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, April 22, 2013

Christian Formation for Sunday April 28 - Acts 11:1-18; Peter's Report to the Church at Jerusalem

April 28, 2013 – 5 Easter
Acts 11:1-18
Peter’s Report to the Church at Jerusalem
Background: The Acts of the Apostles is a unique book in the New Testament. This book is the companion to the Gospel of Luke and provides much of the history of the early church. Acts presents much of the theology of the Apostles and Disciples in the first century as the Christian Cult was gaining stature. This section describes the spread of the faith outside Jerusalem.
Theme: Peter is called upon to justify his spreading the message of Christ’s resurrection and redemptive powers to non-Jewish believers. Peter recounts how he came to be led to accept Gentile converts without them becoming Jews.
Questions to Ponder:
* Please read Acts 10:1-48 as background for today’s reading. Briefly describe the setting for this passage.
* Who do you think the “circumcised believers” were? What do you think their biggest concern was with regard to Peter’s inclusion of Gentiles into the Christian faith?
* Why do you think Peter reported he was in a trance when he saw his vision? How might that be different that being spoken to in a dream? What do you think the significance is between a vision and a dream to the 1st and 2nd century Christians?
* What do you think was in the sheet? Do you think it was only “unclean” creatures or was it all creatures? Why do you think the vision used unclean creatures to prove the point?
* Why do you think there were 3 visions and 3 people who arrived to pick Peter up? Why do you think Peter took “6 brothers” with him to Cornelius’ house?
* Some argue the principle being argued was less about the Gentiles being included in the believers and more about the Gentiles not converting to Judaism before converting to Christianity. Why do you think the Jewish Christians thought the Gentiles must convert before converting to Christianity?
* What do you think the rationale was for the belief that the Gentiles had to become Jews first?
* What do you think the vision and commentary by Peter implied about God’s agency in the human condition?
* What do you think the message that Peter had that would “[by which] you [Cornelius] and your household would be saved” was in verse 14?
* How might that message be considered simply for the “insiders” of the Jewish converts as opposed to all converts to the Christian faith?
* How do you think Peter envisioned his being a hindrance of God in verse 17?
* How does our action hinder or help God’s mission in the world?
* What do you think the issue was with regard to the Gentiles becoming Christians?
* What it the message of the good news in this passage and how do we share that same message today?

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