Tag Archives: acts

Acts : Church on the Move Outlines

To the Ends of the Earth

 Acts 1:8

Before they moved, they waited [Acts 1:4, Acts 2:1]

For the church to move, the church must be on God’s time – don’t RUSH!

United in Prayer [Acts 1:12-14]

Praying – prayer must be a way of life

United – remember, one purpose of glorifying God

Directed by God [Acts 1:15-26]

Desiring of God’s Word / Understanding the importance of Scripture Fulfilled

Choosing of Matthias to Replace Judas

Repentance First [Acts 2:37-41]

Repentance is necessary for growth — this is SALVATION!

Growth Second [Acts 2:42-47]

Devoted themselves to: 

Teaching

Fellowship

Breaking of Bread

Prayer

Praising God

    — this is NEW LIFE!

Breakout Session Questions

  1. Read Acts 1:8. Who should bear witness to Jesus? Why?

 

  1. Read Acts 1:16-20. This passage discusses the apostles using good discernment to choose a replacement for Judas. 
      1. Why was the replacement necessary? 
      1. What is the difference between God’s revealed will and God’s concealed will? 

C.   How can we understand and obey both?

  1. Read Acts 2:42-45. This passage talks about the behaviors prevalent in the early church. Fellowship is so important to the body of Christ. How does fellowship with Christ and fellowship with believers relate? What does this mean for us?

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ACTS 4 Being Bold

  • Peter and John faced leadership (same people that wanted Jesus dead)

• By what power or what name have you done this?

– They had just proclaimed the healing in Jesus name

-These leaders already knew – this was why they were seized!

  • Peter was filled by the Holy Spirit

• Filled by the Holy Spirit is different from the first “filling” or “baptized by the Holy

Spirit” / Pentecost / First-believed moment when the Holy Spirit is first received.

– Ephesians 5:18 – “Don’t be drunk with wine… Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.” [NLT]

– Allowing God to move through you and have His way

• Galatians 5:25 – “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” [ESV]

– No one is filled with the Holy Spirit in this way all the time.

  • Peter and John could not stop speaking about what they have seen and heard (v.20)

• They had to tell people about Jesus and salvation

• They prayed that they be about to speak God’s Word with BOLDNESS

– They did not pray for help to remove the threats

– They did not pray for protection from the threats

– They prayed to continue to share what was on their hearts to share – JESUS!

• God answered their prayers

– The ground was shaking

– The people were all filled with the Holy Spirit

– The people began to speak the Word of God boldly

– There’s an army rising up – To break every chain… (Jesus Culture)

Breakout Session Questions

  1. Read Acts 4:13.
      1. How does the verse describe the men?

B. What does the verse tell us about the importance of spending time with

Jesus?

2. Describe a moment when you kept quiet about your faith? Why do you think

you did this?

3. How is the power of the Holy Spirit related to being bold in sharing your faith?

Why is it so important for us to pray for boldness?

4. What does this boldness look like at DRCC?

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Acts 5:17-42 Obey God’s Plan

  • WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN PEOPLE (5:29)
        • When human command contradicts God’s truth, defiance is permitted
  • Gamaliel’s advice (5:38-39)
    • Gamaliel was Pharisee (part of Sanhedrin – leadership council in Israel), led by the High Priest, he was leading rabbi who was Paul’s mentor
    • If this plan or work is of human origin, it will fail
    • If this plan is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them
      • You may even be found fighting against God!
  1. God’s way is above ours (Isaiah 55:8)
  1. God’s plan prevails (Psalm 33:11, Proverbs 19:21, Isaiah 46:9-10)
  1. Our plan should be God’s plan (Proverbs 16:9)

Scripture test

Much Prayer

Wise Counsel

Breakout Session Questions

1. Read Romans 13:1-7. 1 Peter 2:13-17. What does this passage say about obeying authorities? How should we live according to these passages?

2. When is it okay to disobey the authorities?

3. What does the phrase “fighting against God” mean to you?

4. How could you possibly be found “fighting against God?” (give examples) How could DRCC possibly be found “fighting against God”? (give examples)

5. What can we do individually and as a church to ensure that we are in partnership with God?

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Know Your Role

Acts 6:1-7

  • Hellenistic Jews (Greek Jews) had complaint against Hebraic Jews (Hebrew / Native Jews)
    • Greek Jews are overlooked in daily distribution
      • This is an issue that needs resolved
      • Orphans & widows needed care (James 1:27)
    • This failure is not necessarily due to sin, but due to human limitations
        • Everyone has a role — a part in the body of Christ
        • People are uniquely designed for a specific role
        • Every role is important
  • “It would NOT be right” (6:2)
    • The Twelve were devoted to preaching the Word of God (6:2)
    • The Twelve were devoted to prayer (6:4)
  • Seven chosen to address daily distribution
    • Good reputation
    • Full of the Spirit
    • Full of wisdom
    • The names are all Greek— putting Greek Jews in charge of managing the distribution more fairly – example of HUMILITY & UNITY!
    • 5 never mentioned again, Stephen – eloquent speaker of Jesus Christ, Phillip – one of the church’s first evangelists!
  • The Word of God spread, the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly in number (6:7)

 Breakout Session Questions

  1. How did this complaint between the Greek Jews and Hebrew / Native Jews threaten the unity of the Church? How did the Apostles protect the unity of the Church?

2. What were the Apostles devoted to? Why was this so important to the growth of the Church?

3. How are the Spirit and wisdom related? Read 1 Corinthians 12:8.

  1. How did the Seven assist the Apostles?  Read 1 Timothy 3:8-13. How does this passage, along with today’s reading in Acts describe the type of people to select as leaders (deacons)? Why are these qualities so important?

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Chosen

You Will Be My Witnesses Acts 9:1-25 Sunday, June 17, 2018

Chosen

– Here I Am (v. 10)

• Told WHERE to go — street called Straight, house of Judas

• Told WHO to go to — Saul, man from Tarsus

• Told WHEN to go — at once

• Told WHY he must go – since he is praying there, needs to place hands on him and pray

so his sight can be restored

– BUT this man… (v. 13-14)

• Very evil, Power to harm

– He is my CHOSEN INSTRUMENT (vessel of election) (v. 15)

• He will carry my name before the Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel

• He is chosen to suffer for Jesus Christ

– We are to WITNESS to GOD’s CHOSEN ONES

• They are chosen ones because they will accept Jesus (PREDESTINATION)

– Ephesians 1:4-5 — even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that

we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to

himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.

• God wants to freely pour out His grace & mercy on His chosen ones

– 2 Peter 3:9 — The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is

patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach

repentance.

• God has a plan for His chosen ones

– Romans 8:28-30 — And we know that for those who love God all things work together

for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he

foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he

might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also

called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also

glorified.

