“July 22–28. Acts 16–21: ‘The Lord Had Called Us for to Preach the Gospel’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“July 22–28. Acts 16–21,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Consider inviting class members to share a passage from Acts 16–21 that reminded them of an experience they had sharing the gospel.
Because Acts 16–21 describes two of Paul’s missionary journeys, class members may be able to learn from these chapters how to testify of Jesus Christ and share His gospel effectively. To inspire discussion on this topic, perhaps you could invite a few members to come to class prepared to share insights they gained from Acts 16–21 about sharing the gospel. To deepen the discussion, they might also share statements from a recent general conference address about missionary work. They could find one on their own, or you could suggest one of the messages in “Additional Resources.”
One prominent message in these chapters is the important role of the Holy Ghost in sharing the gospel. For example, class members could discover how the Holy Ghost helped Paul and Silas in Acts 16:6–15. They could also read 2 Nephi 33:1 and Doctrine and Covenants 42:14 and share truths they find about the importance of having the Spirit when sharing the gospel (see also the statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks in “Additional Resources”). Perhaps class members could share experiences when the Holy Ghost guided their efforts to share the gospel. What are some experiences we have had with sharing the gospel with someone the Lord has put into our path? (see also Preach My Gospel, 3–4).
How can you use Paul’s experiences to help your class members have courage when they are prompted to share their testimonies? Consider reviewing together scriptural accounts that describe Paul testifying, such as his experiences in Macedonia (see Acts 16:19–34), in Athens (see Acts 17:16–34), and in Corinth (see Acts 18:1–11). What evidence do we find of Paul’s courage and boldness? What doctrines did Paul teach (and understand) that gave him confidence in his message? Why are we sometimes afraid to share the gospel, and how can we overcome this fear? Perhaps the full-time missionaries could visit your class and share ways they have received the courage to testify. Encourage class members to think of one way they can follow Paul’s example and be more courageous in sharing their testimony of Christ.
On Mars’ Hill, Paul taught about Heavenly Father to a group of people who knew little about God’s true nature. To explore these teachings, class members could read Acts 17:24–31 and write on the board the truths they find about Heavenly Father, our relationship with Him, and our relationships with each other. What experiences can class members share in which they have felt the truth of Paul’s statement that God is “not far from every one of us”? (verse 27).
As you examine these verses together, consider discussing the truth taught in verse 29, “We are the offspring of God,” meaning that Heavenly Father is the literal father of our spirits. To do this, you could write on the board Because we are children of God and If we did not know we are children of God. Invite class members to suggest ways to complete these sentences. For example, what does the fact that we are children of God teach us about God? about ourselves? about the way we should treat each other? How would our lives be different if we did not know about our true relationship with God? This might lead to a discussion about how we can help others understand that they are children of God. The statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks in “Additional Resources” may add to this discussion.
Acts 19 is a good place to emphasize how important it is to be confirmed after we are baptized. Consider sharing this statement from the Prophet Joseph Smith: “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” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 95). How do Paul’s teachings in Acts 19:1–7 confirm the statement by Joseph Smith? Class members may also benefit from searching “Holy Ghost, Baptism of” in the Topical Guide to learn more about the blessings of receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.
To encourage class members to read Acts 22–28 during the next week, ask them something like, “If you had the chance to tell the leader of our nation about the gospel, what would you say?” Tell them that in Acts 22–28, they will find out what Paul said to some of the most powerful leaders of his day.
Dallin H. Oaks, “Sharing the Restored Gospel,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 57–60.
David A. Bednar, “Come and See,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 107–10.
Neil L. Andersen, “A Witness of God,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 35–38.
Mervyn B. Arnold, “To the Rescue: We Can Do It,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 53–55.
S. Gifford Nielsen, “Hastening the Lord’s Game Plan!” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 33–35.
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World” shares eternal truths about our relationship to God: “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129).
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of the importance of seeing ourselves first and foremost as spiritual children of God:
“Be careful how you characterize yourself. Don’t characterize or define yourself by some temporary quality. The only single quality that should characterize us is that we are a son or daughter of God. That fact transcends all other characteristics, including race, occupation, physical characteristics, honors, or even religious affiliation. …
“We have our agency, and we can choose any characteristic to define us. But we need to know that when we choose to define ourselves or to present ourselves by some characteristic that is temporary or trivial in eternal terms, we de-emphasize what is most important about us, and we overemphasize what is relatively unimportant. This can lead us down the wrong path and hinder our eternal progress” (“Be Wise” [Brigham Young University–Idaho devotional, Nov. 7, 2006], byui.edu).