Small Group Studies

Escaping Ordinary Week 9

Who is the most unlikely person in your mind to become the next missionary to spread the message of Christ across the world? Why are they the most unlikely? Maybe they openly oppose Christianity and actually go against most of what it teaches. This was the case of a man named Saul at the beginning of the book of Acts. He was so against Christianity and Christ's followers that He threatened the church. He was the most unlikely person to become a follower of Jesus, yet that is exactly what he became. By looking at his story, we will see that no one is beyond the hope of Jesus and that God can change anyone's heart.


When is a time someone unexpectedly came to believe in Jesus?


Bible Study Questions

 1. What do we know about Saul before he met Jesus? How would the early church have regarded him?


2. Read Acts 9:1-9. What is significant about what Jesus said to Saul in these verses?

Acts 9:1-9

"Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. 2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.

3 As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

5 “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.

And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! 6 Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7 The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one! 8 Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. 9 He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink."

3. Read Acts 9:10-18. Why was Ananias hesitant to go to Saul?

Acts 9:10-18

"Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord!” he replied.

11 The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.”

13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”

15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

17 So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized."

4. Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17. How was Paul changed?

1 Timothy 1:12-17

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, 13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen."


1. What holds you back from sharing your faith with someone who is far from Christ?

2. Would you say you are living your life to please God or to please others?

3. What is God asking you to do that you refuse to do with your life?


Who is your Saul? (If you do not feel comfortable, you do not have to share their name.) After your group answers this question, share one step you will take to reach out to them this week. Finally, pray together. Pray that God would keep working in the lives of these people who are far from Christ and that He would give you all opportunities to share with them.


One thing is clear from our study of Scripture today: We must never give up on those in our lives who are far from Christ. There is no person beyond the hope of Christ. When we understand this, the logical question we have to answer next is, "How do we take steps to reach these people in our lives who seem so far from Him?" Saul, who later became Paul, understood the challenge of ministering to those who seemed too far gone. After all, he was one of them. We can learn a lot from his story and his letters in the New Testament about how to actively share our faith in Christ with those around us, especially those who seem too far gone.

Trust God with the Results.

When it comes to sharing our faith with the people around us, we often put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We want to say the perfect words and do the perfect things. While making a conscious effort to actively share our faith is vital, if we are not careful, we can develop the mindset that everything depends on us. The truth is God is the one who is in control and changes hearts. So we work hard, do our best, and trust Him with the results.

1. Look back at Acts 9:11-15. As you read, focus on what God says to Ananias when he questions God’s instruction to go to Saul.

2. Summarize God’s message to Ananias about Saul.

3. What does God’s instruction teach you about God’s involvement when it comes to sharing our faith in Him?

4. How does this understanding of Saul as God's chosen instrument give you comfort when sharing your faith with others, especially those who seem too far gone?

Be Prepared at All Times.

We may not realize it, but each interaction we have with people in our lives who do not know Christ, especially those who seem too far gone, makes an impact, for better or worse. So likewise, we have an opportunity to impact the people around us daily. However, we must be intentional with the opportunities we have when they come. That is why Paul, who was formerly Saul, wrote in 2 Timothy 4:2, "Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not."

1. Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5.

2. Summarize Paul’s message in verse 2.

3. What does it look like to be prepared, “whether the time is favorable or not?”

4. In what ways do we have an impact for Christ, in big and small ways?

Do Whatever It Takes.

Paul knew his mission to spread the good news of Jesus to everyone was critical. So he stopped at nothing to spread Christ's message around the world. He did whatever it took to make sure that people all around the world heard the message of Christ.

1. Read 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.

2. Summarize Paul’s teaching in these verses.

3. What was Paul’s motivation?

4. How can we follow the example Paul set in these verses today, doing whatever it takes to spread the message of Christ?

Earlier in this study, we were challenged to think about who our Saul is or someone who we would least likely expect to put their faith in Christ. Take steps this week to build on your relationship with that person. Maybe you can invite them to our Christmas Eve service or an upcoming weekend service and invite them to have a meal with you after. Maybe you can invite them to dinner, where you can share your 2-minute story. Listen to their story as well. Share with your group the step you will take, and when you come back together, share with each other how it went when you took that step.

MONTHLY MEMORY VERSE (Available for download on Sagebrush App)

“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:14