Introduction and Prayer
Read Acts 1:8 (out loud) 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
What factors prevent us from telling people about God?
What is the evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
Why is it that we don’t commonly see objective, physical and supernatural evidence of the Holy Spirit in America today?
Read Acts 8:1–4
1Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria. 2(Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.) 3But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison. 4But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.
Have you known people who have been so firm in their belief system that they would be willing to die or kill for their cause even though it may not be true?
How firm are you in your belief system? What could weaken your resolve to hold firmly to your belief?
How do we know we have the truth through the Gospel of Jesus?
What are some questions you might ask someone who believes in another way to God or many ways to God?
Saul was someone who had a different belief system than the disciples. How did God ultimately change Saul’s life?
Stephen never knew that God would transform Saul into Paul and yet his martyrdom is the catalyst for that transformation. When we go through struggle, difficulty or tragedy because of Christ how can this story help our faith?
Read Acts 8:5-8
5Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. 6Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. 7Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. 8So there was great joy in that city.
Notice Phillip is preaching to a people who were eager to hear the message and see the miraculous signs. Do people now have a hunger for God to move supernaturally?
Do we have an expectation that God wants to move in our lives?
How do we limit God by not being willing to start a conversation with people because of our lack of comfort, or because of fear?
What would happen if we were obedient to God’s voice? Would we be able to see the miraculous and even become a conduit of God’s supernatural power of healing and ultimately salvation too?
Read Acts 8:9-11
9A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. 10Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.” 11They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic.
How did Simon do these amazing feats? If it was not by God’s power how was it done?
Are people today using dark powers to compel crowds for power, attention, money, control?
What type of spiritual warfare do we experience in America? Do the American Christians you know believe that there is an ongoing spiritual battle for the Kingdom of God? Do we live like that battle is actually real?
What can we do spiritually to advance the Kingdom of God?
Read Acts 8:12-13
12But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized. 13Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed.
What evidence is there in our lives of being set free from the power of the enemy?
People saw God’s power on display and they responded to the message that was spoken. What happens to the spreading of the Gospel if there is no evidence of God’s power on display in our lives?
What evidence do we see of God’s power on display in the lives of people today?
Think on This…
What would evangelism look like if God’s supernatural power was on display in your life and in the lives of others at Bethel? Would the obvious display of God’s power make it any easier for you to share the Gospel with your friends and family?