true story unstoppable gospel - Student Life Store

true story unstoppable gospel - Student Life Store

TRUE STORY UNSTOPPABLE GOSPEL LEADER GUIDE FALL 2016 RONNIE FLOYD: GENERAL EDITOR SESSION 1 UNSTOPPABLE MISSION THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE Living the C...

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TRUE STORY UNSTOPPABLE GOSPEL LEADER GUIDE

FALL 2016 RONNIE FLOYD: GENERAL EDITOR

SESSION

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UNSTOPPABLE MISSION THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE Living the Christian life on our own is not only difficult, it’s impossible. Thankfully, when the Holy Spirit came, He empowered the disciples for a mission that was unstoppable. From one small dot on a map, they took Christ’s message across the world, and we continue this mission today. Christ never expected us to live this impossible life on our own power. Jesus lived His earthly life connected to and empowered by God. Jesus lived and died in a way that no person could, so we can live in the freedom of His grace and power.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? ACTS 1:4-8,12-14 While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “This,” He said, “is what you heard from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 4

So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” 6

He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 7

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem—a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they arrived, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 14 All these were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers. 12

THE POINT The Holy Spirit empowers us to spread the gospel.

THE PASSAGE Acts 1:4-8,12-14

THE SETTING Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection just happened, and every event He foretold came to pass. Then, Jesus spent 40 days after His resurrection teaching His disciples about the kingdom of God. He promised that the Holy Spirit would come to give them the power to be witnesses of the gospel to the world. Christ then ascended into heaven, and the disciples waited and prepared to receive the power Christ promised. 1 SESSION 1

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PREPARE LEADER LIVE IT OUT | Acts 1:4-8,12-14 How Does It Affect Me? LEADER LIVE IT OUT

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Prepare: As you prepare for this session, take a moment to allow the truth of Scripture to challenge your heart. God works in our hearts as we teach others His Word.

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Follow Up: Don’t forget to copy or text a picture of the One Conversation section to parents after the session. This will equip them for further family discussion.

It doesn’t take long to realize that living the life Christ has called you to without His power is impossible. Leading a group How Does It Affect Acts feel 1:4-8,12-14 may seem impossible too.Me? Many |leaders intimidated or pressured to have all the answers, be perfect, and offer the solution to every problem. We quickly realize that no one can do all of those things. So, what do we do? There are two It doesn’t take long realize that living the Christ hasperfect, called you without Hiswho power impossible. Leading group major options. 1. Youtocan try to become the life all-knowing, andtowise leader getsisfrustrated and burnt aout trying may leadersthat feelyour intimidated to have all the answers, perfect, the to doseem it on impossible your own; 2.too. YouMany can realize calling isortopressured depend more on the power of thebeHoly Spiritand thanoffer on your solution to every quickly realizeinto thatGod’s no one canAs doyou all of those things. what pray do we do?ask There two you own power as youproblem. prepare We to lead students Word. prepare for thisSo, session, and Godare to give major options. 1. You can try to become the all-knowing, perfect, and wise leader who gets frustrated and burnt out trying peace, confidence, and humility to trust His Spirit to guide you. to do it on your own; 2. You can realize that your calling is to depend more on the power of the Holy Spirit than on your own power as you prepareand to lead students God’s section Word. Ason you prepare for this session, God to givewe you Y Take a few minutes complete theinto Culture page 13, then apply it inpray yourand life.ask Remember, peace, confidence, and humility to trust His Spirit to guide you. are not called to live this life on our own power; we are called to trust and live in the power of the Holy Spirit. Y Take a few minutes and complete the Culture section on page 13, then apply it in your life. Remember, we

are not called to live this life on our own power; we are called to trust and live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

ONE CONVERSATION™ ONE CONVERSATION™

Scripture: Acts 1:4-8,12-14

Topic: Unstoppable Mission

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Living the Christian life on our own is not only difficult, it’s impossible. Thankfully, when the Scripture: Acts 1:4-8,12-14 Topic: Unstoppable Mission Holy Spirit came, He empowered the disciples for a mission that was unstoppable. From one small dot on a map, they took Christ’s message across the world, and we continue this mission today. Christ never expected us to live this impossible life THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Living the Christian life on our own is not only difficult, it’s impossible. Thankfully, when the on our own power. Jesus lived His earthly life connected to and empowered by God. Jesus lived and died in a way that Holy Spirit came, He empowered the disciples for a mission that was unstoppable. From one small dot on a map, they took no person could, so we can live in the freedom of His grace and power. Christ’s message across the world, and we continue this mission today. Christ never expected us to live this impossible life on own power. His earthly life connected to andHere empowered by God. Jesus lived and in a way are some ways you can encourage yourdied students to livethat THEour POINT: The HolyJesus Spiritlived empowers us to spread the gospel. outpower. their faith with Christ personally, in community, and in their person so we can the of His grace and •noWhat are could, some promises welive waitinfor in freedom life? • What does it look like to wait on the Lord? POINT: The Holy Spiritpromise empowers us to spread the gospel. •THE Why is the order of Jesus’ so important (Receive • What are some promises we wait for in life? Power, Be Witnesses, Tell Everyone)? • What does it look like to wait on the Lord? •Discuss Why isthe thefollowing order of Jesus’ so important (Receive quote:promise “Christ said it is better for us that the Power, Be Witnesses, Tell Everyone)? Spirit came, and I want to live like I know that is true. I don’t want to keep crawling when I have the ability to fly.”1 —Francis Chan Discuss the following quote: “Christ said it is better for us that the 1. Francis Chan, Forgotten God Quotes, Good Reads [accessed September 2015]. Available from the Internet: came, www.goodreads.com Spirit and I want to live like I know that is true. I don’t want to keep crawling when I have the ability to fly.”1 —Francis Chan LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to take 1. Francis Chan, Forgotten God Quotes, Good Reads [accessed September 2015]. Available from the practical steps to take his or her faith and Live It Out in the Internet: www.goodreads.com Personal Study Guide. LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to take practical steps to take his or her faith and Live It Out in the Personal Study Guide.

culture Here are some ways you can encourage your students to live • CHRIST: Encourage your student to set aside time to read out their faith with Christ personally, in community, and in their and study God’s Word using the Bible Reading Plan in the culture Personal Study Guide. • CHRIST: Encourage your student to set aside time to read • COMMUNITY: Create a prayer list as a family about what and study God’s Word using the Bible Reading Plan in the you’re asking God to do in your family, city, nation, and Personal Study Guide. world. Pray together as a family over that list to be unified • and COMMUNITY: Create in a prayer growing together prayer.list as a family about what you’re asking God to do in your family, city, nation, and • CULTURE: Discuss how the different promises of the Holy world. Pray together as a family over that list to be unified Spirit will change your student’s daily life this week. How will and growing together in prayer. your student live out His or Her faith confidently because of • the CULTURE: Discuss howofthe promises of the Holy power and promise thedifferent Holy Spirit? Spirit will change your student’s daily life this week. How will your student live out His or Her faith confidently because of the power and promise of the Holy Spirit?

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 2

ENGAGE

(15 MINUTES)

THE POINT THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS US TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL.

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Engage: Begin the session with one or more of the Engage Options on the next page. (This is optional.)

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Discuss: Ask students, “When was something in your life definitely worth the wait?”

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Guide: Call attention to The Point. Come back to it throughout the session.

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Read: Summarize this for your group.

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Pray: Transition into the session by praying that students would trust in God’s faithfulness.

3 SESSION 1

ENGAGE OPTIONS SECOND OPTION

LEAD WITH ACTION

Search the Internet for How to Play the Human Knot Game. Spend a few minutes letting students play as you guide them though the process. When students have completed the game, say, “It’s amazing what we can do when we work together. God empowered every believer through the Holy Spirit to spread the gospel everywhere we go. He created us to do this together as His body. Today we will see what it looks like when the church lives in the power of God and works together to spread His Word.”

LEAD WITH ATMOSPHERE

Before students arrive place several electronic items around the room, but don’t plug them in. Invite students to use these items. As they begin to try and use them with little success, ask them what is wrong. When they tell you they have no power, say, “Sadly, this is how most Christians live their lives for Christ. They live without trusting the power God gave them to fulfill His purpose in their lives. Today we will talk about how God has empowered us to share the gospel.”

LEAD WITH MEDIA

Search the Internet for the Marshmallow Test Short. As you begin the session, play the video. Say, “Sometimes it can be incredibly difficult to wait for something we desperately want, even when we can trust that it will arrive.” NOTE: Always make sure you preview any video clip you show students and ensure that it is appropriate for your church and ministry.

You may have more than one group or enough people in your group to form multiple teams. This is a great opportunity to create fun competition by offering a prize to the first team to untangle the human knot. Say, “It’s amazing what we can do when we work together. It’s even more amazing how quickly we can accomplish things when we have a sense of urgency. Today we will see what happens when the church lives in the power of God and urgently works to spread the gospel.”

FOR YOUNGER STUDENTS Turn off the lights in the room and direct students to find their seats . Start the lesson. Find a few tasks for them to try and complete. As students struggle to complete tasks in the dark, turn on the lights. Say, “It’s tough to complete a task when we lack the power to do it. It’s amazing how much easier it is to complete a task when you use the power you have.”

LEADER PACK ELEMENTS If you have the optional Leader Pack, consider one of the following:

ITEM 1: Use the Unstoppable Gospel unit poster to start the lesson. ITEM 2: Play the Unit 1 Session 1 DVD opener to get everyone on the same page.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 4

IMPART

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS US TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL.

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Read: Invite a student to read the passage aloud.

ACTS 1:4-5 The life of a Christian is not just difficult, it’s impossible. Following Jesus means…

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Loving people even when they hate you.

Read: Explain this section for your students.

Doing the right thing at school, even when it affects your grades. Forgiving people who don’t deserve it.

Guide: Encourage students to use social media as a platform to share their faith publicly.

What are three of the most difficult aspects of the Christian life for you to live out personally? 1. 2. 3.

Do: Direct students to complete the activity, then discuss the question as a  group.

When Jesus called us to this impossible life, He never sugarcoated how difficult it would be. He said: Those wanting to follow Him must deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Him. Luke 9:23 His followers will endure suffering. John 16:33 Christ never expected us to live this impossible life on our own power. Jesus lived His earthly life connected to and empowered by God. Jesus lived and died in a way that no person could, so that we can live in the freedom of His grace and power.

Read: Enlist a few volunteers to read the following section aloud.

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO WAIT ON THE LORD? ?

In Acts 1:4-5, Jesus told His followers of a gift He promised earlier— the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost, the Spirit would descend on believers, empowering them to preach the gospel. From that moment forward, God’s people would be connected with Him like never before. It’s impossible to live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit. All aspects of our lives require the Holy Spirit’s empowerment! From prayer, to growth, to hearing God’s Word, the Holy Spirit empowers us to know God, enjoy Him, and make Him known. Our purpose, fulfillment, impact, and comfort are all bound up in God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the mark of a saved life and the guarantee of a promised future. Power this vast shouldn’t be contained or hidden.

Discuss: Take a few minutes to discuss this question in light of what you just learned. 5

5 SESSION 1

"We can't live this impossible life on our own power. Christ died so we can live in the freedom of His grace and power." #BSFL 

SESSION 1

THE POINT

THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS US TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL.

COMMENTARY ACTS 1:4-5 “While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. ‘This,’ He said, ‘is what you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” ACTS 1:4-5

[Verse 4] Jesus promised to empower us with the Holy Spirit. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples on multiple occasions. In one such instance, all of the disciples (except Judas Iscariot, who committed suicide on the day of Jesus’ death) were in Jerusalem. Jesus stayed with them, which might indicate they shared a meal or may simply refer to a gathering. Whatever the occasion, Jesus appeared in their midst to prepare them for what would come. During that meeting, He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem. Something Jesus previously taught His disciples was soon to happen in Jerusalem. Thus, the disciples were to wait in the holy city for the Father’s promise to be fulfilled. [Verse 5] Though God’s people had known about God’s Spirit for centuries, their knowledge was more of a distant awareness than a personal experience. In their minds, this mysterious Spirit probably seemed to operate unpredictably. Throughout the Old Testament we read accounts of how the Holy Spirit powerfully came upon a specific person for a specific time for a specific purpose. Still, these times were exceptions rather than the norm. A special filling from the Spirit was reserved for certain people at certain times, but not for all of God’s people all of the time. Centuries before Jesus was born God decreed that one day His Spirit would not be limited to select persons (Isa. 32:15; 44:3; Joel 2:28‑32).

