Dear RCF Sisters and Brothers,
The traditional motto of the United States is “E pluribus unum”, which means “Out of many, one”. It appeared on our country’s Great Seal along with the Latin words “Annuit coeptis”, which means “He approves the things undertaken”, declaring God’s approval of our nation’s founding vision and principles. The Great Seal also contained the words “Novus ordo seclorum”, which means “New order of the ages”. Those three phrases apply not only to the United States of America, but also could just as profoundly apply to the new community of believers in Jesus in the mid-first century AD.
As our nation was designed to be a melting pot where all people were welcomed as equal citizens, so was the new community of believers in Jesus as Saviour and God. However, just as our country struggled to live up to its founding ideals, so did those who initially believed that Jesus was the Christ. It was unthinkable for most Jews that non-Jews (i.e., Gentiles) could be as equally welcomed as they were into the salvation which Jesus earned by His sinless life and sacrificial death. For centuries they had believed that they were God’s chosen people and that His favor was upon them and only them. Their motto could have been “Nos, et nos nos”, which is translated “Us, and us only”.
Today we will see God begin to change that perspective which they so long and deeply held, to the “New order of the ages”.
Join us this Sunday morning as we continue in the theme To the Remotest Part of the Earth, and our Discussion Bible Study in the History of the Early Church. Please prepare by reading the entirety of Acts 9:1 – 11:18. This week’s title is “Not ‘E Pluribus Unum’, but ‘Nos, Et Nos Nos’”.
Attached is an outline (in two sizes) of the text we will be focusing upon this Sunday morning. Please print it ahead of time, as it will help you take part in the discussion. We will also have copies when we gather on Sunday morning.
Here is the Table Discussion Question for Sunday:
Why was it so unthinkable for first century Jews who believed in Jesus as their Messiah to accept that non-Jews (i.e. Gentiles) could also believe in and entrust themselves to Him as their Savior and God? Did their hesitancy come from virtue or vice?
In this series we have already discussed the following texts and topics:
The New Era Begins: Acts 1:12-2:21
Who is to Blame for Good Friday?: Acts 2:22-23
The New Community Begins: Acts 2:24-47
The First Official Pushback Is Pushed Back: Acts 3
The First Official Pushback Is Pushed back – Part 2: Acts 4
God Elevates His Purity and His Principals: Acts 5:1-11
God Elevates His Purity and His Principals – Part 2: Acts 5:12 – 6:7
The Spark That Ignited The Flames of Persecution – Part 1: Acts 6:8 – 7:43
The Spark That Ignited The Flames of Persecution – Part 2: Acts 7:44 – 8:3
The New Community’s Pearl Harbor: Acts 8:1-25
Going Global: Taking The New Community International: Acts 8:26-40
Going Global: Taking The New Community International: Acts 9:1-25
We hope that you will join us online this Sunday morning or in person at Bay Lodge at 9:00am!
We love you all!
Jim and Jenny