November 27, 2022 – Acts 14
Lesson Date: November 27, 2022
Focal Scripture Passage: Acts 14:1-28
AIM: To lead students to discover examples of Paul’s boldness in telling people about Jesus, and to make a commitment to tell someone about Jesus this week.
Before class: Read the notes on Acts 14 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the word “Bold” on the marker board or chalkboard.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the word “Bold” written on the board. Ask them to suggest definitions or synonyms for the word (fearless, intrepid, confident, courageous, daring, unflinching, etc.). Ask: “What are some words that mean the opposite of bold?” (timid, cautious, fearful, shy).
Read Acts 1:8. Remind the students that these were Jesus’ last instructions to His followers before He left them to return to heaven. Ask: “Do those instructions still apply to us today?” (yes).
Tell the class that Jesus commands those who have been redeemed by His grace (that means us) to tell others about Him. Ask: “Answer this privately: when it comes to telling people about Jesus, would you describe yourself as a bold witness, or a timid witness?” (many would say timid).
Ask: “What are some things that cause us to be timid about sharing our faith?” (fear of rejection, fear that we don’t know what to say or how to answer questions, etc.).
Tell the students that as we continue to study Paul’s First Missionary Journey in Acts 14, we are going to see examples of Paul’s boldness in telling people about Jesus. The title of today’s lesson is Speak Boldly.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Using the Map, remind the students that Paul and Barnabas preached the Gospel on the island of Cyprus and in Antioch (in modern-day Turkey), but when the Jews threw them out of Antioch, they moved on to Iconium.
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (the words of life about Jesus that Paul preached to Jews and Gentiles).
- Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Acts 13:47).
- Bold Speaking.
- Read Acts 14:1-2.
- Explain the following:
- Upon arriving in Iconium, Paul and Barnabas went to preach in the Jewish synagogue.
- This was their custom in every new town they visited.
- The “Greeks” mentioned in verse 1 were Gentiles who had become Jewish proselytes.
- The “Gentiles” mentioned in verse 2 were unbelieving Gentiles.
- Ask: “According to verse 1, how did many of the Jews and Greek proselytes respond to the Gospel?” (they believed in Jesus).
- Ask: “According to verse 2, what did the unbelieving Jews do?” (stirred up the lost Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas).
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 14:3-4.
- Ask: “What does verse 4 tell us about the city?” (it was divided, some supporting the Jews and some supporting the apostles).
- Ask: “According to verse 3, did Paul and Barnabas let this division and opposition stop them?” (no; they spoke boldly in the Lord, giving testimony of His grace and being used by God to perform signs and wonders).
- Remind the students that the word bold means fearless, confident, and courageous; that’s the way Paul and Barnabas proclaimed the Gospel in Iconium.
- Read Acts 14:5-7.
- Tell the class that when Paul and Barnabas learned that the lost people in Iconium were going to stone them to death, they escaped and traveled to Lystra (locate on the Map).
- Ask: “If you had already been run out of one town for preaching the Gospel, and then escaped a second town because people were trying to kill you, would you be inclined to ‘lay low’ in the next town, to try to avoid trouble?” (we probably would).
- Ask: “What did Paul and Barnabas do in Lystra?” (preached the Gospel).
- Summarize: God enabled Paul and Barnabas to boldly tell people about Jesus, in spite of opposition and threats of physical harm.
- Bold Ministry.
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 14:8-10.
- Ask: “Who was one of the people in Lystra who heard Paul boldly preach the Gospel?” (a man who had never walked because he was born without use of his legs).
- Ask: “What did Paul perceive about this lame man?” (that he had faith that Jesus could heal him; the Bible doesn’t tell how Paul knew this).
- Ask: “Was Paul timid or bold in telling the man to stand up?” (very bold and loud).
- Tell the class the man was instantly healed; God used Paul to boldly meet a ministry need.
- Read Acts 14:11-13.
- Explain what happened next:
- Upon seeing the man miraculously healed, the people started praising Paul and Barnabas as gods who had come down to earth.
- They did this in their native language, which Paul and Barnabas did not understand.
- They called Barnabas Jupiter (literally “Zeus”) and Paul Mercury (literally “Hermes”).
- The priest of Jupiter came out to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas.
- Read Acts 14:14-18.
- Ask: “What did Paul and Barnabas do when they realized the people wanted to worship them as gods?” (they immediately and boldly ran into the crowd and stopped them; contrast this with King Herod, who accepted the idolatrous praise of men and was struck dead by God – Acts 12:22-23).
