ESL Bible Study
Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 1: We Are His Witnesses Acts 1:1-11
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review Pronunciation; Mother’s Day; Introduction to Acts Studying God’s Word Acts 1:1-5 1. Who is the author of Acts? (Let’s do a little detective-work). It was written to Theophilus. Whoever wrote it, wrote a former (previous) Book. Cf. Luke 1:1-4. Luke is the author, though God, ultimately, is the real Author. 2. What was the “former Book” (Luke) written about? It was about everything Jesus did and taught before He was taken up to heaven (Ascension). 3. What is the “current Book” (Acts) written about? By implication, it is about everything Jesus did and taught after He was taken up to heaven (Ascension). It is the Acts of the Apostles, but only as Jesus directs them and works in them by His Holy Spirit. (Cf. Phil. 2:13). 4. Who are the apostles? The eleven disciples (excluding Judas Iscariot who betrayed Him). What did these apostles see after Jesus’ suffering? They saw Jesus alive from the dead. This was a fact, established by “many convincing proofs.” 5. For how long was Jesus with His apostles? For forty days (between His Resurrection and His Ascension). 6. What did Jesus tell His apostles to wait for? The Holy Spirit – the Promise of the Father. It is the Holy Spirit who changes us and gives us new life. The Spirit takes the death and new life of Jesus and bring it to us one person at a time. (Cf. John 3:5,6). When will this happen? In a few (ten days).
Acts 1:6-8 7. What did the apostles ask Jesus? If He was going to “restore the kingdom to Israel” – set up an earthly kingdom where He would rule as an earthly king and where Israel would be given self-rule. Did they understand what Jesus was doing? No. They could not imagine that the plans Jesus had were for more than just Israel or an earthly kingdom. Jesus had bigger plans than that – much bigger – for the whole world. 8. What does Jesus mean when He says, “It is not for you to know the times…”? The apostles (and us) should not worry about all the details of God’s plans for His kingdom and this world. Jesus will come again at a time we do not know. We should not focus on the timing. 9. What should the apostles focus on? What should they do? They (and us) are to be Jesus’ witnesses. We are to tell others what we have seen and experienced. The apostles were in a unique position. They witnessed all of the Lord’s work, His death, and His resurrection. They could tell the world exactly what happened. This is what Jesus wanted (and still wants today). The Holy Spirit is the One who gives us the power and understanding to be good witnesses for Jesus. 10. Where should they go to tell people about Jesus? 1) Jerusalem. 2) Judea. 3) Samaria. 4) The ends of the earth. They are to start at home – the capital city of the Jewish people – Jerusalem. Then, they were to move out to Judea – the surrounding region (with Jewish people). Then, they were to move out farther – to Samaria – to those half-Jew half-Gentile people. Then, they were not to stop there, but they were to go out to the very edges of the world – to every nation and people. What Jesus did on the Cross is for everyone. God’s kingdom is for everyone. God wants everyone to hear about Jesus and have the opportunity to come into God’s kingdom. It is not just about one country (Israel). It is for the whole world. (Cf. Matt. 28:19 or Rev. 7:9,10 – the scene in heaven at the end of the world). Acts 1:9-11 11. What happened to Jesus after He spoke these things? He ascended to heaven – to the right hand of the Father. (Cf. Luke 24:50-53). 12. What were the apostles doing? Gazing up into the sky – staring up. They were awe-struck and speechless. 13. Who talked to the apostles? What did these “two men” say? These are two angels. They told them to stop staring at the sky. They told them to get busy doing what the Lord told them to do – telling the world about Jesus! This is something that we must remember. Our mission is to do the very same thing: to ensure everyone around us knows about Jesus and has the opportunity to 2
be saved. God gave us this work – this purpose – as long as we are here on this earth. Jesus has done so much for us. Do we not want others to know and to benefit as well? 14. What did the angels say would happen to Jesus in the future? He will come back again in the same way: visibly, gloriously, and bodily. (Cf. Rev. 1:7,8). Until He comes, we all have work to do! Because, when He comes, there will be no more time. Memory Verse: “You will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
ESL Bible Study
Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 2: Replacing Judas Iscariot Acts 1:12-26
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review Acts: written by Luke, associate of Paul; the acts of Jesus by the Spirit through the apostles. Jesus ascended 40 days after His resurrection. Jesus’ disciples (including us) are to be His witnesses all over.
Pronunciation; Qualifications; Timeline Studying God’s Word Acts 1:12-14 1. Where did Jesus ascend? At the Mount of Olives. After Jesus ascended, what did His disciples do? They returned to Jerusalem (1 km away). Then, in Jerusalem, they went to the upstairs room they were staying in. They were there for ten days after the ascension. 2. Which disciples were there? The eleven apostles, some women followers of Jesus, Mary (Jesus’ mother), and Jesus’ half-brothers. Who was not there? Judas Iscariot; other believers who lived outside of Jerusalem. 3. What was everyone doing at that time? “They all joined together constantly in prayer.” Two things: they kept on praying (in the temple and in the upstairs room); they were joined together to pray with the same purpose. 4. Do you think it was good for them to do this? Why or why not? They are alone. Jesus has left. And it was very dangerous to be a Christian back then. They need to stick together and help each other. Also, they need to pray and wait for the Holy Spirit to come. He will come as Jesus has promised very soon. (We, too, should join together with other believers to pray; to agree in prayer and seek God’s will; to wait on God for His answers in His time). 1
Acts 1:15-17 5. Whom does Peter speak to? Around 120 people – the believers who were living in Jerusalem back then. 6. What does Peter say about Judas Iscariot? 1) He had been one of the apostles, sharing in the ministry of Jesus. 2) The Scripture (Bible) had to be fulfilled concerning him. The Bible predicted some things about him. It predicted that Judas would betray Jesus (Ps. 41:9); it said that Judas would lose his position as an apostle. 7. Was Judas a believer? Why or why not? No. If he really was a believer, he would not have betrayed the Lord. He chose to betray Jesus because of his own wicked heart. He had been lying all along. Acts 1:18,19 8. What happened to Judas? He bought a field (the “Field of Blood”). Judas died (there?) and his body burst open – very gross. He had hung himself; and this is what happened to his body after he died. 9. Did Judas himself buy that field? Cf. Matt. 27:3-10. The chief priests bought the field, but, in that culture, it was still considered Judas’ money. So, it was as if Judas himself had bought it. Acts 1:20-22 10. What does the Book of Psalms say about Judas? 1) His home will be empty – he will die. 2) Another man must take his place as an apostle. 11. Is it important for someone to replace Judas? Why? It is necessary. Because there needs to be another witness to tell the world about Jesus. The apostles were part of the foundation of the Christian Church. 12. What are the qualifications to be an apostle? 1) Man. 2) Was there with Jesus during His whole 3½ year ministry – from His baptism to His ascension. 3) Witness to His resurrection – that Jesus is truly alive from the dead. (Paul was later made an apostle because He had a special revelation of Christ, thus meeting the first and third qualifications). 13. Can someone be an apostle today? (Name Tony? Some people say so). It is impossible, though, because no one is qualified. Jesus is in heaven. No one can see Jesus anymore (until He returns, or until we go to heaven). Acts 1:23-26 14. Who was qualified to be an apostle? They could only find two men out of the 120: Joseph and Matthias. 15. How did they decide on which man? 1) They prayed to Jesus to show them. 2) They cast lots, and it fell to Matthias. 16. Who made the final decision to choose Matthias? Jesus did. 2
Ultimately, it is Jesus who chooses the apostles – He hires them – because they work directly for Him. Only Jesus knows everyone’s hearts – He truly knows who is best qualified. 17. Why did they have to cast lots? A way for God to show them before the Holy Spirit came. Once the Holy Spirit came, there is never any more mention of lots. 18. How should we make decisions today? We do not need lots. We do need to pray, consult other Christians, and seek the Spirit’s leading. He can help us see what is best and most godly. Memory Verse: “They all joined together constantly in prayer.” (Acts 1:14a). Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
ESL Bible Study
Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 3: The Holy Spirit Comes Acts 2:1-21
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review
Acts: the acts of Jesus by the Spirit through the apostles. Jesus ascended 40 days after His resurrection; promised Spirit. Jesus’ disciples (including us) are to be His witnesses all over. The apostles were foundational; Matthias replaced Judas I.
Bruce Peninsula Retreat Recap; Vocabulary Studying God’s Word Acts 2:1-4 1. What day is it? It was Pentecost, lit. “fiftieth.” Pentecost was the 50th day after Passover (when Jesus died); ten days after Ascension. (This falls on this Sunday). Pentecost was a Jewish holiday that was celebrated every year. All the Jewish people from all over the world would come to Jerusalem. They would give thanks to God for the firstfruits (beginning) of the harvest that the farmers would at that time be bringing in. 2. Is there a day like Pentecost in Canada today? We celebrate Thanksgiving day in October. We thank God for the harvest at the very end – when all the crops have come in for the year. Pentecost is different, because it is at the beginning, when the first crops are brought in. They would offer the firstfruits to God. 3. What are the disciples doing on Pentecost? They were altogether, sitting in a house in Jerusalem. 4. What do the disciples hear and see? 1) They heard a loud sound like a violent wind that filled the house. 2) They saw what looked like tongues of fire separating and resting on each disciple. 5. What happens when they see and hear these things? They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. The wind and the fire were showing
them the power, purity, and the presence of God the Holy Spirit in each believer. Jesus had promised this: John 14:16,17. 6. What does the Holy Spirit do? He enables them to speak in different languages – foreign languages that they themselves did not know. 7. Why are there different languages in the world? Cf. Gen. 11:19. Because of sin, God separated the languages. Now, because Jesus died for our sins, God was doing something to unite those languages again! Acts 2:5,6 8. Who else is in Jerusalem on Pentecost? Devout Jewish people from all over the world – visitors for Pentecost. 9. What did these foreigners do? They came to the house where the disciples were. (This was a crowd of at least 3,000 people). Why? The sound caused by the Holy Spirit. 10. What did they think? They were bewildered – confused. Why? Each one heard the disciples speaking in their mother tongue. What would you think? Strange to hear your mother tongue in a different place. The Holy Spirit had drawn these people’s attention; and now He had a message to give them. Acts 2:7-13 (1-2 verses per person) 11. Why are the foreigners so amazed? This was a great miracle. God the Holy Spirit was causing the disciples to speak in foreign languages. These are Galileans: Galileans were country folk – known to be uneducated; yet they were speaking dozens of different languages. [Look on a map at the locations of some of these languages]. 12. What are the disciples saying in these different languages? The wonders of God – all the wonderful things God has done to save His people. 13. Why do you think the Holy Spirit is doing this? He wants everyone to hear this message from God – the Good News that God loves us and wants us to come to Jesus to be saved. This news is for all people in all languages all over the world: Jesus died so that anyone may be saved. The message of the Bible is not just for one country and one people, it is for everyone! Jesus said, before He died, that this would happen: John 15:26,27. (This is why Heather and I teach the Bible in ESL to you!) 14. Do the foreigners understand why this is happening? No, not yet! What do some of them say? That the disciples were drunk – that it was all foolish talk and confusion. Acts 2:14-18 15. What does Peter do? Peter, the main apostle, stood up with the 2
other 11 apostles and spoke to the crowd of 3,000+. Then he explained what was happening – what the foreigners were seeing and hearing. 16. How does Peter explain everything? He said that this is God “pouring out” His Holy Spirit on all people. It is like a heavy rain pouring down to the earth. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit from heaven to earth to come into the hearts of believers. This was predicted by Joel ~800 BC. 17. What is the purpose of this outpouring? To prophesy: to speak God’s Word – the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the world. This is so people can be saved. (This was just the beginning – the firstfruits of a harvest of people for God). Acts 2:19-21 18. In these verses, Peter talks about the Day when Jesus comes again. What will happen on the Day of the Lord? Judgement on all people; destruction of all things. All evil and all sin will be punished. 19. How can we be saved? Only if we call on the name of the Lord. 20. What is the name of the Lord? JESUS. (Cf. Phil. 2:9-11). It is only if we call on Him to save us will we be saved. He died in our place; He was punished for our sins. The Holy Spirit of God is the One who brings us this message, and He is bringing YOU this message today! He speaks through believers to other people (foreigners) in other languages so that all may know the wonderful things that God has done for us! May you know and believe in Jesus’ name. Memory Verse: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Acts 2:21). Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
ESL Bible Study
Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 4: Peter’s Pentecost Sermon Acts 2:22-39
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review Acts: the acts of Jesus by the Spirit through the apostles. Jesus 40 days after Easter; Spirit 50 days (Pentecost). Spirit came with a sound (like a violent wind) and a sight (like tongues of fire); the disciples all spoke in different languages. Thousands from all over the world gathered at the house.
