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They Just Had to Share Jesus

Friday, April 15, 2016

TEXT: Acts 4.12-22

During April, we’ve been looking at how the early church grew. We’ve seen how they were devoted to God (Acts 2.42) and we’ve examined how they were devoted to one another in unity (Acts 4.32-37). Sunday’s lesson will examine another aspect of Acts 4: Even when explicitly told by the governing authorities NOT to speak in the name of Jesus, the disciples went forward doing it anyway. They just had to share Jesus wherever they went with anyone they met. If we want to be victorious, we must grow to this level of discipleship.

Our lesson will consist of three parts. We will:

  1. Examine what we’re up against in society. What are some external and internal forces working against our efforts?
  2. See why the early Christians felt so compelled to share Jesus.
  3. Discover some very practical ways on how you can help point people to Jesus.

For Your Thought and Reflection

  • How do you think political correctness, secularism, and post-modernism are hampering our efforts to share Jesus?
  • How does the fear of failure and being rejected hold us back in evangelism?
  • How does understanding your mission and identity serve as a fundamental in pointing people to Jesus?
  • What are some things you can do to share the good news of Jesus with someone else?

One Heart and One Soul

Friday, April 08, 2016

TEXT: Acts 4.32-37

On Sunday, we’re looking at another aspect of how the early church grew. As you read Acts 4.32, did you see one of the distinguishing characteristics? The church was completely united. They were, one heart and one soul. What does this mean? It is more than practicing the same doctrine and the enjoying the absence of conflict. The type of unity we’re talking about in this lesson is found at a deeper level. 

Our lesson will examine five components of what it means to be of one heart and one soul. What do these things say about the early church?

  1. They understood they were part of something bigger than themselves.
  2. They placed the benefit of the body over their personal wants/desires.
  3. The goals of each individual were subordinated to the goals of the body.
  4. Unity in Christ overshadowed their diversity.
  5. Their unity validated the apostle’s testimony.

For Your Thought and Reflection

  • How can the club mentality permeate the local church? What are some of the problems this causes?
  • What do passages like Romans 12.4-5 and 1 Corinthians 12.12-13 tell us about how we should view life inside the church?
  • What are some things you might be willing to let go of for the betterment of the body?
  • In what way have your individual goals changed since you became a part of the body of Christ?
  • How can our congregational unity become powerful testimony for the cause of Christ?

Devoted to God

Friday, April 01, 2016
TEXT: Acts 2.42-47
Over the next two months, we're going to take an in-depth look in Acts and learn how the early church grew. The apostles and their followers were committed to preaching the gospel message wherever they went. When growth came, they were prepared for it. Opposition was met with boldness and prayer. Problems were expected and when they came up, they were quickly and openly addressed. The Jerusalem church embraced the mission given it by Jesus. The results of their work are clearly seen: Acts 2.42-47; 4.4, 32-35; 6.1, 7.
What are some clues can we pick up on inside the text that shed light on their approach to growth? How can we emulate their actions today? Sunday's lesson will focus on Acts 2.42 and the four ways they were devoted to God.
  • They were devoted to learning about God.
  • They were devoted to fellowship.
  • They were devoted to grace.
  • They were devoted to the power of God through prayer.

For Your Thought and Reflection

  1. Read Ephesians 4.15-16. What words or sets of words express our individual responsibility to the growth of the body?
  2. How can being strongly and personally committed to learning about God help the local church grow?
  3. How have acts of fellowship helped you grow stronger in Christ?
  4. Why is it so important that we be confronted with what happened on the cross on a weekly basis? How can this energize your spiritual life?
  5. What are some specific things you can begin praying about in regards to church growth at Kettering?

Christianity Is Life

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I absolutely love the directive given to the apostles by the angel in Acts 5.20. They had just been set free from the temple jail, having been arrested by the Sadducees for preaching Jesus. Upon their release, the angel doesn’t instruct them to run away, hide, or cower in fear, but to go right back in to the domain of their enemies and preach! They were told to “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life” (Acts 5:20, ESV).

Christianity is life. 

In 2 Corinthians 5.14-17 Paul speaks of our new life in Christ.

What does the new life look like?

It is a life that is motivated by the love of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5.14. The love of Christ overwhelmed Paul. He stood condemned before God because of sin. But, through His great love, Jesus served as the substitute for Paul’s death, by dying on the cross. It is the same for us. When we consider where we were and where we are now, it should move us to fully surrender to Jesus. Because Jesus has loved us so greatly, we love in return. The thought of His sacrifice should fill our hearts with gratitude. Now we no longer live for ourselves, we live for Him, Galatians 2.19-20. By sending Jesus, God intends to transform us into pure and righteous people, Titus 2.14. His goal is not just to save us from the fires of hell, it is to have us dwell with Him as blameless and holy people.

It is a life that is completely separated from our past, 2 Corinthians 5.16-17. God doesn’t care about our past - He cares about our future. What will we do in the present to take advantage of His blessings? No matter who we are, no matter how much wickedness we once committed, we are being remade. God delights in taking our life and making it a new creation. This describes a life that is new in quality, lived at a new level of excellence. All that we were is gone. If you are still holding on to your old life, values, and passions - you have not completely surrendered to God. He will free you from the chains of your past and provide you with the freedom only found in Christ. Will you surrender and allow God to recreate you in Christ, Galatians 6.15?

It is a life in the midst of a transformation process, 2 Corinthians 5.17. Paul says the new has come. The verb tense in this part of the verse indicates a “continuing condition of fact.” As we grow in Christ all of the world’s standards, motives, and values begin to lose their hold on our life. God’s perfect standard of holiness is before us and to it we look. While we will never be perfect in this life, God’s truths serve as the guide on our path to transformation. By the power of God, each one of us can become more like Jesus.

How about you? Have you elevated your perspective? Are you living the new life? What motivates you most as you journey toward heaven?

Standing Firm Matters

Friday, March 25, 2016

READ: Acts 5.12-42

This spring we’re taking a look at Acts from an evangelistic perspective. What is our viewpoint toward the lost? Are we prepared to stand firm when opposition comes? Bad times are here. Families are being destroyed. Marriages are crumbling. Children are hurting. Satan’s influence seems stronger than ever. Despite what Satan is doing, our mission remains the same. We have been called to guide people into a growing relationship with Jesus.

As we study together, how did those in the early church react to what they faced? What are five keys to growth during tough times?

  1. 5.1-11: Purity
  2. 5.12-16: Power
  3. 5.17-28: Persecution
  4. 5.29-33: Persistence
  5. 5.34-42: Providence

For Your Thought and Reflection

  • Why is personal holiness such an important element in our evangelistic efforts?
  • What are some ways you can more effectively use the power you’ve been given? See Colossians 3.16-17.
  • How is the gospel the message of Life?
  • How does Peter’s statement in 5.29 fill you with inspiration?
  • What are some examples where God’s providence has helped you in your evangelistic efforts? Take the time to thank Him and pray for more opportunities.

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