Rethink the Past — Rethink, Part 3

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Tatiana Taty
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All of the “big names” of the Bible–people that God used to achieve great things–had a history. Moses was a murder, Paul persecuted the church. How did they deal with their past? What can we learn from them to help us deal with our own past? Pastor Luke preaches from Acts 9:1–17 in “Rethink the Past,” part 3 of his 4-part series “Rethink.”

Talk It Over

OPEN. 1. If you are a follower of Jesus, was your conversion sudden like Paul’s, or did it occur gradually over a longer period of time? If you could choose, which type of conversion would you prefer?

UNPACK. Review Saul/Paul’s story in Acts 7: 51–8: 4, and read Acts 9: 1–17.

2. Luke says in Acts 8: 3, and reiterates in 9: 2, that Paul persecuted both men and women. (Contrast with Luke 23: 49.) What are some reasons it is significant that Paul did not spare women?

3. With Jesus’ followers scattered (Acts 8: 1), why is Paul “still breathing threats and murder?” How many reasons can you think of that might explain why Paul was so zealous in persecuting the church?

4. Although Ananias knows Paul’s history (9: 13), he obeys the Lord and lays hands on Paul (v. 17). Why? How does he address Paul? Why?

5. Read Stephen’s prayer in Acts 7: 60. How is it granted in Acts 9?

6. Who is Paul breathing threats against? Who is he persecuting?

7. Paul is blind for three days (v.9). Was that divine punishment? Why or why not? (Consider whether fasting is punishment.) Paul must “suffer” for Jesus’ name. Was that punishment? Why or why not?

APPLY. 8. Jesus says that to persecute the church is to persecute him (vv. 4,5). How is that encouraging?

9. How should Jesus deal with people who persecute him? How was Paul’s experience unique? How was it typical?

10. Was it harder for Ananias to visit Paul, to heal him, or to call him a brother? Consider some people who have hurt you. How can you be like Ananias to them?