Vocabulary; Sentence Comprehension Studying God’s Word Acts 2:22-24 1. Whom is Peter speaking to? Jewish people; thousands gathered to find out what was happening on this Pentecost day. A sermon. 2. Peter’s sermon is about Jesus. He tells the people who Jesus is and what happened to Him. What type of Man is Jesus? 1) He is accredited by God (God proves who Jesus is). 2) He did miracles (supernatural acts), wonders (acts that invoked amazement), and signs (acts pointing to greater spiritual truths). 3) God was in Him, doing the works. CONCLUSION: This is not an ordinary man; this is God in human flesh – Emmanuel (Matt. 1:23). 3. What happened to Jesus? Handed over to them – the Jews, who, with the help of the Romans, put Him to death on the Cross. Why did this happen? People hated Him (because we are sinners). But, that is not the main reason. Rather, it was the predetermined plan of God. Cf. Is. 53:10a. God is the One who allowed these things to happen, and even orchestrated the events, so that Jesus would be punished for our sins. 4. After Jesus died on the Cross, did He stay dead? Why not? It was impossible for death to hold onto Him. Jesus was the Living God – He could not stay dead. Since He had no sin of His own, 1
after He paid the price for our sins (by suffering and dying), He was released from death. Acts 2:25-28 5. Who was David? King of Israel, around 1000 BC. David wrote many parts of the Old Testament. One part is Psalm 16 (vv. 8-11), which is quoted in this passage. Whom did David write about in Psalm 16? He wrote about Jesus. It was a prophecy. 6. What do you think David was saying about Jesus? Joy of Jesus; Jesus will not be left in the grave, but will rise again; Jesus will be go to be in the presence of God the Father. Acts 2:29-31 7. How do you know David wasn’t talking about himself? David died and was buried. His body is still in the grave. The Person he refers to did not stay in the grave. 8. What Did God promise David? That One of his descendants – a special Descendant – would rule as King. This would be Christ Jesus, who was sent into David’s royal bloodline through Mary. 9. After Jesus died, what happened to Jesus’ soul? Went to heaven for three days. What happened to His body? Remained in the grave uncorrupted for three days. After this, soul and body were reunited and Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and He ascended into heaven. Acts 2:32,33 10. How do we know what David wrote truly happened to Jesus? 1) There is no body. 2) The apostles and disciples are witnesses. 3) The Holy Spirit has been sent by Jesus. There is every reason to believe, and no reason not to! 11. If Jesus did not rise, would the Spirit have come? No. 12. What would it mean for us? Jesus does not have power over death; He did not pay enough for our sins; we would never have new life; God’s Spirit could never be with us – we would always we separated from God. Cf. Rom. 8:11. Acts 2:34-36 13. What is another difference between David and Jesus? David never ascended to heaven to be at the right hand of God. His body is still in the grave, though his soul is in heaven, but not at this highest of all positions. 14. Whom does God say Jesus is? Lord (God) and Christ (promised Saviour). Acts 2:37-39 15. How did the Jewish people respond to Peter’s sermon? Their 2
hearts were convicted. They realized that they had killed the Lord. They realized that this Jesus was the One God had promised. So they asked Peter what they should do. 16. What should they do? 1) Repent of your sins – the sins that put Jesus on the Cross. 2) Be baptized in the name of Jesus – believing in Jesus. 17. What will happen if they do this? 1) Sins will have been forgiven. 2) They will have received the Holy Spirit. 18. Who else can have these benefits? Their children; anyone in the world (afar off); but the condition is that God Himself calls you! You must hear His call in the Bible and in your heart! Do you hear that call? If you do, please talk to me. Next week we will find out what happened to all these thousands of people. Memory Verse: “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:39). Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
ESL Bible Study
Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 5: Living the Christian Life Acts 2:38-47
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination (Review) Peter spoke to the crowd of thousands and told them about Jesus – how He died and rose as it was prophesied (by David). Jesus was not abandoned to the grave; did not see decay. People should repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus – He is Lord and Christ!
Vocabulary; Quiz Studying God’s Word Acts 2:38,39 1. Review where we left off last week. How do I become a Christian? Repent, believe, be baptized and follow Jesus. 2. What are the benefits of becoming a Christian? Forgiveness; the Holy Spirit. 3. Who can become a Christian? Anyone on this earth – if God calls. Acts 2:40,41 4. V. 40 says that Peter warned the people and pleaded with them. How does Peter warn and plead with the people? He spoke many other words about Jesus and said, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 5. Why is this generation corrupt? It does not follow God’s law and God’s ways. There is much immorality and corruption in this generation, especially today. God is angry: Cf. Is. 5:20-23. E.g. homosexuality, abortion, crime, our own dark hearts, etc. 6. How can we “save ourselves”? We can go to Jesus, and He will save us: 1) He will take us out of this corrupt generation and put us into His family – a holy generation. 2) He rescues us from the judgement and condemnation coming on this wicked generation. 1
7. How many people were saved on Pentecost? 3,000 people became Christians on that great day! That is huge, as there had been only 120 Christians in Jerusalem before this! The Holy Spirit came into the hearts of 3,000 people, and they repented, believed, and were saved! And that was just the beginning. Down through history, millions and millions of people have been saved from all over the world. They have heard about Jesus, repented, and believed! And still today, the Holy Spirit is working, and people have the chance! So, we have seen how people can become Christians. But, what next? After you become a Christian, what happens? What do you do? Let’s see what these 3,000+ Christians did… Acts 2:42,43 8. What are four things that the Christians did? [First enumerate, then explain]. These four things show us what it means to live the Christian life. They are a part of every true Christian’s life. Devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. What is it? What the twelve apostles who were closest to Jesus (and their associates) taught. They taught all about Jesus, what Jesus did, why He died, what the OT means, and what Jesus wants us to do now. Where do we find this teaching? We have the apostles’ teaching in the New Testament. The NT is where Christians should spend much time in study everyday. Devoted themselves to fellowship. What is it? Fellowship means partnership or sharing together. We are partners with Christ and with one another – brothers and sisters in God’s family. How do we have fellowship? We encourage, support, stimulate, help, and spend time with each other. Not just hanging out, but talking, discussing, praying, and helping each other grow spiritually. We don’t go it alone. Devoted themselves to the breaking of bread. What is it? Celebrating the Lord’s Supper where we take bread and a cup. Why is this important? We need to keep reminding ourselves of what Jesus did; and that He is the one who brought us together into one family and keeps us together in one family; and that He is coming again. Important symbol. Devoted themselves to prayers. What is it? Simply talking to God. Different types of prayer – individual, group. If God knows everything, why do we pray? Shows we need Him and trust Him and love Him. Shows our dependence and His grace and power in providing answers. 9. What happened as a result of all this? People were full of awe and respect for God. The apostles did many miracles. 2
10. Should we expect to see the same miracles today? No; they were for the apostles and New Testament times only – to establish that all was true and came from God. But we should expect awe, answered prayers, and God’s power in us. Acts 2:44,45 11. How did the Christians take care of each other? They spent time together – even though they were from many different cultures and backgrounds. They did not horde their possessions, but shared with each other. They would even voluntarily sell their goods to help out a brother or sister! The Christian life is totally different from this world. Cf. 1 John 4:20,21. Acts 2:46,47 12. Where did the Christians meet? In the temple (church) and also in their homes (large and small groups for worship/teaching). 13. How did the Christians feel? Glad, joyous, content, praising God. People respected the Christians and how they lived. 14. What did God do as a result? Every day God brought more and more people into His family – the church. More and more people were saved. When we live the Christian life, the world sees it and hears about Jesus, and God blesses and saves people. The Christian life is all about relationships – relationships with people and a relationship with God. There are four relationships in Christianity that are new and vital: i. Me and my Christian teachers/leaders (discipling) ii. Me and my brothers/sisters (sharing/encouraging) iii. Me and God (obeying/worshipping) iv. Me and this world (witnessing) Memory Verse: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42). Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
ESL Bible Study
Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 6: Jesus’ Name Heals Us Acts 3:1-26
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review We are in a corrupt generation – a generation that does not follow God’s ways; follows sin, self, and Satan. We need to be saved from this generation, by faith in Jesus. 3,000 people heard, believed, and were baptized on Pentecost! The new Christians studied NT, had fellowship, celebrated the Lord’s Supper, and prayed. They also took care of each other.
