Explore the Bible Study: Misguided Worship

10:02 AM

When you see a picture of someone lifting hands in worship with images overlaid such as the one above, you might wonder, "What could this mean?" For Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14:8-20 this image could describe the background of the people with whom they were sharing the gospel. They weren't speaking to an audience that understood Judaism or had any understanding of monotheism. They worshipped everything but Holy God. When they encountered God for the first time, their response was one of misguided worship. This is the focus of LifeWay's Explore the Bible Study: Misguided Worship.

When this took place, Paul and Barnabas had to redirect and clarify the gospel to an audience that didn't understand at all. This session will help your group members consider how they should help individuals who don't understand the gospel and who might respond incorrectly to God when He works in their lives. They might respond in unusual and ungodly ways which will require us to prayerfully consider how to redirect their worship.

The TARGET for this week should be kept in mind in order to remain focused while leading this session: When people misunderstand God’s work, it is an opportunity to share the gospel and encourage people to worship the one true God.

As we consider the outcome of Paul's and Barnabas's experience at this town called Lystra, be sure to lead your group to understand what took place in this community AFTER they left. While Paul was almost killed and they left without any seemingly grand conversion of a community to Christ, upon revisiting the region later in the book of Acts we discover that there was a thriving body of believers and one very special disciple who became Paul's traveling companion and lifelong friend. His name is Timothy, one whom Paul laters refers to as his "son in the faith" (1 Timothy 1:18).

Here are three takeaways you should focus on when guiding this session:
  1. There are countless people with whom we have relationships who don't have a church context so we have to learn how to clearly communicate the gospel with them. 
  2. We need to learn how to respond when individuals from a different spiritual context respond to God's work by worshipping incorrectly.
  3. We need to understand that a painful experience doesn’t mean failure. God will use you to share the gospel message and it will be fruitful.
The following video is suggested as a part of the LOOK UP portion of the additional teaching ideas.


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