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Sermon Overview & Discussion Questions: "Gospel Plans That Don't Go as Planned"

Sermon Overview:
Anarchy! A riot swiftly erupts in the Jerusalem temple as Paul is suddenly slandered, beaten, and dragged out of the temple by a devilish mob stirred up by unbelieving Jews. Seeking ordered justice, a military tribune arrests Paul, delivering him from the violent horde, and escorts him in chains into the soldiers’ barracks to hear his plea for innocence. An unwavering Paul rises to address the mob and passionately recounts his personal experience of how the blazing presence of Jesus himself illuminated both the Damascus Road and his very soul, as the light of Christ opened his eyes to God’s message of salvation and commissioned him to preach the unstoppable gospel to the Gentile nations.

Discussion Questions:
1. What was the central point of Steve’s sermon (regarding God’s providence amidst “gospel plans”), and how is this central statement shown to be true throughout the general narrative of the passage?

2. When “gospel plans” don’t go according to plan, Christians are called to act peaceably. How do the specific words & actions of the mob that attacked Paul (21:27-31; 34-36) serve as negative examples of what it means to act peaceably?

3. Steve noted that Paul’s conversion story ought to sound very familiar to our own conversion experiences while also striking us as uniquely different than our personal stories of salvation. Drawing from the details of Paul’s conversion account, in what ways do you relate Paul’s salvation narrative? What elements of Paul’s conversion seem unique to his experience?

4. Which attribute of God did Steve note Christians are to trust in fearlessly? In what specific ways have you seen such fearless trust evidenced by others in your community group?

5. Followers of Jesus honor God by speaking courageously amidst “gospel plans” that don’t go according to plan. In what ways do you do well to proclaim the gospel courageously? How might the LORD be growing you in courageous proclamation of the gospel?