Vocabulary; Womb to Tomb Studying God’s Word Acts 3:1,2 1. Who are Peter and John? Peter is the leader of the apostles. John is another apostle (who wrote the Gospel of John). What were they doing? They were going to the temple for prayer. There were three prayer times every day at the temple: 9 AM, 12 PM, & 3 PM. 2. There is also another person going to the temple. Describe the other person in our passage? Crippled from birth. He had a birth defect – he can’t walk. He is disabled. He has been this way for a long time – he is 40a (4:22). How did he get to the temple? He had to be carried because he was so crippled. 3. Was he going to the temple to pray? His main reason for being at the temple was to beg. He could not work; there was no social assistance; so he must beg his whole life. There were always many people at the temple, going in and out. And many of these people would give alms to honour God. He hoped to get some alms from these people. 4. What do you think of this cripple? He has suffered all his life. He cannot support himself, but must beg all the time. He must be carried around by other people – family and friends. He has 1
probably caused his family a lot of hardship. Some would say he should never have been born; his life was a waste. Is his life a waste? (No. His life is precious and important, as we shall see…) Acts 3:3-5 5. What did the cripple do when he saw Peter and John? Asked for money. 6. What did he think they would give him? Some money. That is all he could hope for. 7. What do you think they will do? (Not give money). Acts 3:6-8 8. Why does Peter not give the cripple money? 1) He doesn’t have much money. 2) He has something much better to give him. 9. What does Peter do for the cripple? He tells him to walk in Jesus’ name and pulls him to his feet. As he does this, his feet and ankles become strong for the first time ever. It is a miracle! 10. How did the cripple react? 1) Walking, 2) jumping, and 3) praising God. He was very excited, happy, thankful. God had touched Him. Acts 3:9,10 11. What did the other people in the temple think? When they saw the cripple walking, jumping, and praising God, all the people were full of wonder and amazement. They wondered how this happened. They were absolutely amazed by this miracle. God used this cripple to touch other people. God had a purpose for this man. Acts 3:11,12 12. What did the other people in the temple do? They came running to Peter, John, and the cripple. 13. What does Peter say to them? Peter tells them that he and John did not heal this man. It was not through their own power and godliness. 14. Who healed this cripple? JESUS did. It was done in the name of Jesus (v. 6). 15. Why would Jesus heal a cripple? Did Jesus think his life was a waste? Jesus loved this cripple. Jesus knew that this cripple’s life was important and precious. Jesus did not think his life was a waste. He doesn’t think that anyone’s life is a waste, no matter what their condition or disability. Jesus wanted to use this cripple and show His power in him. (Cf. Luke 4:18,19; Jer. 1:4,5). 16. Was it good or bad that this man had been crippled? 2 Cor. 12:9,10. Good, because God brought good out of something bad. If he had not been crippled, he would not have been healed, and all the people of the temple would not have come running to see/hear. 2
Acts 3:16 17. How did Jesus heal the cripple? Through faith – faith in His name (all that He is and did for us on the Cross). 18. Who had faith in Jesus? Peter and John. The cripple had no faith in Jesus before this miracle. God used the faith of Peter and John to heal this man. In the same way today, friends, God uses the faith of Christians (you and me) to help other people – people who are weak, poor, crippled, hurting, and sick, at any stage of life – young babies and old men. Jesus uses our faith to help them. When we believe in Jesus and His power, God can do many amazing things through us. God can touch others who are weak; and then they can touch other people. Who knows. Maybe God wants to use your faith to do something big in another person’s life?! And who knows how many other people will be touched as a result? But if we aren’t trusting in Jesus and we don’t love and value those who are weak, then nothing good will come. Cf. James 5:15. Memory Verse: “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10b). Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
ESL Bible Study
Acts: Spreading the Good News
Lesson 7: Jesus’ Power in Pathetic People Acts 4:1-22 Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review Who was at the temple? Apostles Peter & John; a cripple (crippled from birth). What were they doing there? Peter & John went to pray; the cripple went to beg alms. Was the cripple’s life a “waste”? No. It was important to God. Was it good or bad for the cripple to be crippled? Good: he could experience God’s healing power; he was touched and blessed. How was he healed? Through Peter & John’s faith in Jesus.
Levels of Government; Vocabulary Studying God’s Word Acts 4:1-4 1. These events took place at the temple, right after the cripple was healed. We will see how important this cripple was to God. What were Peter and John doing after the cripple was healed? They were speaking to all the people at the temple. There were many thousands of people there. When the cripple was healed they came to see what had happened. So Peter and John told them about Jesus – how He healed the cripple. 2. Who came up to Peter and John? Priests, captain of the temple guard, Sadducees. I.e. the Jewish religious leaders = government. 3. What did they do to the two apostles? They arrested them and threw them in jail. This seems surprising. They are surely not doing anything wrong, are they? 4. Why were the apostles arrested? What was their crime? The religious leaders were greatly disturbed that the apostles were teaching the people about Jesus. Jesus had been put to death as a criminal. Jesus’ followers were also considered criminals.
5. Why do you think Jesus’ resurrection was a problem? It looked like the Jewish leaders had been wrong about Jesus. It was embarrassing. Jesus, by His resurrection, shows He really is God, shows He has power over death, disease (e.g. the cripple’s condition), shows He is the Messiah and Saviour of the world. 6. What did the people at the temple think about all this? Many believed – thousands in fact. It’s funny (ironic). God used a cripple and two criminals to save thousands of people. God’s power and love is shown most in difficult situations and in people who are weak and imperfect. Critical principle: 1 Cor. 1:26,27. 7. How has the Church grown since Jesus’ resurrection? 120 3,000 added on Pentecost now 5,000 total men (plus women and children). Today ~ 420 million Christians. Acts 4:5-7 8. What happened on the next day? All of the Jewish leaders met to put Peter and John on trial. This was the Jewish Council – the Sanhedrin. There were 71 members in this Council. 9. What did they ask the apostles? By what power or name did they heal the cripple. They wanted to know the source of this miracle. 10. Was it a fair trial? No. 71 against 2. 11. How would you feel if you were on trial? Scared, nervous. Acts 4:8-10 12. Whom did Peter say healed the cripple? Jesus Christ. 13. Was Peter afraid? How do you know? No. God the Holy Spirit empowered him and gave him boldness and confidence. He was not afraid to tell the Council that they were wrong about Jesus. 14. Should we be afraid to tell anyone about Jesus? No. Cf. Luke 12:11,12. We can boldly tell anyone – even government leaders. Acts 4:11,12 15. Who is Jesus? The “capstone” or better “cornerstone.” Everything is built up on Him; He is the foundation of our life. 16. How can we be saved and healed? Trusting in Jesus’ Name. 17. Are there other ways to be saved and healed? No other way. Peter is absolutely clear. Jesus is the only way God gives to mankind. Cf. John 14:6. Acts 4:13,14 18. Why were the Jewish leaders astonished? They saw how bold Peter and John were, yet realized these were uneducated and ordinary men. They were actually poor, weak, and simple people. But they were speaking so powerfully and confidently. 19. What made the difference in Peter and John’s lives? This is the key: “They had been with Jesus.” 2
20. What can make the difference in your life? If you are a follower of Jesus, if He is in your life, if you have been with Jesus; He makes all the difference. He takes the poor, the needy, the sick, the sinful, the uneducated and He makes us become greater and better than anyone can imagine. It’s astonishing what He can do! 21. What did the Council say to Peter and John? Nothing. Why? It was obvious that a great miracle had happened. They could not deny it. 71 powerful men were speechless before two uneducated criminals. Acts 4:15-17 22. What did the Council do? They discussed things together privately/secretly. 23. What was their problem? They cannot condemn Peter and John because so many people saw and believed the miracle – how the cripple was healed. 24. What did they decide to do to the apostles? Warn them to stop speaking about Jesus. They do not want others to know and believe. They want to stop the Christian Church from growing. Acts 4:18-20 25. Will Peter and John stop telling people about Jesus? No. 26. Is it right for them to disobey the government? Yes, only if they must do so to obey God. We must obey the government, but we must obey God above obeying the government. Acts 4:21,22 27. What did the council do to the apostles in the end? They simply let them go free. There was nothing they could do to them. God’s truth will always win; God’s people will always win – even though the enemy is mighty and powerful, and even though God’s people seem weak and poor. Then, we come back to the cripple in v. 22. We must not forget the cripple. All these wonderful things happened, all those thousands of people were saved, because God used a man crippled from birth – crippled for over forty years. Memory Verse: “There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12b). Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
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Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 8: Sovereign over Suffering Acts 4:23-33
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review Peter and John were arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin for teaching people about Jesus. The Sanhedrin wanted them silenced. The Sanhedrin could do nothing to them because so many people believed and because the miracle was undeniable. Peter and John were unafraid before the Sanhedrin. Even though they were unschooled and ordinary, God used them like He used the cripple. Jesus made the difference in their life; and He will make the difference in your life today. “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).
Memory Verse: “There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12b). Functions of Government; Definitions Studying God’s Word Acts 4:23-30 (one verse per person) 1. Peter and John had been arrested and on trial before the Jewish Council (Sanhedrin). But the Sanhedrin could do nothing but let them go. After they were released, what did Peter and John do? They went back to their own people (the apostles and believers in Jerusalem). They told them about all that had occurred: the arrest, trial, what they had said, and their release. 2. How did the believers feel when they heard about what had happened? They were happy and relieved. 3. What did the believers do? They prayed to God and praised Him. Notice they didn’t congratulate Peter and John. They didn’t say, ‘Good job, guys!’ Their first thought was to give the credit to God 1
for all that had happened. If we are Christians, we know that there is a God, and that He is responsible for everything good in our lives. We want to thank Him. 4. The believers say some important things in their prayer. We’re going to try to understand what they pray. How do the believers describe God in their prayer? (V. 24). Sovereign: in control over all things, people, and circumstances. There is nothing outside of His rule. What did God make? 1) heaven (sky, space, glory), 2) earth (dry land), 3) sea (waters), 4) everything in these realms – all things physical and spiritual, visible and invisible. (Cf. Col. 1:15,16 pertaining to Christ as Creator). 5. How do the believers describe the nations and peoples of this earth? Raging and taking their stand against God and Christ. The people of this earth do not follow God. (Why? Because they are sinners). They battle against Him, against Jesus, and against His followers. This is a real spiritual battle going on everywhere still today. (Cf. Rom. 1:21). 6. What happened to Jesus because of the people? Jesus suffered and was put to death as a result. People fought against God. People hate God so much that they would kill Him. 7. Who was responsible for killing Jesus? (V. 27). 1) Roman authorities (Herod & Pilate); 2) Gentiles (non-Jewish people); 3) Jews (people of Israel). In other words, everyone is responsible, even you and me. 8. Are you and I also responsible for killing Jesus? I am a sinner. I was an enemy of God. I once hated and ignored Him. When He came to earth, it was my sins that caused Him to suffer and die. He got punished for everything wrong I did. He died so I could live today. 9. If Jesus died because of us, what should we do? Because I am responsible for Jesus’ death I owe Him everything. I must ask for His forgiveness. I must serve Him and obey Him as my Lord. 10. Was God defeated when Jesus died? Did God lose the battle with people? (V. 28). No. His death was all a part of God’s predetermined plans. When the people were killing Jesus, they were actually carrying out the purposes of God! God wanted Jesus to die. (Cf. Rom. 5:6-8). This shows us that God is sovereign over everything. He is in control of all things, even things that take place that are evil and wrong. God brings good out of evil. Even in suffering and pain, God has a plan, like He had a plan for Jesus! John MacArthur writes, “God has written all of history [His-story] according to His eternal plan. The crucifixion of Jesus was no exception.” When Jesus rose from the dead, it proved that God was in control!
