Acts: The Gospel In Motion
- In the last lesson, John asked if the church has historically been better at looking up (toward Jesus) rather than looking out (toward our fellow man). How did you answer that question? How does failing to look out fail the mission Jesus established for the church in Matthew 28:16-20?
- Considering the last lesson, what does it mean to be a witness for Christ right where you are?
- What did the apostles do immediately following Jesus’ ascension in Acts 1:4? Did they honor Jesus’ request (see Acts 1:12-14)? Why do you think Jesus asked them to return to Jerusalem? What, if any, significance can you see in the apostles staying together after Jesus’ ascension?
- Throughout Acts 1:12-26, the apostles (and others) were in prayer often—v 14 says “they devoted themselves to prayer.” What matters did the apostles have to pray about? For the apostles, does prayer come before or after action? What does the apostles’ priority of prayer before action teach us about the importance of prayer? Does prayer come before or after action for you?
- Why do you think scripture specifically mentions that there were “about one hundred and twenty” people present when Peter spoke in verse 15? Does this seem like a large or small number considering the events of Jesus’ ministry over the past 3 years? Remember this number, and we’ll consider this again in chapter 2 after Peter’s Day of Pentecost sermon.
- James was present in the upper room during this time of devoted prayer and in James 1:5-6, he instructs believers to ask for wisdom when we lack it. How might the upper room experience have influenced James’s approach to prayer? How might the upper room experience have solidified God as the source of wisdom for James?
- Where do you turn first when you have to make a decision or don’t know what to do? Do you trust your instincts, your logic, your wisdom, or do you turn to God? How does submitting your decisions and need for guidance to God show humility? How does waiting to act until you are convicted the wisdom is from God demonstrate obedience? Are you willing to let God change your mind? Why is devotion to prayer necessary for these?
- The first thing the apostles must decide after Jesus’ ascension is who would replace Judas, but in Acts 12:2, the apostle James is put to death by Herod and yet his position as apostle is not filled. Could it be that Judas was replaced for his choice to betray Jesus rather than simply because he died? Could Judas’ replacement have been necessary because he abandoned his position and thus forfeited his place in Twelve because of his free will? How do Judas’s choices and behaviors illustrate that no heart is immune to temptation?
- How does free will fit into the overall plan of God? How can God be both sovereign and give us free will? Are you willing to be an active agent in God’s plan? How can you allow God’s plan to move through you rather than being a roadblock to it?
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