• You are called to say “Here I Am” to God’s leading you to share Jesus so that His

message of hope and salvation can reach the chosen ones

– 2 Timothy 1:9 — who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our

works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus

before the ages began

– Ephesians 1:11-12 — In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined

according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his

will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

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Ready to Explain

Acts 8:26-40

  • Philip directed to go to the desert road (8:26)
    • Despite having successful ministry in Samaria (8:5-6)
    • Philip’s obedience resulted in the Good News in Ethiopia
    • Philip is the only one designated as Evangelist in Bible (Acts 21:8)
  • Ethiopian Eunuch traveling in chariot on way home (8:27-28)
    • Went to Jerusalem to worship
      • A eunuch was someone who was castrated for service
      • Deuteronomy 23:1 — Eunuch not permitted to enter assembly of the Lord
      • Ethiopian Eunuch was high official in charge of the treasury
    • Reading from the book of Isaiah
    • He didn’t understand what he was reading – how can I understand unless someone guides me?
  • Philip the Evangelist
    • He followed the Holy Spirit’s leading
    • He was available & prepared to share the Good News (8:26-27)
    • He began to share with Eunuch from where he was at (in book of Isaiah)
    • He explained how Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of Isaiah — all about Jesus
  • The Eunuch believed and was baptized
    • What would keep me from being baptized? (8:37)
    • Philip carried away by Spirit of the Lord 
      • Confirmation that he is God’s representative, more work to be done for Gentiles to be brought to Jesus Christ
    • Eunuch went away praising God

Breakout Session Questions

  1. What are some things that you can do to evangelize like Philip?

 

  1. What does today’s passage teach us about being led by the Spirit?

 

  1. What does today’s passage teach us about being ready to share the Good News?

 

  1. How does Philip’s faithful obedience play an important role in the movement of the early church?

 

  1. Why is baptism important?

 

Acts 8:26-40

  • Philip the Evangelist
    • He followed the Holy Spirit’s leading (8:29-30)
    • He was available & prepared to share the Good News (8:26-27)
    • He began to share with Eunuch from where he was at (8:35)
    • He explained how Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of Isaiah — all about Jesus (8:35)

Romans 10:14-17

Breakout Session Questions

  1. What are some things that you can do to evangelize like Philip?
  1. What does today’s passage teach us about being led by the Spirit?
  1. What does today’s passage teach us about being ready to share the Good News?
  1. How does Philip’s faithful obedience play an important role in the movement of the early church?
  1. Why is baptism important?

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Courageously Welcoming

Acts 9:26-31

  • Fear kept them from welcoming Saul
    • They didn’t believe he was a disciple
    • They couldn’t see his heart
    • Responded with rejection
  • Barnabas took a chance – stood up for Saul by bringing him to the disciples
    • Trusted God is in control
    • Saw Saul with God’s eyes
    • Responded with courage & and a warm welcome

1. See people as God sees people

John 3:16 — God SO LOVED people

Genesis 1:27— God created people in His image

2. Respond with love and honor

Romans 12:9-10Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Genuine Love — Real, without hidden agenda, not put on

Love like you are loved – John 15:12 — This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Show Honor — (Tee-may’) – a price, value, properly perceive value

Honor by giving of your time & attention

Honor by treating people like they matter — because they do!

Honor by helping people to see their identity in Christ

Honor by encouraging people to aim for greater things

Breakout Session Questions

  1. What is the first thing you typically notice about a person? (Share examples)

 

  1. Has your first impression of a person ever been wrong? (Share examples)
  1. Is there something that hinders you from being a welcoming person?

 

  1. Read Romans 12:9-10. This passage discusses a love that is genuine — a love /devotion for one another with brotherly affection. How would you describe this love? How can we show this love with those at DRCC and beyond the DRCC walls?

 

  1. This passage from Romans also discusses how we should outdo one another in showing honor. How can we do that? What does this do to welcome someone?

 

Acts 9:26-31

  1. See people as God sees people

John 3:16

Genesis 1:27 

2. Respond with love and honor

Romans 12:9-10 

Genuine Love 

  John 15:12 

Show Honor 

Breakout Sessions

  1. What is the first thing you typically notice about a person? (Share examples)
  1. Has your first impression of a person ever been wrong? (Share examples)
  1. Is there something that hinders you from being a welcoming person?

 

  1. Read Romans 12:9-10. This passage discusses a love that is genuine — a love /devotion for one another with brotherly affection. How would you describe this love? How can we show this love with those at DRCC and beyond the DRCC walls?

 

  1. This passage from Romans also discusses how we should outdo one another in showing honor. How can we do that? What does this do to welcome someone?

 

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Grace Disputed

Church on the Move

Acts 15

Always must pay attention when the Gospel is being disputed

  • Issue – some believed unless circumcised, cannot be saved (Jews thought Gentiles should become Jews to become Christians)
  • Response – GRACE!!!
  • GO TO THE PERSON YOU HAVE COMPLAINT AGAINST (v. 2)
  • LISTEN FIRST
    • The people were silent & listened, the people had much debate (v.  7,12)
      • James 1:19 – Quick to listen, Slow to speak, Slow to become angry
    • After hearing, the people responded (v. 13)
  • DISCUSSION WAS GOD-CENTERED
    • v. 19 says we should not cause difficulties among those turning to God
  • DECISION WAS CLEAR
    • Letter & verbal description – made sure final decision was understood
  • PEOPLE WERE SPIRT-LED & UNITED (v. 27-28)
  • HONORED THEM BEFORE LEAVING (v. 32-34)

End result – stronger unity / relationship

* Verse 34 is MISSING

Leader Guide

1. Why is it so important that we stand up when the Gospel of grace is being disputed?

Because of God’s desire that none should perish, we should do all we can to be sure to stand up for God’s grace and ensure people understand and receive His grace— live a life overflowing with God’s amazing grace!

2. This passage we looked at today was attempting to add something to Jesus, meaning that salvation was Jesus plus something else. 

Is this evident today? (give examples)

A lot of people do this by trying to earn salvation while still claiming Jesus… a big one people are guilty of often is gossiping about fellow brothers and sisters — consider how words against those in Christ basically is saying that the brothers and sisters are not “good enough” in Christ which basically again tries to hold them to works. Some people collect gods to ensure they have plenty to cover them (ex: Hinduism).

What is the danger in this?

If a person does not understand that Jesus alone is the Way, people may not receive the salvation that comes through Him alone. If this is something that is happening between one believer and another, it can cause division in the Body.

3. During James’ response, he used Scripture. Why is Scripture so important when trying to resolve conflict?

The truth of God is the great plumb line for every area of life. We certainly could come up with our own answers; however, the truth of God is just, true, and what will stand. There are no opinions and emotions getting in the way when the results are based on God’s Word. There is no better way to determine God’s will in a matter than to read His Word and pray.

4. When you have a conflict with someone, what is typically the hardest thing for you? What do you need to work on? Pray about this.

