Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Acts Bible Studies
Derived and revised from Dr. Platt’s ministry.
The guided study of the book of Acts in the New testament can provoke God’s people to be God’s Church effectively touching and transforming lives by the Power of God.
We can become a passionate people, living and speaking for our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ every day to those who are placed into our lives by God.
Every day God brings across your path the people He wants. These people are somewhere in their journey towards salvation, and you are the person God has put across their path so that they may come to know Him.
Are you growing as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ to become more effective in your witness for Him? The book of Acts will help you as we study together this semester.
Our Body Life Small Groups Are The Heart-Beat Of Our Church
This guide is a tool to help you lead your group into spiritual transformation. Use it as a resource to lead your group in discovering, owning, and applying the truths of God’s Word. There may be aspects you do not want to use and there may be instances where you just want to focus on a particular point or truth. Some questions may bring out emotions and cause people to dwell on an aspect of their relationship with God. Your role is to help facilitate this encounter with God in His Word through His Body, not just to complete the guide. Use this as a flexible teaching tool not a rigid group task list.
Relate . . .
Begin your group time by engaging in relational conversations and prayer that may include the following elements:
Welcome—a simple, brief time to greet one another (especially new friends), enjoy refreshments, and make announcements.
Review—a time to review the truths discussed last week and report on how members have had success or frustrations in applying those truths during the week. The leader will want to provide encouragement and
shepherding during this time. Periodically, the leader will also want to review the gospel and allow members to share reports about opportunities they’ve had to share the gospel. Occasionally, the leader will want to revisit the vision for the group and discuss ways to accomplish that vision better.
Prayer—a time of general prayer with the whole group praying for struggles regarding the application of truths, for those with whom the group is sharing the gospel, and for understanding of today’s truths.
Reflect . . .
Use the following questions to reflect on the Scriptures we are reading each weeks and discuss the implications for these truths in our lives.
Respond . . .
Share together with one another the important needs that each member of the church is experiencing and then pray together choosing one member each week to commence prayer and one to close in prayer.
Read Acts 1 8 Reasons to Give a Blank Cheque with Our Church
1 Because Jesus is worthy of absolute surrender.
Read Acts 1. Luke 9:23-25, 9:57-62, and 14:25-33.
What kind of picture did Luke create of Christ in these passages?
According to these verses what did Jesus require of His followers?
Why were His followers willing to give up everything to follow Him?
What things in our lives are “off limits” to Christ? What things are we not willing to give up for Him? What is truly keeping us from surrendering our entire lives to Him? What are we afraid of?
2. Because Jesus is working to advance His kingdom.
Read Acts 1:1, 10. Who did Luke say had begun the work? How would the work continue if the one who began it left only 11 verses later?
Read Acts 2:32-36, 9:3-13, and 28:30-31. How did Jesus continue to work after He physically left earth? How were His followers involved in His work?
What do we think Christ is doing in our world today? If Jesus is still advancing His kingdom today, why is it such a low priority in our lives?
What would our small groups and church look like if we were working to advance Christ’s kingdom?
3. Because Jesus has clothed every single one of us with His power.
Read Acts 1:4-8 and 2:1-4.
Why was it important that Jesus’ disciples waited in Jerusalem? What does this indicate about the role of the Holy Spirit in the mission of God
through His people?
Jesus never meant for us to live for Him in our own power. Why do we keep trying to live that way? How do we practically live in the power of the Holy Spirit every day?
4. Because Jesus has given every single one of us the same purpose.
What did it mean for them to be “witnesses” of Jesus?
What kinds of ideas do we often consider to be our life’s purpose? Do we have more than one? How can the different roles that we play in life every day often distract us from the primary purpose that God has given us?
5. Because the world is our goal.
In Acts 1:8, where does Jesus command His followers to be His witnesses?
What places were OK for them to not reach?
What places do our actions reveal as acceptable to not reach with the gospel?
Why must our efforts be directed toward close proximities and across the globe?
How can our local efforts also affect global efforts of making disciples?
6. Because the Spirit is here.
Read Acts 2:1-13 again. Describe the effects of the Spirit’s coming.
How did His presence affect the work of Christ’s followers?