11. What do the believers pray for? They pray for great boldness to keep telling people about Jesus. They pray for more signs and miracles as they do this. (Not praying for judgement/vengeance). 12. Do you think they are asking for trouble? Yes, because the people will be against them. But they are not afraid to suffer; because they know that God has a plan, and God is in control. Acts 4:31-33 13. What happened after they prayed? The ground shook as the Holy Spirit came and filled them once again. They were then able to speak Godâ€™s Word boldly. 14. Is this the first time that the Spirit filled the believers? No, He did so on Pentecost. As believers, we need to keep being filled again and again with the Holy Spirit. He has regenerated us; He indwells us; but the filling may be more or less. We especially need His filling in order to do His work and face troubles. 15. Describe the believers at that time. United in love and belief. Helped and shared with each other. They knew that since God made everything, all their goods were His. So they should share with His people. 16. What did the apostles do? They kept telling people about Jesus â€“ how He rose from the dead. The resurrected Jesus is the ultimate victory of God! Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
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Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 9: God’s Discipline Acts 4:34-5:11
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review Peter and John go back to the believers after they were arrested. They pray, praising God for this victory. Who was responsible for killing Jesus? Romans; Jews; us. But all God’s plan to save us. God was not defeated at the Cross. History is all His-story. After they prayed the ground shook; believers filled with Spirit.
Speaking Skills; Discipline Studying God’s Word Acts 4:34,35 1. How many disciples were there in Jerusalem? 5,000 men (plus women and children). How many disciples were poor? We don’t know how many were poor, but all who were needy were helped. None were needy. 2. Why were there no disciples who were needy? Those who had lands or houses would from time to time sell them and give the proceeds to help. They supported each other in Christian love. 3. How would you describe the Christians? Sacrificial; giving. This is what Christians should do – take care of each other. We must make sure a brother/sister is never in want! Cf. John 13:34,35. Acts 4:36,37 4. Who is Joseph? He is a priestly Levite from Cypress. The apostles called him Barnabas. 5. What did Barnabas do? He sold some real estate and gave all the money to the apostles to help the poor. He is worthy of the name he was given, meaning “son of encouragement.” A good example. 6. Did Barnabas have to sell his field? No. Voluntary. Do 1
Christians have to sell their possessions? No. Acts 5:1,2 7. Who are Ananias and Sapphira? Husband and wife disciples. 8. What did they do? They sold some of their land, kept back part of the money, and gave the rest to the disciples. 9. Is there anything wrong with what they did? [Opinions] Acts 5:3,4 10. What did they do wrong? They “lied to the Holy Spirit.” Was it that they kept back some money? Should they have given everything to the apostles? No, this cannot be the issue, because Peter says the money was at Ananias’ disposal after the sale – he could do whatever he likes with it. 11. Who is the Holy Spirit? God (cf. end of v. 4). Where is the Holy Spirit? In believers and the Church as a whole. 12. How could they lie to the Holy Spirit? They told the apostles that the property was sold for so much money (e.g. $500,000) and they were giving all that money to the Church. This was a lie to God in the Church. The land was sold for MORE money (e.g. $600,000), and Ananias kept back the difference for himself. 13. Why would they lie like this? So others would think very highly of them and respect them for their gift. It seemed like they were being very sacrificial and giving. They wanted to impress people. 14. Why is it a sin to impress people with your giving? Cf. Matt. 6:1-4. God knows all things. If we give, we give to Him for His work. He will reward us. Anything else is selfish and prideful. 15. How did Peter know that they had sinned? The Holy Spirit. Acts 5:5,6 16. What happened to Ananias after Peter reprimanded him? He dropped dead on the spot. Then he was taken away and buried. 17. Why do you think he dropped dead? This was God’s discipline. When we sin – even if are believers – there are consequences for our sin. If we are Christians, our sins are forgiven and we can go to heaven. However, on earth, we will face discipline from God or various troubles because of our sins. This happens because God wants to show us and others what we’re doing wrong; He is looking out for all His children. (E.g. child and a hot stove element; drive recklessly and get into an accident). 18. How did the other believers feel when this happened? They were afraid. This was a lesson to them not to mess with God! God is serious about His Church; He wants believers in the Church to be true, honest, pure, and sincere in their love for one another. 19. What does this teach you about God? Cf. Heb. 12:5,6.
Acts 5:7,8 20. What happened three hours later? Sapphira comes in. She doesn’t know what had just happened. 21. What did Peter want to know? The price they sold the land for. 22. What did Sapphira tell Peter? A false price. They lied about the price so that they could keep back some money. Acts 5:9,10 23. What happened to Sapphira? She, too, dropped dead on the spot and was buried. 24. How did believers and unbelievers react? All were seized with “great fear.” A respect for the holiness of God and a testimony to the reality of His Holy Spirit being in the Church. 25. Can this still happen today? Yes. Cf. 1 Cor. 11:30-32. As Christians, we must remember that the Holy Spirit is in us. We must be careful not to disobey Him and displease Him. Also, He is in our brothers and sisters, so we must also be careful not to sin against them. As well, God calls us to be different from this world – to follow a higher standard of behaviour and morality. We must be righteous and follow Christ Jesus in how He acted. We must show sacrificial love in the way He showed it – sincerely; not just to impress. If we do not do this, we will find ourselves facing the fatherly discipline of God. Memory Verse: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” (Lev. 19:2). Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
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Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 10: The Unstoppable Gospel Acts 5:12-24
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review God’s discipline on Ananias and Sapphira. They lied to the Holy Spirit: they said they had given all the money to the church from the sale of their land, but they actually kept back some. God is holy, and He expects His people to be holy also. He is Light, and we must reflect His light in the Church.
Memory Verse: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” (Lev. 19:2). Studying God’s Word Acts 5:12-14 1. What were the apostles doing at this time? They performed many signs and wonders (miracles). How did they do these miracles? It was the Holy Spirit who worked through them, not them in their own power. Why did they do these miracles? To prove the authenticity of the Good News about Jesus. It establishes what is written in the Bible as coming from God and being reliable and trustworthy. 2. What is special about “Solomon’s Colonnade”? It is an area at the temple where the believers used to regularly meet together to learn and pray, and for healing. 3. When the people of Jerusalem heard the apostles and saw the miracles, they could sense the awesome power and presence of God. It was undeniable. This produced two very different reactions in the people. Some of the people reacted in one way, some in another. What were the people’s two different reactions to the apostles? 1) V. 13: Aloof and respectful. Some people stayed back and would not join them, perhaps being afraid. 2) V. 14: Accepting
and believing. Others – many, many others – accepted their message and believed in Jesus and joined the Church. This is the same way people react today when they feel something of God’s power and presence. Some will hear about Jesus and feel the Good News is true, but they will stay away, feeling a little intimidated or unsure, but they will be very respectful. Others will hear, accept, and believe. This is what God wants us all to do – to seek Him and find Him and not hold back! Acts 5:15,16 4. What did the people do next? They brought sick and demonpossessed people to the apostles to be healed. 5. What was special about Peter’s shadow? Nothing, actually. But the people realized that the apostles had so much of God’s healing power that they were happy just to let Peter’s shadow touch them in the hopes of being healed. 6. Where did people come from to see the apostles? Not only from Jerusalem, but from the surrounding towns. News was spreading. Acts 5:17,18 7. Who were the high priests and his associates? The Jewish leadership – part of the Sanhedrin (Council). 8. How did they feel about the apostles? They were jealous. They envied the apostles’ popularity and power. They were afraid of losing their position to the apostles as leaders in Israel. 9. What did they do to the apostles? They arrested them and threw them in jail. There is a risk involved if you want to be a Christian. Jesus does not guarantee an easy and comfortable life on earth! There are troubles and struggles, and the apostles – the leaders of the Church – were not exempt. Cf. 2 Tim. 3:12. Acts 5:19,20 10. What happened during the night? An angel came from God to the apostles in the prison. He opened the doors and brought them out to freedom. 11. What did the angel want the apostles to do? He wanted them to go back into the temple and keep teaching the people “the full message of this new life.” 12. What is the message of this new life? The Good News (Gospel) about Jesus. Cf. John 11:25,26. Jesus, by faith in His death and resurrection, gives us eternal life – we will not perish, but live forever. This episode teaches us something important about the Gospel. The Good News of Jesus is unstoppable! No man, no government, 2
not even Satan can prevent the Good News from going out into the world and reaching people. God will not allow anyone to stop it! Do you know why? Cf. Rom. 1:16. The Gospel is the only way to be saved; and God wants to (and will) save His chosen people. Acts 5:21-24 (one verse per person) 13. What did the apostles do? They obeyed the instructions of the angel. They went into the temple and preached the Gospel. 14. Why does it mention that they went at daybreak? It shows that they were bold and confident and did not hesitate to preach the Gospel. They knew that Godâ€™s power and presence was with them. We, too, can always be confident if we are believers, for the same Lord who was with them is with us! 15. What did the Jewish leaders do? They called together the Sanhedrin for a Council meeting. Then they sent to the jail to get the apostles. They wanted to put them on trial and judge them for preaching about Jesus. 16. What problem did they have? They sent to the jail, but the apostles were not there. 17. What was so surprising about the jail? The doors were locked, the guards were outside, but no one was inside. No one even knew that the apostles were gone. 18. How did the Jewish leaders react? They were puzzled and confused. How should they have reacted? They should have believed and repented right then! This was a great miracle! But they could not understand it. The Gospel is unstoppable. And those who believe that Gospel and preach that Gospel have God on their side. He is with us and will keep us safe. We will face suffering and persecution, but we will always win in the end. Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
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Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 11: A Higher Standard Acts 5:25-42
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review The apostles had been arrested and put in jail for preaching about Jesus and healing in His name. The Jewish leaders in the Sanhedrin were jealous. They wanted to stop the Christians from spreading their message and growing in popularity. An angel came from God, set the apostles free, and told them to go back to the temple and preach the Good News about Jesus. The Gospel of Jesus is unstoppable.