Answers will vary: Approaching the person first, keeping emotions out of the equation, focusing on God’s Word for the matter, listening first, taking it personal, not acting with love and grace, praying for the other person…

Church on the Move

Acts 15

Always must pay attention when the Gospel is being disputed

  • GO TO THE PERSON YOU HAVE COMPLAINT AGAINST (v. 2)
  • LISTEN FIRST
      • James 1:19 – Quick to listen, Slow to speak, Slow to become angry
  • DISCUSSION WAS GOD-CENTERED
  • DECISION WAS CLEAR
  • PEOPLE WERE SPIRT-LED & UNITED (v. 27-28)
  • HONORED THEM BEFORE LEAVING (v. 32-34)

* Verse 34 is MISSING

Breakout Session Questions

1. Why is it so important that we stand up when the Gospel of grace is being disputed?

2. This passage we looked at today was attempting to add something to Jesus, meaning that salvation was Jesus plus something else. 

Is this evident today? (give examples)

What is the danger in this?

3. During James’ response, he used Scripture. Why is Scripture so important when trying to resolve conflict?

4. When you have a conflict with someone, what is typically the hardest thing for you? What do you need to work on? Pray about this.

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Digging Deeper

Acts 17:10-15

The Bereans were openminded by not foolish

    • Received the Word with Eagerness
    • Examined the Scripture Daily
    • Sought the Truth

How do you receive the Word with eagerness?

Come prepared

Bring your Bible

Heart ready to receive

Anticipate hearing from God

How can you better examine the Scripture daily?

Daily Devotional

YouVersion App

Independent Study

Study Bibles (ex: Life Application Bible)

Commentaries

Books (MAKE SURE SCRIPTURE IN THE BOOK)

Listening to the Word

Dwell App

Audio Bible

Sermons / Podcasts

How can you seek the Truth?

Fasten the Belt of Truth on your waist – Ephesians 6:14

Look for yourself – examine text yourself

When Scripture referenced, read for yourself

Don’t let your own Bible studying be your only Bible studying

Don’t let someone else’s Bible teaching be your only Bible teaching

Sometimes we read and hear what we want

Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you as you teachand admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. [Berean Study Bible]

Compare passage with ultimate Bible narrative – does it fit?

God’s Word does not contradict 

God’s Word does not change

Numbers 23:19 

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? [NIV]

What is the passage actually about? 

Read before the passage

Note transitions like “BUT” or “THEREFORE”

See how the Scripture links elsewhere 

Study that Scripture too

Allow yourself to engage deeply with the Word

Proverbs 3:13

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, [NIV]

Always be mindful of resources you use

Is the Bible translation good for me?

Is the resource I’m using a solid resource? – DON’T JUST GOOGLE

Is the speaker/teacher/preacher sharing God’s Word with Scripture references?

Colossians 2:8

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. [NLT]

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Finish the Race

 

Acts 20:24-30 The Passion Translation (TPT)

24 “But whether I live or die is not important, for I don’t esteem my life as indispensable.[a] It’s more important for me to fulfill my destiny and to finish the ministry my Lord Jesus has assigned to me, which is to faithfully preach the wonderful news of God’s grace. 

25 I’ve been a part of your lives and shared with you many times the message of God’s kingdom realm. But now I leave you, and you will not see my face again. 

26 If any of you should be lost, I will not be blamed, for my conscience is clean, 

27 because I’ve taught you everything I could about God’s eternal plan and I’ve held nothing back. 

28 So guard your hearts. Be true shepherds[b] over all the flock and feed them well. Remember, it was the Holy Spirit who appointed you to guard and oversee[c] the churches that belong to Jesus, the Anointed One,[d] which he purchased and established by his own blood.

29 “I know that after I leave, imposters who have no loyalty to the flock[e] will come among you like savage wolves. 

30 Even some from among your very own ranks will rise up, twisting the truth[f] to seduce people into following them instead of Jesus.

  1. ALERT (v. 31) – be alert!

Acts 20:31 The Passion Translation (TPT)

31 So be alert and discerning. Remember that for three years, night and day, I’ve never stopped warning each of you, pouring out my heart to you with tears.

This “be on guard” means “To be vigilant, “to watch carefully for danger”…

There is danger…

Not everyone wants you to finish the race well

2. MOTIVE (v. 24) – watch for motives!

Acts 20:24 New Living Translation (NLT)

24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

Is the motive (reason for doing something) your love for Jesus?

Is the motive (reason for doing something) your faithful obedience to Jesus?

3. FOCUS (v. 25)

What or Who are you preaching? Are you preaching the Kingdom?

Acts 20:25 The Voice (VOICE)

25 I now realize that this is our last good-bye. You have been like family in all my travels to proclaim the kingdom of God, but after today none of you will see my face again.

4. GUARD (v. 28-29)

Acts 20:28-29 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd the church of God,[a] which he purchased with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.

This “be on guard” means to give full attention to, to devote yourself to… this means we need to protect ourselves and others – we are all on the same team!

For you and others, truth will be distorted

Even some from your own group will rise up & distort truth to lure people into following them

Breakout Session Questions

1. In reading tonight’s passage, how can you describe Paul’s ministry?

 

2. Read Acts 20:22-24. What can we glean from these verses? How can we be more like this?

3. This passage speaks about being alert, keeping a close watch on our lives and on the lives of the flock. How is this accomplished?

4. Read Acts 20:36-38. What does this passage tell us about seasons and our race? Is this passage encouraging?

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A Good Investment

Acts 18:24-28

Apollos – mentored by Priscilla & Aquila

VERSE 25

    • Apollos was instructed in the way of the Lord
    • Fervent in Spirit
    • Spoke/taught accurately
    • BUT, only knew John’s baptism
      • He knew repentance from sin but did not believe in Jesus

Warning… Proverbs 13:20 – Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. [ESV]

A good mentor cares

They took note of Apollos strengths, encouraged his progress

They took Apollos aside privately, provided correction in a loving, kind way 

Galatians 6:2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. [ESV]

Mark 12:30-31 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” [NIV]

a good mentor will take time to understand the burdens you have and help you to navigate life

A good mentor is well versed in scripture

Apollos was already “teaching accurately about Jesus,” but Aquila & Priscilla knew enough to help him more. 

Correction should always be performed Scripturally. 

A good mentor invests what he/she has in another

You cannot provide someone something you do not have yourself.

Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. [NLT]

A good mentor sees a greater purpose

Apollos grew from his encounter with the couple

This time with Aquila & Priscilla helped Apollos to be able to explain the way of God more accurately. 

Apollos was a great help, vigorously refused the Jews.

1 Thessalonians 5:11a – Therefore encourage one another and build one another up [ESV]

Hebrews 10:24 – Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. [GNB]

 Breakout Session Questions

For each verse, ask: 

    • What does this share about relationships? 
    • Why is this important? 
    • How can this be accomplished?

Read Proverbs 25:17.

 

Read Romans 12:10. 

 

Read Romans 12:15.

 

Read Ephesians 4:15.

 

Read Hebrews 10:24.

 

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Take Courage

Act 27-28

euthumeó: to be of good cheer

Original Word: εὐθυμέω

Part of Speech: Verb

Transliteration: euthumeó

Phonetic Spelling: (yoo-thoo-meh’-o)

Short Definition: I am cheerful

Definition: I keep up spirit, am cheerful, am of good courage.

