This weekend we explored Acts 1v1-11.
The book of Acts is the story of the transfer of the Holy Spirit from Jesus to the disciples. Jesus Christ ascended to heaven to continue this movement of reconciliation, healing, and restoration on earth. The ascension of the risen Christ, inaugurates the ministry of his followers.
In the gospels we are told that Jesus Christ was conceived by the Spirit, ministered in the power of the Spirit and through the Spirit was raised from the dead. Just as it was necessary for Jesus to be empowered by the Spirit, so it is essential that the Spirit dwell in our church and in our lives.
- Describe a typical day for you?
- What motivates you to get out of bed in the mornings?
- Read Acts 2v42-47. Have you ever been a part of a community like this passage is describing? Why or why not?
- What do you think is necessary to produce this type of community? What are some things that prevent or distract us from this type of community?
“The book of Acts is the story of the transfer of the Holy Spirit from Jesus to the disciples. Jesus Christ ascended to heaven to continue this movement of reconciliation, healing, and restoration on earth. The ascension of the risen Christ, inaugurates the ministry of his followers.”
- Read Acts 1v1-11. What is unique about the final instructions Jesus leaves with his disciples?
After the last apostle, John, died, about 20 - 30 years later, we have a very, very ancient Christian document. It’s called the Epistle to Diognetus. Diognetus was a non-Christian, and somebody wrote him a letter trying to explain Christianity. This is what it says:
“Let me tell you why Christianity is spreading so fast. Christians busy themselves on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They live in their own native lands, but they live as aliens. For every foreign country is to them as their native land, and every native land is as their foreign country. They marry and have children, but they do not kill unwanted babies. They share their table with everyone, but they don’t share their bed with everyone. They love everyone but are persecuted by all. They are poor and make many rich. They are short of everything and yet have plenty of everything. They are treated outrageously but behave respectfully. They are mocked and bless in return. When they do good they are attacked. When they are attacked they rejoice as if being given new life.” - Epistle to Diognetus.
- Think about the disciples both before and after the day of Pentecost. What transformed this tiny group of Jesus’ followers into such a force for good and beauty in the world?
The essence of Christianity is the truth of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection and the power that came after His Ascension.
- The disciples were just as incredulous about the idea of a bodily resurrection as people in our culture are today. And yet, immediately after the crucifixion, people began proclaiming, even to the point of torture and death, that Jesus Christ is Risen! How did the truth of the resurrection transform the disciples lives?
“The Resurrection meant that everything Jesus had been saying about God, about life, about death, about faith, about love, about forgiveness, about suffering, about giving over your life...it's all true! The Truth of the Resurrection changes everything! It gives us a new way to live, a new identity, a new intimacy with God, a new family with each other, something worth living for, something worth dying for, a new hope and a new future.”
- Read Acts 1v8. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is when you experience the truth of the gospel to such a degree that you’re whole heart, mind, and body are filled with it. You don’t just know the truth - you experience it! God’s grace, love, and power are so real that you begin to act on the basis of them. Have you experienced this? Describe.
For the last two questions it may be helpful to break into smaller groups of 3 - 4 people.
- Keeping in mind Acts 2v42-47... Are you making enough space for prayer? Are you noticing God’s strength and power more and more in your life? Are you experiencing intimacy in relationships? Are you proud of the gospel or ashamed? Are you intentionally spending time with the poor? the orphan? the widow? the foreigner? Are you able to take risks? And are you being generous with your finances to those who don’t have enough?
- Let us pray together, in one accord, that the truth of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection and the power of his Holy Spirit would transform our lives, our small group, and our church into a Resurrection Culture.