SCRIPTURE
Study Acts 2:1-21.

INTRODUCTION
Debbie felt weak and weary after a challenging week as a busy mum. She also felt guilty because for several months now she’d shied away from sharing her faith. Her life was complicated enough, and if she was honest, she couldn’t face the possibility of being shunned by the other mums at the school gates who might make fun of her. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to tell others about Jesus, or offer to pray for their healing – there was a deep longing in her heart for this, and for the other mums to cross the line of faith – it was just that witnessing to them seemed so intimidating as she felt so weak and weary. She longed to be empowered and emboldened in a supernatural way, not realising that the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit was to do just this. ‘Was there was something missing in her Christian life?’ she wondered.

QUESTIONS
1. How did you get on acting out your faith in the last week following the study we had?

2. Can you identity with Debbie’s timidity or weakness in witnessing to Jesus and our need for the Holy Spirit’s power?

3. Have you had a filling experience of the Holy Spirit? What was it like? What fruit did it result in?

BIBLE STUDY TIP: Survey
One of the most helpful ways to understand a particular Bible topic (like “fasting” or “glory” for example) in more detail is to survey and study all the relevant references in the Scriptures. This enables us to see a particular teaching in its proper context, and to be sure our interpretation is consistent with the whole counsel of God. You can do this with a good concordance (sometimes at the back of a study Bible) or using a trusted Bible study website online. Let’s do a basic survey together on the filling of the Holy Spirit (we found the references by searching “filling” and “Holy Spirit” in the New Testament).

4. In what ways does the Holy Spirit come in verses 1-4? Is this similar or different to the manifestations described in the Joel 2 prophecy Peter quotes? What about what happened when Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:21-4:2)? Or when others were filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:67-79; Acts 4:8-10, 31; 9:17-19; 10:44-48; 19:1-7, 18-20) Are we sometimes guilty of trying to put God in a box and restricting His work to fit our comfort zones?

5. What can we learn from this early example of speaking in tongues (verses 5-13)? What seems to be the purpose of this gift here (in light of Acts 1:8)? Without undermining the personal building up or strengthening value of privately speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 14) can we ever become too me-focussed rather than mission-focussed when it comes to Holy Spirit ‘experiences’?

6. How is the above similar and different to previous filling experiences in the Old Testament (e.g. Exodus 31:3; 35:30-36:1; Numbers 11:17, 25-29; Judges 6:34)? What’s new or different about the Holy Spirit’s relationship with God’s people in the New Covenant versus the Old?

7. Verse 41 tells us that at least three thousand came to faith; it seems likely that all the disciples played a role in explaining the gospel or translating what Peter said to the crowd. Do you see yourself as a Spirit-empowered evangelist alongside those who speak from the platform? Might you need to pray more often for this kind of Holy Spirit boldness that all of them seemed to receive?

8. How hungry/desperate are you to be empowered for mission by the Holy Spirit? What stops us persistently knocking on the door (Luke 11:9-13) until God gives us what we’re asking for (fears or misunderstandings about the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit, for example)? Are we fearful of being “made fun of” (verse 13)? How can we cultivate a greater hunger for the Holy Spirit?

9. On a scale of 1 (nothing) to 10 (same as Pentecost), how high are your expectations for what God could do in and through you and Westminster Chapel in the years to come? What influences these opinions most? Michael Eaton suggested in a sermon to our church that the Holy Spirit’s power should be just as important to a Christian as the Cross of Christ. Do we live as if we agree or disagree with that statement?

10. In what way(s) have you been challenged to act out your faith this week?

MISSIONARY STORIES to inspire you from our church
Adrian was what you’d call a backslidden Christian. He’d professed faith earlier in his life, but after a series of events found himself distant from church and distant from God. He started to regret this withdrawal from living out his faith, but had it stuck in his mind that there wouldn’t be any way for him to come back, ‘that I’d had my chance and I’d blown it’. After 5 years of drifting away Adrian started to hear God calling him back. A desire to respond and a sense of repentance led him back to church, namely Westminster Chapel. There was an immediate sense in him that he was in the right place, but the confirmation of that came in an unexpected way. During the meeting, Greg stood up and said that he had a word for someone. He’d had a picture of a signalman at Kings Cross station and the theme of the word was ‘setting things in the right direction’. For Adrian, who works for London Underground, this was undoubtedly a word for him and it was the clincher! Not only had God confirmed to him that this was the right church, but also more importantly that He is the God of the second chance. Adrian now serves weekly in our Foodbank and is one of the smiley faces that welcomes newcomers every Sunday.

PRAY TOGETHER

  • Thank God for the gift of His Holy Spirit and repent from the ways you have grieved His work in your life.
  • Thank God for the gift of His Holy Spirit and repent from the ways you have grieved His work in your life.
  • Pray to be empowered more for mission and pray for giftings within the group that maybe haven’t been seen before.
  • Ask God for greater boldness to share on a Sunday and in prayer meetings
  • Praise God for the healings and miracles that we have seen and ask for more every week.
  • Pray for the manifestation of God’s glory in our midst along with an ever-increasing openness to the manner in which He chooses to turn up.

OTHER THINGS to plug and pray for

  • Confident Christianity (evangelism training day) | 3 Oct, 930am-3pm
  • Michael Ramsden (rzim.org) | 11 Oct, 11am and 530pm services
  • Alpha Launch (with Michael Ramsden) | 12 Oct, 7pm
  • The It’s Not Fair Human Trafficking Play and Panel Discussion | 18 Oct, 530pm
  • Alpha Course | 19 Oct – 21 Dec, 7pm
  • Ravi Zacharias (rzim.org) | 15 Nov, 11am service
  • Terry Virgo | 6 Dec, 11am and 530pm service
  • Carol Service | 13 Dec, 530pm service
  • Christmas Celebration Service (families) | 20 Dec, 11am service