Studying God’s Word Acts 5:25-28 1. What were the apostles doing in the temple? They were teaching the people about Jesus Christ. Why is this surprising? The Jewish leaders were surprised to see them because they were supposed to be in jail. An angel from God had set them free. Also, it was surprising that they would be doing what they had been arrested for before – teaching about Jesus. They were bold. 2. What happened when the apostles were discovered in the temple? The apostles were re-arrested and brought before the Jewish leaders in the Sanhedrin (ruling Council). 3. How were the apostles arrested? Without any force, but gently and peacefully. Why? The soldiers were afraid that the people at the temple would throw stones at them to kill them for re-arresting the apostles. The apostles were becoming very popular with the people because of the miracles and their teaching about Jesus. 4. Could the apostles have refused to be arrested? Yes. They could have resisted and fought. At that moment in history there could have been a great revolution. There were thousands of people at the temple who would have supported them and fought, and they 1
could have overthrown the Jewish leadership. However, the apostles refused to fight. They would not resist, but instead submitted, putting their trust in God. This is what makes Christianity different and why it is not like any other human movement or religion. 5. What are the two accusations against the apostles? 1) They disobeyed the order to stop teaching about Jesus. 2) They are blaming the Jewish leaders for Jesus’ death. These are very serious accusations. They are openly criticizing and disobeying the government. 6. What would happen if you disobeyed the government in Canada? What would happen if you disobeyed the government in your homeland? The apostles were taking a big risk and putting themselves in great danger by teaching and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ! By refusing to fight, they were risking even more. But this is God’s way. Acts 5:29-32 7. What do you know about Peter? What is he famous for? He denied His Lord three times. He was weak and cowardly. 8. What is different about Peter now? He is bold and unafraid to tell the whole Council of Jewish leaders that He believes in Jesus and that they were wrong to have killed Jesus. 9. What does Peter mean when he says we should obey God rather than men? As followers of Jesus – Christians – we are called to follow a higher standard and a higher authority. God’s ways are not our ways – they are much higher. We need to follow His ways first above all else. So, let me give you three scenarios: What should I do in the following situations? 1) You are a pharmacist. A female customer requests the “morning after pill” – a pill that induces an abortion. Your pharmacy carries this pill. But God’s law says, “You shall not kill.” What do you do? Explain why. 2) You are a police officer. You see your captain accepting a bribe from a thief. Your captain tells you not to say anything. But God’s law says, “You shall not steal” and, “You shall take no bribe.” What do you do? Explain why. 3) It is tax time. You figure out that you owe the government $2,500 in taxes. If you lie on your tax forms, you can keep that money and give it all to the church. What do you do? Explain why. In the case of Peter and the apostles, God’s law says that we should preach the Gospel of Jesus to the whole world. God wants everyone to know about Jesus so they can be saved. Even if the government tells them to stop and be quiet about Jesus, they must disobey the government in that one area. However, generally, as Christians, we must obey the laws of the government if they do not go against God’s laws. 2
10. Why do the apostles feel so confident teaching about Jesus even though it is illegal? 1) They have seen the evidence that Jesus rose again – they know it is true. 2) They have seen God’s power in the miracles and the angel setting them free. 3) V. 33: God has given them (and us) the Holy Spirit so we can know God Himself is with us and will help us. Acts 5:33-35 11. How did the Jewish leaders feel about what the apostles said? They were so angry that they wanted to kill them. They wanted them to obey them absolutely. 12. Who is Gamaliel? What does he do? He is a highly respected Jewish teacher of the law. He wanted to talk to the Council privately. Acts 5:36-39 13. What advice does Gamaliel give the Council? He tells them to leave these Christians alone. If God is really with them, nothing can stop them. If God is not with them, they will fail. Though Gamaliel was not a Christian, there is a lot of truth in what he said. Nothing can stop the apostles from preaching the Gospel, because God is with them and will see to it that the world hears about Jesus. Acts 5:40-42 14. What did the Council think about Gamaliel’s speech? They were persuaded that he was right. 15. What did the Council do to the apostles? 1) Flogged them. 2) Commanded them again not to preach Jesus. 3) Released them. They finally let them go. Now this was not an easy time for the apostles. To be flogged was to endure a horrible punishment. Each of the apostles was likely lashed on their backs with a whip 39 times. That was the common method of flogging back then. The apostles suffered much for following God’s way. 16. After the apostles were flogged and released, how did they feel? They were rejoicing – joyful – happy! 17. Why would they rejoice after facing so much pain and suffering? 1) Jesus had predicted that this would happen. When it did happen, it confirmed that everything He said was right and true. Cf. Matt. 5:10-12. 2) They are sharing in the sufferings Jesus faced when He was on earth. They are suffering for Him – because of His Gospel message. This shows they are ONE with their Lord Jesus. 3) They are happy that they can be faithful to follow God’s way. This shows that they are on God’s side and not Satan’s side. They are truly following a higher standard, and they can rejoice to know this. 3
If we follow God’s way, dear friends, we will certainly suffer and face difficulties in this world. God’s way is different. God’s way is higher. There will be conflicts with people around us. But we will be able to rejoice because, in those moments, we will know we are One with God and Jesus – we are doing His will, and He is pleased with us! Memory Verse Isaiah 55:8,9 – “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
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Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 12: Serving in the Church Acts 6:1-7
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review The apostles had been put in jail for preaching about Jesus and healing in His name, but an angel set them free. They went and preached again in the temple and were arrested. They disobeyed the government in order to obey a higher standard – God’s standard. They were flogged, ordered not to teach about Jesus, and set free. The apostles were bold and rejoiced in suffering for Jesus. Then they kept teaching everyone the Good News about Jesus. Memory Verse
Isaiah 55:8,9 – “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Studying God’s Word Acts 6:1 1. How many people believed in Jesus at this time? Many many more than before. Perhaps as many as 20,000 people. 2. How was the Christian Church growing at this time? It was growing and expanding every day. The Good News about what Jesus did – how He died to save believers – was spreading from Jerusalem outwards to the rest of the world. Now Satan (the devil) was not happy with this growth. He was not happy that people were being saved from their sins and taken away from his power and influence. So Satan tried to stop the church in three different ways. Two of the ways we have already learnt about: 1) Persecution/violence. (This did not work). 2) Corruption within 1
the Church. (Ananias and Sapphira defrauding, which did not work). In today’s lesson, we see a third way by which Satan tried to stop the Church – by a problem within the Church. 3. What was happening in the Church? One group of people is complaining against another group. What were the two groups in the Church? Graecian Jews and Hebraic Jews. These are Jewish believers from two different cultural backgrounds: Israeli/religious and Greek/secular. 4. Do you ever complain about anything? Is complaining good or bad? Cf. Phil. 2:14,15. Complaining doesn’t really help anyone. 5. What was the complaint in the Church? The Graecians felt that the Graecian widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. Every day, the Christians provided food for their brothers and sisters who were needy and poor. There were women whose husbands had died and they were unable to support themselves. The Church looked after these people. However, some of them – the Graecians – were not getting all the food that they needed. 6. Why do you think they were being overlooked? Discrimination? Probably just a mistake/accident with so many people now in the Church. Acts 6:2-4 7. Who are “the Twelve”? The twelve apostles – the leaders of the Church after Jesus ascended. Only 12 leading 20,000. 8. What is it “not right” for the apostles to do? Neglect the ministry of the Word to wait on tables. What does this mean? It would not be right for the apostles to stop preaching the Gospel. This is, after all what Satan would like. They must keep telling people about Jesus. However, if they were to look after distributing food and doing other “social work” in the church, it would take all their time and energy and they would have no time to preach. This can be a real problem for some churches. The leaders are not preaching the Word of God, but just doing a lot of social work. As a result, they lose their focus on Jesus, and less people are saved. Social work is good, but it is not the most critical thing. 9. How can they solve this problem? They want to get seven men to be in charge of looking after the food and other physical needs of the church. These are the first type of deacons in the Church. 10. What are the qualifications for these “deacons”? These are the same types of qualifications we look for in the Church today: men, well-known (with good reputations), full of the Holy Spirit (so 2
they will be loving, generous, and fair), very wise (so they can handle food, money, and people well). 11. Who chooses these “deacons”? They are not chosen by the apostles, but the congregation of disciples choose them out. This is how it works in the Church today. Believers must pray and seek out men who are qualified as deacons or other leaders. Some believers will have a special calling to lead. God asks us all to play a part in choosing our leaders or in leading ourselves. 12. What was the main job of the apostles? Prayer and preaching the Gospel. This is also the main job for pastors today. Acts 6:5,6 13. What did everyone think of what the apostles suggested? They were all very pleased. It sounded like a good idea. 14. Who were the seven men that the Church chose? Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, Nicolas. These were brought to the apostles for their consideration. 15. What did the apostles then do for these men? They prayed for them and laid their hands on them. 16. What does it mean to lay on hands? It shows that the apostles affirmed and supported the “deacons” and were dedicating them to serve God in a special job in the Church. Acts 6:7 17. Was this solution a success or a failure? Why? It was a success, because the Word of God spread, and many more people came to believe. It also seems that the complaining stopped. 18. What do you think Satan thought of this? He was very unhappy. He was unable to stop the spread of the Good News and Christianity. Though, he still tries today with the same old tactics. We would do well to learn of his wiles and be ready for them! Satan tries to stop Christianity, the Church, and individual believers by three things: 1) Violence, persecution, and suffering. 2) Corruption, immorality, and lies. 3) Distraction and diversion from goals and mission. Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
ESL Bible Study
Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 13: Christians Face Rejection Acts 6:8-7:1
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review The devil tried to stop the spread of the Gospel in three main ways: 1) persecution from without, 2) corruption from within, and 3) distraction from our mission. (No. 3 we saw last week). There were complaints that some of the widows in the Church were not getting enough food. The apostles wanted to get seven men to oversee this matter along with other administrative work. These men, chosen by the congregation, were the first type of deacons. Everyone has a different part to play in the Church.