7. Because the stakes are high. Read Acts 2:37-40.
Why did these people need forgiveness? Why did they need to believe in Christ? What happened to them if they did not come to salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ?
Does the eternal state of someone concern us? Why or why not?
What do our actions reveal about our belief in eternal consequences?
Why can an attitude of political correctness in this area endanger the eternal state of a person?
8. the coming of Christ leaves us with great anticipation. Read Acts 1:11 and Matthew 24:14. What is Christ’s plan for the future?
Why is He waiting to return for His people?
How did Peter and John respond as they faced opposition? What was the Sanhedrin’s charge against them? How did Peter show his complete reliance on Christ and the Holy Spirit in his address? Describe a time when you encountered opposition to God’s truth. How did you handle that opposition?
Would you have liked to handle the opposition differently? If so, in what way?
Read Acts 4:13-22. How did Peter and John rest in God’s sovereign power
when they were before the Sanhedrin?
How did the Sanhedrin react to their “ordinariness”?
“The purpose of our lives is to advance the gospel to the ends of the earth.” What is your initial reaction to this statement? How does this statement challenge you? How does it embolden you? What goals in your life can be derailed by sickness, death, or other circumstances beyond your control? What goals, or purposes, cannot be affected by circumstances? Will God’s purposes always be accomplished? What does this suggest about the kinds of goals and purposes we should choose to spend our lives on?
Read Acts 4:23–31. Why should we have confidence in prayer? Read Psalm 22:27; Psalm 24:1; Psalm 47:9; Psalm 66:4.
To what will God always be faithful? How should this fact inform our prayers? How should this encourage us to know His Word?
Based upon reading Acts 4:23–31, what should be the focus of our prayers? If we were more concerned for Christ’s honor, the church’s boldness, and the kingdom’s advancement, how would that affect our daily prayers?
Is prayer a priority in your life? How often do you pray? What is the typical content of your prayers?
Do we pray about what is important to us? What kinds of outcomes do we usually pray for? (success, safety, blessings, healing, etc.) Is there anything wrong in praying for these things? Should we continue praying about these matters?
However, what do they suggest about our priorities?
What heart change is needed in order for our prayers to better reflect the kinds of prayer we see in Acts 4–8, especially Acts 4:23–31?
Read Acts 4:32–37 and Deuteronomy 15:4.
Who owns all we possess? How did the first Christians live out this truth? Do you think it was difficult for them? Why or why not?
What do you think it means that “the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul”?
What attitudes should characterize our giving?
How does humble, sacrificial, and honest giving advance the kingdom of God? What kind of witness does this type of giving demonstrate to an unbelieving world?
How can materialism impede the advance of the gospel? Has it ever affected your desire or ability to advance the gospel?
How could sacrificial giving cause the gospel to advance more rapidly?
How can we more effectively meet the needs of the lost, the poor, and the needy within our church, our city, and the world?
Do you see the purpose of your blessings as a means to bless others?
What resources are you holding on to as your own? Surrender them to God in prayer. Think about new ways to give of your resources for the advance of the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Read Acts 5:1–11.
Review briefly Joshua 7:10–26 as well.
What was the heart of Ananias and Sapphira’s sin?
What does God think of impurity and sin in the church?
Can one person’s sin affect the community of believers? How?
After the incident in Acts 5, do you think the early church took a casual attitude toward sin?
Ask the group to silently consider if they are harboring any unrepented, secret sin?
Consider what you say, what you watch, what you do, your attitudes, your thoughts. Consider also things you should be doing but are not doing.
Read Acts 5:17–42. Focus on verses 29 and 41. Whom did the apostles choose to obey? What was their attitude toward suffering for Jesus’ name? Did they stop teaching and preaching about Jesus?
Read Acts 6:1–7. Are you surprised a division arose within the church? How was it handled? Could the situation have impeded the advance of the gospel if not dealt with?
Read 2 Timothy 3:12. Who will be persecuted? What does this mean for us?
Read Acts 7:54–60. Stephen, the deacon, was the first martyr. Did his death stop the mission of the church?
Whom did Stephen and the apostles fear? See Matthew 10:28. Do you think they remembered these words from Jesus?
