828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Christian Formation for Sunday May 13; the 6th Sunday of Easter - Acts 10:44-48; Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit

May 13, 2012, 6th Sunday of Easter
Acts 10:44-48
Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit
Background: The Acts of the Apostles continues the story of Jesus’ life portrayed in the Gospel of Luke. This book emphasizes the sovereignty of God and the divinity of Jesus; heavy emphasis is placed on tying all Jesus did to the Old Testament prophets. It has been said that Luke’s intent was to show the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus were both real and preordained by God.

Theme: The Apostles continue their work of spreading the gospel message in new and unheard of places. Peter, being faithful to his vow to Jesus, does not hesitate to go where he is sent – often to the chagrin of those leaders in Jerusalem. Peter will continue his eloquent defense of his actions by citing the presence of the Holy Spirit as the proof that he is doing the right thing.

Questions to Ponder

* Please review and compare this passage with Acts 2:1-13.

* Briefly describe the social and political structure surrounding this passage.

* How does this passage compare to the passage at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13)? What are the similarities and differences between the two passages?

* What might the significance be of the Holy Spirit descending while Peter is speaking?

* Why might there be “circumcised believers” with Peter? What role might they be playing in the exchange that takes place? Why might their presence be important?

* How might this passage proclaim the favorable response to the gospel message by the Gentiles? How might this passage highlight God’s acceptance of the Gentiles as true believers?

* How might this passage lead to Peter’s later trial in Chapter 11?

* What might the significance be of the Gentile converts’ speaking in tongues be?

* Why might the circumcised members be astonished at the Gentiles speaking in tongues? Do you think their astonishment was well founded?

* For a time it was argued that behavior was the principle requirement for belonging to the church (one had to behave properly before they could become a member of the church) and that belonging would lead to belief. Do you think this passage supports or refutes that argument? Why or why not?

* What is “odd” about the sequence of events in today’s passage?

* There is a proposal about an “open table” (allowing any person, regardless of their status as a baptized Christian to receive bread and wine at Communion) in the Episcopal Church. How do you think this passage informs allowing un-baptized people to come to the table as members of the church?

* What is implied by the Gentiles being baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ”?

* What might Peter’s staying with the Gentiles “for some days” imply? What would be most surprising and most troubling to the circumcised believers and Jews about Peter’s extended presence with the Gentiles?

* What might some of the applications of this passage be for us today as we look at our life and ministry in Suffolk, Southern Virginia, the Anglican Communion, and the world?

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