Studying God’s Word So far in our Bible Study on the Book of Acts, we have seen what happens in the months after Jesus ascended to heaven and the Spirit came. We have seen many miracles take place, many people believe, and the church growing strong. However, the church has been growing only in Jerusalem so far. The Gospel has been reaching only Jewish people in this one city and its neighbouring areas. This was not good enough for God! And so, we will begin to see in the next few lessons how the Gospel gets out from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and then to the ends of the earth! God sends His people out to bring the Good News to all people! Acts 6:8-10 1. Who is Stephen? Cf. v. 5. He was one of the first “deacons” who had the job of looking after administrative work and practical ministry within the Church. 2. What did Stephen do? He did great miracles and signs in front of the crowds of people in Jerusalem. (Perhaps many healings and others shows of God’s power). How did he do this? He was “full of God’s grace and power.” Stephen trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, 1
whose grace had saved him. As He trusted Jesus, God’s Holy Spirit worked powerfully in and through Stephen. It is only through this – trusting and being filled with God’s power – that we can do anything truly great. (Cf. Luke 1:37). 3. Did everyone like what Stephen was doing? No. There was opposition from various Jewish people. This group did not believe in Jesus and, in fact, hated the Christian message. 4. Who were the people who opposed Stephen? Members of the “Synagogue of Freedmen” – formerly enslaved Jews (or their descendants) from outside of Jerusalem. 5. What did these men do with Stephen? They argued with him. This was likely a debate about Jesus – who Jesus is and what He did. Stephen was telling them the Gospel about Jesus Christ. 6. What was the outcome of this debate with Stephen? Stephen clearly won the debate. His words were convincing. No one could argue with him. He had a wisdom that was remarkable, and he spoke words inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. (Cf. Luke 21:15). Do you know, the Gospel – the message of the Bible – is a message that people still debate today in universities and in different public meetings. And when it is debated with a wise Christian speaker, the Christian position always comes out as superior; it cannot be argued against! Someone said that the Bible is like a lion. You don’t need to defend it, you just have to let it loose. 7. What do you think the unbelieving Jews will do? There are two possibilities: 1) believe and accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour; 2) stubbornly and rashly reject Jesus. People will not always choose the path of logic and reason! Acts 6:11,12 8. What did the unbelieving Jews do? (V. 11) They induced (likely by bribery) some men to say bad things about Stephen – to say Stephen is a blasphemer. 9. What is “blasphemy”? When you dishonour and degrade God in some way; make fun of God and His truth. This was a crime in Israel. These men were saying that Stephen was like this. 10. What did they do to the people and the Jewish leaders? They “stirred them up”; got them all upset and angry about Stephen. 11. What happened to Stephen? He was arrested and taken to the Sanhedrin (Jewish governing council) to be judged. It seems that the people Stephen was speaking to totally rejected his message. They would not listen to his teaching about Jesus. They felt threatened by what he had to say. This is the same for us, today, as Christians. There will be times when people WILL NOT listen, no matter how convincing we are – no matter how clear and obvious what we are saying is. And sometimes, people will even be angry at us. (I was once telling a 2
group of Jewish people about Jesus and explaining from the Bible how He died to save us so that we can be accepted by God. They rejected what I had to say and one Jewish man was so angry with me that he told me to go walk out onto Bathurst Street and get hit by a bus. He wanted me dead!) But Jesus has told us that we should expect this type of response from some people. Not everyone will believe; not everyone has been chosen by God: cf. Luke 21:12,13. Acts 6:13,14 12. Who spoke in the Sanhedrin? False witnesses – people who lied about what Stephen had said. 13. What did the false witnesses say? They said that they heard Stephen speaking against 1) the temple (God’s house) and 2) the Law (God’s Word the OT); that Jesus would destroy the temple and change the customs (Law). This was a very serious accusation! 14. Did Jesus come to change the Law? Cf. Matt. 5:17,18. No, He came to fulfil it for us – to obey all of the Law on our behalf when we could not ourselves. He did not come to change it or destroy it. God’s Word – Old Testament and New Testament – can never be changed, destroyed, or added to. It is complete, perfect, and without error. 15. Did Jesus come to destroy the Temple? Cf. John 2:19-22. The temple was a symbol of Jesus’ body. Jesus is the real temple of God, along with all of His people (believers). He did not come to destroy the temple, but to show that the temple was only a symbol pointing to a greater reality. The message of the Gospel gets confused and distorted by this world. When I teach you, or when you teach others, there will often be misunderstanding and confusion. Sometimes people will get it completely backwards. But this is normal in a world that is far away from the truth of God and in spiritual darkness. We can, in fact, be strengthened in our faith the more we see this. Acts 6:15-7:1 16. What did Stephen look like? Why? He looked like an angel – shining and bright. This was because God was showing that He approved of him. Stephen was pure, calm, peaceful when on trial. 17. What did the high priest ask Stephen? He wanted to know if the accusation was true; he asked Stephen to make his defence. Next week, we will find out some of what Stephen had to say and then how the Sanhedrin reacted. I hope you will come and find out! Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
ESL Bible Study
Acts: Spreading the Good News
Lesson 14: The First Christian Martyr Acts 7:51-8:4 Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review
Who was Stephen? One of the first “deacons.” What did Stephen do? Miracles and preached the Gospel. Some Jews did not like this and they debated with Stephen. Stephen won the debate and the Jews were angry. Stephen was arrested and accused of blasphemy. He now gives his defence to the Sanhedrin. (We will skip over most of it tonight).
Studying God’s Word Acts 7:51-53 1. How does Stephen describe the Jewish people? “Stiff-necked” with “uncircumcised hearts and ears.” What does this mean? Cf. Deut. 10:16. Having dirty, stubborn, sinful, and selfish hearts. 2. How can this “heart problem” be fixed? Cf. Deut. 30:6. Only God can fix this problem. Because Jesus died for our sins, the Holy Spirit can come into your heart and cleanse it. Then you can love God, believe in Jesus, and turn away from sin and self. Analogy: Our heart is like a box that is locked. Sin, like the key, has locked the box, and we are closed tight to God. However, Jesus paid the price for our sin, purchasing the key. God takes that key, and by His Holy Spirit, unlocks the box of His people. Then our hearts are open to God and we believe in Him! 3. Who are the Jewish people “just like”? Their forefathers. How so? (Two ways). 1) They always resist the Holy Spirit (teaching them). 2) They persecuted ALL of God’s prophets (just like they were then persecuting Stephen). 4. How are the Jewish people worse than their forefathers? They actually murdered God’s Son, Jesus. 1
5. What makes their rejection of God so bad? He has given them His Law by angels and revealed so much truth to them. This makes them even more guilty for their disobedience. Thye should know better! Acts 7:54-56 6. What did the Jews think about what Stephen said? They were furious and incensed. 7. How did Stephen feel? Was he scared? No. He had peace. Why? Because he was full of the Holy Spirit of God. 8. What did Stephen see? God showed him a vision of heaven. He saw God’s glory and Jesus standing at the place of supreme power. 9. Why do you think God showed him this vision? To reassure him despite all the opposition; to show him his reward. Acts 7:57,58 10. When Stephen said that he saw Jesus, what did the Jews think? They didn’t want to listen. They wanted to stop Jesus and His people. They wanted to stop the Gospel from spreading. They felt threatened and angry. 11. How did the Jews stop Stephen from speaking anymore? 1) Covered their ears so they could not hear him. 2) Yelled so his voice would be drowned out. 3) Threw him out of the city (Jerusalem) and stoned him. 12. Could Stephen have prevented this situation in any way? Yes, by not talking about Jesus. He could have stopped telling them about Him. Then the Jews would not have gotten so angry. 13. What would you do in this situation? (The Holy Spirit gives us the words to say to overcome our fears). 14. Why did Stephen not prevent this situation? He chose to follow Christ. The things that Stephen experienced were what happened to Jesus only a short time before. The Jews were also furious at Jesus. They also took Him out of the city and killed Him. Acts 7:59,60 15. To whom did Stephen pray when he was being stoned? He prayed to Jesus – his Lord and God. 16. What does Stephen want Jesus to do for him? To take his spirit home to heaven. 17. What is surprising about what Stephen prays for next? He wants God to forgive the Jews for killing him. This is surprising because he is not angry with his murderers; not wanting revenge. 18. Would you pray like this if you were being stoned? 19. What happened to Stephen after he prayed? He “fell asleep” = he died in the peace and tranquility of Christ. 20. Why was Stephen willing to die for his faith in Jesus? Cf. Mark 8:34-38. Like Polycarp said, a little bit of pain and suffering on earth is nothing compared with the eternal sufferings of hell. Jesus has saved us from hell, so we must follow Him no matter 2
what happens to us on this earth. This earth is only temporary. Acts 8:1-4 21. What happened to the church after Stephen was stoned? 1) A great persecution broke out against it. 2) The believers were scattered and left Jerusalem for other, safer places. 22. Who was Saul? He was there when Stephen was martyred, approving of what happened. He was a Jewish leader who made it his goal to destroy the Church. He went looking for Christians to arrest them. 23. Was this persecution good or bad? Bad for Christians in terms of suffering; but it forced them to take the Gospel to other places and countries. When they were scattered, they took the Good News about Jesus with them wherever they went. It also served to purify the Church: you are not going to say you are a Christian if you might be killed, unless you were truly serious about it! Sometimes persecution can be a good thing. Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
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Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 15: You Can’t Buy God Acts 8:4-25
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review Who is Stephen? A “deacon” who preached the Gospel and did many miracles at Jerusalem. What happened to Stephen? He was condemned and stoned to death for teaching about Jesus. The Jewish unbelievers were stubborn and resistant to God’s Holy Spirit. After this, a great persecution broke out agianst the Christians. This was for a good purpose, in that, as the Christians dispersed, they took the Good News with them to the whole world.
Studying God’s Word Acts 8:4-8 1. Who is Philip? A “deacon” like Stephen. Where did he go? After the persecution in Jerusalem, he went to Samaria (show map). 2. Who are the Samaritans? The Samaritans are part-Jewish and part-Gentile. They are the descendants of Jews who mixed with non-Jewish pagan who settled in that area after 722 BC. The Samaritans had a corrupted religion and did not truly follow God. 3. What did Philip do in Samaria? He preached the Good News about Jesus Christ and did many miracles: healing the sick and casting out demons. 4. What did the Samaritans think about Philip? They paid close attention to what he said because of the amazing things he said and did. They were very happy he was there and “there was great joy in that city” because of Jesus Christ. Acts 8:9-11 5. Who is Simon? A sorcerer: someone who practises magic with Satan’s power. He does many amazing things – “miracles.” (Like Harry Potter). 1
6. What did Simon think of himself? “He boasted that he was someone great.” He was very proud and self-exalting. 7. What did the Samaritans think of Simon? They were amazed by his powers and followed him. What did they call him? The “Great Power” – the power of God. They thought Simon was God’s power on earth, and they exalted him highly. This is exactly what Simon wanted – and this is exactly what Satan wanted. Simon (and Satan) had the Samaritans under their “spell” (control). 8. Would you follow Simon? Why or why not? He seems powerful and great, but he was serving Satan. We must not be fooled by great, powerful, mighty, popular men who do not walk with Jesus Christ. Cf. 1 John 4:1-3. Acts 8:12,13 9. What happened after the Samaritans heard Philip? They believed him and were baptized. 10. Did the people follow Simon or Philip? They turned away from Simon and followed Philip. Why? Philip had the greater power and the better message. Philip was a servant of the true God, Jesus Christ. Satan can never compete with the truth and power of God. Cf. Luke 10:17-20. 11. What happened to Simon? He even believed Philip, was baptized, and followed him everywhere! How did Simon feel? He was astonished by the miracles and signs that Philip did. These were so much greater than anything he had done. 12. Do you think Simon is a real believer? He sees the great power of Philip’s God and believes, but that does not necessarily mean his heart is changed inside. We can be amazed by God’s greatness and power and love, but still not really trust in Him in our hearts. We can still hold back in our hearts. Acts 8:14-17 13. What happened in Jerusalem? The 12 apostles heard about what was happening in Samaria – how the Samaritans were coming to believe and follow Jesus, so they sent Peter and John out to them. The apostles wanted to confirm everything. 14. What did Peter and John do in Samaria? Prayed that the Samaritans would receive the Holy Spirit. They placed their hands on them and the Holy Spirit came from God upon them. 15. What does it mean that “the Holy Spirit had not yet come”? These Samaritans believed, but the Holy Spirit had not yet come to live in their hearts and give them all His gifts and power. This is like what happened to the believers in Jerusalem on another occasion: Pentecost. The believers in Jerusalem had to wait for the Spirit to come on Pentecost. Now that another group of people (non-Jewish – Samaritans) were joining the church, the same process took place. When the Spirit came upon them in this way, it showed how God was accepting another group of people into His 2
Church. God wanted everyone to know that ALL people – Jew and non-Jew – are welcome! (This only took place at the beginning of the Church and does not happen the same way now). Acts 8:18,19 16. What did Simon offer Peter and John? Money. Why? To purchase the ability to impart the Holy Spirit. He thought that they controlled God’s Power, and he wanted to control it too. So he offered them money for it. 17. Why do you think Simon wanted this ability? He wanted to regain his power and position in Samaria as the “Great Power” – the power of God. 18. Was this a sin or not? The sin of “simony”: trying to buy God’s power, or a special position with God. It is a sin, because it is not for us to buy or control: God gives it for free to whoever He wants. Acts 8:20-23 19. How does Peter feel about Simon’s offer? He is angry and rejects it. You cannot buy God’s Gift with money. 20. Is Simon a real believer or not? Why? No, because his heart is not right. Simon acknowledges the power of the Holy Spirit, but does not in his heart trust in God. He simply wants to buy God and use God for his own gain. That’s always wrong, and God will not allow it. That’s simony! 21. What should Simon do? Repent and pray to Jesus for forgiveness. 22. Why did Simon commit simony? He was bitter that he lost his fame to Philip (and Jesus). He envied Philip and felt sorry for himself. Acts 8:24,25 23. Does Simon repent and pray to Jesus? No. He only asks Peter and John to pray for him, but this is never enough. We must all come to God ourselves; others can’t do it for us. This shows that Simon does not really believe. 24. What happened after this event? Peter and John left for Jerusalem and preached the Good News all across Samaria. Now the Samaritans were being saved and added to the Church! The Church was growing! Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
ESL Bible Study
Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 16: The Ethiopian Eunuch Acts 8:26-40
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Review Who is Philip? A “deacon” like Stephen, who told people the Good News about Jesus and did many miracles in Samaria. Who are the Samaritans? Half-Jewish and half-Gentile; hated enemies of the Jewish people. They heard and believed Philip. Who was Simon? He was a sorcerer who had great power (from Satan) and status. When the Samaritans paid attention to Philip, Simon lost his status. Then Simon followed Philip and tried to buy the Holy Spirit so he could regain his status. He didn’t really believe in Jesus in His heart, but was attracted to the power. Trying to buy power in the church is “simony.”
