Acts Life Group Study 3/8 | Truth Set Loose
Study Acts 2:22-41.
Dan arrived at the coffee shop early. He was meeting up with his work colleague Henry for brunch and was now sat by the corner table nervously playing with the menu in front of him. Dan and Henry had worked together for a number of years and become friends, often discussing the sporting events of the week across their desks and going for drinks after work at the local pub. Dan had become a Christian a couple of years ago, and desperately wanted to share the good news of the gospel with his friend but felt hopelessly inadequate for the task.
As he waited for Henry to arrive, Dan recalled his attempts to share his faith. He had told his colleagues when he had become a Christian, and tried to explain what it meant. On Monday mornings he would tell Henry about his weekend, telling him about his time spent at church the previous day. He would try to explain what the preacher had said but often went away feeling that things were no clearer for Henry, and that, if anything, he had made things more confusing. Why couldn’t he just simply explain the gospel to him? Dan decided to say a quick prayer before Henry arrived, asking for the Holy Spirit for clarity and boldness to explain the gospel to his friend.
When Henry arrived, they both ordered something to eat and drink, and Dan set about trying to explain as clearly as he could what the gospel meant to him. He tried to focus on the key truths of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the need to respond to the sacrificial act of God in sending his son to die for the wrong things we do in our lives. After he had finished, Henry thanked his friend for sharing, and politely asked a few follow up questions. They met up a number of times over the next few months, with Dan sharing from his own experience of Jesus and imploring his friend to believe and be saved. One night Dan got a call on his phone. It was Henry.
“Dan, I want to accept Jesus in to my life. What should I do?”
Dan jumped for joy. With a smile bursting from his face, he shared with his friend about his need to respond in a personal way to Jesus, of the need to believe on Jesus, repent of his sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus. They prayed together and celebrated and praised God for the amazing truth of his gospel.
1. How did you get on acting out your faith in the last week following the study we had?
2. Do you ever feel like Dan when trying to share the gospel? Inadequate, frustrated, nervous? What other emotions do you feel when you think about evangelising to others? Why do you think you feel this way?
3. In a sentence of two, how would you describe the gospel to a friend/family member? What do you think they would say the gospel is if you asked them? Have you ever asked them what they think?
4. Acts 2:22-41 is the first account of the gospel message being preached. Peter, after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, begins by saying that Jesus was a man ‘accredited’ by God. What do you think he means by this?
BIBLE STUDY TOOL: Word Study
This week we’re looking at the Word Study Tool. As you will be aware, different translations of the Bible sometimes interpret words in different ways. This can be useful in trying to understand the meaning the original author had when writing that word. Another tool we can use is word study. This is where you take a word in the original Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic and look at where else it is used in the Bible, and how it has been translated in different passages.
For example, in 1 Samuel 16:7 the word ‘heart’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘lebab’. In the KJV, this word is translated as ‘heart’ 231 times, ‘consider’ 5 times, ‘mind’ 4 times and ‘understanding’ 3 times. The outline of the biblical meaning of this word is ‘the inner man, mind, will, heart, soul and understanding’. This can be a useful tool in helping to add depth of understanding to a passage. A helpful resource for word study is www.blueletterbible.org
5. The word ‘accredited’ comes from the Greek word apodeiknymi, which means ‘to point away from one’s self, to expose to view, to exhibit, to declare, to show or to prove what kind of person someone is’. How does this help you to interpret verse 22?
6. Verse 23 tells us that Jesus was handed over by God’s ‘deliberate plan and foreknowledge’. Reading Isaiah 53:10-12 as well, what can we learn about God from these passages?
7. In what ways does Peter contrast David and Jesus in His sermon? Why do you think he does this? What things can we learn about Jesus from this contrast?
8. What phrases does Peter use to highlight the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Why do you think it is important that our faith is one rooted in real evidence/history rather than purely on faith? How can this aid us in our proclamation of the gospel to unbelievers?
9. Verse 37 tells us that ‘when the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles “Brothers, what shall we do?”’ What does Peter say is the response a person needs to make in order to be saved? Refer to verses 36-39. How would you explain this to a non-Christian without using ‘Christian jargon’? What is the promise made for those who give their life to Jesus? How does this encourage us as believers in our daily walk, and how should it encourage non-believers who want to commit to Jesus?
10. As mentioned previously, this was the first gospel sermon preached following Christ’s ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He would have wanted to get it just right, and make it crystal clear what the gospel of Jesus Christ was. Based on what we have looked at in this session, what would you say are the key aspects of the gospel? How could you summarise the gospel message in a sentence or two? Why is this good news for our unbelieving friends and family, and why is this good news for us too as believers, even after our conversion?
11. Read verse 40, what can it teach us about how to share the gospel? Does your evangelism feature much if any “warning” and “pleading”?
12. In what way(s) have you been challenged to act out your faith this week?
MISSIONARY STORIES to inspire you from our church
A guy in our church got chatting with a Russian man he met called Ivanov. They met up quite a few times and the conversations were mostly of a spiritual nature. He invited Ivanov to a Christian conference that he worked at, and after being exposed to the truth of the gospel, clearly explained and presented, Ivanov started to question whether he was truly a Christian. He had come from an Orthodox background, but the power of the good news spoke to him and made him think more deeply about his relationship with Jesus. Ivanov has since moved back to Russia, convicted by the Lord about his true standing with him and encouraged to seek him further.
- Thank God for the amazing truth of the gospel. That Jesus came to earth, died in our place as penalty for our sins, and rose again from the dead to give us everlasting life. Spend time praising God for saving you.
- Share the names of people you are/want to be sharing the gospel with. Pray that God would work in them through his Holy Spirit, and work through you to share the gospel with them.
- Pray for boldness and Holy Spirit anointing in evangelism, and for clarity in explaining Jesus to your friends and families.
- Ask for God’s help for us to be united as a Life Group in continually praying for each other and for the people we are sharing the gospel with.
OTHER THINGS to plug and pray for
- 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
- Terry Virgo | 6 Dec, 11am and 530pm service
- Carol Service | 13 Dec, 530pm service
- Christmas Celebration Service (families) | 20 Dec, 11am service