Read Acts 8:1–4. Did Satan’s strategy ultimately backfire? How? Do you think the church was uncomfortable as it spread out?
Do you think the church understood God’s plan at first? Why or why not?
Have you ever had to suffer for Jesus’ sake? What was your reaction?
What persecution might you face for sharing the gospel? In your family? In this city?
Read Acts 8:4–8; 26- 35. In verse 4, who is involved in sharing the gospel?
Who was leading Philip everywhere he went? Was Philip obedient?
Who engineered the circumstances of Philip bringing the gospel to the man from
Ethiopia and ultimately to the continent of Africa? Can God use one person to bring many to Christ?
Do only some believers have the gospel and the Holy Spirit? If all do, how does this both encourage and challenge us to be witnesses for Christ?
Does God use perfect people to show the world His greatness? Why does He love to use us in our weakness? How can this encourage us?
Does our pride or fear sometimes keep us from witnessing?
What do we learn about witnessing from Phillip?
read Acts 9
The writer of the original version of “Amazing Grace” was John Newton, a 1700’s English slave ship captain turned pastor and hymn writer. Much like the Apostle Paul, Newton had a dramatic conversion story. Take a few minutes to allow volunteers to share other dramatic conversion stories, both from personal experience and historically renowned figures.
Truth: God is patient toward sinful people, including you.
Takeaway: Understanding and experiencing God’s patience leads to humility.
o Read Acts 9:1-3. Describe Paul before his conversion.
o How did God show patience toward Paul in his sinfulness?
o Were you aware of God’s patience with you before you became a
believer? What about now?
o How well do you reflect God’s patience to others? What does your
patience show others about the God you serve?
o How does understanding God’s patience toward you produce humility?
Saul’s nasty reputation was so well-known that Ananias felt the need to
remind the Lord of what Paul had done. Yet he obeyed God. How does
the way Ananias spoke to Saul show God’s power in His church?
o How did God use other believers in Paul’s conversion?
o Are there people you might be tempted to consider unreachable by the
gospel? If so, who?
o How should the way you view even the vilest of sinners change in light of
God’s power to reach anyone?
o Do you believe God can use you to reach anyone He desires? If so, how
should that change the way you pray and live?
o Read Acts 9:20-31. When Saul regained his strength, where did his
newfound passion take him?
o In these verses, how did God use other believers in Saul’s life? Why is
o Describe someone who is passionate.
o Is there a connection between your awareness of Christ’s love for you
and the way you share Christ’s love with others? Why?
o What is the difference between people who share the gospel in response
to Christ’s love and people who evangelize because “it’s just what they’re supposed to do”?
This week, how can you more intentionally let passion for Christ fill your
relationships and the way you pray? How are you serving God out of your
passion for Him?
Read Acts 10 and 11 and 12
The accounts of Aeneas and Dorcas emphasize the power of Christ over disease and death for the advancement of His kingdom through the work of His people. Next, both Cornelius and Peter experienced conversions that showed evidence of God’s desire that the Gentiles hear and receive the gospel. Furthering this truth is the contrast of the church in Jerusalem with the church in Antioch. The latter is known for its missional heart for the Gentiles. God’s mission is evident- proclaim the gospel to the world. God calls for human messengers to deliver His gospel. Noting God’s sovereignty in all things within this passage; two of Jesus’ inner circle was persecuted because of their devotion to Him. One, James the brother of John, was beheaded. The other, Peter, was miraculously released the day before he was to die. The leader responsible for James’ death was Herod, who desired the praise of man as if her were God. Subsequently, God would not share His praise and struck Herod down. Although God’s sovereignty was evident in these circumstances, as in all situations from this passage, we may not understand why some appeared to end less miraculously than others. At this point, we must remember that God in His wisdom will always look out for our good in the midst of showing His glory in the greatest way.
• What was the root cause of Peter’s prejudice against Gentiles?
• How could his issues of pride and prejudice have prevented him from being a part of such an amazing outpouring of God’s grace?
• Against what specific people or people groups have we experienced overt or hidden prejudices? How? Why?
