GET ACQUAINTED: What is the best memory you have of your father or father figure?
SCRIPTURE: (Acts 9:13-30 )
Open your time together with prayer. NOTE: This is only a guide! Feel free to select the points you want to discuss and adapt them to your needs.
OBSERVATION: We are currently studying the book of Acts. We continue looking at the life of the Apostle Paul. Many consider Paul to be the greatest Christian who ever lived. What made Paul’s faith so great? I believe that it was his ability, his availability, and his dependability. But there something else that happened very early in Paul’s salvation experience that helped to prepare him for a life of service.
“15But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. 18Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. (Galatians 1:15-18 )
Soon after his conversion, Paul traveled into the country of Arabia. Some suggest that he spent three years there; however, scripture seems to indicate that the three years included:
– His conversion
– His time in Damascus preaching in the synagogue
– His time in Arabia (possibly the desert of Arabia)
– His return to Damascus and time spent there again
–Then his journey to Jerusalem
Concerning these three years, Warren Wiersbe writes, “Paul gave himself to study, prayer, and meditation, and met with the Lord alone.” Many believe that this was Paul’s three years with the Lord, even as the other apostles had spent three years with Christ while He was here on earth. What practical application can we make from this to our lives today?
In Proverbs 8:17 we read, “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” Jesus said in Matthew 5:6 , “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
Jesus later told His disciples that what He told them in darkness, they would be able to speak in the light.
Most likely it was during those three years that the Lord began to reveal to Paul many deep spiritual truths. They were not wasted years, but years of preparation so that when he was given the opportunity to speak, he would have something significant to say.
We must learn to follow Paul’s example and value quiet, intimate time alone with God. Perhaps the Lord has a great ministry for you, but first, He is waiting for you to purposefully set aside time to be with Him. Begin today find your private place, and listen carefully to what the Lord has to say. -Excerpted from Seed of Faith by Terry Covey
We Learn Three Things from Saul’s Ministry Preparation Experience:
- We need to spend time along with God. (Galatians 1:15-18 )
Why was spending time alone with God so important in preparation for ministry? In Saul’s time alone with God three of his major questions were answered: 1) Who are you Lord? 2) Who am I now? 3) What do you want me to do Lord? What were the answers to his questions? How did the answers affect his ministry? How does this apply to us?
- We need to experience a dose of ministry reality.
Sometimes experiencing a dose of ministry reality can be very humbling. What experience(s) caused Saul to be humbled? How did he benefit from this? How can/do we benefit from experiencing ministry reality?
- We need to allow other believers to minister to us.
How did other believers minister to Saul? Why is this so important? What keeps us from being ministered to by others? Who has God placed in your life as a ministry opportunity?
Personal Application and Commitment: 1) God does everything possible to do away with the energy of our human flesh in order to teach us that without Him we can do nothing. 2) In the work of Christ, no one is indispensable. 3) It takes time to build a life that is uniquely usable in the work of God.