“July 15–21. Acts 10–15: ‘The Word of God Grew and Multiplied’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“July 15–21. Acts 10–15,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Invite class members to share, with someone sitting nearby, a missionary experience from Acts 10–15 that impressed them. Invite a few to share their insights with the whole class.
Some class members might have misconceptions about the process of receiving revelation. It may help them to discuss how revelation came to Peter and how they can move forward, “doubting nothing” (Acts 10:20), when revelation seems incomplete or unclear. Consider drawing a line on the board and writing at one end of the line The gospel is to be preached to the Gentiles. As a class, review Acts 10 and 11:1–18, and then add points on the line that show how the Lord revealed to Peter step by step that the time had come to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. For instance, you might start with a point labeled “Cornelius saw a vision” (Acts 10:1–6) or even start with the Savior’s command to His disciples to “teach all nations” in Matthew 28:19. What can we learn about revelation from Peter’s experience? What do Nephi’s teachings about revelation in 2 Nephi 28:30 and the teachings from Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Dallin H. Oaks in “Additional Resources” add to the discussion?
How might you help class members think more deeply about how they receive revelation? You might study instances in the scriptures in which the Lord taught people line upon line. In addition to Peter’s experience in Acts 10, class members could review the experiences of Nephi (1 Nephi 18:1–3); Alma (Alma 7:8; 16:20); and Mormon (3 Nephi 28:17, 36–40). What other examples can class members think of in which people received spiritual guidance “here a little and there a little”? (2 Nephi 28:30). Why might the Lord sometimes choose to reveal things in this way rather than giving us answers all at once? (see D&C 50:40; 98:12). An analogy like this one might help: Suppose someone suggested that you take a calculus class before you had learned algebra or geometry. How would you respond? How does this relate to the Lord’s pattern for revealing truth?
Sometimes members have questions or concerns about changes in the policies and programs in the Church. It might help them to discuss how the revelation to begin preaching the gospel to the Gentiles (see Acts 10) replaced the Lord’s earlier instructions to His disciples (see Matthew 10:1, 5–6). How might class members respond to someone in Peter’s day who disagreed with Peter’s direction because it contradicted earlier practices? How can the revelation in Acts 10 help us heed the Lord’s continuing revelation through His prophet?
It might be interesting to review the counseling together that took place among the Apostles, as described in Acts 15:1–22, and the letter they wrote to the Saints (see verses 23–29). You could show the video “The Jerusalem Conference” (LDS.org). What question did the disciples have? How did they seek an answer? The statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley in “Additional Resources” may shed additional light on how the Lord leads His Church through revelation to apostles and prophets.
Would your class members benefit from a discussion about what it means to be “no respecter of persons”? You might start by inviting the class to read scriptures that teach that God is not a respecter of persons, such as Romans 2:1–11; 1 Nephi 17:34–40; 2 Nephi 26:32–33; Alma 5:33; Moroni 8:12; and Doctrine and Covenants 1:34–35. Ask class members to write possible definitions of “no respecter of persons,” based on what they read, and then share what they wrote. You may need to help class members understand that being “no respecter of persons” does not mean that God blesses everyone equally regardless of our actions. He wants all of His children to accept His gospel, but the fulness of the blessings of the gospel are reserved for those who make and keep covenants with Him. How do the events and principles in Acts 10:34–48 show that God is no respecter of persons? How can the righteous be “accepted” and “favored” by God even though He is not a respecter of persons? (see Acts 10:34–35; 1 Nephi 17:35).
The account of Peter’s deliverance from prison in Acts 12:1–17 can help class members build their faith in the power of prayer. Perhaps a class member could come prepared to share the details of this story and his or her testimony of prayer. Or you could invite one or more ward or branch members to share experiences in which they felt or witnessed the power of the united prayers of members. You might also sing hymns about prayer (such as “Did You Think to Pray?” Hymns, no. 140) and discuss what the hymns teach about the power of prayer.
Invite class members to ponder reasons we sometimes fail to share the gospel with others. Suggest that studying Acts 16–21 can help them overcome obstacles that can prevent them from sharing the gospel.
Elder David A. Bednar made the following observations about the Lord’s pattern of revelation: “Many of us typically assume we will receive an answer or a prompting to our earnest prayers and pleadings. And we also frequently expect that such an answer or a prompting will come immediately and all at once. Thus, we tend to believe the Lord will give us a big answer quickly and all at one time. However, the pattern repeatedly described in the scriptures suggests we receive ‘line upon line, precept upon precept,’ or in other words, many small answers over a period of time. Recognizing and understanding this pattern is an important key to obtaining inspiration and help from the Holy Ghost” (“Line upon Line, Precept upon Precept,” New Era, Sept. 2010, 3–4).
Elder Dallin H. Oaks gave this counsel: “We should study things out in our minds, using the reasoning powers our Creator has placed within us. Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it if we receive it. If we do not receive guidance, we should act upon our best judgment” (“Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 13–14).
President Gordon B. Hinckley shared his perspective serving in the Church’s presiding councils:
“At the outset in considering matters, there may be differences of opinion. These are to be expected. These men come from different backgrounds. They are men who think for themselves. …
“… Out of this very process of men speaking their minds has come a sifting and winnowing of ideas and concepts. But I have never observed serious discord or personal enmity among my Brethren. I have, rather, observed a beautiful and remarkable thing—the coming together, under the directing influence of the Holy Spirit and under the power of revelation, of divergent views until there is total harmony and full agreement. Only then is implementation made. That, I testify, represents the spirit of revelation manifested again and again in directing this the Lord’s work” (“God Is at the Helm,” Ensign, May 1994, 54, 59).