Life Group Notes 10.3.21
October 3, 2021
Question: Have you ever attended church when you just felt like a member of the audience rather than a member of a community?
There are three principles that shape our Life Groups:
- Meet with God
- Share Life
- Serve Others
These three principles are demonstrated in the description of the early church in the opening chapters of Acts. This week, we will think through some of the passages together.
The book of Acts opens with Jesus’ final days with his disciples before his ascension into heaven. Before he goes he instructs his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they receive baptism in the Holy Spirit. This encounter with the Holy Spirit was a necessary first step before beginning the extraordinary ministry that is recorded in the rest of the book of Acts.
Let’s read Acts 1:4-8:
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:4-8, NIV).
After some time passes, on the Day of Pentecost, the Spirit is poured out on the disciples in Jerusalem. Let’s read the description of the circumstances of that experience from Acts 2:
“1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:1-4, NIV).
Question: Do you think it was important that the disciples were all together when they had the encounter with God that launched the Church?
Question: Why would worshiping together in a congregation be any different than worshiping alone at home?
The outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost led to explosive growth in the church in Jerusalem. Acts tells us that not only did the church grow in numbers, but the church was growing spiritually as a community as well. We can read about this in Acts 2:41-42:
41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (Acts 2:41-42, NIV).
Question: Why do you think fellowship was an important element in the growth of the church in Acts?
Question: How has being a part of a life group helped you to feel that you are a part of a community and not just a member of the audience at church?
The early church not only met together in homes to study the apostles’ teaching and to share their lives, but they also made sure that the needs of that community were being met.
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need (Acts 2:44-45, NIV).
Acts 2 describes the first Christian communities as radically devoted to meeting the needs of its members. Member even sold pieces of property to share with one another and ensure that everyone had what the needed.
Question: What are some practical ways that we as a life group can meet the needs of people in our church?
Not only do we see the needs of the church met through the generosity of its members, but we see the needs of those outside the church met. This will lead to even greater growth and testimony to Jesus.
In Acts chapter 3 Peter and John heal the lame man at the gate beautiful. This man is not a member of the believers, but a member of the community who is in needs. Peter and John meet the need of the man in a miraculous way and this leads to the growth of the church.
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him (Acts 3:1-10, NIV).
When Peter and John meet this man’s need it leads to the healing of this man, but it also catches the attention of others in the community. This leads to the continued growth of the church.
Question: Do you think that meeting community needs through both natural and supernatural means might lead to people coming to Jesus?