Memory Verse Jeremiah 29:13 — “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Studying God’s Word Acts 8:26-28 1. What did God’s angel want Philip to do? To go south on the desert road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza. [Show on a map]. This is the road that goes from Israel into Africa. 2. Whom did he meet on this road? A eunuch from Ethiopia. 3. Describe this Ethiopian eunuch’s job. An important official in charge of all the finances of the queen of Ethiopia, Candace. (Minister of Finance in Canadian terms). 4. Why had the eunuch gone to Jerusalem? To worship God (at the temple). Though he was from Ethiopia (far away), he sought the true God to follow Him and worship Him. 5. Where was the eunuch going now? He was going back home. 1
6. What was the eunuch doing on his way home? Reading the Book of Isaiah in his chariot. [Show the Book in our Bible]. This is an important prophecy (telling about the future). Acts 8:29-31 7. Who is the Spirit? The Holy Spirit – the third person of the Trinity. (Father, Son, & Spirit). 8. What did the Spirit want Philip to do? To go to the chariot (to meet the eunuch). 9. Why do you think the Spirit wanted Philip to meet the eunuch? To explain the Bible (Isaiah) to him. 10. Does the eunuch understand what he is reading? No. 11. Do you understand everything you read in the Bible? 12. How can we understand the Bible? Though the message of Jesus is very simple and easy for even a child to understand, we still need teachers. We need teachers to explain the Bible to us in detail – to show us what all the different Books mean and how they relate to our situation today. And so God sends teachers to instruct us. Cf. Rom. 10:13-15. But, even with the best teachers, we will never really understand unless the Holy Spirit comes into our heart and mind and helps us on the inside. Cf. 1 Cor. 2:12,14. Acts 8:32,33 13. Look at Isaiah 53:7,8. Whom is this talking about? All of Isaiah 53 talks about Jesus Christ, written 700 years before His birth. 14. What do these verses tell us about Jesus? He suffered without complaining or fighting back. His death was for the sins (transgression) of all God’s people – believers. Acts 8:34,35 15. Did the eunuch understand that Isaiah 53 is all about Jesus? No. He didn’t know about Jesus. So, Is. 53 was unclear to him, as it is to most other people today. 16. What was the eunuch’s attitude? Humble, curious. He was willing to learn from others and curious to seek after the truth. Unfortunately, many people are not like this. They are proud and think they have all the answers and can figure out everything all on their own. However, if we are like this, we will never learn anything, let alone come to know God! 17. What did Philip do for the eunuch? He showed him how Is. 53 predicted everything that happened to Jesus Christ when He died for our sins on the Cross. He explained the Good News that if we just trust in Jesus, we will be saved. (Cf. 1 Pet. 2:23,24). Acts 8:36,37 18. What does the eunuch ask Philip? “Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” 19. Why does he ask him this question? He believed in Jesus Christ, and baptism is the first step for a believer. Baptism shows 2
how Jesus washes our sins away, and how we have died and risen again in Him. 20. Read v. 37 (in the footnotes). Who can be baptized? Those who believe with all their heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (The NIV is not sure that this verse is original, but there is plenty of evidence to include it). Acts 8:38-40 21. What did Philip and the eunuch do? Philip baptized the eunuch by immersion in the water. 22. What happened to Philip next? The Holy Spirit snatched Philip away to Azotus to go and preach the Gospel there. What happened with Philip and the eunuch is very different from what we saw last week with the Samaritans. Can you tell me how? The Samaritans believed when they heard Philip preach and saw him do great and powerful miracles. Yet this eunuch believed, not because of any miracles, but because Philip simply sat down and talked about Jesus with him one-on-one, discussing what the Bible says. This is what Heather and I do, here, in these ESL Bible Studies with you. We sincerely hope you will believe in your heart. But then, we also hope you will do what we are doing with your friends and family and other you meet. You can go teach others what you have learnt and help them to know Jesus too. You donâ€™t need to do great miracles. Godâ€™s Holy Spirit can use you like He used Philip to explain to others so they can believe and be saved also! Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
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Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 17: The Conversion of Saul Acts 9:1-19
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Studying God’s Word Acts 9:1,2 1. Who is Saul? (We have come across him before: Acts 7:59-8:1). Saul was a Jewish rabbi – a leader in Israel. He was against Jesus and His followers and wanted Christianity to be stopped. He hated Christianity. 2. What did Saul want to do in Damascus? To find and arrest any Christians in the synagoguies there and bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem for trial. The letters from the high priest would authorize him to do this. (Damascus was 150 miles north of Jerusalem – a one week’s walk). 3. What is “the Way”? Christianity. 4. Why is Christianity called “the Way”? It is the way of God, the only way into heaven, the way of truth. Also, Jesus called Himself “the Way” – cf. John 14:6. There is only one true Way. Acts 9:3-6 5. What happened to Saul on the Road to Damascus? A light from heaven shone on him (brighter than the sun, 26:13) and he fell to the ground. Then a voice spoke to him – this is the voice of God. 6. Did Saul know who this was? No. He did not know who this was, because he did not really know God. He was a Jewish leader, following the laws of Judaism, very religious, but he was far away from God. This is the same today for many people in many religions. Many people are very sincere and religious and “moral,” but they are not following the Way. Satan is just as happy with the religious non-Christian as he is with the wickedest sinner, because both are far away from the reality of God. The reality of God is only found in Jesus Christ. Cf. John 15:23. If we hate or reject Jesus, then we reject God, because Jesus is who God is. Saul hated Jesus, and so, when God spoke to him, he had to ask, “Who are You, Lord?” He didn’t really know God. 1
7. Why does Jesus say Saul is persecuting Him? When Saul persecutes Jesus’ followers (Christians), he persecutes Christ. Jesus and His followers are joined together in one. Our sins have been put on Jesus to suffer and die for us; and His righteousness and new life are given to us; and when we rejoice, He rejoices with us; and when we suffer, He suffers with us. We are His and He is ours. (Cf. Matt. 25:41-46; Song 6:3). 8. What does Jesus want Saul to do? Get up and go into Damascus. Saul doesn’t know what will happen next or what he should do. He must simply obey God’s voice and follow Jesus’ instructions. Acts 9:7-9 9. How do you think Saul’s companions felt? Speechless; stunned. They didn’t know exactly what had happened, but they knew something was going on. They heard a sound and saw the light, but did not see Jesus or know what Jesus said. 10. How do you think Saul felt? Also stunned, but ashamed and sorry. He had been against Jesus, and now he knows the truth that Jesus is God. Also, he must be wondering what will happen next. This event is what we call the “conversion” of Saul. To be a Christian, we all must be “converted” (changed inside). This doesn’t always happen the way it happened to Saul with light and a voice from heaven. However, it does always happen by Jesus speaking to us and meeting us in some way – usually as we read or study the Bible. 11. What happened to Saul next? He was blind. Then his companions led him into Damascus. There he fasted three days. 12. Why was Saul blinded? It shows a spiritual blindness. Saul was a Jewish leader and teacher, but he was blind to the Truth. Acts 9:10-12 13. Who is Ananias? A Christian living in Damscus – one of the people Saul came to arrest and take away. What happened to Ananias? The Lord spoke to him in a vision. 14. What does Jesus want Ananias to do? Go to Saul and heal him. 15. If you were Ananias, what would you think? Worried. Acts 9:13-16 16. Does Ananias want to meet Saul? Not at first. He thinks Saul came to arrest and persecute Christians in Damascus. 17. Why should Ananias not worry about Saul? God has a plan for Saul. Saul is God’s “chosen instrument.” You see, God has the power to change people’s hearts and convert them. God’s Spirit can turn a wolf into a lamb. When God chooses someone, that person will come to see the Truth and follow the Way. God will take away his sinful and selfish thoughts and give him a heart to repent and believe. The Spirit does this with all believers – even you and me. 18. What was Saul chosen to do? He will be the apostle to the 2
Gentiles. He will take the Gospel – the Good News about Jesus – to Jews, Gentiles, even kings. Also, Saul will suffer a lot as a Christian. He will be persecuted by others. Acts 9:17-19 19. How does Ananias feel about Saul now? He puts his hands on him and calls him “borther Saul.” He is not worried, but embraces Saul as a true brother, even though he had been an enemy. 20. What did Ananias come to do? To heal Saul of his blindness and so the Holy Spirit would come and fill Saul. This was to prepare Saul for the great things God wanted him to do. Saul (later called Paul) would bring the Gospel to many and would write most of the Books of the New Testament. 21. What happened to Saul? He was healed and then he is baptized. Then he ate some food and stayed with the believers in Damascus for some time. Praise God for changing Saul’s life and our lives! Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
ESL Bible Study
Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 18: Saul Preaches Christ Acts 9:20-25
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Review Saul was a Jewish rabbi who wanted to stop people from following Jesus. He went to Damascus to find the Christians, arrest them, and bring them to Jerusalem for trial. On the road to Damascus, Saul saw a light from heaven and heard the voice of God. It was Jesus! Saul was converted. Saul was blinded. Jesus told him to go to Damascus, where he was then healed, filled with the Holy Spirit, and baptized.