• Are their people or people groups that we think are beyond God’s grace? Do our actions and our beliefs agree with one another?
• If we want to align our hearts with Christ, why must we ask for a heart that desires for all people to know Christ?
• What are some sacrifices we might have to make in order to make sharing the gospel a priority in our lives?
• Might God call us into environments in which we are not comfortable? Are we willing to go wherever people need the gospel, or have we put limits on our obedience?
• What steps do we need to take to be a center for sending and proclaiming, like the church at Antioch?
• Thinking about the different outcomes of James and Peter’s persecution in this passage, why could both men have had complete trust in God?
• How do we tend to react when we struggle through life and see others who seem to have it easy?
• What knowledge about God’s character gives us peace in times of struggle?
Read Acts 12:25–14:28
Acts 13:1–3 describes a singular worship experience in Antioch—a specific
time of worship, prayer and fasting—from which the church moved out by God’s grace and turned the world upside down. As we, like the church in Antioch, behold God’s greatness, we are compelled to declare His goodness to the nations as well.
The church in Antioch was made up of men and women from a variety of backgrounds. What united them? What captivated them? What was their common mission? What unites your small group? What is the mission of your group?
• Does your small group represent people from a variety of backgrounds? How could it better reflect the diversity of God’s people?
• What opportunities might you have for crossing cultural, economic, or national barriers to advance the gospel of Christ?
• Do you have a passion to make disciples of all nations? If your desire is weak, what is the root cause? How is a passion for God’s glory the key to unlocking a passion for making disciples of all nations?
• How could more time in worship, prayer, and fasting ignite our desire to share the gospel with people from all nations?
• What did Barnabas and Paul have to be willing to leave behind in order to be obedient to the Spirit’s leading?
Why do you think Paul changed his name from Saul?
Why did Paul give Elymas a dose?
As you read Paul’s sermon to the folk at Pisidian Antioch, what important points did Paul make, and what was significant about each of the points he makes?
How does this inform us about the content of our talks to young people, and our sermons, and our personal witnessing?
Acts 13:48 is an important verse. Why?
What words are used to describe the manner of witnessing if the disciples in these various centres and opportunities for witness?
Read Acts 15:1-35
Some Jewish believers had begun preaching that new Gentile converts to the Gospel needed to completely obey the Law given to Moses and demonstrate their new faith by following the sign of the covenant God made with Abraham (circumcision). They were not teaching that Jesus was not the Savior; but they were teaching that salvation required Jesus AND the Law. This type of legalism was a result of religious people seeking to make themselves acceptable before God through some works of their own. Consequently a Council met in Jerusalem to discuss, debate, and decide the final outcome of the debate. Here, Early Church leaders argued that the provision of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word from the very beginning were evidence of His plan to provide salvation to the Gentiles and the Jews through His grace alone. James ruled that Gentiles came to salvation through faith in Christ alone and that works were unable to provide a right standing before God. Therefore, believers are to stand on the conviction and clarity of the truth of the Gospel while not unnecessarily offending others in matters of indifference.
What were the intentions of the religious leaders in setting up additional regulations for following God rightly? Is it possible for good motives to add to the gospel and create legalism?
• What are some behaviors/practices in the modern church that can become or be considered legalistic behavior?
• What is the difference between engaging in devoted service toward God and performing those same actions in a legalistic manner?
• How can we engage in spiritual disciplines and godly behavior without allowing ourselves to become legalistic?
• To whom do we need to confess or apologize for any legalistic behavior or legalistic burdens that we have placed on others?
• Circumcision was commanded by God to be a sign of His people’s (the Jews) covenant relationship with Him. How did Peter’s argument concerning the giving of the Holy Spirit as a sign of their conversion indicate that circumcision was no longer needed as a physical sign of following God?
What kind of slavery does legalism place on people to please God in their own power?
In what areas of our lives might we need to ask God to restore our joy because we have been trying to earn His grace?
What are some matters of indifference in our lives today, especially considering cultural and denominational differences?
• How does living in the freedom of God’s grace give us the responsibility to be sensitive to the beliefs and cultures of others, particularly when trying to reach them with the Gospel?
