Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
Unlikely Leaders - Ch. 22
A Revival and a Riot at Thessalonica
Unlikely Leaders - Ch. 23
Paul Preaches in Berea and Athens
Unlikely Leaders - Ch. 24
Preaching the Power of the Cross in Corinth
Merely believing in the “right” things isn’t enough in this world. We must be firmly grounded in God’s Word in order to make right choices.
Lesson Plan 1: Continuing to Be Faithful
Have you ever been told you had to leave your home? Can you imagine it? What would it be like to be ordered from your home because of the church you go to or the God you worship? Well, that is exactly what happed to the Jews who were living in Rome during the reign of Claudius. This was a difficult period in history, but God doesn’t leave His people alone during any period. Today’s lesson is about God’s plan to turn bad situations into ones that bring glory to His kingdom.
Supplies: Beach Ball
1. With a marker divide a beach ball into sections.
2. Write questions on each section, such as:
3. Have the students throw the beach ball to each other and have them answer the question closest to their left pinky finger.
In Christian circles the term tent maker means that a person has a second career that they can use to make a living while spreading the Gospel. Have you ever wondered where that term came from? Paul was a tent maker, and he made a living doing it as he traveled the world preaching the Gospel. Have you ever wondered what talent God has given you that you could use to support yourself as you spread the Gospel?
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
Read Acts 18:1-8.
1 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
7 Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8 Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized.
Read Acts 18:9-11.
9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
Does God still communicate with His people like He did with Paul?
Read John 14:26.
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
God promises He will speak to us through His Spirit and help us to remember all the things He has told us. It’s encouraging to know that God is still interested in speaking into our lives. Paul was a pioneer in sharing the Gospel to the Gentiles and many times he was put in situations that would make a less confident person unable to do what God is calling him to do.
Read Mark 13:11.
11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
Read Acts 18:9-10.
9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
While the lesson for this week covers Acts 17:1-18:17, we’ll look closely at just chapter 17 because there’s so much in just this one chapter. If you and your Sabbath School class want to continue into chapter 18, go to AdventSource’s website and you can purchase and download a Relational Bible Study for the book of Acts, including chapter 18.
Acts 17 records three places Paul went on this part of his missionary journey. These included Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. Each has its own story. One common theme seems to be that everywhere he went to tell people about Jesus, Paul stirred people up. Sometimes his visit ended in riots! Paul typically started with Jews in their synagogues, telling them the Messiah the Jews looked for had already come. His name was Jesus. Then Paul would tell them the story of Jesus. Usually some people believed and some didn’t.
This wasn’t just a matter of preference. If you believe Jesus is the Messiah, it changes everything! If you’ve grown up in a Christian environment, it’s hard to appreciate how radically different this would be for a Jew. Nowadays many Christians just consider Jesus a good guy who said some good things and helped people. But Jesus was much more radical than that! Ask yourself, “If Jesus really is my Savior (I’m totally doomed without Him) and Lord (I’ll do whatever He asks me to do), how does that affect what I do each day?”
Those in Berea were fact-checkers before the internet and Google were around. They tested what Paul said by comparing it with Scripture. In addition to Jews coming to believe in Jesus, so did God-fearing Gentiles, including those prominent in the town. That’s a big change for a little town.
Next came Paul’s trip to Athens—the capital of intellectualism in Paul’s day, dating back to the glory years of the Greek empire. Mars Hill, just outside the city, was the hangout place for people to talk and debate and challenge any new idea against existing schools of thought. This was the “Harvard Square” of the day. Christians today refer to Paul’s experience at Mars Hill as the model to follow to interact with intellectuals. Others think Paul looked back on it with regret, wishing he would have used a different approach—see 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, written right after Paul’s experience at Mars Hill.
“I Have Something to Tell You”
Who can “push your buttons”? Whose buttons can you push?
Read Acts 17:1-34.
1 When Paul and his companions had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.
5 But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.”
8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. 9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.
10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
13 But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, some of them went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. 14 The believers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. 15 Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.
16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)
22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.
1. Why did Paul go to the synagogues as his evangelism strategy?
2. What was the accusation against Paul and Silas in Thessalonica?
3. Why did the believers in Thessalonica send Paul to Berea?
4. To whom did Paul reach out in Athens?
5. What is a good way to share your faith with intellectuals?
6. What do you think about the resurrection of Jesus?
7. Who/What are the idols in America today? Who/What are the idols in your house?
8. How successful was Paul’s presentation on Mars Hill? How successful are you at sharing Jesus with those who aren’t Christians?
Each place Paul went, he told people about Jesus. But his tactics on how to share Jesus varied from place to place. He used his mind to try an approach that would meet people where they were, but he also remained sensitive to impressions from the Holy Spirit about what to do, and what not to do. As followers of Jesus, we desire to share Him with others, too. Consider the application ideas as you put this into practice in your life this week.
Here are three application ideas for you to “live out” the Bible passage we studied for this week’s Youth Sabbath School. Try this with friends, family, and/or with strangers by talking to them about Jesus.
Families usually have certain patterns of communication. You may choose to follow a typical verbal exchange, or mix it up like Paul did. The purpose isn’t to simply talk, but to talk about Jesus. You might want to set an appointment, or meet at a restaurant, or do an activity together, or just sit around the living room or dining room table to talk.
This can bring to mind the stereotype of a street preacher or protester who creates ire and jeering from those passing by.
By Vandeon Griffin
This Impressions Journal provides a pathway for you to study key texts and write your impressions in a year-long journey with God. Each week you will be presented with the text for the week. Every day you will read this text and write what you think the text means in your experience.
This journal is perfect for recording your reactions and insights, writing your prayers, and listing your questions. Welcome to the journey!
Love reading? Use your reading and acting skills to bring joy to children and seniors. Create a funding page, select a few books, go live on Instagram, Facebook, or broadcast on YouTube.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Express your appreciation and encourage people on the front lines. Use your imagination to create encouraging cards for essential workers.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Help feed the hungry. Give your canned food drive a twist. Build and display structures with the cans to encourage people to give.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Help children transition to a new home with dignity. Purchase and decorate duffle bags for children who are placed into foster care. Place items such as towels and personal hygiene items in the bags.
Cost: $25.00 – partner with a business to defray costs
5. Appreciation Gift Bags for Essential Workers & Teachers / Hero Candy Bars Say thanks in a fun way. Make appreciation bags with food or care items for teachers, essential workers, hospital staff, first responders, etc.
Cost: Less than $5.00