SYNOPSIS OF THE SERMON
Paul’s conversion is undoubtedly one of the most important world-changing events. There is no single event, apart from the life, death and resurrection of Christ, that so determined the course of Christian history. Paul’s faith was not a religion without Christ, but it was radically marked by a relationship with Christ. As we study Paul’s conversion, we learn that the very center of the Christian message is nothing other than Jesus Christ – “Christianity is Christ!”
GETTING THE CONVERSATION STARTED
These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.
1. Do you know of a remarkable conversion story like Paul? Briefly share.
2. Rich shared in his sermon that “every conversion is a miracle.” How does that shape how you view Paul’s conversion story as opposed to another conversion story that was not as dramatic? How does that shape how you view evangelism?
3. If someone didn’t get a chance to share their spiritual journey story last week, it might be good to make time for that this week.
INTERACTING WITH THE SERMON
1. Briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon. What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling? Explain.
2. Read Luke 19:1-10:
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
• What do we know about tax collectors (verse 2) in this time period? Based on this knowledge, what might we infer about Zacchaeus and his life?
• Why do you think Jesus responded the way he did in verse 5?
• How does Zacchaeus respond to Jesus? (verses 6, 8)
• Why do you think the people responded so negatively to this interaction? (verse 7)
• Jesus says in verse 9, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.” What do you think is the significance of Zacchaeus being called “a son of Abraham”?
• Jesus says in verse 10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” How does the story of Zacchaeus demonstrate this?
• How is the conversion story of Zacchaeus similar to Paul’s? How are they different?
• How is Zacchaeus’ story similar or different from your own response to Jesus? What are some lessons we can learn from the way Zacchaeus responded to Jesus?
3. Rich shared in his sermon about the top ten countries where Christians are persecuted today: North Korea, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, China, Pakistan, Eritrea, Egypt, India, Laos, Indonesia. Please consider setting aside some time during group to pray specifically for these countries and the Christians who are being persecuted there.