Connect Group Study Notes: 15 May 2022

Theme: What God has called clean!

Readings: Revelation 21:1-6 and Acts 11:1-18

Fellowship (10 min)

Begin with general conversation and sharing about how the past week has gone. Try not to go over time.

Worship and Prayer (15 min)

Click on the link below on your smartphone, Smart TV, or computer, to select songs to sing; and then spend a few minutes in song and prayer.

And if you need to check on the Message for the week again, then click on:
This time of worship and prayer will encourage you to move your thoughts from daily worries and pressures to our time of Bible study and prayer.

Read Revelation 21:1-6

What verse speaks the most to you?

Read: Acts 11:1-18

The key phrase in this scripture for this week is “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

The Scripture reading today happens almost immediately after last week’s lesson in the town of Joppa. Peter has had a vision and he is explaining that vision to the believers in Jerusalem, but they are upset with him for eating in the house of a Gentile.

The believers in Jerusalem are upset that Peter went into the house of a Gentile (non-Jew). Peter is explaining that God gave him a vision that showed him that Gentiles are no longer “un-clean.”[1]

Discussion Questions (Approx. 30 min)

• What led the “circumcised believers” in Jerusalem to criticize Peter? [Verse 1 tells us that the Gentiles (non-Jews) had accepted God’s word.]
• Why do you think they felt the way they did?
• Is there a difference between criticism and judgement?
• Read Acts 10:28 and 10:34. Why do you think Peter concluded that this vision of killing and eating animals had to do with people?
• How do you think Peter felt when the “circumcised believers” criticized him for what he did?
• How do you think Peter felt having fellow believers criticize his actions that he believed were from God?”
• Why is change often so hard for people to deal with?
• What is Peter’s argument in verse 17? Why might it have been convincing (for at least some)?
• Why do you think those who first criticized Peter, came to agree with him, then were moved to praise God?

Faith Building – to think about this week:

• How can being welcoming be a part of being a witness for Christ?
• Who might God be calling us to welcome who would invite criticism from some people? (Especially in our hyper-partisan culture.)

Prayer (10 min). Share prayer requests and then pray together.

Sending Prayer (2 min). End by praying the following or a similar prayer:

God of all, you are bigger than a god of tribe or nation. You are Lord of lords
and King of kings. You invite people from all nations and tongues into your
kingdom. You invite all people to experience the abundance that comes in an
eternal relationship with you. Give us the eyes to see your extravagance and
be the extravagant people who glorify you. Amen.
Have a great week.
God bless,

[1] Jewish law was written so that the Jews would stand apart from the nations
around them. These laws included who they could interact with and what they
could eat. The idea is that the Jews would stand out as a nation so fully
devoted to God that other nations around them could look to them and know
God. But, as humans often do, things got twisted to a point that there were
actual people who were considered dirty and not worthy by the Jews. The
vision God gave Peter corrects this misunderstanding.
Acknowledged and with thanks to: