Grace UMC prepares for Sunday worship by reading the scripture for the coming Sunday’s sermon. Below, you fill find questions that can be used for Bible Study, small groups or personal devotion. Let the scripture speak into your life! Expect great things!
Preparation for 15th Sunday After Pentecost
Lord God of heaven and earth, Creator of our world, and everything in it, yet as close to us as our own breath—holy is Your name. In You we live and move and have our being; we are Your own children the work of Your hands. We pray that Your Holy Spirit would move among us as we worship, opening our eyes to Your presence, opening our ears to Your Word. Receive the worship of our hearts and minds and bodies; may it be a pleasing offering to You. We pray in the name of Your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, in whose death and resurrection we find life. Amen.
- Share one word to describe how it is with your soul today.
2. In pairs of 2 share what your life purpose is. What about your purpose as a Christian? What’s the purpose of Grace UMC?
Scripture 1: Acts 19:1-12, 17-20
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when[a] you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues[b] and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. [c] 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
Scripture 2: Matthew 28: 18-20 (New International Version)
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Our text today records the establishing of the church in Ephesus. In Paul’s day, it was a city of about 200,000, noted as a center for magic arts and especially for its Temple of Artemis, a multi-breasted goddess. This temple was the largest building in the world at that time, as long as a football field, known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was four times the size of the Parthenon in Athens. God opened the door so Paul could enter this stronghold of Satan, enabling the church to be established so that “the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power” (v. 20). In fact, “all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia [Western Turkey today] heard the word of the Lord” (v. 10). It was probably during this period that the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 were established.
Jesus instructs the corporate body to make disciples of non-believers, baptize them, and teach them God’s ways. Only then will we see more people in fellowship, more people educated in the truth, and more people praising God.
- What do you think prompted Paul’s questioning about the Holy Spirit and Baptism
- What type of Baptism had these disciples received?
- What type of baptism have you received?
- What signs followed the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
- Do these signs still follow the baptism of the Holy Spirit today?
- What was the main outcome of the opposition the gospel faced?
- How can Satan harden our heart against the gospel?
- Was Paul effective at preaching the word ?
- What is the most important purpose of the church according to Matthew 28
Dear God, we pray that you would touch our mouths and give us the words to speak of your Good News in the world. Teach us not to be afraid for you will give us strength and the courage to persevere in times of trouble and threats. Our world needs prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah and Amos to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant. May we become your prophets today. Amen.