• Have we or others responded in any way towards an issue of indifference that is potentially causing us to jeopardize God’s mission?
• How does legalism threaten our mission and obscure God’s Glory?
What is the clear message of the Gospel upon which we must never
How can we take steps to learn and develop essential convictions of the
Read Acts 15:36—18:22
In Acts 16—18, Luke recorded Paul’s second missionary journey through Macedonia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, and Corinth. Though today’s passage began with a sharp dispute between Paul and Barnabus over whether or not John Mark should join them in their journey, without question, God’s glory and power over our lives and the spread of His gospel is clearly revealed. Paul and his companions demonstrated a zeal for the glory of God by boldly preaching the gospel wherever the Holy Spirit led them, and as they obeyed God, He determined their steps in spreading His message. God showed that His grace is not dependent on our status when He drew a successful businesswoman named Lydia, a slave girl, and a Roman jailer to Himself. Through their time in Thessalonica, God showed that when His Word is spoken, the world is changed—even being referred to as the “men who have turned the world upside down have” (Acts 17:6). Paul’s speech before the idolatrous people of Athens at the Ar opagus affirmed God’s role as Creator, Sustainer, Ruler, Savior, Father, King, and ultimately, the Judge of all. And when their journey led them to Corinth, a multi-cultural, immoral city, Paul and his team showed how the power of the gospel removes our fear, overcomes our loneliness, compels us to speak, and forbids us from being stopped.
What was motivating Paul and Barnabas to go on a second missionary trip? Were you surprised by the dispute between Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15:36-41? Why or why not?
• Did God use all men involved in the dispute despite their division? (Yes.) How does this story encourage you to love God’s people more?
• Read Acts 16:6-10 and Proverbs 3:5-6. What is the connection between obeying God’s Word and being led by the Spirit for specific decisions?
• How does our behavior typically reflect the way we value God’s Word? How might our value of God’s Word need to change?
• Why is our journey with God more important than reaching a destination we’ve set or have even felt called to by God?
• Describe a time when you set out for one place only to be redirected by God to something even better.
• As you consider God’s work in the lives of Lydia, the slave girl, and the jailer, think about the circumstances God used to bring His salvation in your life. What is significant about the fact that God’s grace reaches people of different socio-economic statuses?
• Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned, yet they prayed and sang praises to God. Can you describe a time in your life when God gave you a song to sing despite difficult circumstances? How did the song you sang impact the people around you? How have you been impacted by someone else’s song?
• What can we remember as we face difficult situations that can help us persevere?
• How did Paul respond to the idolatry of the Athenians in Acts 17:22-31?
• How do you respond to the idolatry around you? Why do we often develop complacency to idols around us in Australia? What values might we need to change in our hearts? What actions might we need to change too?
• Read God’s words to Paul in Acts 18:9-11. Why is it significant that God told Paul to stay in Corinth? How have you been encouraged by God’s Word simply to stay put for a time? Was that easy or difficult for you? What allows us to stay put in difficult situations?
Read Acts 18:23–20:16
There are only seven places in the New Testament that speak of baptism with or in the Spirit. Four are parallel passages where John the Baptist promises that Jesus would baptize with the Spirit (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). Two others refer to the upcoming disciples’ experience at Pentecost (Acts 1:5 and Acts 11:16). The seventh reference is 1 Corinthians 12:12– 13. Read that together as a group. Who receives the baptism of the Spirit? When? How does this passage of Scripture refute the idea of a ‘two-class Christianity’? Is there any need for a “second
baptism” after salvation?
So what about Pentecost? How is Pentecost a unique time in redemptive history? Should the disciples’ experience at Pentecost be considered normative for the church today? Should we expect conversions to be accompanied by tongues of fire and speaking in tongues?
There are four examples in Acts sometimes cited as “second baptisms” (Acts 2; Acts 8:12–17; Acts 10:44–48; Acts 19:5). However, none of these mention baptisms by/in/with the Holy Spirit. Read Acts 8:12–17 and 10:44–48. What ties together Pentecost (Acts 2), Acts 8:12–17, and Acts
10:44–48? (See Acts 1:8). How would these experiences have authenticated the advance of the gospel to new territories? Who was present to witness these experiences? (Hint: Peter was present for all three).
