Watch the most recent sermon on 10.17.2021 Go Now!
October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
In this study guide, we’ll discuss what it looks like to pursue the big dreams and vision God has given each of us by going after one life at a time!
Below, you’ll find some key discussion points to reflect on and questions to discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, as well as some action points for the week.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
Getting the Conversation Going: As you may know, the apostles were ordained by God to preach the gospel and grow the Church. They were commissioned to take the gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8), to plant churches throughout the world, and to make disciples of all nations. And they did this not only through big evangelistic efforts like Paul in the Areopagus or at Antioch, or Peter and John to the Jews in Acts 4, but also by going after the one! Where do we see this?
Acts 8:9–13 (NIV, emphasis added): “Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, ‘This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.’ They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.”
Acts 8:26–38 (NIV, emphasis): “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch . . . This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’ Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked. ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him . . . The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?’ Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.”
Acts 9:10–19 (NIV, emphasis added): “In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias . . . The Lord told him, ‘Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.’ ‘Lord,’ Ananias answered, ‘I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.’ But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.’ Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.”
Acts 10:1–8 (NIV, emphasis added): “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, ‘Cornelius!’ Cornelius stared at him in fear. ‘What is it, Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.’ When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.”
This is just the tip of the iceberg! All throughout the Old and New Testaments, you see examples of men and women pursuing the big vision God gave them all the while passionately and persistently investing in the lives of others. Consider Moses’ investment into Joshua’s life while leading the people of Israel, or Elijah and Elisha, Samuel and David, Paul and Timothy, Epaphras, or Titus, Peter, and Mark, and the list goes on! Big work, big mission, big vision, big dreams . . . and personal investment.
Holiness is obedience turned inward. Mission is obedience turned outward.—Brian Blount
And here’s the thing: The impact of going after the one always goes beyond the one! How so? According to early Church father Irenaeus of Lyons, Phillip’s investment in the Ethiopian eunuch is believed to have led to the people of Ethiopia having the gospel preached among them and throughout the region. “This man was also sent into the regions of Ethiopia, to preach what he had himself believed, that there was one God preached by the prophets, but that the Son of this [God] had already made [His] appearance in human flesh, and had been led as a sheep to the slaughter; and all the other statements which the prophets made regarding Him.”
Imagine the impact of Cornelius had—a Roman official in the military; a man with status and influence. Consider the impact of Ananias’ obedience to pray over and speak into the life of Paul despite Paul’s reputation and past. And consider how Paul’s influence reached thousands in his day and billions since then with the gospel by his continual investment in others through discipleship.
This is how the gospel works! This is why it’s so important we never forsake the practice of going after the one; to invest in the lives of people in our spheres for the kingdom.
This Week: The Calvary Vision puts definition to a dream we believe God has given our church. What dream? To reach people with the gospel by meeting needs and impacting various areas we believe are close to God’s heart.
So, whether you know where you want to make a difference or would like to learn more about the different opportunities, we’ve got you covered. Visit CalvaryFTL.org/Vision this week to learn how you can be a part of the story God is writing in South Florida and beyond!
In our next study, we’ll begin a five-week examination of the Book of Micah.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.