“July 22–28. Acts 16–21: ‘The Lord Had Called Us for to Preach the Gospel’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“July 22–28. Acts 16–21,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Among the Lord’s final words to His Apostles was the commandment, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20). While the Apostles didn’t quite make it to all nations, Acts 16–21 does show that Paul and his companions did make remarkable progress in establishing the Church. They taught, baptized, and conferred the gift of the Holy Ghost. They performed miracles, even raising a man from the dead, and foretold the Great Apostasy (Acts 20:7–12; 20:28–31). And the work they started continues with living Apostles today, along with devoted disciples like you, who are helping fulfill the Savior’s commission in ways Paul never could have imagined. Perhaps you are aware of people who do not know their Heavenly Father or His gospel. Perhaps you have felt that your “spirit was stirred in [you]” to share with them what you know about Him (Acts 17:16). If you follow Paul’s example of humility and boldness in sharing the gospel, you may find someone “whose heart the Lord [has] opened” (Acts 16:14).
Everyone needs the gospel of Jesus Christ, but some people are more prepared than others to receive it. This is one reason we need the Holy Ghost when we share the gospel—to guide us to those who are ready. As you read Acts 16–21, note instances in which the Spirit guided Paul and his companions. What blessings came because they followed the Spirit? When have you felt the Spirit prompting you in your efforts to share the gospel?
Being thrown in prison for preaching the gospel might seem like an understandable reason to stop preaching. But to Paul and Silas, it became an opportunity to convert a jailor (see Acts 16:16–34). Throughout Acts 16–21, look for other examples of Paul’s willingness to share his witness with everyone. Why do you think he was so bold and fearless? What do you learn from Paul’s example?
There are many more messages about sharing the gospel in chapters 16–21. If you look carefully, you can find some that are especially applicable to you. Try reading these chapters with this goal in mind. What do you find?
In Athens, Paul found a people of diverse opinions and religious views. They were always seeking “to hear some new thing,” and what Paul had to offer was definitely new to them (see Acts 17:19–21). They worshipped many gods, including one they called “the unknown God” (Acts 17:23), but they believed that the gods were powers or forces, not living, personable beings, and certainly not our Father. Read what Paul said to help them come to know God, and note the characteristics of God that you find. What does it mean to you to be the “offspring of God”? (Acts 17:29). In your opinion, how is being a child of God different from being just one of His creations? If you had stood beside Paul as he was testifying, what would you have told the ancient Greeks about our Heavenly Father? Do you know someone who could benefit from hearing your testimony?
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:
To help your family visualize what is happening in these chapters, it could be fun, as you read together, to mark the cities that Paul visited on a map (see the map at the end of this outline).
These teachings from the Prophet Joseph Smith might help your family discuss Acts 19:1–7: “Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost. … ‘To be born of water and of the Spirit’ meant to be immersed in water for the remission of sins and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost thereafter. This was given by the laying on of the hands of one having authority given him of God” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 95). What blessings have come to us from receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost?
What inspired the people in these verses to burn their books worth “fifty thousand pieces of silver”? (Acts 19:19). Are there worldly possessions or activities we need to give up in order to receive heavenly blessings?
When has your family experienced Christ’s teaching that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”? (Acts 20:35). Is there someone who could benefit from service, time, or gifts that your family could give? As a family, discuss some ideas and make a plan to serve someone. How do we feel when we serve others? Why is it more blessed to give than to receive?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.