“be of good cheer, in good spirits” (high morale)

BE OF GOOD CHEER – GOD IS FAITHFUL

1 Corinthians 1:8-9 Amplified Bible (AMP)

And He will also confirm you to the end [keeping you strong and free of any accusation, so that you will be] blameless and beyond reproach in the day [of the return] of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful [He is reliable, trustworthy and ever true to His promise—He can be depended on], and through Him you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Acts 27:17-26 English Standard Version (ESV)

17 After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear,[a] and thus they were driven along. 18 Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. 19 And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.

21 Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. 22 Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26 But we must run aground on some island.”

BE OF GOOD CHEER – GOD IS IN CONTROL

Job 12:10 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

10 

Every living creature

    is in the hands of God.

John 10:28 English Standard Version (ESV)

28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Acts 28:1-6 The Message (MSG)

28 1-2 Once everyone was accounted for and we realized we had all made it, we learned that we were on the island of Malta. The natives went out of their way to be friendly to us. The day was rainy and cold and we were already soaked to the bone, but they built a huge bonfire and gathered us around it.

3-6 Paul pitched in and helped. He had gathered up a bundle of sticks, but when he put it on the fire, a venomous snake, roused from its torpor by the heat, struck his hand and held on. Seeing the snake hanging from Paul’s hand like that, the natives jumped to the conclusion that he was a murderer getting his just deserts. Paul shook the snake off into the fire, none the worse for wear. They kept expecting him to drop dead, but when it was obvious he wasn’t going to, they jumped to the conclusion that he was a god!

BE OF GOOD CHEER – GOD’S PLAN WILL BE FULFILLED

Proverbs 19:21 New Living Translation (NLT)

21 You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

Proverbs 16:3 New Living Translation (NLT)

3  Commit your actions to the Lord,

    and your plans will succeed.

Acts 28:16 New International Version (NIV)

16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.

Acts 28:25-31 New Living Translation (NLT)

25 And after they had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: “The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet,

26 

‘Go and say to this people:

When you hear what I say,

you will not understand.

When you see what I do,

you will not comprehend.

27 

For the hearts of these people are hardened,

and their ears cannot hear,

and they have closed their eyes—

so their eyes cannot see,

and their ears cannot hear,

and their hearts cannot understand,

and they cannot turn to me

and let me heal them.’[a]

28 So I want you to know that this salvation from God has also been offered to the Gentiles, and they will accept it.”[b]

30 For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense.[c] He welcomed all who visited him, 31 boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.

Breakout Sessions

1. How does tonight’s passage highlight for us the truth that God keeps His Word?

2. How did Paul witness well during this journey to Rome and while at Rome?

3. Paul made the most of his house arrest in Rome by sharing the Good News, continuing his ministry work. What does his example teach us about making the most of every ministry opportunity the Lord provides?

4. We have just finished reading the Book of Acts. What was your greatest takeaway from this book?

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Acts: You Will Be My Witnesses Outlines

YOU WILL BE MY WITNESSES

First 8 chapters – time period of 30-33 

Luke quotes OT LXX (Septuagint or “70”), not Hebrew – early Greek translation of OT

Chapters 1-12 – Peter’s Ministry / Chapters 13-28 – Paul’s Ministry

Pentecost is 50 days after Passover (known as Feast of Weeks), Greek word “50th”

Pentecost is one of 3 major feasts (Deuteronomy 16:16) – the Festival of Unleavened Bread [begins day after Passover for a week, in remembrance of the Exodus/no leaven], the Festival of Weeks/Harvest [gratitude of Harvest], and the Festival of Tabernacles/Booths [5 days after Day of Atonement, dwell in tents to remind of time before Canaan] 

Acts 1:4-7 – Promise of Holy Spirit / Acts 1:5 – Wait for the Holy Spirit / Acts 1:9-11 – Ascension

Holy Spirit is the beginning

Only belong to Christ with the Holy Spirit – Romans 8:9

Adopted – Romans 8:14-17

Be Body of Christ with Holy Spirit – 1 Corinthians 12:13

          Tongues of Fire – Speech, communication of Gospel; Fire – God’s purifying presence

Mt. Sinai – Exodus 19:16-18 – fire came down at one place, now every believer

Only baptized by Holy Spirit once – Ephesians 4:4-5

Sins Against the Holy Spirit

Insulting Him – Hebrews 10:29

Lying to Him – Acts 5:3-4

Resisting Him – Acts 7:51

Blaspheming Him – Mark 3:29

Grieving Him – Ephesians 4:30 – Cause Him sorrow/sadness because of indwelling sin

Quenching Him – 1 Thessalonians 5:19 – Allow sin to hinder influence of Holy Spirit, won’t allow His power to yield righteous fruit because of this sin

How YOU will be His witness – John 14-16

Comforts YOU (Acts 9:31) – He is known as the Comforter

Fills YOU with power (Acts 1:8)

Guides YOU to Truth (16:13)

Reminds YOU of Jesus’ Words (14:26)

Gives YOU the words to say (Luke 12:12)

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You Will Be My Witnesses

What I Have

Acts 3 – Healing of a Lame Man

The Lame Man Settled 

We settle with our circumstances

We accept our pains, our struggles, our situations

What if we thought beyond what was possible in our eyes?

What if we put everything into God’s hands?

Peter & John shared WHAT THEY HAD

What do you have?

Do you get caught in thinking what you have is time, talent, treasure, but forget the most important item you have?

People need the message of eternal life— people need JESUS and the SALVATION He freely gives more than the temporary things of the earth.

This lame man was not given money to get him through the day— He was provided with healing for the temporary but through Christ Jesus he also was offered SALVATION – ETERNAL LIFE

Why would we rather toss some money at someone then give them what is truly needed above all things?  {Road Dogs – not about the hot dogs, about Jesus}

The healing was done IN THE NAME OF JESUS

He gives you authority (power to influence, power to command)

When they say this, it means they are stating that Jesus gave them the power and authority to do this on Jesus behalf. It is all about Jesus. We are the vessels.

Are you using the authority and power you have been given to witness to others? 

In verse 20, it speaks of seasons of refreshing that come from the presence of the Lord. We are all in need of this refreshing.

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You Will Be My Witnesses

All In

Acts 6:8 – Acts 7:60 – STEPHEN’S WITNESS

Stephen kept his eyes fixed on Jesus

Face of an angel (6:15) 

Moses at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 34:29-35)

Stephen followed the example of Jesus

He did not defend himself though the leaders were noting he was heard speaking blasphemous words (6:11) and presented false witnesses (6:13)

These same charges against Jesus (Matthew 26:59-60)

He spoke the truth despite the consequences, calling the people stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears. He told them they are always resisting the Holy Spirit (6:51). He told them they received the Law but haven’t kept it (6:53).

