God gives a clear foundation for church growth and life in Acts 2:42. If we, in our church, were to do the same things the early church did, we could well expect people around us to be changed into Christ-followers now, just like back then.
When you hear the phrase “all in,” what picture comes to mind? Where do you see people “all in” in your life?
Watch the intro video together as a group:
ALL iN – Week 1 Introduction
Primary Scriptures: Acts 2:42, Psalm 51:12, Genesis 4:25, Jeremiah 33:3, Ephesians 3:20
- The first component mentioned in Acts 2:42 is that all the other components were pursued all the time (“continued steadfastly”). Not just most days, or when it was convenient, or when they had extra time for it. Take a moment to think and discuss what you (personally) do every single day. What is it that you make sure that you do every day? Is it Netflix and YouTube? Or is it listening to God’s word, or spending time with other believers, or prayer? What have you been making sure gets some of your time every day?
- The second component mentioned is that the church was “in the apostles’ doctrine.” It doesn’t just mean that they were only listening to the apostles teach. (Although, they were doing that too—daily.) They were also living it out. They were struggling with it. They were taking what the apostles said and doing what they had learned from them. And remember: they saw lots of people around them get saved daily. So how much teaching do you take in? And how much do you live out? Your spiritual life is truly important. How does the time you spend listening to preaching compare to the time you spend watching the newest awesome Netflix show? And when you live it out, would someone like the writer of Acts say, “Oh yeah and that person was daily in the teachings of the apostles, too”?
- The third component mentioned is that the church was in fellowship with each other. Does your faith in Christ draw you towards others who have the same faith in Christ? Does your experience of repentance from dead works and faith toward God make you want to be around others with a similar experience? Who do you prefer to spend your time with, and why?
- The fourth component mentioned in Acts 2:42 is “breaking bread” together. That’s not just eating meals together (although it is that, too). It’s also re-enacting the last part of the Passover meal that Jesus shared with the disciples before he was crucified, also called “The Lord’s supper.” The church didn’t just have some casual social contact; they were together so much of the time that they would share meals. Their relationships with Jesus (and one other) were so close that this was a normal thing—for them. It was not the norm in their society. In fact, their society was much like ours. People had jobs and hobbies and went to the theater (their version of TV), and the same sorts of things we do today. So the question is: how different would you be willing to be, in order to be like the early church?
- The fifth and last component mentioned is that the church was in prayers. That is, they spent significant chunks of time talking to God and asking Him to change them and those around them. Have you spent much time this week in prayer? Our schedules can get quite busy. What takes priority in your daily list of things to do? Why does the stuff in your life happen in the order it does?
Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Acts 2 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.
Getting to know each other: If your small group doesn’t look like the sort of church you see in Acts chapter 2, what is missing? Is there anything that you can think of that would make your small group a more closely-connected group of people that’s more like the Acts 2 church?
Getting to know Him: When you think about that early church in Acts 2, what do you think was bringing them together? What made them want to be around each other so much? Do you think God, or His desire for His church, has changed at all? If so, why?
Engage the World Around Us
Engaging at Faith Promise: Ask God how He can use you as He draws His church closer together. Is there anything you can help with so others can hear teaching, spend time with each other, eat together, or pray together?
Engaging in Community: Is there anyone in your neighborhood (like next door, for example) who might need to hear about Jesus? If they notice you have frequent gatherings of people, it might be a great way to get to talk to them.
Engaging the World: Prayer is without a doubt the most important thing we can do right now for the world.
Expand God’s Kingdom
Our theme verses for this year end with Acts 2:47, “And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” We discussed four things this early church was doing. Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by a list of things to do. What is ONE thing you will do this week to be like the early church and expand God’s kingdom?
Some of the questions are very pointed, and require serious self-reflection. But like Pastor Chris said, “we often want Pentecost’s power without Pentecost’s participation.” Talking about “dying to yourself” and “taking up your cross daily to follow Jesus” are not really fun, and do not compete well with HBO on the fun-scale.
However, you should be prepared for some people to leave your small groups if you lift up Christ. Some people will love him, and some people will hate him. But if some people leave, then that is actually a good thing. It demonstrates that they were unbelievers that were actually holding back God’s awesome power (1st John 2:19, Matthew 13:58).
ALL groups at Faith Promise should follow Jesus Christ and lead others to do the same. Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.
– A follower of Jesus desires to encounter God through the deeper study and application of God’s Word.
– A follower of Jesus embraces people and values relationships on a deeper level so everyone can grow together.
– A follower of Jesus engages and serves the world around them and in their community, through local partners or God-directed opportunities.
– A follower of Jesus expands God’s Kingdom through development and multiplication of disciple-makers, possibly to lead more groups at Faith Promise.