Prayer for Illumination Studying God’s Word Acts 9:20-22 1. After Saul became a Christian, what did he begin to do? Preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 2. Why did he preach about Jesus? This is what every Christian should do. When we become a Christian, like Saul we are changed inside by God’s Power. We are no longer just thinking about ourselves and our own interests, but we want to serve God and help others. So we tell people what Jesus did for them, and we show them with our words and our actions that God loves them. This is what Jesus told Saul to do (Acts 26:15-18). Cf. 1 John 4:711. 3. What did the people in the synagogues think? Why? They were astonished/surprised. Because Saul used to persecute Christians. His original plan was to arrest the Christians in Damascus and take them away to Jerusalem (9:2). Now, Saul was telling them that the Christians were right – that Jesus really is God’s Son. This was amazing to the Jewish people there! 4. What would you think if someone totally changed their opinion? Surprising. I might think they’re crazy. But I would also think that they must have a very good reason for such a change. 1
Saul was a very smart man and a leader in Israel. For him to change his thinking so much and become a Christian caused many people to listen to him. It is convincing proof that the message about Jesus is true. Cf. Gal. 1:11-14. If Christianity was not true, Saul would never have changed his thinking. 5. What did Saul prove to the Jews in Damascus? That Jesus is the Christ – the One sent by God to save us. It is interesting that Saul’s preaching was so powerful that he could prove to everyone that Christianity is true and Jesus really is God. But, there’s a problem (as we shall see). Winning the debate and proving your point does not always change people’s hearts. The Christian message will always win in the intellectual realm, but only the Holy Spirit can touch a heart and make it open to believe the truth. It is very easy for people to be stubborn. Tomorrow is Remembrance Day. We remember what happened in the wars and how blessed we are to have our freedom in Canada. But in World War II, we remember what happened in Germany. In Germany, under Hitler, the German people believed they were right to fight us. They thought it was the good to kill 6 million Jewish people and many Christians. They thought it was good to take over other countries. Why did they believe that? Because human beings – when they don’t follow God – will believe lies if it makes them feel good. Acts 9:23-25 6. Did the Jews believe Saul’s message? How do you know? No. Because they made plans together to kill him. We can read more about these plans in 2 Cor. 11:32,33. The Jewish people got the governor on their side, and his soldiers were looking for Saul trying to arrest him so he could be sentenced to death! They guarded all the entrances to the city. 7. What happened to Saul? Some Christians rescued Saul and secretly got him out of Damascus. They used a large basket to lower him through an opening in the city wall at night. 8. Why were the Jews so angry at Saul? They really hated him. The reason is that, not only was he now a Christian, but he preached and taught openly and convincingly. People did not like to hear the truth and be proven wrong. They felt threatened by Saul’s teachings. This is exactly what Jesus told us to expect. When we follow Jesus and become a Christian, we must show people God’s love and tell them about Him, but as we do, we will face difficulties and opposition – guaranteed. Cf. John 15:18,19. Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
ESL Bible Study
Acts: Spreading the Good News Lesson 19: Saul Joins the Church Acts 9:26-31
Welcome & Introductions Intro to ESL Bible Study Hymns Prayer for Illumination Studying God’s Word Acts 9:26,27 1. What did Saul do when he came to Jerusalem? Tried to join the believers there. (This was three years after he was converted). 2. What did the believers in Jerusalem think of Saul at first? They were sceptical. They doubted that he was a true Christian. Why? Think of the way Saul was before: cf. 9:1,2. Saul had been a terror to the Christians in Jerusalem before. He was a part of the group that killed Stephen. The believers now thought Saul was tricking them somehow in order to destroy them. 3. Who is Barnabas? He was a believer who gave a lot to the church. Cf. Acts 4:36,37. 4. What did Barnabas do for Saul? Barnabas brought Saul to the apostles and introduced him to them. He explained Saul’s story and showed them that he really is a believer. 5. Do you think that the believers in Jerusalem will accept Saul? 6. Should they accept Saul or not? They should, because EVERYONE is welcomed into the Church, no matter who he is or what he did, no matter what culture or nationality or background. If that person truly repents and believes in Jesus, then he/she should be accepted as an equal – a brother. Cf. Gal. 3:26-28. Acts 9:28-30 7. Did the believers in Jerusalem accept Saul? Yes. 8. What did Saul do in Jerusalem? He spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, telling everyone the Good News. In particular, there were some Grecian Jews he debated with. (These were probably the same Jews who stoned Stephen earlier). 9. What was the response of the Grecian Jews? They wanted to kill Saul. 10. What did the believers do for Saul? They rescued him and sent him away to his hometown (Tarsus). 1
Acts 9:31 11. Was there a lot of persecution at this time? The Church had a time of peace. There was a period where the persecution was not as strong. 12. Can you describe the church at this time? The believers were strengthened and encouraged by the Holy Spirit. Also, the number of believers was growing, and they were living godly lives fearing the Lord. It was a time of transition and preparation, though they did not know it. For, very shortly, the Gospel would begin spreading to the Gentile nations in a big way (through Saul/Paul), and the Church would grow like never before! This was just the beginning of the spread of the Good News of Jesus â€“ the birth of Christianity. From this point until today, the message would go forth to the ends of the earth and people from every nation and culture would come to know the living God and the eternal life that He alone gives us in Jesus Christ His Son. May we too take our place in the story of the Book of Acts as we continue Jesusâ€™ mission to spread the Gospel to the people around us! Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer
ESL Bible Study – Acts Quiz on Lessons 1-4 Student’s Name: ________________________ Today’s Date: ________________
You will be marked on your penmanship, spelling, and grammar. Try to answer every question, even if you do not know the answer. God bless you as you write this quiz. You have 10 minutes.
PART I: VOCABULARY Select three words, indicate part of speech, and define: Foreknow – Accredit – Ascension – Pentecost – Resurrection 1. ______________ (noun/verb/adjective/adverb) _______________________________________________________________________ 2. ______________ (noun/verb/adjective/adverb) _______________________________________________________________________
3. ______________ (noun/verb/adjective/adverb) _______________________________________________________________________
PART II: MEMORY VERSES Fill in the blanks below. 1. “They all _________ together _________ in prayer.” – Acts 1:14. 2. “You will be My witnesses in _______________, and in all ___________ and ____________, and to the ends of the _________.” – Acts ____:____
PART III: TRUE OR FALSE Indicate whether the following statements are true (T) or false (F): T
1. Creation teaches that the universe is very, very old.
2. The Bible shows that evolution must be wrong.
3. Jesus rose from the dead the day after He died.
4. Pentecost means “50th.”
5. Jesus’ body came back to life.
6. Jesus stayed on the earth until the Holy Spirit came.
7. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit after He returned to heaven.
8. The good news about Jesus is only for the Jewish people.
9. Matthias was not a real apostle.
10. Jesus wants us all to be His witnesses.
ESL Bible Study – Acts Quiz on Lessons 5-8 Student’s Name: ________________________ Today’s Date: ________________
You will be marked on your penmanship, spelling, and grammar. Try to answer every question, even if you do not know the answer. God bless you as you write this quiz. You have 15 minutes.
PART I: VOCABULARY Select three words, indicate part of speech, and define: Captain – Astonished – Alms – Cripple – Proclaim 1. ______________ (noun/verb/adjective/adverb) _______________________________________________________________________ 2. ______________ (noun/verb/adjective/adverb) _______________________________________________________________________
3. ______________ (noun/verb/adjective/adverb) _______________________________________________________________________
PART II: MEMORY VERSES Fill in the blanks below. 1. “When I am _________, then I am _________.” – 2 Cor. 12:10. 2. “There is no other _________ under _________ given to _________ by which we must be _________.” – Acts ____:____
PART III: SHORT ANSWER 1. What is the highest level of government? _________________________ 2. What is the lowest level of government? _________________________ 3. Name three things that the provincial government does: 1. ____________________________ 2. ____________________________ 3. ____________________________ 4. How do I become a Christian? _______________________________________ 5. How many people became Christians on Pentecost? __________________ 6. Who were Peter and John? _________________________ 7. What happened to the cripple at the temple? _________________________ 8. For how long was the cripple crippled? _________________________ 9a. Was the crippleâ€™s life a waste? (YES / NO) 9b. Why or why not? ___________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
ESL Bible Study – Acts Quiz on Lessons 9-12 Student’s Name: ________________________ Today’s Date: ________________
You will be marked on your penmanship, spelling, and grammar. Try to answer every question, even if you do not know the answer. God bless you as you write this quiz. You have 15 minutes.
PART I: VOCABULARY Select three words, indicate part of speech, and define: Mitten – Reprimand – Harass – Puzzled – Standard 1. ______________ (noun/verb/adjective/adverb) _______________________________________________________________________ 2. ______________ (noun/verb/adjective/adverb) _______________________________________________________________________
3. ______________ (noun/verb/adjective/adverb) _______________________________________________________________________
PART II: MEMORY VERSES Fill in the blanks below. 1. “You shall be _________, for I the _________ your God am _________.” – ______________ 19:2.
2. “‘For My _________ are not your _________, neither are your _______ My _______,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My _______ higher than your _______ and My _________ than your _________.’” – ___________ 55:8,9.
PART III: SHORT ANSWER 1. What were the two jobs of an apostle: 1. ____________________________ 2. ____________________________ 2. What was the job of a deacon? _______________________________________ 3. What are the two offices in the Church today? 1. ____________________________ 2. ____________________________ 4. Name two of the first deacons: 1. ____________________________ 2. ____________________________ 5. What does it mean: we should obey God rather than men? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ 6. What happened the first night that the apostles were in prison? ________________________________________________________________________ 7. What happened before the apostles were released? ________________________________________________________________________ 8. What type of life does Jesus Christ promise us on this earth? Circle TWO: (joyous/easy/comfortable/normal/difficult)
ESL Bible Study – Acts Quiz on Lessons 13-16 Student’s Name: ________________________ Today’s Date: ________________
You will be marked on your penmanship, spelling, and grammar. Try to answer every question, even if you do not know the answer. God bless you as you write this quiz. You have 15 minutes.
PART I: VOCABULARY Select the best synonym from column two for each word in column one: humiliation rejoice eunuch queen chariot stone martyr crucify
celebrate kill (on a cross) kill (a believer) ruler ridicule official (emasculated) cart kill (with stones)
Explain the following idioms: 1. She is a big-hearted woman. ________________________________________________________________________ 2. It was a heart-pounding event. ________________________________________________________________________ 3. He did a half-hearted job. ________________________________________________________________________ 4. My dad had a heart attack. ________________________________________________________________________ 5. That girl wears her heart on her sleeve. ________________________________________________________________________
PART II: COMPREHENSION 1. How did Stephen die? ________________________________________________________________________ 2. What job did Philip and Stephen have in the Church? ________________________________________________________________________ 3. What did Philip do in Samaria? ________________________________________________________________________ 4. Who was Simon (in Samaria)? ________________________________________________________________________ 5. Who was the eunuch? ________________________________________________________________________ 6. Who spoke to the eunuch? Circle one: (Stephen/Philip/Paul/Peter) 7. What should you do if you want to be baptized? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________