He trusted God with his spirit (7:59)

Jesus said — “Father, into Your hands I entrust My Spirit” (Luke 23:46)

He asked for forgiveness of those who stoned him (7:60)

Jesus said — “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)

Stephen received a “standing ovation” for his witness (7:55-56)

He saw the glory of God

He saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God

When he spoke this truth, he was saying Jesus was equal to the Father

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NOT FOR SALE

Acts 8:9-25

Severe persecution broke out again the church in Jerusalem (8:1)

Saul was ravaging the church

People scattered throughout the land of Judea and Samaria

Those who were scattered continued preaching the Word (8:4)

Philip went to Samaria

Samaritans were considered unclean

When the Northern Kingdom of Israel fell to Assyria, the Jews and Gentiles intermingled — resulted in the Samaritans

Samaritans had a their own temple, read a different version of the Pentateuch, and had differing views about the Messiah

Philip’s ministry to the Samaritans was fruitful, only one called Evangelist

Crowds were all paying attention, many were healed

Simon the Magician/Sorcerer

He amazed the people with magic, called “Great Power of God” (not from God)

When Philip evangelized, even Simon declared he believed and was baptized

Simon followed Philip everywhere, watching him perform sings & miracles

Laying Hands = Holy Spirit

The Samaritans believed but did not yet receive the Holy Spirit

Many believe this delay of the Holy Spirit was to confirm unity, the laying of hands was affirmation of the spreading of the Gospel to Samaria

When Simon saw this power, he offered to buy it (like Judas, put monetary value on something spiritual) – heart not right before God (8:20)

Peter rebuked Simon, told him to repent & pray for forgiveness (8:22)

God’s Salvation is Not For Sale

Ephesians 2:8

God’s Spirit is Not For Sale

1 Corinthians 12:7

God’s Blessing is Not For Sale

Psalm 1:1-6

Matthew 6:33

Psalm 67

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Chosen

Here I Am (v. 10)

Told WHERE to go — street called Straight, house of Judas

Told WHO to go to — Saul, man from Tarsus

Told WHEN to go — at once

Told WHY he must go – since he is praying there, needs to place hands on him and pray so his sight can be restored

BUT this man… (v. 13-14)

Very evil, Power to harm

He is my CHOSEN INSTRUMENT (vessel of election) (v. 15)

He will carry my name before the Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel

He is chosen to suffer for Jesus Christ

We are to WITNESS to GOD’s CHOSEN ONES

They are chosen ones because they will accept Jesus (PREDESTINATION)

Ephesians 1:4-5 — even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.

God wants to freely pour out His grace & mercy on His chosen ones

2 Peter 3:9 — The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

God has a plan for His chosen ones

Romans 8:28-30 — And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

You are called to say “Here I Am” to God’s leading you to share Jesus so that His message of hope and salvation can reach the chosen ones

2 Timothy 1:9 — who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began

Ephesians 1:11-12 — In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

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FREE AT LAST

Acts 11:1-18

The Truth will set you free (John 8:31-36)

Everyone who believes is set free (Romans 8:1-4)

No Condemnation

Free from the Law of sin & death, Jesus fulfilled the Law

Acts 11:1-18

Approach God with freedom (Ephesians 3:12)

Don’t submit to yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1)

Be slaves of God (Romans 6:22)

Slaves of Righteousness

Charles Spurgeon said as slaves of God, enjoy:

Perfect Freedom

Joyful Existence

Heavenly Prospect

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Deliverance

Acts 12

King Herod (Agrippa I)

His grandfather was Herod the Great (slaughtered babies after Magi visit – Matt. 1

His uncle was Herod Antipas (murdered John Baptist) – Mark 6

James (brother of John) executed by sword

12:17 is James, Jesus’ half-brother who is leading Jerusalem church

“Wartime Walkie Talkie” – John Piper’s description of prayer

James executed, Peter arrested

Herod attacks by sword, church counters with prayer

Peter was sleeping, not anxious/panicked (confidence in God)

Peter doesn’t escape… he is delivered

Angel had to strike Peter on side too wake him (v. 7)

Chains fell off Peter’s wrist (v. 7)

Gate opened by itself (v. 10)

Peter was too asleep to even know what was happening (v. 9, 11)

Deliverance comes after church praying fervently to God (v. 5, 13)

Prayer is the church’s weapon

They didn’t believe Peter was at the door even though they were praying for him

Perhaps didn’t think he could be rescued, that he was going to end up like James so prayed differently

Perhaps thought he was already dead (mentioned seeing his ghost)

God can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)

1) Made In Faith

“All things are possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!  – Mark 9:23

2) Abide in Him 

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” – John 15:7 [NASB]

3) In Jesus Name

“You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” – John 14:13-14 [NLT]

5) For God’s Will

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” – James 4:3 [NIV]

“We are confident that God listens to us if we ask for anything that has his approval. We know that he listens to our requests. So we know that we already have what we ask him for.” – 1 John 5:14-15 [GW]

6) Persistent and Bold 

Ask, Seek, Knock  – Continuous (Not Single Request – Present Tense) – Matthew 7:7-11

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Walk with Integrity

ACTS 5:1-16

Ananias & Sapphira

Joseph aka Barnabas… sold a field, laid money at apostles’ feet (Acts 4:36-37)

Ananias & Sapphira sold a piece of property too… but lacked integrity… didn’t fear God

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

Posers / Liars / Deceivers

Pretended to do a righteous act, lied about it

Planned this deception, both were on board

Praise seekers 

They sought recognition for their act of giving

Greedy

The word used in v. 3 means “to keep back” or to “pilfer” (“steal in small amount”) – embezzlement is what we would call it today

The Holy Spirit was grieved by this couple who professed Jesus

Proverbs 10:9 – Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

The word means “blameless,” “upright,” “innocent.”

To walk with integrity means:

Live the Truth

Stay Humble

Be Generous

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Not God

Acts 14:8-20

Lystra

Part of Galatia

Temple dedicated to Zeus at the town gates

Pagan people lived there — they had no knowledge of Old Testament so Paul adjusted message to the people so they could understand

He started with the very beginning – God who made the heaven & earth

Legend

Zeus & Hermes came down to Lystra. No one would welcome them except an old couple (Philemon & his wife)

Philemon & his wife. They made a temple, appointed the couple priest & priestess

They sent a flood to destroy the others.

Paul called Hermes (messenger of the gods) because he was speaker of the duo

Keep the focus on God

God is Creator (v. 15)

God is Provider (v. 17)

If you offer someone something other than God, it will fail

How Do You Make Sure You are God-Focused as a Witness:

1. Receive the Gospel daily

Sinner, saved by grace

Ephesians 2:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; [NASB]

IF YOU DON’T RECOGNIZE YOUR NEED FOR THE GOSPEL, YOUR PRIDE WILL RISE UP AND TAKE HOLD OF YOUR WITNESSING.

IT WILL THEN BE ALL ABOUT YOU HELPING, YOU SAVING, YOU DOING

2. Thank God daily

Gratitude reminds us of how blessed we are– that our blessings come from God. 

Psalm 50:23

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” [ESV]

Gratitude reminds us that He is our Creator and He is our Provider.

IF YOU DON’T THANK GOD OFTEN FOR THE BLESSINGS, YOU MAY HARBOR A FEELING OF ENTITLEMENT. 

IF YOU DON’T THANK GOD OFTEN FOR THE BLESSINGS, YOU MAY BECOME NEGATIVE…. FOCUSING ON WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE… FOCUSING ON THE BAD THINGS YOU SEE OR THINK YOU SEE.

