By Michael C. Mack
“A leopard can’t change its spots”—meaning, people can’t really change their character, especially if it’s bad, even if they pretend they’ve changed. Is this saying true or false? Why?
Read Acts 9:19b-31.
Why did people have such a hard time believing that Paul had become a Christian? (See 7:58; 8:1; 9:1, 2, 13.)
Paul was not the only person who experienced a 180-degree turnaround. Look at the differences between verses 21 and 25 as well as 26 and 28. What caused the changes in how the believers regarded Paul?
What was Barnabas’s role in Paul’s acceptance and ministry? (See also 11:25-26; 12:25.)
What do you learn from Paul’s story about ministry calling and requirements? (See also Galatians 1:10-24; Acts 22:17-21; Ephesians 3:7; and note the words “at once” in v. 20.)
When you become a Christ follower, you also become a minister (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). What are the biggest obstacles you’ve found to carrying out your ministry?
Numerous people in this passage had God-given roles to bring about the results we read in verse 31. What is your role in the body of Christ and in your group to carry out Christ’s mission?
Michael Mack leads church training events and consults with churches through his ministry, Small Group Leadership (www.smallgroupleadership.com).