"We can't live this impossible life on our own power. Christ died so we can live in the freedom of His grace and power." #BSFL

During His earthly ministry, Jesus also told His disciples about God’s promise. Jesus noted that the Spirit’s ministry in the world and among believers would include convicting of sin, revealing truth, counseling and guiding, teaching, and testifying about Jesus. Jesus also emphasized that He would have to go away in order for the Spirit to come. Soon, both events would happen—Jesus’ departure and the Spirit’s arrival.

A great way to connect with students is to share stories. Take time to talk about a moment in your life when you realized that you needed the Holy Spirit’s power every day to live in obedience.

During His post-resurrection meeting with them, Jesus helped His disciples understand more about their coming encounter with the Spirit. Jesus related it to a baptism, which many of them probably experienced from John the Baptist. In contrast to John’s baptism with water, the disciples would soon be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Most likely the reference to John the Baptist was a reminder of what the prophet proclaimed about Jesus—that He would “baptize … with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16). While future believers would continue to follow Jesus’ example of physical baptism to identify as His disciples, they would also experience this spiritual baptism to enable them to live in obedience to God’s commands and carry out His mission of leading more people to become His disciples.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 6

IMPART

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS US TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL.

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Read: Invite a student to read the passage.

Read: Summarize this section.

ACTS 1:6-8 Like we often do, the disciples focused on earthly plans instead of eternal purpose, asking Jesus if the Spirit’s coming meant Israel would experience political restoration. Jesus didn’t correct them; instead, He refocused them on the mission He called His people to carry out. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit came, we would:

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Discuss: Before reading further, allow students to think about the order of Jesus’ promises. Read: Enlist a few volunteers to read the following section. Guide: Help your students understand that the same Holy Spirit in Scripture is still alive and active in the life of every believer.

RECEIVE POWER: The Greek word for power is dunamis. Words like dynamite and dynamic come from it. This power from the Holy Spirit caused a few believers to turn the world upside down with the gospel. BE WITNESSES: They were witnesses to the power of Jesus while He was on earth and witnesses to the power that would soon come to them through the Holy Spirit. The mission of every believer is simple: Tell the world how the gospel of Christ has changed your life.

WHY IS THE ORDER OF JESUS’ PROMISE SO IMPORTANT (RECEIVE POWER, BE WITNESSES, TELL EVERYONE)?

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TELL EVERYONE: Jesus made the expansion plan clear: Start at home and keep moving outward until everyone hears the gospel. The faithfulness of these believers is evident now. Even the chance to study God’s Word is a result of believers spreading the gospel in the power of the Spirit and moving outward. You were once someone’s, "ends of the earth." The same Spirit who descended on believers at Pentecost and turned the world upside down for Jesus is alive today in those who place their faith in Christ. This means that whether you’re on a mission trip, the Internet, or at school, you can carry the gospel to the ends of the earth in your own neighborhoods. We are empowered to be on mission to our city, nation, and world. "Contrary to our superficial thinking, there never was a distinction in his [Jesus’] mind between home and foreign missions. To Jesus it was all world evangelism."1 —Robert Coleman How does this statement challenge the way you think about spreading the gospel to the world?

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Do: Direct students to read the quote and thoughtfully SPREAD THE GOSPEL. answer the question. Discuss their answers. 7 SESSION 1

1. "Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism, Second Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2010), 18."

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE

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COMMENTARY ACTS 1:6-8 “So when they had come together, they asked Him, ‘Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’” ACTS 1:6-8

[Verse 6] The Spirit empowers us to be His witnesses locally and globally. When the disciples met with Jesus, they once again asked about the kingdom they anticipated. Like most Jews they looked forward to a political kingdom where they would be free from the foreign rule they had known for centuries. But the disciples especially anticipated a future where everyone would know the power and glory Israel experienced under David and Solomon. This was what they expected with Jesus the Messiah on the throne. As the disciples met with Jesus after His resurrection, they again asked about the coming kingdom hoping it was the right time for their dream to become reality.

Great group leaders strive to be great discussion leaders. Create a safe environment where every student can be open and honest.

[Verse 7] Jesus didn’t reply to the primary focus of their question—their hope for Israel’s worldwide prominence. Instead, He emphasized that times and seasons were none of their concern. Dates were not important for the disciples to know. Jesus noted that the dates God the Father has fixed are His alone to know. Previously, Jesus noted that even He didn’t know the specific “day” or “hour” of the end (Mark 13:32). [Verse 8] It was important, however, for the disciples to understand the kingdom that was coming and how it impacted them and others. Unlike the kingdom the disciples imagined, God’s kingdom was different from all earthly kingdoms where powerful human kings sat on thrones for a time. Instead, God’s kingdom is focused on the eternal, immortal, invisible God ruling in human lives. It is about God’s Spirit living in those who trust Jesus as Savior and Lord. The kingdom of God is about the power of God enabling the people of God to Break down the fulfill the mission of God. This power is unlike anything Rome or any other nation importance being ever possessed. It is the supernatural capability and potential demonstrated in empowered by the Holy the miracles of Jesus, including His resurrection from the dead. Jesus promised Spirit. How would our this same power to His followers. Jesus’ promise was not a statement of wishful actions change if we thinking, but rather one of fact— it would happen. His power was not given for lived in that power daily? their benefit—so they could be prominent or dominant—but so they could be His witnesses. This was also a certainty. Jesus promised to empower His followers to enable them to share a testimony with others about their experiences with Him. With these brief words Jesus didn’t explain everything the disciples wanted to know about the kingdom, but He did tell them all that they needed to know about the kingdom and their role in it.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 8

IMPART

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS US TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL.

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Do: Allow time for students to finish optional Action Point (p. 7) in the PSG.

Read: Ask a student read the passage for group.

Read: Summarize this section.

Discuss: Lead students to discuss the question.

Read: Guide different students read each section.

Do: Direct students to complete the Action Point.

PREAD THE GOSPEL.

9 SESSION 1

ACTS 1:12-14 What did the disciples do while they waited on God’s promise? They met together and prayed. Not for a quick meeting, but they prayed continually and waited 10 days until the gift of the Holy Spirit arrived at Pentecost. We often view prayer as an alternative to taking action, but the disciples knew better. They realized that prayer is the greatest single action believers can take to prepare our hearts to see God do great things. Three things are clear in these verses:

HOW IS PRAYING WITH OTHERS FOR A SPECIFIC MISSION DIFFERENT FROM PRAYING ALONE?

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Prayer is primary. Usually, we treat prayer like a last resort. Prayer wasn’t a last resort for the early church or just an agenda item— it was the agenda. Prayer is designed as the primary power source for believers, not simply a backup system for emergencies. Prayer brings courage. For all the disciples knew, the same people who crucified their Lord might come for them as well. Courage in the face of fear pushed the early church to dive into prayer. In times of anxiety and fear, when we fall at the feet of Christ, He will raise us up in faith and power. Prayer unites believers. The disciples were united in prayer. They were single-minded and joined together as one. Continual prayer encourages us to prioritize God’s plan over our own. Disunity and conflict often happen because so many Christians fight for their own plans instead of God’s purpose. When the church prays as one, great things happen.

ACTION POINT The Force is prominent in the “Star Wars” movie series. It can be used to enhance natural abilities or increase mental power. It also has a "dark side" that feeds on fear, anger, and hate. Unfortunately, there are those who embrace it for their benefit. The Force is not personal, nor does it have a will or plan. It is simply a force. Sometimes we mistakenly view the Holy Spirit this way. We fail to see God's Spirit as a teacher and transformer who empowers us to do God's will, instead seeing Him as an impersonal "force" that exists for our benefit. Read this passage again, and list characteristics that show the Holy Spirit is a personal, loving, and transformational God.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE

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COMMENTARY ACTS 1:12-14 “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem—a Sabbath day’s journey away. When they arrived, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. All these were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.” ACTS 1:12-14

[Verse 12-13] Prayer unites believers in our focus on Christ and His mission. The disciples’ meeting with Jesus and His subsequent ascension to heaven took place on the Mount of Olives, which was just east of Jerusalem (Acts 1:9‑12). Luke noted it was a Sabbath day’s journey away, or about three-fourths of a mile. This was simply a Jewish reference of distance and doesn’t imply the meeting was on the Sabbath. Once in the city, the eleven disciples went to the upper room where they were staying. It was likely a large room on the top floor of a large house. The fact that the disciples stayed there suggests it was where they slept and met with other believers.

If an activity is going well, spend more time on it. Never let it take over the entire session, but use it as a tool to better connect students with the material.

[Verse 14] Following the ascension, prayer became constant for the disciples. With one accord they devoted themselves to prayer. The word devoted suggests more than occasional or brief prayers, it portrays the believers as being intense and persistent in their praying. The disciples witnessed Jesus being intensely devoted to prayer and His example was important to their prayer as well.

Exactly what the disciples prayed is unknown, but whatever the content of their prayers, the disciples were of one accord. This means they had the same heart and commitment, which was to glorify God and fulfill His purpose. They may have prayed for unity (just as Jesus prayed for them on the night before His death— John 17:20‑23), but certainly they experienced unity as a result of their ongoing praying together. Jesus’ emphasis and the example of His followers in the days before Pentecost remind us of what believers are to do and how we are to do it in our day. Our priority is to be witnesses for Jesus—sharing the truth about Connecting with God, sin, and salvation, and our testimony of what we have experienced (forgiveness of sins students outside and eternal life) through faith in Christ. This is what the Holy Spirit empowered us to do. But of group (school we don’t do this alone—prayer keeps us connected with God so we can receive and walk events, group parties, in His wisdom, strength, and guidance for the mission. And unity with other believers—in activities, etc.) fellowship and in prayer—gives us the family we need for the support and encouragement communicates how we need to keep moving forward as we work together to spread the gospel.

much you love and value them. Try it this week!

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 10

IMPACT

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS US TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL.

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Discuss: Read and discuss the quote with students.

LIVE IT OUT

Guide: Use the Christ section of the Live It Out section along with the Bible Reading Plan to help students develop a personal plan to spend time in God’s Word daily. (Develop a plan for your group to remind one another to spend time in God’s Word and share all God is teaching you.)

CHRIST SAID IT IS BETTER FOR US THAT THE SPIRIT CAME, AND I WANT TO LIVE LIKE I KNOW THAT IS TRUE. I DON'T WANT TO KEEP CRAWLING WHEN I HAVE THE ABILITY TO FLY.2 FR A N C I S C H A N

BIBLE READING PLAN

COMMUNITY

DAY 2:

Make prayer a priority with your group, not an afterthought. Create a prayer list as a group based on Acts 1:8. Pray for each item together as a group.

AC T S 2:1-24

Guide: This is an excellent time to encourage students to make unity and mission a priority in your group.

Living in the power of the Holy Spirit starts with spending time in God’s Word and prayer. When we study His Word and spend time with Him, the Spirit begins to work more and more in our lives. This week, make personal time with God a priority. Set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day to read God’s Word and pray about what is on your heart.

DAY 1:

AC T S 1:1-26

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CHRIST

DAY 3:

AC T S 2:25- 47

DAY 4:

AC T S 3:1-26

DAY 5:

AC T S 4:1-22 DAY 6:

We’re praying for our schools, that You would __________________. We’re praying for our city, that You would __________________. We’re praying for our nation, that You would __________________. We’re praying for our world, that You would __________________.

AC T S 4:23-5:11

DAY 7:

AC T S 5:12-37

2. Francis Chan, Forgotten God Quotes,”Good Reads [accessed September 2015]. Available from the Internet: www.goodreads.com

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11 SESSION 1

SESSION 1

THE POINT

THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS US TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL.

IMPACT CULTURE

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Guide: The Culture section allows you to encourage students to apply this session to their lives this week. Spend time applying their answers to real life situations they will face this week.

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Pray: Close in prayer, asking God to remind each student of their access to His limitless power when they trust in Him. Pray for them by name and ask God to empower them to share the Gospel beyond their abilities.

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Follow Up: This week, connect with your students via email, text, a written card, or social media to remind them of their value, purpose, and the incredible power God has given them in Himself.

This may be the first time you have realized that the Holy Spirit empowers Christians to share the gospel. Read each of the verses below. How can the Holy Spirit make a difference in your life through each of these promises?

HOW DOES IT AFFECT ME? EPHESIANS 1:13

He guarantees our salvation.

ROMANS 8:26

He prays for us when we do not know what to pray.

GALATIANS 5:22-23

He makes our hearts and actions more like Christ.

2 CORINTHIANS 3:17

He is our freedom.

1 CORINTHIANS 2:12-16

He helps us distinguish God’s wisdom from the world’s wisdom.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE

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BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 12

SESSION

2

UNSTOPPABLE MESSAGE

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? ACTS 2:22-24,32-33,36-38 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: This Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him, just as you yourselves know.

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Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him. 23

God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it. 24

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE

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There are many good groups and organizations in our communities seeking to benefit society in some way. The church, however, is unique. Many organizations today are short-lived or diminish as the need they seek to meet is realized. Or they change when the leadership changes. The church is different. Christ gave His church one unchanging message to proclaim: the message of salvation in Christ.

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THE POINT Jesus died for our sins, was resurrected, and reigns as Lord.

THE PASSAGE Acts 2:22-24,32-33,36-38

“God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this.

Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!”

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When they heard this, they came under deep conviction and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what must we do?”

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“Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 38

THE SETTING Ten days after Jesus ascended to heaven, the Holy Spirit descended in power just as He had promised. The Spirit launched His great work on earth with incredible power including the sound of a mighty wind, tongues of fire, and the ability of the believers to speak and understand each of the different spoken languages. The long awaited Messiah came and paid for the sins of the world and established His kingdom on earth. Now God’s kingdom was beginning its mission on earth. 14 SESSION 2

For free online training on how to lead a group visit MinistryGrid.com/web/ BibleStudiesForLife

PREPARE LEADER LIVE IT OUT

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Prepare: As you prepare for this session, take a moment to allow the truth of scripture to challenge your heart. God works in our hearts as we teach others His Word.

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Follow Up: Don’t forget to copy or text a picture of the One Conversation section to parents after the session. This will equip them for further family discussion.

LEADER LIVE IT OUT

My Story | Acts 2:22-24;32-33;36-38

In C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Lucy sees Aslan for the first time after searching or him for a long while. Upon seeing him she says, “Aslan... you’re bigger.” Aslan responds, “That is because you are older, little one.” “Not My Story Acts 2:22-24;32-33;36-38 because you |are?” asks Lucy. “I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.” This moment is powerful, because it echoes truth in our hearts. The deeper and more mature our relationship with Christ becomes, the bigger He In C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Lucy sees Aslan for the first time after searching or him for a long seems. Not because He grows, but because we have grown to see more of His character. The same is true when we look while. Upon seeing him she says, “Aslan... you’re bigger.” Aslan responds, “That is because you are older, little one.” “Not back on the story of when Christ saved us. Sometimes we let our testimony collect dust because we feel it is only useful for because you are?” asks Lucy. “I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.” This moment is powerful, mission trips or the first few years of our walk with Christ, but as we grow deeper in our relationship with Christ, we see so because it echoes truth in our hearts. The deeper and more mature our relationship with Christ becomes, the bigger He many more facets of His character and love in our lives. Your story never changes, but for every year you grow you will find seems. Not because He grows, but because we have grown to see more of His character. The same is true when we look it bigger. God wants to use your story to impact your students’ lives. back on the story of when Christ saved us. Sometimes we let our testimony collect dust because we feel it is only useful for mission trips or to thereflect first few years of our walk with Christ, but asonwe grow21. deeper in our relationship with Christ, we see so Y Take time and complete the Culture section page Remember your you life before Christ, and many more of His andand loveisincontinuing our lives. Your story never but for every year you grow you will find how Hefacets stepped in,character saved you, to change yourchanges, life daily. it bigger. God wants to use your story to impact your students’ lives. Y Take time to reflect and complete the Culture section on page 21. Remember your you life before Christ, and

ONE CONVERSATION™

how He stepped in, saved you, and is continuing to change your life daily.

ONE CONVERSATION™

Scripture: Acts 2:22-24,32-33,36-38

Topic: Unstoppable Message

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: There are many good groups and organizations in our communities seeking to benefit society in some way. The church, however, is unique. Many organizations today are short-lived or diminish as the need they seek to Scripture: ActsOr 2:22-24,32-33,36-38 Unstoppable Message meet is realized. they change when theTopic: leadership changes. The church is different. Christ gave His church one unchanging message to proclaim: the message of salvation in Christ. THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: There are many good groups and organizations in our communities seeking to benefit society THE POINT: died forhowever, our sins, was resurrected, ITare OUT: Your student has beenasencouraged to take in some way.Jesus The church, is unique. Manyand organizationsLIVE today short-lived or diminish the need they seek to practical to take his or her faith Live Itone Outunchanging in the reigns Lord. Or they change when the leadership changes. The meet isasrealized. churchsteps is different. Christ gave Hisand church Personal Study Guide. proclaim: thedistraction? message of salvation in Christ. •message Whatto is your biggest • What can we learn from Peter’s approach to sharing the THEgospel? POINT: Jesus died for our sins, was resurrected, and reigns as Lord. • When we recognize Jesus as Lord, how does that affect our • daily Whatlife? is your biggest distraction? Whatcan canwe weshare learnthe from Peter’s approach the •• How gospel with the goaltoofsharing bringing gospel? rather than condemnation? conviction • When we recognize Jesus as Lord, how does that affect our daily life? Discuss the following quote: “Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, • How can we share the gospel with the goal of bringing there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the conviction rather than condemnation? core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the 1 Discuss the following quote: “Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, —Ravi Zacharias toughest situations of life.” there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the 1. http://www.christianpost.com/news/ravi-zacharias-to-liberty-univ-graduates-draw-the-right-linesin-life-find-your-definitions-in-god-97089/ core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.”1—Ravi Zacharias 1. http://www.christianpost.com/news/ravi-zacharias-to-liberty-univ-graduates-draw-the-right-linesin-life-find-your-definitions-in-god-97089/

Here can encourage studentsto to take live LIVEare ITsome OUT:ways Youryou student has been your encouraged out their faith with Christ personally, in community, and in their practical steps to take his or her faith and Live It Out in the culture Personal Study Guide. • CHRIST: Encourage your student to serve in your local Here are some ways can encourage your students to live to church. Serving asyou a family is also an excellent opportunity out their faith withstudent Christ personally, community, in their challenge your to grow byinsetting godly and priorities. culture • COMMUNITY: Guide your student to make wise decisions • inCHRIST: Encourage in your local how he or she uses your socialstudent media. to It isserve one of the broadest church. Serving as athe family is also an excellent opportunity to platforms to reflect gospel. challenge your student to grow by setting godly priorities. • CULTURE: Discuss how your student gave their life to Christ, • and COMMUNITY: Guide your student to make wise decisions how he or she can share with others this week. You can in how hesimple or shequestions uses socialtomedia. It isdiscussion: one of the1.broadest use these start the Why platforms reflect gospel. did you givetomy life tothe Christ?; 2. How did Christ change your 3. Why isDiscuss it important to others. • life?; CULTURE: how your student gave their life to Christ, and how he or she can share with others this week. You can use these simple questions to start the discussion: 1. Why did you give my life to Christ?; 2. How did Christ change your life?; 3. Why is it important to others.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 15

ENGAGE

(15 MINUTES)

THE POINT JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS, WAS RESURRECTED, AND REIGNS AS LORD.

1

Engage: Begin the session with one or more of the Engage Options on the next page (optional).

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Discuss: Ask students, “What is your biggest distraction?”

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4 5

THE POINT JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS, WAS RESURRECTED, AND REIGNS AS LORD.

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE

Guide: Call attention to The Point. Come back to it throughout the session.

FAC T:

Read: Summarize this for your group.

FI N D I N G IT TO U G H TO S TAY O N TA S K ? I N R EC E N T S T U D I E S , MICROSOFT FO U N D T H AT T H E AV E R AG E P E R S O N ’ S AT T E N TI O N S PA N DROPPED FROM 1 2 TO 8 S ECO N DS . CO M PA R E T H AT TO A G O L D FI S H W H I C H C A N PAY AT T E N TI O N FO R 9 S ECO N DS . 1

Pray: Transition into the session by praying that students would begin to understand the incredible power of the gospel.

14

16 SESSION 2

SESSION 2

If I asked you to tell me about Best Buy and Circuit City, I imagine you could tell me a lot about one of them and not the other. Unless you went there as a child, you probably have no experience with Circuit City, and yet both stores were founded in the 1960s and were major competitors until 2008. So, how does one of the largest and most profitable electronics stores in America go from being an industry innovator to a distant memory? Over time Circuit City lost its way. Focus shifted from giving customers personal service and a great selection of electronics and appliances, to beginning a used car division and growing their business larger at any cost. Before long they quit selling appliances, lost many talented managers, and over-expanded their stores. In late 2008, Circuit City filed for bankruptcy. Circuit City experienced missional drift, meaning it lost sight of its original purpose. Sadly, missional drift happens in the church too and for no good reason. God gave us a clear mission. From the very beginning, as we will see in Acts 2, there is a clear, unstoppable message that drives our mission.

THE POINT

JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS, WAS RESURRECTED, AND REIGNS AS LORD.

ENGAGE OPTIONS LEAD WITH ACTION

When your students arrive tell them that you are going to be playing advanced “Simon Says” and the winner will receive a prize (movie tickets, gift certificate, etc.). In this version, you will separate students into teams of two and “Simon” will give commands that are specific to certain actions they want accomplished. (i.e. Simon says put your partner on your shoulders, leap frog, etc.). Award the winning team with a prize. Say, “Just like in this game the church must keep focused on the truth of Jesus to accomplish its mission of sharing the gospel and making disciples.”

LEAD WITH ATMOSPHERE

As you are setting up your space for group, take time to print out pictures of the cross in various forms (necklaces, decorative pieces, etc.) and other popular Christians items and apparel (“Jesus is my Homeboy” T-shirt, Jesus bobble head, etc.), and set them up all around the room. As you begin the session, ask students what comes to mind when they see these items. Say, “It’s amazing how easy it is for us to lose focus on the gospel and drift away from our true mission as the church. Today we are going to focus on the foundation of the gospel and refocus our eyes on what the gospel truly means.”

LEAD WITH MEDIA

Search the internet for “Unstoppable #4 Movie CLIP - Runaway Train” for your students. After watching the clip say, “Just like a train needs tracks, the church needs the truth of the gospel as the center of its mission. Jesus dying for our sins, being resurrected, and reigning as Lord, is the foundation of Church. Just like the tracks to the train, the Church loses its mission without the gospel.” NOTE: Always make sure you preview any video clip you show students and ensure that it is appropriate for your church and ministry.

SECOND OPTION Search the internet for “Simon Says Variations.” There are many different ways to play “Simon Says.” Some options work better for some groups than others. Make sure to use one of these variations as you play to keep your students’ attention. After the game is over say, “Just like in ‘Simon Says,’ the church must keep focused on the truth of Jesus to accomplish its mission of sharing the gospel and making disciples.”

FOR YOUNGER STUDENTS Play the classic game, “Telephone” with your students. Depending on your group’s size, you can play this game in teams or as one group. Say, “When we don’t pay close attention to the message, it can be difficult to accomplish the goal. It is the same for the church and the gospel. We are going to talk about the importance of keeping the gospel at the center of our lives.”

LEADER PACK ELEMENTS If you have the optional Leader Pack, consider one of the following:

ITEM 1: Use the Unstoppable Gospel unit poster to start the lesson. ITEM 3: Play the Unit 1 Session 2 DVD opener to get everyone on the same page.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 17

IMPART

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS, WAS RESURRECTED, AND REIGNS AS LORD.

1

2

Guide: Encourage students to share what they are learning on Instagram.