3. Live in His Truth daily

Be in the Word

Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” [NIV]

Walk in Faithful Obedience

James 1:22

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. [ESV]

4. Glorify God always

Acts 12:20-23

But things went from bad to worse for Herod. Now people from Tyre and Sidon put him on the warpath. But they got Blastus, King Herod’s right-hand man, to put in a good word for them and got a delegation together to iron things out. Because they were dependent on Judea for food supplies, they couldn’t afford to let this go on too long. On the day set for their meeting, Herod, robed in pomposity, took his place on the throne and regaled them with a lot of hot air. The people played their part to the hilt and shouted flatteries: “The voice of God! The voice of God!” That was the last straw. God had had enough of Herod’s arrogance and sent an angel to strike him down. Herod had given God no credit for anything. Down he went. Rotten to the core, a maggoty old man if there ever was one, he died.

God is our Creator

We were created to glorify Him… to point to Him!

God is our Provider

We are given all we need by Him… to point to Him!

Let us glorify Him

To Him alone be all honor, glory, and praise… point to Him!

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PRAISE AT ALL TIMES

Acts 16:25-34  

Matthew 26:30

After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. [NASB]

After the Last Supper, sang a hymn and then went to the Mount of Olives. 

Read Acts 16:25-34

Fortune Teller – power from evil spirits/demons – Paul commanded the demon come out in Jesus name. Owners lost money.

Paul and Silas were beaten, flogged, and jailed

Praying and singing hymns (v. 25)

Prisoners were listening – PEOPLE ALWAYS LISTENING

Earthquake – prison doors open/chains off – jailer & household saved!

Acts 16:25-26

Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose. [MSG]

ROBUST – strong, vigorous

Acts 16:25

Paul and Silas, undaunted, prayed in the middle of the night and sang songs of praise to God, while all the other prisoners listened to their worship. [TPT]

UNDAUNTED – not intimidated or discouraged 

Why are we talking about this today?

We were made to glorify God. (Isaiah 43:7)

1 Peter 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials  so that the proven character of your faith —  more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire  —  may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. [CSB] 

How can we be undaunted (not discouraged) & sing robust (strong) praises to the Lord at ALL times so we can point to Jesus Christ (be the “good” witness)?

Be Grateful at ALL times

Always look for God’s grace. Seek it out. 

Read Psalm 118

Be God centered

Don’t look at the situation. Look to God…. To His Truth, His Promises!

Don’t focus on the mess… remember the future ahead!

Rest in your confidence in Him!

Ex: Waiting for your child to finish tying his/her shoes

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments. [NIV]

SALVATION IS FROM GOD — v. 18 is salvation (God alone offers salvation through Christ Jesus)

VICTORY IS FROM GOD — v. 19 is control, victory (God is in control, He provides victory)

Psalm 34:1-3

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will boast in the LORD; the humble will hear and be glad. Proclaim the LORD’s greatness with me; let us exalt his name together. [CSB]

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Not A Suggestion

You Will Be My Witnesses

It is not a suggestion to repent and turn to God.

God is our Creator and Sustainer.

In Him we live, move, and exist!

We long for Him & through repentance, turning toward God we can do life with Him!

It is not a suggestion to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

People are living life blinded by sin, unable to be in the presence of God, unable to experience life as it is intended.

We have been commanded to share Jesus through the Great Commission — it is not a suggestion! 

Acts 17:22-34 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Paul Speaks to the Leaders of Athens

22 So Paul stood in the middle of the leadership council and said, “Respected leaders of Athens,[a] it is clear to me how extravagant you are in your worship of idols.[b] 

23 For as I walked through your city, I was captivated by the many shrines and objects of your worship. I even found an inscription on one altar that read, ‘To the Unknown God.’[c] I have come to introduce to you this God whom you worship without even knowing anything about him.

24 “The true God is the Creator of all things. He is the owner and Lord of the heavenly realm and the earthly realm, and he doesn’t live in man-made temples. 

25 He supplies life and breath and all things to every living being. He doesn’t lack a thing that we mortals could supply for him, for he has all things and everything he needs. 

26 From one man, Adam, he made every man and woman and every race of humanity, and he spread us over all the earth. He sets the boundaries of people and nations, determining their appointed times in history.

27 He has done this so that every person would long for God, feel their way to him,[e] and find him—for he is the God who is easy to discover![f] 

28 It is through him that we live and function and have our identity; just as your own poets have said,[g] ‘Our lineage comes from him.’[h]

29 “Since our lineage can be traced back to God, how could we even think that the divine image could be compared to something made of gold, silver, or stone, sculpted by man’s artwork and clever imagination?

30 “In the past God tolerated[i] our ignorance of these things, but now the time of deception has passed away.[j] He commands us all to repent and turn to God.[k] 

31 For the appointed day has risen, in which he is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man he has designated. And the proof given to the world that God has chosen this Man is this: he resurrected him from among the dead!”[l]

32 The moment they heard Paul bring up the topic of resurrection, some of them ridiculed him, then got up and left. But others said, “We want to hear you again later about these things.” 

33 So Paul left the meeting. 34 But there were some who believed the message and joined him from that day forward. Among them were Dionysius, a judge on the leadership council,[m] and a woman named Damaris.[n]

Hebrews 10:22 The Passion Translation (TPT)

22 we come closer to God and approach him[a] with an open heart, fully convinced by faith that nothing will keep us at a distance from him. For our hearts have been sprinkled with blood to remove impurity and we have been freed from an accusing conscience and now we are clean, unstained, and presentable to God inside and out![b]

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 The Message (MSG)

7-10 Do you know that all over the provinces of both Macedonia and Achaia believers look up to you? The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore—you’re the message! People come up and tell us how you received us with open arms, how you deserted the dead idols of your old life so you could embrace and serve God, the true God. They marvel at how expectantly you await the arrival of his Son, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescued us from certain doom.

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Judgment

Acts 24:22-27

Felix listened to Paul about Jesus

Felix was originally a slave, freed by Emperor Claudius

Felix became one of the emperor’s infamous favorites

As governor, Felix committed every act of extortion

Felix lured Drusilla away from her husband because he desired her

She was one of the three daughters of Herod Agrippa I

Her father murdered James

Her uncle murdered John the Baptist

Her great grandfather murdered the Hebrew babies

PAUL WAS NOT ASHAMED

Romans 1:16-17 New Living Translation (NLT)

16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

Felix sent for Paul often (v. 26)

Felix thought Paul would offer a bribe

When asked to share truth about “the faith in Jesus Christ,” Paul did not dampen the message to not offend

PAUL WAS PREPARED

1 Peter 3:14-16 English Standard Version (ESV)14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

FELIX WAS CONVICTED & FEARFUL

Fear stopped Felix from listening fully

He feared judgment which was surely coming

THE TIME WAS NOT CONVENIENT

Felix sent Paul away for a convenient time 

Time is never convenient

Follow the Holy Spirit’s leading

Recognize you may be sent away like Paul

JUDGMENT IS COMING

Hebrews 10:26-31 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Christ or Judgment

26 For if we go on willfully and deliberately sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice [to atone] for our sins [that is, no further offering to anticipate], 27 but a kind of awful and terrifying expectation of [divine] judgment and the fury of a fire and burning wrath which will consume the adversaries [those who put themselves in opposition to God]. 28 Anyone who has ignored and set aside the Law of Moses is put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much greater punishment do you think he will deserve who has rejected and trampled under foot the Son of God, and has considered unclean and common the blood of the covenant that [a]sanctified him, and has insulted the Spirit of grace [who imparts the unmerited favor and blessing of God]? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the deliverance of justice rest with Me], I will repay [the wrongdoer].” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful and terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God [incurring His judgment and wrath].

