Sunday, September 27th, 2015
This week we studied Acts 6-7.
As you begin your study each week, pray that God will speak to you through His Word. Come each week prepared for discussion. Be willing to participate and ask questions. As much as possible, stick to the topic at hand. Be sensitive to the other members in your group and listen attentively.
Intro To ACTS:
In the book of Acts, we see God birth the church by sending the Holy Spirit to indwell followers of Jesus. A great way to frame the entire book of Acts is in the following themes:
The beginning of the church (1:1 – 2:47)
The church and the Jewish authorities (3:1-5:42)
The church begins to expand (6:1-9:31)
The beginning of the Gentile mission (9:32-12:25)
The mission to Asia Minor and its aftermath (13:1-15:35)
Paul’s missionary campaign in Macedonia and Achaia (15:36-18:17)
Paul’s missionary campaign in Asia (18:18-20:38)
Paul’s arrest and imprisonment (21:1-28:31)
As we read and study Acts together, our prayer is that deep study of the Word of God would result in changed hearts and renewed spirits to pursue the things of God in our day and time.
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
Questions for this week:
Read ACTS 6:1-7. What principles do you see about the way the church should function in relationship to problem-solving?
- The apostles delegated the social work in order to concentrate on their pastoral priority. What were the results of this action?
- In what ways was the work of the devil overcome in Acts 5-7? Specifically in reference to Ananias and Sapphira, the words of Gamaliel, and the widows’ dispute.
- What can the church today learn from observing the effects of persecution of the church 2,000 years ago?
- Read ACTS 7. How do you respond to the possibility of dying because you are a follower of Jesus? In verses 54-60 specifically, what do you discover about Stephen’s character?
Given Christ’s speeches and Peter’s speeches at the start of Acts, what does Stephen’s speech say about God and second, third and fourth chances? Is God quick to label us as failures? What does this mean to you?
The Jews in the time of Acts had a “comfort zone” and were very focused on the physical Temple and the city of Jerusalem as the place where God’s work was done. However, in Stephen’s examples (Abraham: Acts 7:2,4, Joseph: Acts 7:10, Moses: Acts 7:30 and Israel: Acts 7:36), was God working from within people’s set of expectations or from elsewhere? Was Abraham told to stay put in his homeland? Was it Joseph to be a leader in familiar lands? Was Moses where he expected to find God? Was Israel empowered to stay in Egypt? What might these examples say about God’s ability to work and the Jews’ fixation on the physical Temple and the city of Jerusalem? Furthermore, what might it say about God’s ability to do work outside of one hour on Sunday?
How angry were the Sanhedrin at Stephen? With Jesus, they said they had no authority to put someone to death (John 18:31), only the Romans did. Did the Sanhedrin follow that protocol with Stephen? Discuss why you think they were that much more angry or afraid of Stephen in this case?