CHRIST’S LIFE, DEATH, AND RESURRECTION IS GOD’S SOVEREIGN PLAN TO SAVE US FROM OUR WILLFUL SIN. #BSFL

Read: Ask a student read the passage for group.

“We must never underestimate the importance of our role in evangelism. Neither must we overestimate it. We preach. We bear witness. We provide the outward call. But God alone has the power to call a person to himself inwardly. I do not feel cheated by that. On the contrary, I feel comforted. We must do our job, trusting that God will do His.” 2 —R.C. Sproul Describe one way that God’s sovereignty and our responsibility provides confidence while you share the gospel with your friends?

ACTS 2:22-24

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Read: Enlist a few volunteers to read the following section aloud.

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Do: Direct students to read the quote and thoughtfully answer the question. Discuss their answers.

The Holy Spirit’s work in the hearts of the apostles had skeptics telling everyone they were just drunk. Peter addressed their ridiculous claims by reasoning that it was only 9 a.m. Peter understood that when the Holy Spirit does great things through us, there will always be opposition against us. Peter didn’t let it affect Him. Instead he kept Jesus the focus by: Addressing the heart of the crowd. He stated simply: Jesus was crucified, but God raised Him back to life. Explaining how Jesus was handed over to be crucified with God’s complete knowledge according to His plan. Teaching Christ’s death and resurrection were prophesied in the Old Testament. Everything was God’s plan from the beginning. Along with the men who physically crucified Him, we are all responsible for Jesus’ death. Christ’s life, death, and resurrection is God’s sovereign plan to save us from our willful sin.

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Discuss: Take a few minutes to discuss this question in light of what you have just learned.

18 SESSION 2

Thankfully, Jesus rose again. If Jesus sacrificed His life for us and remained dead, He would have been a martyr. But Jesus is unique; He is the only person who ever lived, died, and returned to life never to die again. His death and resurrection are the foundation of the gospel message. 16

SESSION 2

THE POINT

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM PETER’S APPROACH TO SHARING THE GOSPEL? ?

JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS, WAS RESURRECTED, AND REIGNS AS LORD.

COMMENTARY ACTS 2:22-24 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: This Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him, just as you yourselves know. Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him. God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it. ” ACTS 2:22-24

Verse 22. Jesus died and rose again to bring salvation. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came in power. The believers in Jerusalem who were empowered by the Spirit spoke in many other languages and drew the attention of a crowd. Peter spoke to the crowd to help them correctly interpret the events (Acts 2:1-21). Peter initially quoted words from the prophet Joel that explained and confirmed what they had seen and heard (Joel 2:28-32). He boldly directed the men to listen to him. Peter started by calling attention to Jesus. Peter clarified who Jesus was by calling Him the Nazarene, that is, He was from the town of Nazareth. Jesus was sometimes identified as the Nazarene during His earthly ministry. Rather than immediately jumping to the reality that Jesus is the Messiah, Peter emphasized that Jesus was a man. Thousands of people had encountered Him in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria during the previous three years. So while any skeptic could have questioned Jesus’ deity, there was no question of His humanity.

Tip: Inviting your students to be a part of your life outside of group time allows students to see how valuable they are to you. It doesn’t have to formal, just quality time.

Peter noted Jesus was pointed out by God. God chose Him for a unique position—a role that no one else could fill. God worked in and through Jesus’ humanity to prove who He really was. Peter reminded the people of the miracles, wonders, and signs done by Jesus. Miracles show the power of God. Wonders emphasize the response of people who witness miracles. Signs are intended to point back to God.

Christ’s life, death, and resurrection is God’s sovereign plan to save us from our willful sin. #BSFL

Verse 23. Peter emphasized that the Jews played a role in Jesus’ death. The Jewish religious leaders arrested Jesus and delivered up Jesus to those who could carry out their ultimate desire. The Jews used lawless people (the Romans) to kill Jesus. While the Jewish leaders plotted to put Jesus to death and the Romans carried out the sentence, the Jewish people also bore the responsibility for what had happened. They should have recognized who Jesus was, God’s Messiah.

Though most people who knew Jesus did not anticipate His death, God was not caught off guard. The sacrificial death of Jesus was part of God’s determined plan for His creation. God had not only decreed that Jesus would die (1 Pet. 1:20), but also set the appointed time for it to happen (Gal. 4:4-5). It was part of God’s purpose to make atonement for the sins of humanity. God planned for the death of His Son because there was no other way for sinful people—those who were His enemies—to be in a right relationship with Him. Verse 24. Peter stressed that God raised Him up—restored Jesus to life again. This was also part of God’s plan for the salvation of humanity. Why was it not possible for death to hold Jesus in its grip? Because His death and resurrection were a part of God’s unstoppable plan. God had chosen Jesus for His unique position as Messiah to make salvation possible for all humanity—a truth Peter would clarify soon enough. Nothing, not even death itself, could hinder God’s purpose. BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 19

IMPART

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS, WAS RESURRECTED, AND REIGNS AS LORD.

1

2 3 4

5

Discuss: Take a few minutes to discuss this question with your students.

Read: Ask a student to read the passage for the group.

Read: Enlist a few volunteers to read this section aloud.

Guide: Help your students understand how worship and obedience reflect our view of God’s worth.

Do: Direct students to read the quote and thoughtfully answer the question. Discuss their answers.

URRECTED, AND REIGNS AS LORD.

20 SESSION 2

WHEN WE RECOGNIZE JESUS AS LORD, HOW DOES THAT AFFECT OUR DAILY LIFE? ? ACTS 2:32-33,36 In A.D. 186, church leader Polycarp, faced a decision before the Roman authorities: Proclaim Caesar as lord and live or refuse and die a martyr. Polycarp believed there was no other lord but Jesus. He was urged to deny Jesus and be set free, but Polycarp responded, “Eighty and six years have I served him, and he never once wronged me; how then shall I blaspheme my King, who hath saved me?”2 Polycarp was then burned alive and pierced with a sword. He chose to profess his belief that Jesus alone is Lord. The Romans worshiped Caesar as lord in the highest sense. They wanted everyone to acknowledge the emperor as god, the absolute sovereignty. Peter used the same term in Acts 2:36 to describe the absolute sovereignty of Christ. Peter was using Lord as a majestic title to show God’s sovereignty and divine power. This word proclaims deity. Peter was declaring Jesus is God. Jesus sits at the right hand of the God the Father, who holds all authority in the universe. Because Jesus is Lord, things clearly follow: He is worthy of our worship. He’s not only worthy of our respect, but also of our worship. All humanity will see, bow, and proclaim Jesus is Lord. (Phil. 2:10-11)

“One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons.” 4  —Dietrich Bonhoeffer List 2 ways that God can use your obedience to speak louder than your words this week.

He is worthy of our obedience. Because Jesus is Lord and Messiah, He deserves to be sovereign in our lives. He has the right to tell us what to do and His way leads to joy and fulfillment. (Heb. 12:3-13)

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE

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COMMENTARY ACTS 2:32-33,36 “God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this. Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear.” “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!” ACTS 2:32-33,36

Verse 32. Jesus is exalted as Lord. After citing David’s prophecy in Psalm 16:10 proclaiming God’s plan, Peter again noted that God resurrected Jesus from the dead just as He had planned. The resurrection of Jesus was the primary focus of the apostles’ preaching after Pentecost. That’s because the resurrection is the foundational truth of the Christian faith. It provides assurance that Jesus’ sacrificial death brought victory over sin and death for all who believe. Paul later noted that if the resurrection did not happen then our faith is “worthless” (1 Cor. 15:17) and all humanity is still held captive by the guilt and power of sin. Peter added that he and the other apostles were witnesses of it. They had not only seen Jesus die and be buried; they also saw Him restored to life after being dead for three days. While the other eleven apostles were standing with Peter in front of the crowd (Acts 2:14), the witnesses could have included many of the 120 who were gathered together when the Holy Spirit came upon them (1:15). Scripture confirms that Jesus appeared to over 500 people after His resurrection (1 Cor. 15:6), so many others could have testified as well to the truth of the resurrection.

Tip: Quotes give you a great opportunity to unpack deep biblical truth on an appropriate level for your group and press into tough questions.

Verse 33. Jesus ascended into heaven where He is living still and where He has been exalted to the right hand of God. In this powerful position Jesus received the Holy Spirit and the authority to distribute the Spirit to others in accordance with God’s promise. Thus like water is poured out from above and floods whatever is below, God’s Spirit was poured out from heaven and engulfed the believers who had gathered in the room in Jerusalem. Peter went on to emphasize that what the people of Israel had seen and heard that day—the Spirit’s powerful activity that enabled the believers “to speak in different languages” (Acts 2:4)—was further evidence of Jesus’ identity and authority. Only the One chosen and exalted by God the Father, acting on His behalf, could have freely poured out the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of prophecy.

Verse 36. In a powerful summation Peter emphasized a point he did not want the house of Israel to miss. All of them needed to know with certainty the truth about Jesus. Peter contrasted the difference between how the Jewish people responded to Jesus and how God responded to Him. God has exalted Jesus as both Lord and Messiah. The people, however, had crucified Jesus like a common criminal. In referring to Jesus as Lord, Peter reached the climax of his message. More than simply a designation of respect (as it was sometimes used in the Bible), the word Lord here indicated the divine nature of Jesus. Jesus had earlier claimed equality with God and the Jews tried to stone Him (John 10:30‑33). In the Greek, verse 36 ends with the words translated whom you crucified. Perhaps Peter ordered his words intentionally, wanting the people to bear the weight of guilt and responsibility for their actions: they had actually killed the Lord Himself.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 21

IMPART

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS, WAS RESURRECTED, AND REIGNS AS LORD.

1

2 3 4

5

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Do: Allow time for students to finish optional Action Point (p. 18) in the PSG.

Read: Ask a student to read the passage for the group. Read: Summarize this section for your students. Discuss: Lead students to discuss the question.

Read: Guide a student to read this section aloud.

Do: Direct students to complete the Action Point and discuss their answers.

URRECTED, AND REIGNS AS LORD.

22 SESSION 2

ACTS 2:37-38 Peter’s sermon broke the crowd’s hearts. Imagine realizing that you took part in murdering the Messiah. Many in the crowd turned to the apostles, deeply convicted, and asked, “Brothers, what must we do?” They were broken over their sin of rejecting and murdering the Messiah. Preaching is meant to open people’s hearts to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, not condemn them. Condemnation brings a general feeling of hopelessness and fear because of our shortcomings and sin. Condemnation shows us sin’s consequences without the hope of change.

HOW CAN WE SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH THE GOAL OF BRINGING CONVICTION RATHER THAN CONDEMNATION? ?

Conviction brings an awareness of the specific sins, attitudes, and habits in our lives that need to be changed. The Holy Spirit convicting you shows His loving desire for you to turn from death and sin toward a life in Christ. When the people asked how they should respond, Peter said to repent and be baptized. He was teaching how salvation and obedience are intricately woven together. Repent in Greek literally means a change in direction. Giving our lives to Christ means repenting (turning) from our sin and obediently surrendering all of who we are to Christ and asking His forgiveness. Baptism is an outward sign of a changed heart. Peter was calling the crowd to be baptized because they experienced salvation. Baptism is an obedient reflection of what God has done in our lives (1 Pet. 3:21). That’s the unstoppable message: Jesus is Lord and Christ, and when we acknowledge Him and turn from our sin, we are forgiven.

ACTION POINT

In the movie, The Martian, astronaut Mark Watney is trapped on Mars after his team evacuates during a major storm. Before sending emergency supplies to Watney, NASA skips critical systems checks designed to catch any problems that would cause rocket failure. The supply rocket explodes after launch due to issues that would have been caught during the systems check. NASA’s intentions were good, but skipping critical steps hurt their goal. As Peter shared the gospel, he didn’t skip over any element of it. Why is each peice of Peter’s sermon so important to understanding the gospel completely? How can leaving out pieces of the gospel cause us to drift from the truth?

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE

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COMMENTARY ACTS 2:37-38 When they heard this, they came under deep conviction and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what must we do? Repent, Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” ACTS 2:37-38

Verse 37. On the night before His death, Jesus told His disciples about the Holy Spirit’s ministry. Jesus promised that the Spirit would “convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8). Now on the day of Pentecost, with thousands of Jews from around the world gathered in Jerusalem, the Spirit carried out His assignment as He brought a deep conviction on the people who had heard Peter’s message. A more literal translation of deep conviction would be “cut to the heart.” Peter’s words, like a figurative dagger driven deep into their Tip: Help students realize hearts, brought intense emotional pain as the Jewish people realized the enormity of their sin. It was natural that they wanted a solution to their problem. So they that a change needs to take asked Peter and the other apostles: “Brothers, what must we do?” place based on what they Verse 38. The solution to their problem was to repent. They needed to change their thinking, especially about Jesus, sin, and salvation. To repent in their thinking about Jesus they needed to acknowledge Him as Lord and Messiah. To repent in their thinking about sin they needed to understand sin separates us from God and Jesus provided the perfect, final sacrifice for our sin. To repent in their thinking about salvation they needed to know that faith in Jesus is the only way to enter a relationship with the Father and experience eternal life.

have learned. Help them determine how to put it into practice immediately. This will encourage them as they grow in their faith.

The biblical usage of repent also refers to a change of action—not only thinking differently but also acting on this new belief. Thus Peter added that each of them needed to be baptized. Baptism is an outward picture of an inward change that has happened to a person. Thus after the people changed their thinking about Jesus, sin, and salvation they were to give evidence of that change by being baptized. Being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ means acknowledging His identity and accepting His authority. For them to be baptized in Jesus’ name would reflect their newfound commitment to Christ.

Tip: Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer to a student’s question. Helping students learn to work out their faith shows authenticity and humility. God uses humble and authentic people to impact lives.

This is the only place in the Book of Acts where there is any question about the relationship of baptism, repentance, and forgiveness of sins. Some have incorrectly interpreted this verse to teach that baptism is necessary for the forgiveness of sins. But this is not taught anywhere else in Scripture. Not long after Pentecost on a different occasion, Peter specifically charged people to “repent … so that your sins may be wiped out” (Acts 3:19) without a mention of baptism. At other times belief (10:43) or faith (26:18) are mentioned as the basis for forgiveness of sins. Thus the phrase in 2:38 should be understood as forgiveness of sins as a result of repentance, and baptism is the outward demonstration of the changed mind and life. To those who experienced salvation, Peter noted they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift does not refer to special manifestations of the Spirit (which are His gifts), but instead to His indwelling presence in believers’ lives.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 23

IMPACT

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS, WAS RESURRECTED, AND REIGNS AS LORD.

1 2

Discuss: Read and discuss the quote with students.

LIVE IT OUT

Guide: Use the Christ portion of the Live It Out section to get your students involved serving in the local church. The Bible Reading Plan helps students develop a personal plan to spend time in God’s Word daily. (Help your group remind one another to spend time in God’s Word and share all God is teaching you.)

OUTSIDE OF THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST, THERE IS NO HOPE IN THIS WORLD. THAT CROSS AND RESURRECTION AT THE CORE OF THE GOSPEL IS THE ONLY HOPE FOR HUMANITY. WHEREVER YOU GO, ASK GOD FOR WISDOM ON HOW TO GET THAT GOSPEL IN, EVEN IN THE TOUGHEST SITUATIONS OF LIFE. 5 — R AV I Z AC H A R I A S

BIBLE READING PLAN

Evaluate the focus of your spiritual life. Is it focused on Jesus or on programs, activities, or your own interests? Find one way this week to support your church in spreading the message of Jesus; it can be as simple as inviting someone to church, or volunteering to help in the nursery. What is God placing on your heart?

DAY 8

AC T S 5:38-7:4 DAY 9

AC T S 7:5-29

3

CHRIST

DAY 10

Guide: This is a great opportunity to plan a time when your group can serve others and share the gospel together.

AC T S 7:30 -53

DAY 11

AC T S 7:54 -8:13 DAY 12

AC T S 8:14 - 4 0

COMMUNITY We weren’t meant to share the gospel alone. The group around you is on mission together. Take time as a group this week and come up with a way that you can share the gospel message just like Peter did in Acts 2. Can you all share through social media or simply inviting friends who don’t know Christ to spend time with you outside of group? The possibilities are endless. When Christ saves us, He saves every part of our lives. That is why everything you do has the potential to communicate the gospel.

DAY 13

AC T S 9:1-20

DAY 14

AC T S 9:21- 43

20

24 SESSION 2

SESSION 2

THE POINT

JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS, WAS RESURRECTED, AND REIGNS AS LORD.

IMPACT 4

CULTURE One of the greatest tools for sharing the gospel is your story. As believers, our lives are a living picture of the power found in the gospel. Take a minute to remember why you gave your life to Christ and consider how you can share the gospel with those around you.

Why I gave my life to Christ:

5 How Christ changed my life:

Why is it important to others:

6

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE

Guide: The Culture section empowers your students to apply God’s Word to their lives this week. Help them reflect on their story to share it with others.

Pray: Close in prayer, asking God to remind each student of how powerful His story is, and how He wants to use our lives to tell it. Pray that God would give opportunities for students to share the gospel this week.

Follow Up: This week, connect with your students via email, text, or a phone call. Share with them how you used your story this week to share the gospel with those around you.

21

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 25

SESSION

3

UNSTOPPABLE COMMUNITY

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? ACTS 2:41-47 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them. 41

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.

42

Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles.

43

Now all the believers were together and held all things in common.

44

They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. 45

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE Companies spend millions of dollars each year developing environments and creating experiences that leave people excited and wanting to come back. The early church was known for a culture that was far richer than anyone could create. They were known for their love—love that reflected Jesus Christ and drew people to Him. People experienced a culture within the church saturated in true community and love. Their example in Acts 2 is a challenge to continue that reputation and be a church immersed in a culture of love.

Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude,

46

praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.

47

THE POINT Christian community is a powerful reflection of God’s love.

THE PASSAGE Acts 2:41-47

THE SETTING Following Pentecost, the change in the people’s hearts after surrendering their lives to Christ was reflected in the way they lived each day. This passage emphasizes a central theme in Acts: intentionally living out the gospel. Throughout Acts, the church always lives with the mission of caring for one another and sharing the gospel with unbelievers. The gospel is designed to be lived out every day in the real world, and this passage is an incredible view into the lives of the early church living in true community. 26 SESSION 3

For free online training on how to lead a group visit MinistryGrid.com/web/ BibleStudiesForLife

PREPARE LEADER LIVE IT OUT

1

Prepare: As you prepare for this session, take a moment to allow the truth of scripture to challenge your heart. God works in our hearts as we teach others His Word.

2

Follow Up: Don’t forget to copy or text a picture of the One Conversation section to parents after the session. This will equip them for further family discussion.

LEADER LIVE IT OUT

Plan It Out | Acts 2:41-47

One of the greatest misunderstandings in a small group is that community will just happen if we show up and have a Bible open, but this is rarely the case. If showing up is all it takes, then the church wouldn’t lose so many teenagers after they | Acts Plan It high Outschool. 2:41-47 graduate The truth is that community takes effort and discipline, and leading a group that is working toward community requires accountability. We can’t stress the importance of community for the students we lead, if we are not One of the greatest community misunderstandings in alives. smallWe group is that community will just happen if we showshare up and Bible seeking to cultivate in our own tell students that it is critical to study God’s Word, our have lives, apray open, but this is rarely the case. If showing up is all it takes, then the church wouldn’t lose so many teenagers after they for others, and so much more, but are we genuinely living the same truth we are proclaiming? It’s a good thing to feel graduate high school. is that takes effort andtime leading a group that is working convicted by truth but The eventruth better to becommunity intentionally living in it.and Takediscipline, a little extra as you prepare this session totoward let community accountability. We can’t stress the importance of community for the students we lead, if we are not God speak torequires your heart first. seeking to cultivate community in our own lives. We tell students that it is critical to study God’s Word, share our lives, pray forYothers, so muchthe more, but are we genuinely truth weaccording are proclaiming? a good thing to feel As youand complete Culture section on pageliving 37, fillthe in same each section to howIt’s God is convicting your convicted truth butyou even better to be intentionally living in it.building Take a little extra timeinasyour you prepare this session let heart.by Whether need to be more intentional about community life personally or intothe Godlives speakoftoyour yourstudents, heart first.allow the Holy Spirit to guide you. Y As you complete the Culture section on page 37, fill in each section according to how God is convicting your

heart. Whether you need to be more intentional about building community in your life personally or in the lives of your students, allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.

ONE CONVERSATION™

ONE CONVERSATION™

Scripture: Acts 2:41-47

Topic: Unstoppable Community

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Companies spend millions of dollars each year developing environments and creating experiences that leave people excited and wanting to come back. The early church was known for a culture that was far Scripture: Acts 2:41-47 Topic:They Unstoppable Community richer than anyone could create. were known for their love—love that reflected Jesus Christ and drew people to Him. People experienced a culture within the church saturated in true community and love. Their example in Acts 2 is a THE BIBLE Companiesand spend of dollars each year developing challenge to MEETS continueLIFE: that reputation be amillions church immersed in a culture of love. environments and creating experiences that leave people excited and wanting to come back. The early church was known for a culture that was far THE Christiancould community a powerful reflection LIVE IT OUT: Your studentJesus has been encouraged take to richerPOINT: than anyone create.isThey were known foroftheir love—love that reflected Christ and drewtopeople practical steps to take his or her faith and Live It Out in the God’s love. Him. People experienced a culture within the church saturated in true community and love. Their example in Acts 2 is a Personal Study Guide. • Why are certain restaurants more fun to visit than others? challenge to continue that reputation and be a church immersed culture ofyou love. Here in areasome ways can encourage your students to live

• What aspects of Church life have been especially meaningful to you? THE POINT: Christian community is a powerful reflection of •God’s When have you seen the power of prayer in your life? love. • How being generous with those be aothers? part of Why can are certain restaurants more funaround to visitusthan lives and not something we keep separate? • our What aspects of Church life have been especially meaningful to you? Discuss following quote: “The church is notinayour theological • Whenthe have you seen the power of prayer life? classroom. is a conversion, • How canItbeing generousconfession, with thoserepentance, around us be a part of reconciliation, and sanctification center, where flawed our lives andforgiveness not something we keep separate? people place their faith in Christ, gather to know and love him 1 David better, to lovequote: others“The as hechurch designed.” Discussand thelearn following is not—Paul a theological Tripp classroom. It is a conversion, confession, repentance,

reconciliation, forgiveness and sanctification center, where flawed people place their faith in Christ, gather to know and love him better, and learn to love others as he designed.” 1—Paul David Tripp

1. Paul David Trip, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2002).

out their with Christ personally, in community, and their LIVE ITfaith OUT: Your student has been encouraged tointake culture practical steps to take his or her faith and Live It Out in the • Personal CHRIST:Study Encourage Guide.your student to develop a prayer list for family, and you teachers and pray with each Here arefriends, some ways can encourage your them students to day. live their faith withSet Christ personally, community, and in their • out COMMUNITY: aside time withinyour student to help culture develop Godly community in your home that leads to serving another, safety to your be honest about struggles, and times • one CHRIST: Encourage student to develop a prayer list for tofamily, celebrate and and value them the way Christ friends, teachers and pray withdoes. them each day. • • CULTURE: Discuss your student can be intentional COMMUNITY: Sethow aside time with your student to help about living in community week.home How will develop Godly communitythis in your thatyour leadsstudent to serving live His or Her faith in community? oneout another, safety toby beintentionally honest aboutliving struggles, and times to celebrate and value them the way Christ does.

• CULTURE: Discuss how your student can be intentional about living in community this week. How will your student live out His or Her faith by intentionally living in community?

1. Paul David Trip, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2002).

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 27

ENGAGE

(15 MINUTES)

THE POINT CHRISTIAN COMMUNIT Y IS A POWERFUL REFLECTION OF GOD’S LOVE.

1

Engage: Begin the session with one or more of the Engage Options on the next page (optional).

2

Discuss: Ask students, “Why are certain restaurants and stores more fun to visit than others?”

3

Guide: Call attention to The Point. Come back to it throughout the session.

4

Read: Summarize this for your group.

5

Pray: Transition into the session by praying that students would realize how critical and fulfilling true community in Christ is.

28 SESSION 3

ENGAGE OPTIONS LEAD WITH ACTION

Before students come in, make sure all the chairs and similar set up material are stacked against the wall (i.e. tables in the middle of the room with the chairs stacked against the wall). When students enter, have them divide into two different teams and select one person from each team to be blindfolded. After blindfolding the students, give them two minutes to fumble around setting up the room as best they can while both teams remain totally quiet during the first round. Next restack all the elements and switch the rules. With two more minutes, the teams can now shout directions and help the blindfolded team members. After the game is over say, “It’s amazing how much better we do when we have a community of people working with us. Even though only one person was blindfolded, he or she had the help and direction of a community.”

LEAD WITH ATMOSPHERE

Before students come in, set up the room with all the chairs in a circle facing outwardly away from each other. Tell the students that it will fine to do group this way. After discussion is clearly hindered, tell your students to turn their chairs back around facing each other. Say, “When are not living in community its easy to feel around other people yet unable to share truly share your life with them. Sadly many Christians live like this thinking they are living the way. This session we are going to talk about what true community looks like.”

LEAD WITH MEDIA

Search the internet for, Christian Mingle Inspector. This video makes light of how we are all searching for authentic community in our lives. When the clip ends, say, “We all long to experience true community, but often we misunderstand what is truly about. Today we are going to study what true community looks like.” NOTE: Always make sure you preview any video clip you show students and ensure that it is appropriate for your church and ministry.

FOR YOUNGER STUDENTS Create teams by pairing students up, then mark off multiple lanes. Place stuffed animals, chairs, or any other obstruction in front of them. Make a race to see who can get through the quickest without touching anything. If they touch an obstruction they are disqualified. The first round, teammates must be silent. For the second round allow each teammate to stand at the finish and give his or her partner directions. Afterward say, “It’s amazing how much better we do when we have a community of people working with us. Even though only one person was blindfolded, he or she had the help and direction of a community.”

SECOND OPTION You may have the ability to meet with your group at a coffee shop or restaurant that illustrates a place known for a great experience. Say, ”Isn’t it amazing how experiences can either draw us to places or turn us away? God designed the church and the community we find together in Christ to attract others to be a part of it.”

LEADER PACK ELEMENTS If you have the optional Leader Pack, consider one of the following:

ITEM 1: Use the Unstoppable Gospel unit poster to start the lesson. ITEM 4: Play the Unit 1 Session 3 DVD opener to get everyone on the same page.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 29

IMPART

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT CHRISTIAN COMMUNIT Y IS A POWERFUL REFLECTION OF GOD’S LOVE.

1

Read: Invite a student to read the passage aloud.

2

Discuss: Take a few minutes to discuss this question with your students.

3 4 5

ACTS 2:41-42 The church was exploding into existence. It was more than anyone could have imagined. The love of God found in the gospel was unstoppable. As soon as these people gave their lives to Christ, they devoted themselves to four things.

Read: Summarize this section for your group.

Apostles’ teaching: Learning together is key to the community of the church. The believers in Acts realized how critical it was to apply God’s Word to their everyday life. Fellowship: The Greek word for fellowship means to share. The early church shared their lives together and cared for each other. This wasn’t simply a weekly gathering. It was life.

Read: Enlist a few volunteers to read the following section.

WHAT ASPECTS OF CHURCH LIFE HAVE BEEN ESPECIALLY MEANINGFUL TO YOU? ?

Breaking bread: We rarely eat with people we don’t like. Think how much sharing your lunch could mean to the person who eats alone every day. Sharing meals showed acceptance. They didn’t separate rich from poor, weird from normal, Jew from gentile.

Guide: Take the chance to emphasize how critical prayer is to true community.

Prayer: Let’s take a minute to explain this one. Why is prayer in the community of believers so important? Because living in prayer means depending on God’s directions instead of our feelings. Feelings change daily but God is unchanging and faithful. Spending time in prayer allows God to make us more like Him. Prayer allows God to change me—the one praying. Praying for our friends and their lives increases our concern and love for them. You begin seeing people how Jesus sees them. People will be more open to hearing our message when they sense that we genuinely care about them and what matters to them. Praying for others leads to caring for others.

6

“The little estimate we put on prayer is evidence from the little time we give to it.” 2 —E.M. Bounds How does this statement call your thoughts on prayer into question?

Do: Direct students to read the quote and thoughtfully answer the question. Discuss their answers. 26

30 SESSION 3

SESSION 3

THE POINT

CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY IS A POWERFUL REFLECTION OF GOD’S LOVE.

COMMENTARY ACTS 2:41-42 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers. ACTS 2:41-42

Verse 41. The Holy Spirit empowered Peter’s words and brought conviction to the people. This led to Peter’s call for them to accept God’s offer of salvation and be baptized (Acts 2:1‑40). Those who believed were then baptized. Baptism identified them as followers of Jesus—people who have died to their old way of life and entered into a new life where Jesus is their focus. As His disciples they would continue to learn and obey what Jesus had said. Verse 42. The events noted in verses 42‑47 cover an extended period of time. During this time the new community of believers was developing and growing. Their fellowship was characterized by several distinctive activities. In fact, Luke wrote that they were devoted to these things. This word expresses more than a loyalty to or an interest; it implies that the believers gave dedicated attention to these actions; they were persistent in doing them day-by-day.

Tip: Ask students for their input and opinion. Always value their answers, but never be afraid to correct error or point to the truth in the Word.

The apostles’ teaching: A disciple is first a learner. On a daily basis the apostles taught the new believers what they had learned from Jesus, as their goal was to help believers become more like Jesus. This apostolic instruction could have included Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled in Christ; Jesus’ resurrection; as well as what Jesus taught about God and His kingdom including faith, prayer, giving, relationships, and priorities. The apostles most certainly shared personal stories about Jesus’ life and ministry that served as examples to believers and gave direction for the disciples’ lives.

Fellowship: The Greek word points to believers’ unity with Christ or with each other. This is highlighted in all the common elements of Christianity. Believers have a common relationship with God through faith in Christ and we share His Spirit who lives within each of us. Believers also have a common focus of loving God and loving others. And believers have a common mission of growing in their faith and helping others know Jesus and grow as His disciples. The unity of the believers in Jerusalem was expressed in their actions—which could have included worshiping God together, eating meals together, being physically present and emotionally supportive in times of distress, and even giving material possessions to help meet others’ needs. Breaking of bread. Beyond a regular meal, this was most likely a celebration of the Lord’s Supper, which represents God’s new covenant that was initiated by Christ’s sacrifice (Luke 22:14‑20). It also symbolizes the believer’s communion (relationship) with Christ and with others in His body. Prayers: Acts 3:1 notes how Peter and John “were going up together to the temple complex at the hour of prayer at three in the afternoon,” so it is entirely possible that the believers, who were Jews, continued to participate in these Jewish prayer services. But most certainly the believers also prayed with and for each other as they met together in homes. These were surely more than memorized prayers as would have been offered in the temple service, and could have included prayer for unity, boldness, wisdom, provision, guidance, and strength.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 31

IMPART

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT CHRISTIAN COMMUNIT Y IS A POWERFUL REFLECTION OF GOD’S LOVE.

1 2

3

4

5

Read: Invite a student to read the passage.

Engage: Summarize this section and direct students to fill in the blanks. Discuss: Lead your students in a discussion of how each of these aspects applies to their lives.

Read: Enlist a few volunteers to read the following section.

Discuss: Help your students understand that being a Christian is not something we do, it is who we are. It’s an identity versus an activity.

FUL REFLECTION OF GOD’S LOVE.

32 SESSION 3

ACTS 2:43-45 The believers in the early church didn’t just meet for prayer and worship. They provided for each other’s needs. Unity: They were together and

held all things in common. Selflessness: They sold their

possessions and property. Mutual care: They distributed their

resources to all to meet any needs. The early Church was so committed to caring for others that they sold their own possessions and property to provide for anyone among them who was in need. Even Greek philosophers of the day recognized the care and love the church reflected. Anything they gave was a gift from the heart and wasn’t mandatory. The believers gave from the overflow of their generosity. They weren’t required to sell what they had, and Luke isn’t telling us that either. Luke is describing the events and history of the early church. Their example of caring and genuine love reflects the love of Christ that all believers are called to live out. Few of us are in danger of giving too much of our time to God, and Luke isn’t telling us we should fear that. A heart that has been set free from sin by the love and sacrifice of Christ desires to love and sacrifice for others. The greatest lie we can believe is that serving others puts us in the danger of being lost, forgotten, or left behind. Serving and loving one another is a part of our lives, not something we take time out of our lives to accomplish.

HOW CAN BEING GENEROUS WITH THOSE AROUND US BE A PART OF OUR LIVES AND NOT SOMETHING WE KEEP SEPARATE?

?

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE

27

COMMENTARY ACTS 2:43-45 Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. ACTS 2:43-45

Verse 43. Unstoppable community meets physical needs. Because of what was happening in and through the believers, Luke noted that a sense of fear came over everyone. This was not the feeling of dread or panic people experience when they are afraid. Instead, it refers to a deep respect, admiration, or reverence. It was not just a one-time occurrence either. The verb suggests an ongoing action—everyone continued to experience this reverent awe. Surely the believers were amazed and probably even overwhelmed by what God was doing in and through them. But likely the response refers more to those who were not believers, especially Tip: Help challenge Jews in Jerusalem who witnessed the work of God in ways they might never have your students with seen before. Part of what they witnessed or heard about was the many wonders and practical examples of signs that God did through the apostles. These were miraculous actions similar to how they can live out those done by Jesus that met physical needs, demonstrated the power of God, and the truth you all are pointed people to God. These wonders and signs were a reminder of Joel’s prophecy studying together. of the last days that Peter proclaimed on Pentecost (Acts 2:19). Verse 44. This summary verse from Luke was another reminder of the close fellowship of all the believers in the fledgling community of Christ. The word together emphasizes the unity of the Christian community. The believers also held all things in common. This was a completely voluntary action they engaged in because of their love and concern for one another. Verse 45. Because of their love for each other, the disciples determined to take care of anyone who had a need. Thus they sold their possessions and property to help meet one another’s physical needs. Again, this was not a required action for any disciple. The believers obviously held a loose grip on their belongings and allowed God to use whatever they had when there was a need to be met.

Tip: Reach out to every student—especially those you connect with least. It’s easy to build relationships with the students you have things in common with, but it’s important to be intentional about getting to know all of your students.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 33

IMPART

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT CHRISTIAN COMMUNIT Y IS A POWERFUL REFLECTION OF GOD’S LOVE.

1

2

3

4

5

6

Do: Allow students time to finish the optional Action Point (p. 28) in the PSG. Read: Ask a student to read the passage for the group.

Summarize: Explain this section for your students.

Discuss: Review this question with your students.

Read: Guide students to read each section aloud.

Summarize: Take time to examine this statement with your students.

7

Do: Direct FUL REFLECTION OF GOD’S LOVE. students to complete the Action Point.

34 SESSION 3

ACTS 2:46-47 The early church certainly prayed and loved others, but they didn’t stop there. If they had only prayed and been generous none of us would know about Jesus today. The early church was concerned with telling people why they loved one another, shared life, shared meals, and prayed. They gave voice to the message behind the love the community displayed. Sharing completes the cycle of praying, caring, and sharing. We pray and God leads us to care. We care and He leads us to talk about His Son, Jesus. “Let me tell you why I can love at all. It’s because Jesus first loved me.”

WHEN HAS SHOWING LOVE BECAUSE OF CHRIST RESULTED IN AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE THE GOSPEL? The opportunity to share Christ is usually built on the foundation of friendship. Share Christ’s love with people who are close enough to see you at your most authentic. People who know you’re human and see the work Christ is doing in you. As you pray for those people and God gives you practical steps to share His love with them, honestly share why Christ’s love has changed your life and how it can change theirs. This love is different than just raising money for charity or community service. Those things are important and we should be volunteering, but the gospel is set apart from humanitarian efforts because we know that food, houses, and medical advances are not end goals. They’re temporary solutions, not eternal solutions. We love and care for others to not only serve them now, but to share the same hope and salvation we have for the future.

ACTION POINT Febreze is known for eliminating bad odors and leaving areas smelling fresh and clean. To prove its effectiveness, Febreze went to some of the smelliest cars, rooms, and kitchens imaginable to combat bad odors. After spraying each dirty space with Febreze, volunteers were blindfolded and asked to describe the smell. Volunteers were shocked after removing their blindfolds to reveal the nasty mess around them. Febreze disguised the smell around them, yet the mess was there the whole time. It’s easy to wear a disguise because we are afraid to share our lives with each other, but the gospel gives believers the ability to genuinely share our lives together. We’re made to live in authentic community with God and believers. List 3 ways you can encourage authentic community in your group?

Praying, caring, and sharing: three marks an incredibly dynamic lifestyle.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE

29

COMMENTARY ACTS 2:46-47 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved. ACTS 2:46-47

Verse 46. Even as the believers met together in the temple courts, they had in mind their witness to Jews who were not followers of Christ. Every day crowds of Jews came to the temple to participate in worship, so it was natural for the believers to gather there to share their faith. They wanted others to experience the forgiveness and life they knew because of their relationship with God through faith in His Son Jesus. While publicly, larger group gatherings in the temple were important, it was just as important for the believers to spend time together outside the temple. Thus they also gathered from house to house, that is, in many different homes throughout the city. It was in these intimate small groups where they broke bread. This probably refers to a regular meal, which could have concluded with an observance of the Lord’s Supper. Such combination meals, known as “love feasts” (Jude 12), apparently were a regular practice for the early church (1 Cor. 11:17‑34).

Praying, caring, and sharing: three marks an incredibly dynamic lifestyle. #BSFL

The love of the early believers in Jerusalem for one another and their unity in the faith resulted in a joyful and humble attitude within their fellowship. The joy they experienced refers to extreme joy or gladness, exaltation. The Greek phrase translated humble attitude occurs in the New Testament only in this verse and literally means simplicity of heart. It carries the idea of sincere devotion, a mindset solely focused on pleasing God. Verse 47. One other notable characteristic of the believers was their time spent praising God. Their worship undoubtedly included words of thanks to God for all He had done for them—not only for the eternal life they experienced because of Jesus but also for the abundant life they enjoyed because of the Spirit’s presence within them. The believers did not live their lives in isolation. The community of Christ was well-known throughout the city. Luke noted that they enjoyed the favor of all the people, that is, the unbelieving Jews in Jerusalem. The believers’ lives and their fellowship were characterized by great love, and likely this was the key to the goodwill they received from outsiders. Their love was noteworthy and became a witness to others, just as Jesus had promised: “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). The results of their sacrificial love and ongoing witness were astounding. The Holy Spirit empowered their witness, just as Jesus had promised in Acts 1:8, and every day people were being saved. As a result, the Lord added these new believers to the community of faith. Out of their common love for Jesus, believers in the early church expressed love for each other. This love spread throughout Jerusalem as the believers loved their fellow Jews enough to share the good news of the gospel with them. As a result, the church continued to grow and was held in high regard even by those who were not part of it.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 35

IMPACT

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT CHRISTIAN COMMUNIT Y IS A POWERFUL REFLECTION OF GOD’S LOVE.

1 2

Discuss: Read and discuss the quote with students.

LIVE IT OUT

Guide: Use the Christ portion of the Live It Out section to develop a personal prayer plan for students to use in their everyday lives. Remember the Bible Reading Plan to help students develop a personal plan to spend time in God’s Word daily. (It’s a great point of contact to keep conversations going throughout the week.)

THE CHURCH IS NOT A THEOLOGICAL CLASSROOM. IT IS A CONVERSION, CONFESSION, REPENTANCE, RECONCILIATION, FORGIVENESS AND SANCTIFICATION CENTER, WHERE FLAWED PEOPLE PLACE THEIR FAITH IN CHRIST, GATHER TO KNOW AND LOVE HIM BETTER, AND LEARN TO LOVE OTHERS AS HE DESIGNED.” 3 —PAUL DAVID TRIPP

BIBLE READING PLAN

COMMUNITY

DAY 2

When you read about the early church and how they lived in community, how did that challenge your group? Take some time to ask the following questions as a group, and don’t be afraid to be honest. Are we studying and applying God’s Word together?

DAY 4

Are we helping and sharing what is on our hearts, whether good or bad?

DAY 5

Is our group a place where everyone feels valued and free to talk?

DAY 6

How often are we praying for one another and seeking God’s direction?

AC T S 12:1-25

AC T S 13:1-13:33 AC T S 13:34 -52

DAY 7

AC T S 14:1-28

30

36 SESSION 3

DAY 3

AC T S 11:1-30

Guide: This is an excellent time to encourage students to ask hard questions and get intentional about building community with one another.

Instead of simply walking to your classes this week, pray for those around you including your classmates and teachers. Pray for their spiritual and emotional needs, and pray especially for opportunities to share your faith through serving them. Ask God to work in their lives and to use you to tell them about Christ.

DAY 1

AC T S 10:1-33

AC T S 10:34 - 4 8

3

CHRIST

SESSION 3

THE POINT

CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY IS A POWERFUL REFLECTION OF GOD’S LOVE.

IMPACT 4

Guide: The Culture section equips students to apply this session to their lives this week. Encourage and help your students develop a plan to be intentionally building community.

5

Pray: Close in prayer asking God to reveal to each student how incredibly necessary authentic community is in their lives, and to intentionally and obediently pursue authentic community this week.

CULTURE God wants to use the church to shape the culture around you, like He used the early church in Acts 2:41-47. God uses the obedience of His people to change the world, but we must be intentionally living with the same mind of Christ. Take a minute to pray and develop a personal plan to share and reflect the gospel this week by identifying Who, How, When you can live out the gospel.

ENCOURAGE AND SHARE WITH

VALUE AND INCLUDE

PRAY FOR

HOW

WHO

STUDY GOD’S WORD WITH

WHEN

6

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE

Follow Up: This week connect with your students by with a handwritten note or tag them on social media at an event you attended for them. When students see you take the time, it opens up doors to minister in major ways.

31

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 37

SESSION

4

UNSTOPPABLE OPPORTUNITIES THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE As Christ followers, we know that God is in control of every event in our lives. Daily interruptions and encounters with others may be unplanned and feel random to us, but from God’s perspective they’re not. These unplanned meetings can be opportunities for God to use you when you least expect it. In Acts 3, Peter and John took advantage of just such an unplanned meeting to do something incredible for God.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? ACTS 3:1-10 Now Peter and John were going up together to the temple complex at the hour of prayer at three in the afternoon. 1

And a man who was lame from birth was carried there and placed every day at the temple gate called Beautiful, so he could beg from those entering the temple complex. 2

When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple complex, he asked for help. 3

Peter, along with John, looked at him intently and said, “Look at us.” 4

So he turned to them, expecting to get something from them. 5

But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” 6

Then, taking him by the right hand he raised him up, and at once his feet and ankles became strong. 7

So he jumped up, stood, and started to walk, and he entered the temple complex with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. 8

THE POINT We encounter people every day who need Christ.

9

THE PASSAGE Acts 3:1-10

THE SETTING

All the people saw him walking and praising God,

and they recognized that he was the one who used to sit and beg at the Beautiful Gate of the temple complex. So they were filled with awe and astonishment at what had happened to him. 10

At three o’clock in the afternoon, Jews met daily to pray and offer one of two daily sacrifices. It was a busy time at the temple with large crowds coming to pray and offer sacrifices. Peter and John likely chose this crowded time to pray and share the gospel with unbelievers.

For free online training on how to lead a group visit MinistryGrid.com/web/ BibleStudiesForLife 26 SESSION 4

PREPARE LEADER LIVE IT OUT

1

Prepare: While you prepare for this session, it is critical to allow the truth of Scripture to challenge your heart. God works in our hearts as we teach others His Word.

2

Follow Up: Don’t forget to text a picture of the One Conversation section to parents or post it on Facebook and tag them after the session. This will equip them for further family discussion.

LEADER LIVE IT OUT

Schedule Check | Acts 3:1-10

We often feel that the busier we are, the more important we must be, so we often spend our time on continual activities at the expense of the opportunities around us. In a temple filled with people trying to get to their destination and a needy Schedule Acts 3:1-10 man trying toCheck get their |attention, Peter and John saw an opportunity. The moment Peter and John saw the man, they slowed down, unlike the crowd around them, because they knew God wanted them to share the gospel with this man. We often feel that the busier we are, the more important we must be, so we often spend our time on continual activities The beggar’s wants and needs were at odds. He wanted money to comfort him in his condition; God wanted to heal his at the expense of the opportunities around us. In a temple filled with people trying to get to their destination and a needy condition and restore him. God wants to do the same thing in your life and use you to reach your group in the same way. man trying to get their attention, Peter and John saw an opportunity. The moment Peter and John saw the man, they Take time as you prepare to let God speak to your heart, so you can minister to your students out of the overflow of what slowed down, unlike the crowd around them, because they knew God wanted them to share the gospel with this man. God is already doing in you. The beggar’s wants and needs were at odds. He wanted money to comfort him in his condition; God wanted to heal his condition and restore him. God wantson topage do the41same thing in yourand life and use you reachWhether your group same way. Y Complete the Culture section by being open honest withtoGod. Hein is the showing Takeyou timeareas as youtoprepare to in, let God to your heart, so you can minister to your studentstoout of thetake overflow of what improve sins speak needing repentance, or opportunities to minister others, the time to Godwrite is already doing in you. them down and be obedient to His conviction. Y Complete the Culture section on page 41 by being open and honest with God. Whether He is showing

you areas to improve in, sins needing repentance, or opportunities to minister to others, take the time to write them down and be obedient to His conviction.

ONE CONVERSATION™

ONE CONVERSATION™

Scripture: Acts 3:1-10

Topic: Unstoppable Opportunity

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Whenever you drive any distance at all, you pass intersection after intersection. Many times we just pass through those intersections without noticing what’s around. These intersections are like our lives. Every Scripture: Acts 3:1-10 Topic: Unstoppable Opportunity day we intersect with people, but we should take the time to notice them without simply passing by. God put us on this pathway to impact and influence lives along our journey. Intersections become opportunities. THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Whenever you drive any distance at all, you pass intersection after intersection. Many times we just pass through those intersections without noticing what’s around. These intersections are like our lives. Every THE POINT: We encounter people every whotake needthe Christ. IT them OUT: Your student has been encouraged to take day we intersect with people, but we day should time toLIVE notice without simply passing by. God put us on this practical steps to takeopportunities. his or her faith and Live It Out in the •pathway When have you been surprised by something to impact and influence lives alongyou our journey. Intersections become weren’t expecting? • What’s your response when something unexpected THE POINT:your We encounter people every day who need Christ. interrupts day? Whencan have beenbetter surprised by something you to •• How weyou become at noticing opportunities weren’t expecting? serve and love others? What’shas your response when something unexpected •• When someone else’s obedience to Christ affected you? interrupts your day? • How the can following we become better at noticing opportunities to Discuss quote: “You are someone else’s miracle! and love others? Godserve is setting up divine appointments and it is our job to keep 1 has someone else’s obedience to Christ affected you? • When them.” —Mark Batterson 1. “Mark Batterson,” AZ Quotes, [cited 26 January 2016]. Available from the Internet: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/1218364

Discuss the following quote: “You are someone else’s miracle! God is setting up divine appointments and it is our job to keep them.” 1—Mark Batterson 1. “Mark Batterson,” AZ Quotes, [cited 26 January 2016]. Available from the Internet: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/1218364

Personal Study Guide. Here are some ways you can encourage your students to live out their with Christ personally, in community, and their LIVE ITfaith OUT: Your student has been encouraged to in take culture. practical steps to take his or her faith and Live It Out in the • Personal CHRIST:Study Pray Guide. with your child about developing the proper Here are some you cantoencourage students to live motivation forways obedience answeringyour God’s calling. out their faith with Christ personally, in community, and in their • culture. COMMUNITY: Discuss opportunities in your church and community where your student may answer the needs of • another CHRIST: withand your child about proper byPray serving praying. Set a developing firm date to the begin and motivation for obedience answering God’s calling. consider joining him or her to in service. COMMUNITY: Discuss into your church and • • CULTURE: Acts 3:1-10 canopportunities open our eyes many different community your student may answer needs needs. Spendwhere time this week considering how the we can sayofyes serving Set a firm date begin and toanother helpingbyothers andand saypraying. yes to receiving help fortoourselves. consider joining him or her in service.

