“July 15–21. Acts 10–15: ‘The Word of God Grew and Multiplied’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“July 15–21. Acts 10–15,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
During His mortal ministry, Jesus Christ’s teachings often challenged people’s long-held traditions and beliefs; this didn’t stop after He ascended into heaven—after all, He continued to guide His Church by revelation. For example, during Jesus’s life His disciples preached the gospel only to fellow Jews. But soon after the Savior died and Peter became the prophet of the Church, Jesus Christ revealed to Peter that the time was right for the gospel to be preached to non-Jews. The idea of sharing the gospel with Gentiles doesn’t seem surprising today, so what’s the lesson in this account for us? Perhaps one lesson is that changes in policy and practice—in both the ancient and modern Church—come by revelation from the Lord to His chosen leaders (Amos 3:7; D&C 1:38). Continuing revelation is an essential characteristic of the true and living Church of Jesus Christ. Like Peter, we must be willing to accept continuing revelation and live “by every word of God” (Luke 4:4), including “all that [He] has revealed, all that He does now reveal” and the “many great and important things” He will yet reveal “pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (Articles of Faith 1:9).
For generations, the Jews had believed that being of “the seed of Abraham,” or a literal descendant of Abraham, meant that a person was accepted (chosen) by God (see Luke 3:8). Anyone else was considered an “unclean” Gentile who was not accepted by God. In Acts 10, what did the Lord teach Peter about who “is accepted with him”? (Acts 10:35). What evidence do you find in this chapter that Cornelius was living a righteous life that was acceptable to the Lord? Why is it important to know that “God is no respecter of persons” (verse 34), meaning that all people can receive the blessings of the gospel if they live by its teachings? (see 1 Nephi 17:35).
Like the Jews who looked down on those who were not of the seed of Abraham, do you ever catch yourself making unkind or uninformed assumptions about someone who is different from you? How can you overcome this tendency? It might be interesting to try a simple activity for the next few days: Whenever you interact with someone, try to think to yourself, “This person is a child of God.” As you do this, what changes do you notice in the way you think about and interact with others?
When Peter saw the vision described in Acts 10, he struggled at first to understand it and “doubted in himself what [it] should mean” (verse 17). Yet the Lord gave Peter greater understanding as Peter sought it. As you read Acts 10, 11, and 15, notice how Peter’s understanding of his vision deepened over time. How have you sought and received greater understanding from God when you had questions?
Acts 10, 11, and 15 recount instances in which the Lord directed His servants through revelation. It might help to record what you find regarding revelation as you read these chapters. How does the Spirit speak to you?
What is significant about a person being called a Christian? (see Acts 11:26). What does it mean to you to be known as a Christian or to take upon yourself the name of Jesus Christ? (see D&C 20:77). Consider the significance of names. For instance, what does your family name mean to you? Why is the name of the Church today important? (see D&C 115:4).
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
Have we ever had spiritual experiences and later doubted what we felt or learned? What advice can we give each other that might help us overcome our doubts? (See Ronald A. Rasband, “Lest Thou Forget,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 113–15.)
When Peter was cast into prison, members of the Church gathered together and prayed for him. Is there someone your family feels inspired to pray for, such as a Church leader or loved one? What does it mean to pray “without ceasing”? (Acts 12:5).
As you read this chapter together, some family members could make note of blessings that came to the disciples and the Church, while other family members could note opposition or trials disciples experienced. Why does God allow difficult things to happen to righteous people?
These verses describe a disagreement in the Church regarding whether gentile (non-Jewish) converts should be required to be circumcised as a sign of their covenant. The disagreement was resolved after the Apostles met together to consider the subject and then received an inspired answer. This may be a good time to teach your family that the same pattern applies today. As a family, pick a question about the gospel that you want to find the answer to together. Look together for insights in the scriptures and in the teachings of modern prophets and apostles. (The Topical Guide and the topic index in the conference issue of Church magazines might help.)
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.