Revelation 6:16-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Tea Tosser

My son is quite the tea tosser. What is a tea tosser? One who tosses tea! I am a coffee drinker, but even more so, I am a bigger tea drinker. One of my mugs is black so it is not as easy to distinguish if the mug is completely empty when the beverage is closer to the bottom of the mug. When my son had seen my mug sitting on the counter top and it appeared to be empty, he thought he would be funny. He grabbed the mug and attempted to juggle it around. Needless to say, he dumped my tea all over the place. We had a good laugh. He truly thought the mug was empty. The joke was on him, as was the tea!

Many times, things are not like they appear. We look at the outside of a person, but we do not see the heart. We see outward actions, but we do not know the inward motives. The Lord looks at our heart. No matter how hard we try to disguise ourselves, how much we pretend to be something we are not, God sees. He knows how much tea is in the mug, and He knows how pure and how deceitful is the condition of your heart.

The Bible tells us that the heart is the most deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). It is clear our hearts are in need of some deep cleansing. Thank God, He has the perfect cleaner to get that accomplished (Titus 3:5). Our heart is purified by faith and cleansed by the Spirit (Acts 15:9). Ask the Lord today, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10 NIV).

The Tip

My daughter went out to eat for her first sit down dinner with a group, where she was then required to take care of her own bill and tip accordingly. She was well prepared for the trip and was excited to have some time to spend with her friends dining out. When it was time to pay the bill, my daughter figured out the tip like I taught her using a simple math trick. She rounded up as well, something else I taught her. Hey, I like my kids to be equipped.

My daughter was ready to pay, but then a few people questioned the tip she was leaving. You aren’t leaving that amount are you?!? That’s too much. A few gasped at the thought. But she was determined to bless the person with a good tip like she saw in action so many times. Nonetheless, there were more gasps and some people telling her it was too much to give. Just an FYI, it was only $5 for a $15 meal; it wasn’t something outrageous. Even so, she didn’t give the tip she planned. She listened to her friends who told her it was too much, and followed their instructions to get change and leave precisely the exact percentage down to the penny as best she could get.

Often during tip time, people do what reminds me of doing a duty, giving what had to be given by society’s terms. Like paying union dues or a gas bill. My daughter felt bad that she caved in. I told her that for the next meal, she can say she wishes to bless the person and just give what is placed on her heart. This was the first time she was in this situation, and with her innocent eyes, she hasn’t witnessed people trying to tip the minimum. All she sees is an outpouring of generosity. Today, stand bold. Don’t allow the people around you to dictate your actions. God is generous, more generous than anyone. You will never out give God. Truth. If the Spirit leads you to bless someone, whether it be a nice tip, some cash, a gift card, some manual labor, etc., listen. We are blessed to be a blessing. And it’s such a blessing to be a blessing. This world is a dark place. We are called to be the light. Don’t hide it. Shine it. Be the difference. Show the love.

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7 [NIV]

“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” – Acts 20:35 [NLT]

 

Flowery Hand Soap

I am very particular about things. Some say I have OCD, but the doctor said it is only OCD tendencies. When it comes to scents, I like to stick with vanilla and honey or like ocean mists. Typically, the flowery scents attack my nose. Today I asked my daughter to pick out two hand soaps. I did not realize what I was getting myself into by giving her control of the hand soap selection. When I saw what she picked, after we were already home, I cringed at the one bottle. It was a flowery scent.

When I asked her why she selected the flowery hand soap, she said she didn’t look at the scents for the hand soaps. She did not consider scent at all. She selected the hand soap by picking up what was “pretty.” She thought the soap she selected—which she also noted was “special edition” – looked nice. Sadly, the smell leaves more to be desired.

In life, we often make decisions by the looks of things, including our decisions on the people with which we engage. We pass judgment. We turn our noses. We engage with people who look like us. We sometimes avoid people who look a certain way, whether it be due to lack of knowledge, a fear issue, or something else. We read what happened when God’s people wanted a king. They were given a king—King Saul. This man was the one who looked like a king. We later find out that though Saul looked like a king, he certainly was not someone who would lead his people in the right way. But then comes along David. He was a man after God’s own heart. He did not look like a king, but he sure had a heart for God. King David allowed God to do awesome things through him. He continued to keep His eyes fixed on the Lord. Today, be open to how God wants to use you.  Be ready to receive anyone God sends your way!

“And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’” – Acts 13:22 [ESV]

Christmas Past Message

 

Look Back – Remember what God has done

Joshua 3-4 – REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE

Remember personal experience 

Remember to share faith John 21:25

NO ONE CAN TAKE AWAY YOUR TESTIMONY- IT IS YOURS ALONE

Look Back – Remember past events and old life

Dwell on past sins – missing old life – longing for what was

2 Corinthians 5:17Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Leave your old self behind – put on new self (Ephesians 4:17-24)

Old self – “the flesh” is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so (Romans 8:6-7) – old self is all about us

Lot’s Wife – Genesis 19, Luke 17:32-33Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it

Harboring unforgiveness towards others / holding grudges

FORGIVE means to NOT TALK ABOUT IT and to NOT THINK ABOUT IT

Forgive just as Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13)

FORGIVE LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED

Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. (Matthew 6:12)

Guard your heart – Proverbs 4:23

Pray for themBut I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28)

Look Back – Remember Past Mistakes

Romans 3:23 – All fall short of the glory of God

Everyone makes mistakes:

  1.  Abraham fled to Egypt because of drought (Genesis 12-13)
  2. Moses killed Egyptian (Exodus 2) & struck rock in anger (Numbers 20)
  3. Peter denied Jesus THREE times (Mark 14:66-72)

Today’s Passage: Conception and Birth of Jesus – Matthew 1:18-25

“Verse 21 – “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Nathan Rebukes David – 2 Samuel 12:1-14

  • David – man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22).
  • David commits adultery & plans murder to cover up sin (2 Samuel 11).
  • David’s repents – TRUE REPENTANCE – David’s prayer – Psalm 51

Knowing if it is a sin

  • Sin is going against God and His Word. Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. (1 John 3:4). Know God’s Word. Know His Commands. READ BIBLE & PRAY – REQUIRES AN ACTIVE, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP
  • Believers have His Spirit (the Spirit of God) to teach (Ephesians 1:17) and convict (John 16:8)

You must admit sins

  • To be healed (James 5:16)
  • To get another chance (Proverbs 28:13)
  • To be changed (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5)
  • To share with others

Your sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ

  • Declare with your mouth and believe in your heart (Romans 10:9)
  • While you were dead in sin He forgave ALL our sins (Colossians 2:13)
  • The debt was cancelled – Jesus nailed it to the Cross – paid in full (Colossians 2:14)
  • He blots out our transgressions (Isaiah 43:25)
  • He will not even remember our sins – acts as if they never happened – forgives as far as the east to the west (Psalm 103:12)

Confession isn’t necessary for forgiveness – Jesus finished that once for all – but it is important

There is NO ONE between you and God.

