trust in God grows when our plans fail and God’s plans succeed.
Read Romans 1:7. If the church members in Rome were called to be saints, then so are we. What does it mean to be a “saint”?
- A saint is someone who appears to be holy and blameless.
- A saint is like a disciple—set apart and chosen by God to live and teach God’s way of life.
- A saint is someone who is holy and sinless.
- A saint is a “little old church lady” who is sweet and kind and gives a generous offering.
- A saint is someone who has been chosen to tell sinners that they are doomed.
Read Romans 15:14. In this verse, Paul tells the church members that they are “full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” What might prevent Paul from saying this to a modern-day church?
- A lack of willingness to do good deeds for others
- Looking inward instead of outward
- Insisting that our interpretations of truth are the only ones that are right
- Being unwilling to pray and search the scriptures because “we’ve always believed this way…”
- Looking for the bad in people rather than the good
Applying the Message of the Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. After several minutes, report back to the larger group with your findings.
Option 1: Read “The Great Commission Christian” and compare this calling to the church in Rome and to your own church. Use the piece as a reader’s theater for the entire group.
Option 2: Using crayons, draw a picture of what your church would look like if it were modeled after the church in Rome. Use Romans 15:14 as your guide.
Option 3: Write a mission statement for your church. Focus not only on how members can admonish one another but also on how you can be a witness in your community.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
A. Ask yourself, “What am I willing to suffer in order to witness in my community?” Are you willing to be laughed at or shunned? Ask God to give you Paul’s passion for witnessing. Read more about Paul’s ministry and follow his example.
B. Read Romans 15:14 again. Ask God to show you if you are lacking in any of these areas in your own church. If so, make plans to live these out in your everyday life.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus:
Leviticus 23; Matthew 19:17; John 1:17; Acts 15:1-29; Galatians 1:1-12; Hebrews 8:6; Revelation 12:17