NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.
Bible Passages: Acts 10:34-43
Discussion Questions: Part of the good work God wants believers to do is to share your faith. What reservations do you have about sharing yours? How will you be more diligent in doing good works for the glory of God?
Food for Thought:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things” (Galatians 5:22-23, CSB).
Each quality of the fruit of the Spirit is absolutely divine. They are impossible for the unbeliever to manifest. Every believer possesses the fruit of the Spirit, but they are not automatically evident in every believer’s life. We get to choose daily how much of the Spirit’s fruit is displayed in our lives as we yield in obedience to His leading.
Goodness is one such fruit of the Spirit. Being good or doing the right thing is not always popular according to worldly standards. Popular culture is attracted to the “bad boy” and “bad girl” character traits. But goodness is an attribute God produces in believers by His Spirit. The fruit of His Spirit is manifested outwardly as you yield to Him in obedience. The more good you do, the more good you want to do. God desires that all believers do good works, but we must first allow the Word of God to do its good work in us.
Acts 10:34-43 places us at one of the most historically significant times in the church. God reveals His plan to include Gentiles in the family of faith as Peter preaches to a group of people gathered in the home of Cornelius, a Roman centurion. Through this act God sovereignly initiates the plan for Cornelius’ salvation. Because of the contentious hatred between the Jews and Gentiles, God prepared Peter and Cornelius for what was to come by speaking to them through visions. God used divine means to prepare them for what would change the church forever.
Peter began his sermon by stating an important truth: God does not show favoritism (v. 34). The only distinction God makes among humankind is that some believe in His Son for salvation and others do not. God loved Cornelius just as much as He loved Peter, for Jesus died for both of them and saved both of them. Today, it is important for believers to remember that regardless of a person’s race, age, gender or economic status, when the heart recognizes a need for God and desires to do the right thing, that person has the opportunity to accept the free gift of salvation. This is the good news the Jewish apostle traveled to Caesarea to share with the Roman centurion.
In verses 36-38, Peter affirmed that Cornelius and his family knew who Jesus was and that He was anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power (Luke 3:21-22). They knew about Jesus’ life and death and all that took place in Judea. They also knew that Jesus “went about doing good and healing all who were under the tyranny of the devil” (v. 38) because God was with Him.
Peter presented the same message to the Jews and Gentiles, further demonstrating that the “good news” does not change. The way of salvation is the same for all people. After all, Jesus is Lord of all and is the only One qualified to judge the living and the dead. God has chosen Jesus to judge all people in the last days and He will provide forgiveness to all who believe in Him.
The good news is out! The Gospel of salvation is available to all who will believe. God is good. The Gospel is good. If we accept Jesus as our Savior, we can be good! Having ready access to God’s Word ought to make it easier for us to do good. The bottom line is that, if we are willing to allow Him, God will produce goodness in our lives as He draws us to Himself. The closer we are to Him, the more we will want to please Him and become like Him in character.
In a shifting cultural context, it’s more important than ever before that people connect, grow, serve, and go in their Christian life. YOU is committed to doing just that by providing a complete Bible study experience for small groups and classes. Every session is written through an urban and multiethnic lens that provides relevant, engaging and applicable studies that not only encourage and equip people, but also motivate them to mission. This flexible, non-dated all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals, and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional online teaching resources, visit LifeWay.com/YOU.