  • Jesus encourages us to confess to the Lord (Matthew 6:12, Mark 11:25, Luke 11:4)
  • We were given an Advocate with the Father – Mediator – Holy Spirit (1 John 2:1)
  • We should reach out to Him daily for a spiritual washing (1 John 1:9)
  • We should confess to each other because it’s beneficial to the body (James 5:16)
  • Not only do others realize we all struggle, but there is ACCOUNTABILITY. We all need an accountability partner who will SPEAK TRUTH.

Philippians 1:6 – He will complete the work He began in you – TRUST

Shipwrecked

Jonah [Jonah 1-4] and Paul [Acts 27]

“Where [God] is, tragedy is only provisional and partial, and shipwreck and dissolution are not the absolutely final thing.” – William James

Acceptance of God

Paul was all about joy, so joyful to take the message of Christ anywhere – even wanted to build on a new foundation and reach those who haven’t heard

“And Paul said, ‘I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.’” – Acts 26:29 [NASB]

Jonah angry that God showed mercy – Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh because He knew God would have mercy – Jonah had a covering from Lord and then it died and he got angry, had mercy on plant but not happy with mercy God showed to those who he didn’t believe deserved it.

“But the Lord said, ‘You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?’” – Jonah 4:10-11 [NIV]

JOY OR ANGER

Boldness for God

Both knew what to do on the ship. Jonah slept & kept silent until late – Paul tried to vocalize what to do Are you vocal or quiet?

“Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 [NASB]

SPEAK UP OR KEEP SILENT

Closeness to God How close are you to God? “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” – James 4:8a [NLT] Always moving toward or moving away. Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh (Jonah 1:2-3) – Paul wanted to go to Rome (Acts 19:21)

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” – Psalm 145:18 [ESV] “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. – John 14:21 [NIV]

CLOSE OR DISTANT

Message Outline

Bible Study Questions

Bible Study Questions – Leader Guide

Bible Study Questions:

Shipwrecked

[Jonah 1-4 & Acts 27]

Tonight we discussed two different people (Jonah and Paul) who both were called by God to deliver His message. Fully understanding our calling from God requires a lot more than biblical knowledge.

Acceptance of God

1) Accepting God for Who He is includes accepting that He is merciful. What is mercy?

2) How does mercy differ from grace?

3) How do Paul and Jonah differ in their degree of acceptance of mercy?

4) Do you find some people more difficult to show mercy?

5) Read Jonah 4:10-11. What do you think God telling us?

Boldness for God

6) Paul knew what to do on the ship and he spoke up. When is it easy for you to speak up and to be bold for God?

7) Jonah slept and was silent about the truth until he was approached by others. What keeps us from stepping forward and speaking up?

8) Has there been a moment in your life when you kept silent? How did you feel?

Closeness to God

9) Who determines how close we are to God?

10) What are we supposed to call on Him in?

11) What does John 14:21 tell us about the results of calling upon God?

12) What keeps you moving away from God? Toward God?

Acts: Proclamation

[Acts 8:26-40]

Peter and John were proclaiming the Good News. It disturbed people and they were put in prison. Annas the high priest and Caiaphas questioned them. They spoke of Jesus and the salvation only possible through Him. They were commanded to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus.

They responded:

As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” – Acts 4:20 [NIV]

  • “We cannot stop telling” [NLT]
  • “We cannot stop talking” [GW]
  • “There’s no question – we can’t keep quiet” [MSG]

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

1) Obedience

Told to “Rise and go toward the south” (v. 26) “he rose and went” (v. 27)

2) Spirit Led

Ready to listen to God’s instruction – an angel of the Lord said (v. 26)

3) Specific Instructions

Spirit said go over and join this chariot (v. 29)

4) Concern for Others

Concerned about others understanding

“Do you understand what you are reading?” (v. 30)

5) Wait for the Open Door

No I need help – BOOM – DOOR OPEN

Begins with Isaiah passage and then speaks about the Good News of Jesus (v. 31)

6) Don’t stand in the way

What prevents me from being baptized?

Nothing (v. 37-38)

7) Don’t miss a beat

Spirit of Philip is carried away

His service is done – Onward and upward (v. 39-40)

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation

As an Angel

In 1 Samuel 29, we read of Achish telling David that he is “blameless in (his) sight as an angel of God.” Those are some kind words for David. Even so, the Philistines were going off to battle, but they didn’t want David to go with them. They were concerned that he would become an adversary if he accompanied them.

In verse 3, we read, “I have found no fault in (David) to this day” (ESV). Though “the lords do not approve” Achish recognized David as “honest” and “found nothing wrong” (v. 6 ESV). David was a man with a good reputation. He was trusted by those who knew him.

Today consider the words one would say about you. Would people say you are honest? Would people find any fault with you? Would they speak kind words? We are to please God rather than man (Acts 5:29). As we live a life pleasing to God – obeying His Word and following His will, we too will be on the receiving end of kind words. People will take notice as you rebel against the world, as you live differently than what the world says. Stand up for the truth and you will stand firm.

“And Achish answered David and said, ‘I know that you are as blameless in my sight as an angel of God. Nevertheless, the commanders of the Philistines have said, ‘He shall not go up with us to the battle.’” 1 Samuel 29:9 [ESV]

Acts: Persecution

Acts Series: Persecutions

… everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12 [NIV]

Bold Speech + Truth = Persecution

“When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.’” Acts 7:54-60 [NIV]

We must obey God rather than men

Apostles had to appear before Sanhedrin to be questioned by high priest. Reminded them of orders to not teach in name of Jesus. Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than human beings! (see Acts 5:29)

— GOD DELIGHTS IN OUR OBEDIENCE —

Standing Ovation from Jesus

“’Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” – Acts 7:56 [NIV]

Stoning of Stephen = Spread of Persecution = Spread of Gospel

“Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.” – Acts 8:1 [NLT]

— GOD USES EVIL FOR GOOD –

Blessed are those Persecuted for Righteousness’ Sake

“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit Me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.” Matthew 5:10-12 [MSG]

What to do when facing persecution:

BE SUBMISSIVE

Acts 4:3 Peter and John were arrested – didn’t fight back

“Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.” – 1 Peter 2:20 [NLT]

BE SPIRIT-FILLED

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8 [ESV]

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” – John 14:12 [NASB]

BE BOLD IN TRUTH

“Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time – Ephesians 6:19b [MSG]

Acts 4:24b-31 [ESV] “And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your word with all boldness, while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.’

 Download Lesson Outline

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation