03 Jul Discussion Guide: The Best Is Yet To Come Week 11
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 continue our 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 would you say are the marks of a New Testament, Christian church?
Mark #1 Belief in the true, yet seemingly impossible, fact of the resurrection
Dr. Tim Keller
If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead
What are some possible reasons that can explain the spreading of the Gospel and the growth of the church around the world?
Christianity, and the spread of the church, are unlike any other faith or religious system in existence. Every other system has a cultural center, it is directly connected to a certain nation or people group. Yes, there will be outliers and exceptions where people from another country or culture have adopted that belief system for various reasons, but by-and-large the norm for every other faith or religious system is to have a cultural center. Islam has Mecca. Judaism has Jerusalem. Hindu has India. Buddhism has Asia.
Some would say Christianity began and spread as a power play of the Jews in their attempt to overthrow the Roman empire. But that wouldn’t explain the spread of Christianity into the Gentile people of Rome, nor into Africa. Neither Romans nor Africans would have gained anything from that. Some would say it was simply an evolved form of Judaism. But again, that wouldn’t explain why it broke into different cultures.
Christianity has spread across the physical, cultural, social, and language barriers throughout the world. There is no cultural center for Christianity. Therefore, you have to explain how such a faith system began, as well as how it has spread. Since there is not common cultural expression or narrative handed down from one generation to another to explain it’s beginnings, there has to have been some kind of event that sparked this new kind of faith. The Bible claims that event was Jesus of Nazareth rising from the dead.
What role would you say the resurrection of Jesus of Nazarath has played in the birth and spread of Christianity?
How does the resurrection of Christ affect the way you live your life?
Mark #2 The Unity and Diversity of Jesus’ followers
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
What does the diversity of the church worldwide say about the Gospel?
What makes that kind of diversity difficult?
What makes those kinds of relationships worth it?
Mark #3: Spirit Lead Living
“I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from The Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book.”
What role has Scripture and spiritual gifts played in the history of the church?
What role have they played in your own life?
Why would you say it is important to make space for God’s Word and God’s presence in our lives?
Mark #4: Sacrificial Generosity
Corrie Ten Boom
“The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.”
What does the sacrificial generosity of Christians over the last 2,000 years say about God’s Kingdom?
How has that generosity affected the world throughout history?
Why can generosity be difficult for some people?
Mark #5: The Mystery of Encouragement
And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord
How does the truth if the Gospel enable and empower a church to live out these marks?
How can we encourage one another in the knowledge and remembrance of that Gospel Truth?
What do all of these marks of a church have to do with Jesus’ call to being disciples who make disciples?