O U T O F J OY / T H E C H U R C H M U LT I P L I E S
GROUP STUDY QUESTIONS
THE CHURCH IS BORN (ACTS 2) VERSE FOR MEDITATION And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” ACTS 2:38-39 OPENING THOUGHT The Church was born in power, from the initial signs and wonders that accompanied the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, to the conversion of thousands upon hearing Peter’s call to repentance, to the empowering of witnesses to take the gospel out from their newborn community. The Church began as a powerful people movement and continues to prevail over the gates of hell (Matt. 16:18) by the power of the Spirit.
Power is energy or force applied to an object in order to influence or control. Who else but the Spirit has the authority to exert that kind of power—certainly not us—in ourselves? Ours is not power as strength but more so as weakness—as surrendered servants, as witnesses. Christians witness or testify that Christ is who He says He is. This Christian witness, empowered by the Spirit, fueled the early growth of the Church. While it began as an apostolic work, it was the faithful followers who multiplied disciples across communities. According to Kenneth S. Latourette’s A History of the Expansion of Christianity, historians believe “the chief agents in the expansion of Christianity appear not
to have been those who made it their profession…but men and women who carried on their livelihood in some purely secular manner and spoke of their faith to those they met in this natural fashion.” Those who had their lives changed simply talked about it to others, as John matter-of-factly modeled: “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3).” While our lives—our actions or conduct—reveal our faithfulness, we also need to proclaim of whom we are faithful. Will Metzger comments in Tell the Truth: To remain silent and let others interpret our actions is wrong…we must speak even when we don’t know much about the Bible. We must speak even when it is inconvenient. God is bigger than our sins, our ignorance, our pride. He will honor his word in our mouths. To witness is to speak. Ours is the power to obey, to plant and to water (1 Cor. 3:6); the Spirit is the power to save—He blows where He will (John 3:8).
Read Acts 2:1-13 and answer the following questions. 1. The coming of the Holy Spirit was accompanied by a show of power. In what ways are we so distracted by life that only grand displays of power capture our attention? Have we missed the Spirit’s moving by our inattention?
2. The Jews gathered at Pentecost were representatives from every nation under heaven (v. 5). What does this say about a worldwide witness?
Read Acts 2:14-41 and answer the following questions. 3. Peter’s witness was largely made up of citations from Scripture. Why? What does Paul say about the importance of scriptural proofs in giving witness, specifically the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-19)?
4. Peter’s witness did not include his personal story of coming to faith. Why? What are the dangers of relying too heavily on our testimony rather than conveying truths about Christ? How do our encounters leave the other person knowing too much about us and not enough about God?
Read Acts 2:42-47 and answer the following question. 5. God “added to their number day by day” because of the sharing and caring exhibited by the group. How can we love others in a way that God would send disciples our way? In what ways can our groups be more open to receive those who God sends? Is there a desire among us to see movements of multiplication?
ACTIONS TO CONSIDER
• Pushing through distraction, identify a person or people the Spirit would have you give witness to. • Think of ways individually or as a group to include global missions as part of the movement of multiplication. • Begin to learn Scripture for the intent purpose of giving witness. • Pray for a growing desire to see God add to our communities of faith.
Published on Feb 7, 2014