Transformation

Acts 9:1-31

  • What do you think would be different about you if you had never met Jesus?

  • Share any stories you have of being transformed by Jesus?


Read Acts 9:1-9 and Acts 22:1-11 [1]

  • What stands out to you about Saul's experience of Jesus (in Luke's words and in his own words)?

  • What do you think is unusual about Saul's experience of meeting Jesus? And what (if anything) is common to your own experience?


Read Acts 9:10-19 and Acts 22:12-16

  • What stands out to you about Ananias?

  • How does He respond to His vision of Jesus? How would you have responded if you were in his position?

  • What role did Ananias have to play in the expanding Kingdom of God? Was he more or less important than Saul/Paul?


Read Philippians 3:4-14

  • How did Paul's life change after he met Jesus? What was the new attitude of his heart towards the things he once valued highly?

  • How can we follow Paul's example, to "count" everything as a "loss" or as "rubbish" [2] that seemed valuable in our old life or old self? What might those things be for us?


  • We all have friends, family, neighbours and acquaintances who's values are completely different to ours. What does it look like to live alongside people like that? How might our values impact on their lives, or even bring them to see Jesus as Saul did?


This week, we're going to spend an extended time in prayerful reflection:

  • Spend some time reflecting on what God has already transformed in you. Praise Him for these things!

  • Then, spend some time reflecting on the work that is still to do - where you value things that you should count as rubbish - invite the Holy Spirit to continue His work in your heart.

  • Then, spend some time reflecting on the ways in which your values differ to the people around you. How would God want you to speak and to act in situations where the contrast is high?


[1] The story of Saul's conversion appears three times in the book of Acts - Chapters 9, 22 and 26. The latter two accounts are in Paul's own words when he is on trial. It may be of interest to read all three accounts, as well as his references to his conversion in his letters, particularly 1 Corinthians 15, 2 Corinthians 12, Galatians 1 and Philippians 3.


[2] Ralph P. Martin explains the meaning of the word for "rubbish" in this verse:

In the light of this new valuation, seen now through his enlightened eyes (Eph. 1:18) and with a mind renewed by the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:11–15; Eph. 4:23) these things are dismissed and rejected by the vulgar term, rubbish or ‘dung’... Skybala can mean simply ‘refuse’ (RSV) or ‘mere garbage’ (GNB American ed.). The derivation is a choice between human waste product and the unwanted food which is consigned to the rubbish heap... A word like ‘muck’ conveys to the modern reader something of the distaste and disgrace of the original term; and such an expression shows how completely the apostle has turned from his pre-converted ways. All ‘confidence in the flesh’ is contemptuously cast aside and abhorred as dirty muck (cf. Isa. 64:6; Zech. 3:3–5). Such is God’s estimate of all religious observance and practice which is not rooted in Christ and his atoning merit (Hawthorne).

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