- Explain the following:
- This action took courage: the crowd that was stirred up in a religious frenzy to worship Paul and Barnabas could easily turn on them upon learning that they were not
- They were barely able to stop the people from sacrificing to them (v. 18).
- Paul and Barnabas took the opportunity to urge the people to turn away from dead idols and turn to the living God.
- Summarize: In spite of their previous mistreatment, God empowered Paul and Barnabas to minister boldly in Jesus’ name.
- Bold Actions.
- Tell the students that Jews from Antioch and Iconium came to Lystra to stir the people up against Paul and Barnabas; these unsaved Jews hated the Gospel and Gospel preachers so much that they travelled as much as 90 miles to stir up another attack!
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 14:19.
- Ask: “What happened when these unsaved Jews arrived in Lystra?” (they turned the people against Paul and Barnabas, and they stoned Paul and threw him out of the city, thinking he was dead).
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 14:20.
- Ask: “What happened as Paul’s followers stood there, mourning his apparent death?” (he got up and went back into the city).
- Stress the fact that after being brutally attacked, stoned, and left for dead in Lystra, Paul went right back into the city; this was a bold, fearless, and daring action.
- Tell the class the next day Paul and Barnabas travelled to Derbe (locate on the Map; this was a distance of about 45 miles).
- Read Acts 14:21-23.
- Ask: “What did Paul and Barnabas do in Derbe?” (they preached the Gospel and taught many people about Jesus).
- Ask: “Where did they go when they left there?” (they retraced their steps back to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch – locate on the Map).
- Remind the students that these were the very cities in which they had been persecuted, brutally attacked, stoned, and run out of town.
- Ask: “If you had been treated the way Paul and Barnabas were treated, would you go back through those towns?” (probably not).
- Ask: “According to verses 22-23, what did they do in each of those cities?” (encouraged the believers, warning that they, too, would face persecution, ordained elders to lead each church, prayed and fasted, and entrusted the new believers into the Lord’s care).
- Tell the students the boldness and fearlessness of Paul and Barnabas was motivated by their love and concern for the people they had led to the Lord.
- Read Acts 14:24-25.
- Using the Map, point out their route to the region of Pamphylia and the cities of Perga and Attalia.
- Ask: “What did they do as they travelled?” (preached the Word – see v. 25).
- Summarize: Paul and Barnabas loved Jesus and the new converts more than they feared bodily harm, so they boldly returned to strengthen the believers in every city.
- Bold Reporting.
- Read Acts 14:26-28.
- Explain the following:
- Use the Map to show the class that Paul and Barnabas sailed from Attalia back to their starting point, Antioch in Syria.
- The church at Antioch was where they had been set apart as missionaries and then sent out on their journey (Acts 13:1-3).
- The church gathered together to hear about their missionary journey.
- Ask: “What did Paul and Barnabas tell the church?” (all the amazing things God had done through them, and how more and more Gentiles were being saved).
- Tell the students if someone sends us out to minister in Jesus’ name, we should always report back to them and tell what God has done.
- Ask: “Did Paul and Barnabas complain to the church about how they had been mistreated?” (no, they boldly glorified God for what he had done).
- Ask: “What did Paul and Barnabas do next?” (they stayed in Antioch for a long time; this marks the end of Paul’s First Missionary Journey).
- Summarize: Paul and Barnabas boldly reported to their home church in Antioch all the amazing things God did through them.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention once again to the word “Bold” written on the board. Remind them that we said the word bold means fearless, intrepid, confident, courageous, daring, and unflinching. Remind them that the opposite of bold it timid.
Ask: “Would you say Paul and Barnabas were bold or timid when it came to telling people about Jesus?” (they were very bold, fearless, and courageous).
Ask: “If Paul and Barnabas could be bold for Jesus in the face of violent physical attacks, shouldn’t we be bold enough to tell people about Jesus?” (yes).
Ask: “Do you have friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, or acquaintances who need to know Jesus?”
Tell the students if they can’t personally think of someone who needs to hear about Jesus, you could give them some names of class prospects who need a Gospel witness.
Remind the students that the title of today’s lesson is Speak Boldly. Ask them to join you in asking God to give us more boldness to speak to people about Jesus this week. Voice a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Be sure everyone has a copy of the winter Sunday School Member Quarterly and ask them to begin the Daily Bible Reading Guide tomorrow. Tell them next quarter we will study the second half of the book of Acts.
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