Sunday, November 1st, 2015

This week we studied Acts 11-12.
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.”

Romans 8:11

Questions for this week:

  1. Read Acts 11:1-18. In what ways do you see unity growing within the church? How difficult must the transition have been for Jews to receive Gentiles in the family of God? What specifically will you commit to pray for in the church today with regard to unity?
  2. What good resulted from believers being scattered by the persecution that was connected with Stephen?
  3. What does it mean to remain “true to the Lord” with all your heart (Ch. 11:23)? What do these efforts say about the importance of disciplining young Christians?
  4. As Herod executes James and puts Peter in prison, we should ask: Why do governments often seek to persecute followers of Christ? Who is in control of earthly governments (read Luke 4:5-6)? Read Luke 12:11-12 and 21:12-19. Does Jesus promise a life free of interference? Although Scripture was speaking to the early Christians who faced different circumstances, discuss how we should react to governments and powers as they move against Christian values.
  5. Think of Herod the Great and all he accomplished (as a side note, Google “Herod the Great Builder” if you’d like some more insight to his incredible feats). Who is remembered more, him or the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes? Similarly, read Acts 12:21-24 about another Herod…Herod Agrippa. For all his regal robes and power over towns and cities, who has the real power? Is God less powerful now, as men build and rule and scheme? Discuss how these insights can help you abide in Christ amidst the current political troubles we see today.
  6. On the eve of his probable execution, after seeing James executed by Herod, what was Peter doing (Acts 12:6)? Do you think he expected to be rescued? Does his being rescued or not change the level of his faith? Discuss how sometimes God doesn’t rescue us from our sufferings (like with James and earlier with John the Baptist). Pray for those in your group who are going through bad times. Encourage them.