Sermon Based Group Homework
For the message on March 13, 2022
Passage: Acts 15:1-12
In part 5 of our Resilient series, we find Paul and Barnabas traveling to Jerusalem to clear up a disagreement with Judaizers who wanted Gentiles to be circumcised first before they could become a Christian. The leaders meet and determine that salvation is not the result of law-keeping or rule-following. Rather, establishing a relationship with God through Jesus comes by grace through faith alone.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Do you consider yourself to be someone who embraces change or resists change? Why?
LET’S GO DEEPER
1. In the sermon, Mike talked about three big points that Peter delivered to the Jerusalem council. In his speech, he addressed the controversy over some Jews who argued that Gentiles must be circumcised prior to coming to faith in Jesus. First, Peter wondered why Gentiles should be required to fulfill the law when Jews and their fathers in the faith failed at keeping it. In verse 10, Peter asks, “So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear?” Great question! Rule following and law keeping doesn’t change our heart or impress God. We all fall short with our best efforts to do good and be righteous. What do the following passages tells us about our feeble attempts at attaining favor with God on our own?
Isaiah 64:6 (NLT2)
6 We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
Titus 3:4-5 (NLT2)
4 But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT2)
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Why do so many in our culture think that being a good person is what gets us into God’s favor and ultimately God’s heaven? What is the problem with this thinking?
Why do you think we must admit that we are sinners and separated from God before moving on to faith in Christ?
2. The second point that Peter made before the council was that both Jew and Gentile require the same grace through faith in Christ. In verse 11, Peter said, “We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.” What do the following scriptures tell us about who requires grace?
Titus 2:11 (NLT2)
11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.
Luke 18:9-14 (NLT2)
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Galatians 2:21 (NLT2)
21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
Do you think there are some people who are more deserving of grace than others? Explain.
Can you think of a time when it was hard for you to extend grace and forgiveness to someone?
3. The final big point that Peter made was that salvation is offered to both Jews and Gentiles without distinction but only those who respond by faith will receive it. In verse 7, Peter said, “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe.” Notice that it’s not just those who hear the Good News of Jesus but it’s those who respond and “believe” who are saved.
Can you think of the time when you first heard and understood the good news about being made right with God through faith in Jesus?
Describe the time when you first believed and trusted in Jesus to forgive you and reconcile you to God.
TAKE IT HOME
1. What is your biggest takeaway from this sermon and study?
2. Do you have any prayer requests for your group?