Message: Things Are Not Always As They Seem (9/20/17)
Acts 16:22-34 (NLT)
A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”
The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.
We as Christians are called to reflect the love of Jesus. There are three challenges that come out of this passage of scripture for this week:
1. Other people's need for Jesus is more important that our own immediate needs.
2. The closer we draw to God, the more we will begin to care for people.
3. There are people waiting on us to love them.
Small Group Questions
- Is a Cheeto a chip or something else?
- What's your favorite chip/snack?
- Is it hard to love other people (friends, family, teachers) sometimes? If so... why? Leaders Note: remember to remind students what Godly love looks like. It is committed and sacrificial.
- Do you have a problem judging (acting selfishly towards) others? Leaders Note: you will have to press on this, but don't force the subject. Be willing to be vulnerable here with an example in your own life. Often times our circumstances, our knowledge of others will cause us to judge others. REMIND STUDENTS NOT TO USE OTHER PEOPLE's NAMES IN YOUR GROUP.
- How can we stop judging (acting selfishly towards) others?
- Is there someone in your life that is waiting on the love of Jesus to be expressed to them? Leaders Note: Explore in creative ways how we can show the love of Jesus to others: help with hurricane clean up in your neighborhood. Invite someone to sit with you at lunch. Invite someone to Journey Students. There are people waiting out there for us to love them... will you be the one to respond to their need?
- Share a time where you loved someone else and it had an impact on them. You acted sacrificially, in commitment, and thought of them as more important than your own self.