• CULTURE: Acts 3:1-10 can open our eyes to many different needs. Spend time this week considering how we can say yes to helping others and say yes to receiving help for ourselves.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 27

ENGAGE

(15 MINUTES)

THE POINT WE ENCOUNTER PEOPLE EVERY DAY WHO NEED CHRIST.

1

Engage: Begin the session with one or more of the Engage Options on the next page (optional).

2

Discuss: Ask students, “When have you been surprised by something you weren’t expecting?”

3

Guide: Call attention to The Point. Keep coming back to it throughout the session.

4

Read: Summarize the Bible Meets Life for your group.

5

Pray: Transition into the session by praying that your students’ eyes would be open to the incredible opportunities to share Christ that are all around them in their daily lives.

28 SESSION 4

ENGAGE OPTIONS LEAD WITH ACTION

Use a website like Riddles.com or search the internet for “Riddles with obvious answers.” Find four or five good riddles with obvious answers. When your students arrive, split them into two teams and see which team can answer the riddles first. Make sure to offer a prize for the winning team (pizza, candy, etc). After allowing each team a chance to answer, tell students the answer if no one has guessed it. After the game is over, say, “Just like we can miss the obvious answers to riddles because we overcomplicate it in our minds, we can miss the opportunities God places in front of us because we get caught up in the business of life.”

LEAD WITH ATMOSPHERE

Print out Where’s Waldo pictures or place Where’s Waldo books around the room. As students begin to sit down ask them what makes it so difficult to find all of the items on the checklist for each picture? During the discussion with your group say, “God places opportunities in our lives every day so that we can serve others and share the gospel, but if we don’t pay attention they can be easy to miss.”

LEAD WITH MEDIA

Search the internet for, “Don’t waste your life skit guys.” This video is a funny picture of two old men realizing all of the wasted opportunities they missed. This video has a long run time, so depending on your group setting you may need to tailor it for you needs. When the clip ends, say, “God places opportunities in our lives every day to impact our friends and family with the gospel, but we often miss great opportunities because we fail to pay attention in the midst our business.” NOTE: Always make sure you preview any video clip you show students and ensure that it is appropriate for your church and ministry.

FOR YOUNGER STUDENTS Download or purchase some Highlights magazine “Hidden picture” activity pages. Place the pages around the room. Remind your students of the fun we all had as kids looking for the hidden items within the picture. See who can finish their page first. After your group is finished, say, “God places opportunities in our lives every day so that we can serve others and share the gospel, but if we don’t pay attention they can be easy to miss.”

SECOND OPTION If you have a screen, project a Where’s Waldo puzzle and place the corresponding checklist of items to find on the tables or in the chairs. Offer a prize to the person who finds the most items in three minutes. After the three minutes is up say, “God places opportunities in our lives every day so that we can serve others and share the gospel, but if we don’t pay attention they can be easy to miss.”

LEADER PACK ELEMENTS If you have the optional Leader Pack, consider one of the following:

ITEM 1: Use the Unstoppable Gospel unit poster to start the lesson. ITEM 5: Play the Unit 1 Session 4 DVD opener to get everyone on the same page.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 29

IMPART

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT WE ENCOUNTER PEOPLE EVERY DAY WHO NEED CHRIST.

1

Read: Invite a student to read the passage aloud.

2

Read: Summarize this section for your group.

3

Discuss: Lead your students to discuss our responses to interruptions during day.

4

Read: Enlist a few volunteers to read the following section.

5

Do: Direct students to read the quote and thoughtfully list their responses. Discuss your answers as a group.

30 SESSION 4

COMMENTARY ACTS 3:1-4 Now Peter and John were going up together to the temple complex at the hour of prayer at three in the afternoon. And a man who was lame from birth was carried there and placed every day at the temple gate called Beautiful, so he could beg from those entering the temple complex. When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple complex, he asked for help. Peter, along with John, looked at him intently and said, “Look at us.” ACTS 3:1-4

Verse 1. The hour of prayer happened each day at the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.). This was the time of the evening sacrifice. Jewish worship at the temple included a time of prayer as well as the priestly blessing of the people. Peter was the only one who spoke, though John was with him, leading some to wonder why John was even mentioned. The apostles may have gone to the temple in pairs to witness as well as to worship. Likely they learned this from Jesus, who had sent them out in pairs on their mission to share the good news of the kingdom (Luke 10:1). Verse 2. One gate in the temple was known by the name Beautiful Gate. Outside the gate a man was strategically laid where he could beg for money from generous worshipers entering the temple. One essential practice of Judaism taught by the rabbis was almsgiving. By the New Testament period, alms could take the form of either charitable monetary giving or good deeds. Since there was no government Tip: Just like Jesus sent assistance, financial support for the needy was essential. His disciples out in pairs,

we too need friends and community to encourage and keep us accountable as we follow Christ.

The man was lame from birth; family or friends carried him daily to the temple where he would sit to beg. It was most likely the only way he could get any money to help provide for his needs. The reason the man was placed there was because it was the most advantageous position from which to gain alms from those coming and going from the temple.

Verses 3-4. The man cried out as people passed by. He asked to receive alms from Peter and John as they approached him. Possibly the beggar would look at and call out to one person or group then immediately turn and make the same request of someone else lest he miss a potential giver. Probably most people who gave to him did this almost mindlessly as they went to and from the temple. The apostles’, rather than hurrying past him, gave focused attention to him and saw his need. Because they were concerned about him they told him to look at them. The man evidently had turned away from them so they had to get his attention before they proceeded to talk with him.

Tip: Remind students that God isn’t into quick fixes. He takes the time to love and focus on each one of us where we are instead of simply leaving us stuck in the same place forever.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 31

IMPART

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT WE ENCOUNTER PEOPLE EVERY DAY WHO NEED CHRIST.

1

Read: Invite a student to read the passage.

2

Read: Enlist a few volunteers to read the following section.

3

Engage: Remind students of how their social media can provide opportunities to share their faith.

5

Discuss: Help your students realize that we don’t always see opportunities naturally, but God wants to develop our hearts to see and serve others.

6

Do: Lead students to complete and discuss the following.

32 SESSION 4

COMMENTARY ACTS 3:5-8 So he turned to them, expecting to get something from them. But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then, taking him by the right hand he raised him up, and at once his feet and ankles became strong. So he jumped up, stood, and started to walk, and he entered the temple complex with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. ACTS 3:5-8

Verses 5-6. He probably did not know them by sight, so he simply expected to receive something from them. But his expectation went unmet. Peter said, He had no money to give. But Peter wasn’t finished, he continued by saying he would give what he did have. Then Peter invoked the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. A person’s name represented everything about the person, especially the person’s attributes and characteristics. The name of Jesus Christ represented His divine identity, authority, and power. Calling on the name of Jesus Christ was not a magical formula that forced Jesus to act (which Acts 19:13‑17 confirms). It was a declaration of the power and authority of the Lord to heal the man. “Serving others begins with seeing To clarify the identity of Jesus Christ, Peter added that He was of Nazareth. By identifying where they are and Jesus as being from Nazareth, Peter was stating that this was the same Jesus from the realizing that the town of Nazareth who had ministered throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria. This was love of Christ is the same Jesus who was crucified by the Romans. This was the same Jesus whom a large the only thing that group of Jews believed was raised from the dead and was still the subject of conversation can help anyone.” in Jerusalem. This was the same Jesus who Peter called on as he commanded the man to #UNSTPPBLEGSPL  rise up and walk. Verse 7. The verse indicates the lame man’s initial reluctance to act on Peter’s command; after all, he knew his legs were useless. God used Peter as the conduit to bring Complete healing happened immediately for the formerly lame man. As Peter pulled him up the man discovered his feet and ankles had instantly become strong. Verse 8. The man leaped up, stood, and began to walk. The tense of the Greek verb indicates that he continued to walk. The first place the formerly lame man went was into the temple with Peter and John. The man entered the temple walking and leaping. The Greek word for leaping is the same word used by Jesus to describe the living water He offers, which is “welling up” within those who drink it (John 4:14). The man was also praising God. He knew he had received a great gift—actually a miracle—and he joyfully acknowledged God as its source. His words and his actions he couldn’t help but let others know what had happened to him and who made it possible.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 33

IMPART

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT WE ENCOUNTER PEOPLE EVERY DAY WHO NEED CHRIST.

1

Do: Allow students time to finish the optional Action Point (p. 38) in the PSG.

2

Read: Ask a student to read the passage for the group.

3

4

5

6

Summarize: Explain this section for your students.

Discuss: Review this question with your students.

Read: Guide students to read each section aloud.

Do: Direct students to complete the Action Point. Discuss your answers as a group.

34 SESSION 4

COMMENTARY ACTS 3:9-10 All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized that he was the one who used to sit and beg at the Beautiful Gate of the temple complex. So they were filled with awe and astonishment at what had happened to him. ACTS 3:9-10

Verses 9-10. One encounter often leads to more opportunities to share Christ. The man’s actions created quite a commotion. Evidently it was very unusual for a worshiper to leap about and shout praises to God in the temple. Thus it’s no wonder that all the people took notice of him and his conduct. While Isaiah had prophesied that in the messianic age, “Then shall the lame man leap like a deer” (Isa. 35:6), apparently no one expected it to happen in that place at that time. The people recognized the man. They had seen him for years as they walked to the temple. He was in fact the same man who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. The people knew the man and his previous condition of being lame. But undeniably something miraculous had happened to the lame man, because now they saw him walking around praising God. Thus their response was to be expected: they were filled with wonder and amazement. Only Luke used these words in the New Testament. The Greek term for wonder (thambos) describes a reaction to a sudden event that can be a response of either awe or fear. The Greek word for amazement (ekstasis, from which we get our English word “ecstasy”) is sometimes translated “trance” (Acts 10:10; 11:5; 22:17). The word can refer to a mind that’s been thrown out of its normal state. This was what the people in the temple experienced—the formerly lame man walking, jumping, and praising God right before their very eyes. This was not normal! What they saw stopped them in their tracks. They were overwhelmed with a sense of reverent fear at the miracle they witnessed.

Tip: One way to invest in your students’ lives is to invite them into your daily life. Running errands, dinner with your family, or family outings can be great ways to model Christ for them.

However, wonder and amazement are not the same as repentance and faith. A person can be amazed by someone or something without realizing the true meaning and purpose behind the event. In Acts 3:11‑26, Peter would seize the opportunity to preach to the people in the temple, proclaiming that the miracle the crowd had observed of the man formerly lame healed and walking bore witness to the reality of the power of God and the salvation now available from God through His Messiah, Jesus Christ.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 35

IMPACT

(10 MINUTES)

THE POINT WE ENCOUNTER PEOPLE EVERY DAY WHO NEED CHRIST.

1

Discuss: Read and discuss the quote with students.

2

Guide: The Christ portion of the Live It Out section encourages students to dig deeply into God’s Word and examine their motives for serving others. Remember the Bible Reading Plan helps provide students with a custom reading plan to stay in God’s Word and following along with each session.

3

Guide: As you guide your students through the Community section, remember to emphasize the importance of teaching them to look for places to serve and to do it in community with one another.

36 SESSION 4

IMPACT 4

Guide: The Culture section equips students to apply this session to their lives every week. Help your students see themselves and others through the lens of God’s Word to develop a lifestyle of investing in others for the gospel.

5

Pray: Close in prayer asking God to open the eyes of each one of your students to the opportunities He has given them. Pray they see the importance of prioritizing the gospel before their schedules. Pray over each of them by name and thank God for them.

6

Follow Up: This week connect with your students by texting them each morning to let them know you are praying for them. If they have prayer requests, make sure to let them know you haven’t forgotten them.

BIBLE STUDIES FOR LIFE 37