Acts: The Gospel In Motion
Chapter 7: Discussion Guide
- Stephen’s message was to a Jewish audience and was full of Jewish history. What is the wisdom in finding a common starting point with people when sharing the Gospel? How can establishing shared belief affect conversations about the Gospel in a positive way?
- Even though he found a common starting point, Stephen knew that the end of his testimony would be in a radically different place than that of the Sanhedrin members. Read Acts 7:51-53. Did Stephen let the common starting point and shared beliefs prevent him from sharing truth with his audience? What can modern disciples learn from his example?
- Thinking back to what you know about the Pharisees and Sadducees, why do you think did the Sanhedrin respond so violently to Stephen’s message? What was so threatening about it? How do we respond to truth that is hard for us to hear? Are our hearts tender to the truth of the Lord or do we respond with anger and rejection because we don’t like the message like the Sanhedrin did? Read 2 Timothy 4:3. What is Paul’s warning about having a Sanhedrin-like attitude? How can 21st century disciples guard our hearts against it?
- Because of the death of Stephen and the persecution that followed, the believers in Jerusalem were scattered. They did not change their message to avoid persecution, instead they took the Gospel to places it could be shared. In what ways has the Gospel been changed by 21st century culture because of persecution (ie: people saying the Gospel is hateful, narrow-minded, old-fashioned)? How can disciples preserve the truth of the word in a culture of “intellectual” persecution if not physical persecution?
- Stephen was fearless in a moment when he had every reason to be fearful while sharing the Gospel. Why is fear such a powerful tool when it comes to preventing us from sharing the Gospel? If we really believe that this earthly life is temporal and have faith in Jesus, what do we have to fear? Read Matthew 10:28-32. What does Jesus tell his disciples concerning fear and professing Him?
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