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Help in the Short Term

Evangelism isn't everything, but everything is evangelism.

Acts (22)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27

The video for lesson 22 concludes our series. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 22).

Read and meditate on Acts 27.27-38.
Words of comfort and hope aren’t enough when a society is in jeopardy. God’s people need to be ready to act, and to offer immediate help where they can.

For reflection
1.  The sailors determined that their ship was being driven into shallow water, so they set out anchors at the stern in hope of keeping the ship from crashing onto rocks (vv. 27, 28). They were not persuaded that was going to help, however, so they concocted a scheme to escape what they perceived would be certain destruction. Paul saw through their ploy, however, and counseled the centurion to keep them on board and to cut away the ship’s boat to avoid that temptation ever rising again. Sometimes, when you’re trying to help, you have to take measures to keep the unwise from acting even more unwisely. How might this relate to Christian involvement in matters of importance?

2.  If they were going to run aground, Paul knew they’d need strength to get ashore. So he advised them to eat something before they threw the last of the provisions overboard. He prayed with thanksgiving in front of them all, and led the way to a meal. His prayer and actions encouraged the others, and all benefited from the repast. What can you learn from Paul about meeting the needs of people that come to your attention?

3.  We get the sense that Paul was now very much in charge. Everyone was looking to him, and all benefited from his short-term counsel and example. Now they were ready for what everyone seemed to know, and what Paul had foretold, was the inevitable. We can’t keep others from running aground, but we can speak the truth and show concern for the members of society as it heads for the rocks. How can we do this in our prayers (cf. 1 Tim. 2.1-8)?

4.  Lesson 3: Talk is cheap. If we expect to make long-term changes in public policy, Christians need to be ready to act and to help others with short-term and immediate needs. Like Paul, we need to see the overall situation clearly and determine what should be done for the wellbeing of all (1 Chron. 12.32). Then we need to lead the way into the courses of action we prescribe. How can you begin to become more informed about issues within your home and church, and of morality, culture, and public policy?

5.  Can you think of any actions Christians could begin to take right now that might help to shape the course of public policy for the future? What about in your Personal Mission Field? How could you begin to show more concern for the people God sends you to each day?

As the salt of the earth, Christians are called to preserve whatever is good and useful. The world may not appreciate our efforts, but our efforts will be consistent with our Kingdom-and-glory calling, and they may help to lay a foundation for our witness to the Lord. Do you suppose Paul was thinking only about this desperate situation as he worked to help save these people? Explain.

Closing Prayer
Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us!
Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us,
For we have been brought very low.
Help us, O God of our salvation,
For the glory of Your name;
And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins,
For Your name’s sake!
Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Let there be known among the nations in our sight
The avenging of the blood of Your servants which has been shed.
Let the groaning of the prisoner come before You;
According to the greatness of Your power
Preserve those who are appointed to die;
And return to our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom
Their reproach with which they have reproached You, O Lord.

Psalm 79.8-12

T. M. Moore

Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.

Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book,
The Kingdom Turn (click here).

Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Or, you can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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