Read Acts 19:1–7. Paul is probing to find out the nature of the beliefs held by these disciples. He discovers they did not yet receive the Holy Spirit. They were actually only disciples of John, not Jesus. What is the difference between the baptism of John and baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus? When these men understood and trusted in the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ what happened? How did this event prove that repentance alone was not enough to be saved?
Sometimes Christians use the term “second baptism,” which is unbiblical. However, they are many times describing good, legitimate experiences with the Holy Spirit resulting from concentrated prayer, confession, repentance, and surrender to Christ. Should we seek the Holy Spirit for a one-time, or second-time, or third-time experience? Or should we daily spending time in confession, turning from sin and turning to Christ? How can we daily yield our lives more and more to His will? How can we seek the fruit and filling of the Holy Spirit? How can we pursue daily alignment with our lives and the Spirit so that we walk in step with the Spirit?
How can an unhealthy fascination with demonic spirits harm our faith? Who is responsible for breaking down the strongholds of the devil?
Do we need to learn more about Satan or more about Christ? Should our ministries be focused on combating demons or glorifying Christ? How might some “deliverance” ministries actually divert our attention from Christ? How can a focus on the demonic distract us from dealing with our own personal sin?
There are numerous commands in Scripture to wage spiritual warfare at a personal and corporate level. What are some examples? How can we take this kind of spiritual warfare more seriously?
How can we revere Jesus, repent of sin, and rest in the Word on a daily basis? What are some things that distract us or tempt us away from Christ that we might need to get rid of?
Read Acts 20:17-38
Use the following questions to review the Head (What does God want me to know?), Heart (What does God want me to value?), and Hands (What does God want me to do?) aspects of the message.
As you read Paul’s words to the Ephesian church elders in Acts 20:18-35, what most stirs you? What most challenges you? What most convicts you?
Have you honestly asked God where He wants to use you to spread the gospel—here or elsewhere? Why is a constant openness so important?
• The one indisputable condition for following Christ is that it must be free from conditions, do you see any conditions on the way you follow Jesus? If so, what are they?
• If one of the most important directives we know for our lives as Christians is to testify about the gospel, why are we so tempted to replace or diminish our testimony with other good things such as service or giving?
• How can your future goals overshadow where you are today and interfere with an obedient response to the Holy Spirit’s leading in the present? Why is daily surrender to the Lord so important?
• Read Acts 20:24. How did Paul’s perspective overcome the persecution he knew he would face?
• How did Paul’s view of himself as “the chief of sinners” enable him to obey God in the midst of persecution? Why is it important to shift your perspective from “entitled” to “ surrendered”?
• In what ways have you dignified your difficulties by taking your eyes off of your goal—Christ—and turning them toward your difficulties instead? (See Heb. 12:1-2.)
• In Revelation 2:1-7 (especially vs. 4), what do we learn happened to the church at Ephesus years after Paul spent this time with the elders there?
As believers go for the salvation of others with the Word of God, what practical ways can we guard our hearts from the sin that entangles us and stay alert to persecution and opposition
God calls His people “sheep,” a relatively dumb animal, as opposed to a stronger, braver animal such as a tiger. How does this truth change the way you view yourself—and others—as you care for the Church?
• How does selfishness, such as materialism, pride, and greed, destroy the Church? How can you intentionally commit to being more sacrificial with your life and the way you spend your time this week?
Respond . . .
• What are some of the main truths that God wants you to know from the message?
• How do your thoughts need to adjust to align with these truths?
• According to the truths from the message, what does God want you to value?
• How do your values need to change to align with His values?
• What is an action that you can start to implement today or tomorrow?
Read Acts 21-27
A major overall theme in the book of Acts is the unstoppable gospel. How was the Word of God central to the spread of the gospel throughout Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth?
• How can we be effective at reproducing the Word if we are not consistently and intentionally receiving the Word?
• How have we seen the power of the Word in our lives? In the lives of others?
• In what practical ways can we make the Word central in our lives? In our families? How can we be held accountable?
• What do our lives reveal about how much we value God’s Word? How can we increase our hunger and desire for God’s Word?
