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Labor Day - Mr. Dependable: Acts 9:10-19

Labor Day: Mr. Dependable
John Witte

Acts 9:10-19 (ESV)
Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus.

Labor Day (a holiday since 1894) recognizes and celebrates American workers as contributors to our country’s strength, prosperity, and well-being. They go to work every day, using their God-given time, energy, and resources to contribute to their families, communities, this country, and at times to the larger world. They are, in a word, dependable.

Dependable people are ordinary yet hard to find. We treasure them because they can be counted on. They stand in sharp contrast to the undependable who have taught us to avoid them when important things need to be done. We know who is who, don’t we?

ASK> Would other people say you are dependable? Do you show up? Do you keep your word? Can others count on you? Are you the person family, friends, and colleagues call when they need help? Why or why not?

Today we examine a man named Ananias.

WATCH> This clip from today’s message:
From our study of James, you will remember that the early church had scattered from Jerusalem due to heavy persecution. Ananias was one of those people, and Saul was one of the persecutors they were hiding from – perhaps the worst! How surprising and alarming it was for Ananias to hear Jesus command him to seek Saul.

ASK> Why did the Lord call on Ananias at this moment and not someone else?

ASK> How did Ananias respond?

ASK> In Acts 9:13-14, Ananias appears confused and challenges Jesus. Has there ever been a time in your life when the Lord pushed you out of your comfort zone? Did you fully obey God’s direction? Tell the group about it.

READ> examples of Abraham (Genesis 22:1-11), Jacob (Genesis 31:11; 46:2), Moses (Exodus 3:11), Samuel (1 Samuel 3:4–8), and Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8).

ASK> Compare their circumstances. What was similar and different? How did each respond to God’s call? What was the result?
In today’s sermon, John Witte discussed the difference between ability and availability.

ASK> Which is more important? Why?

ASK> Has there ever been a time when your abilities increased because of your willingness to obey a challenging call in your life? Likewise, looking back, did you ever miss a chance to grow because you refused to follow God’s leadership? Tell the group about it.

In the sermon were learned the formula Ability + Availability = Responsibility.

ASK> Look up the definition of the word ‘responsibility.’ How do these attributes relate to following Jesus? How does this make us more dependable to God and other people?

READ> Acts 9:16

ASK> Describe a time when you were willing to suffer to gain something. What made it worth it?

ASK> Has following Jesus ever cost you anything? When? How recently?

ASK> Is there a direct relationship between our dependence on God and His ability to depend on us? Explain.

ASK> Little is known about Ananias after Acts 9. How much difference did his obedience make?

READ> Acts 22:12-13

ASK> How did Paul remember Ananias? How do you think other people remember you?
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