23 Apr Discussion Guide: The Best Is Yet To Come Week 1
Take the first few minutes of your time together to listen to what God is doing in one another’s lives and pray for any specific needs people in your group may have.
This week we begin our new series titled “The Best Is Yet To Come.” We will be walking through the book of Acts and looking at who Jesus has called us to be and what Jesus has called us to do in light of all that He has already done. As we study the descriptive history of the early church our hope is that these truths will move in our hearts to become a prescriptive call to go into all the world and be witnesses for Christ.
What difference has Christianity made in the world over the past 2,000 years?
And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
How did the Gospel of Jesus, and Christianity, begin to spread?
Who did Jesus choose to be the first carriers of His Kingdom message?
The Gospel began to spread, and the first church was launched, primarily because of the testimony of a dozen men and a handful of women who, after abandoning and denying Jesus in his darkest hour, encountered the resurrected Jesus and came to understand what his life, death and resurrection were all about. These were men and women who society had written off, outcasts who were considered to be nobodies. They were fisherman, prostitutes, tax collectors, zealots, people who others considered far from God. But, having been chosen by Jesus, having received His grace and salvation, having experienced the power of His resurrection, and having been filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, these nobodies, these outcasts, stumbled out into the streets during the Jewish festival of Pentecost and began to boldly proclaim and testify to the truth of who Jesus is and what Jesus had come to do. That first day over 3,000 people came to faith in Christ. And the rest, as they say, is history. Soon after, the good news spread beyond the realm of Jews only and into the Gentile world. Then, Paul, a man who persecuted the church and enslaved men, women and children for claiming Jesus had risen from the dead, is also chosen by Jesus and he sets out to spread the Good News to the surrounding nations and people groups. And on, and on, and on the story continues into Ethiopia, Turkey, Greece, eventually into western Europe and the rest of Africa…until here we are…But the point we must not miss in all of this is that the people Jesus entrusted His Kingdom bringing message to were men and women just like you and just like me. There was nothing extraordinary or superhero-esk about them. They were just people who had been loved by Jesus and were walking in the power of His Spirit.
What does that mean for us today?
This means that no one is beyond God’s ability to use him/her to be His witnesses.
”If you call yourself a Christian then by default you are Christ’s witness. Every word you speak, every action you perform is in one way or another testifying about the love and rule of Jesus as King. You are either representing that truth accurately or inaccurately, but you are always representing whether you intend to or not.”
What does it mean to be a witness?
A witness is someone who simply tells others what he/she has seen and/or experienced. A witness does not argue the case, he/she simply tells the story of what happened. So, to be a witness for Christ is to tell the story of what He has done in our lives. We do this through our words, through our actions, and through the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has given us.
As Christians, do we have the choice of representing Jesus to the world? Why or why not?
No. We do not have the choice to be a witness. When a witness is called to the stand he has three choices. Testify to the truth. Give false testimony. Or, remain silent and leave it to the jury to guess as to what the truth is. So it is with our witnessing to the truth of Christ and His Kingdom. We are going to be a witness whether we want to or not. The question is what kind of witness will we be? We will be accurately testify to the truth with our words and actions? Or, will we misrepresent the truth with our words and actions? Or, will be just remain silent and in doing so leave it up to the world to try to figure out what the truth is about Jesus. We cannot escape the responsibility of being His witnesses. Jesus said, “You will be by witnesses…” not, “and if you want to be my witnesses…”
So then, how can we be truthful witnesses to the Gospel and the Kingdom of God?
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
What would you say is the most difficult part to being a witness for Christ and His Kingdom culture?
How does the fact that Jesus is not only ruling over the Universe today, but promises to be with you, help you overcome those obstacles?
How does the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit help you overcome those obstacles?
Let’s take a few minutes to suggest some ways of how we as a group can be witnesses to our area, our city and to the world?