• How important was the reproduction of the Word in the lives of others to the spread of the Gospel in Acts?
• If we aren’t making disciples, are we truly disciples of Christ?
• What excuse have we been using to help us feel better about not speaking the Word/reproducing the Word to others?
• How is every relationship and circumstance in our lives a platform for teaching the Word?
• What people do we see daily with whom we can begin to intentionally teach the Word?
How has our 21st Century church culture often switched our call to follow Christ from one of self-denial into one of self-preservation? How do we cheat the gospel when we present it that way?
• What does our culture as a whole value in terms of a legacy? What should we, as Christ-followers, value in terms of leaving a legacy?
• In thinking about leaving a spiritual legacy, how are you entrusting the gospel to others as Paul did? What churches could be started if we made an intentional investment in the life of another?
• What kinds of things do we need to know in order to disciple another believer? How can we begin to prepare ourselves to disciple others well?
• How can we pray for either someone to disciple us or for someone to disciple (or both)?
• Paul was what is referred to as a “bi-vocational minister.” He worked as a tentmaker while spreading the gospel. How can we use our jobs or careers as an integral part of our ministry to spread the gospel?
• How could God use our specific skills, experiences, and talents to spread the gospel around the globe? What are we willing to sacrifice in terms of our own comforts, preferences, or traditions so that we can most effectively make disciples through our church?
• What are we willing to sacrifice in terms of our own security so that we can most effectively make disciples with our lives and through our families?
Read Acts 28
Describe how Paul’s concern for the souls of others was consistently evident even in the face of difficulties and persecution?
• How was Paul’s persistence in sharing the gospel evidence of his priorities?
• How does a love for others and a passion for Christ and His kingdom go hand-in-hand?
• What are some of the major distractions in our lives or obstacles that keep us from being compassionate
toward the lostness of others?
• How can we become more aware of the lostness that surrounds us daily and of the lostness of the world?
• What are the names of a couple of people for whom we can pray regularly that God would increase our burden for their souls?
How did Paul’s faith in God’s sovereign work for the salvation of some and the rejection of Him by others, testify to God’s control and role in salvation?
• Why must we see a rejection of the gospel not as a personal rejection but as a decision to reject Christ?
• How can we encourage one another to be more persistent in sharing the gospel?
• What are some ways that we can become more comfortable and/or prepared to share the gospel with confidence?
• Why is the gospel powerful and essential for everyone?
• What words describe the condition of your life before you truly understood and believed the gospel? How does an accurate view of our self, serve as a reminder of the beauty of the gospel?
• How can we intentionally put the gospel at the forefront of our life and the lives of our family regularly during the week and during specific occasions such as Easter, Christmas, earthquakes, and tsunamis?
Read Matthew 4:18–19 and Matthew 28:18–20. Are these statements intended only for a few or for all disciples of Christ? If for all, why do you think disciple-making is often assumed to be somebody else’s job or calling?
• Read Acts 4:13; 8:1–4; 11:19–21; and 19:10. Who is God using to advance the church? Only the theologically educated? Only the apostles? Only the elders and deacons? How quickly and how broadly is the gospel spreading? Why?
• Read Acts 5:42 and 20:20. How was the gospel spreading? In our context today, what do you think it would look like for the gospel to spread from house to house?
• Why is it important for the gospel to spread quickly and broadly among all nations? What is at stake?
• To share the gospel, we must receive and understand the gospel.
• What is our responsibility in evangelism? What is the Spirit’s role?
• Why is Christ-like character critical to our witness? (Acts 5:1–11, for example). How are spiritual purity, spiritual power, and effective witness interlinked? How does holiness benefit the cause of Christ? (Matthew 5:16, for example). How does immorality blaspheme the name of Christ? How can we flee immorality this week? Who alone can make us holy?
• What happens when we are faithful to share the Word? What are the positive results? Read some examples: Acts 2:41; 4:4; 6:1; 6:7; 9:31; 11:24; 14:1; 17:12. Does Acts portray less positive reactions to the gospel as well? Did the believers continue sharing the Word regardless of the reaction? How can the stories in Acts encourage us?