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[Lesson 3] Acts 2:42-4:22

The New People
Acts 2:42-4:22

Caring for infants and small children can be demanding and exhausting---and the same is true for “baby Christians.” On the day of Pentecost, the church was born and suddenly the Twelve Apostles became spiritual parents to 3,000 needy infants. They had no New Testament to guide them. However, we observe the results of their spiritually led efforts in chapter 2. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through this lesson and to point out personal application for you.

The New People
Acts 2:42-4:22

Caring for infants and small children can be demanding and exhausting---and the same is true for “baby Christians.” On the day of Pentecost, the church was born and suddenly the Twelve Apostles became spiritual parents to 3,000 needy infants. They had no New Testament to guide them. However, we observe the results of their spiritually led efforts in chapter 2. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through this lesson and to point out personal application for you.

Read Acts 2:42-47

Preparation Question: This lesson is about the church. The church is not a building--it is people! What part has the church played in your life? Are your experiences primarily positive or negative? Why? (Please do not mention particular denominations or churches in the discussion today.)

    1. A. List the four priorities of the first church. (2:42) Why do you think each is important to the life of a healthy church? Should these be the priorities of churches today? Why or why not?

    B. (For personal examination only) Are you faithful to a church? If so, is your church similar to the pattern of the first church? Is your church helping you to grow spiritually? Are you helping others grow spiritually?

    C. (Digging Deeper) The first churches met in the Temple courts and in homes. Verse 42 tells us that the first church devoted themselves to “breaking bread” together. See also 2:46. What do you think this means? What are the implications for us today?

    D. Describe the heart attitude of these new believers. (2:43a, 46-47a)

    E. What is your heart attitude toward your church? This week find a way to affirm someone in your church who has ministered to you.

    F. Who did God use to work miracles at this time? (2:43b)

    G. How were the needs of the believers met? (2:44, 45) Does this mean the church should adopt a socialistic frame work? How do you think this pattern can be adapted in a capitalistic society?

    H. What resulted? (2:47)

    I. (Digging Deeper) I Corinthians 12:12-31 reveals many principles relating to the church. How many can you find?

The infant church enjoyed a season of growth and prosperity. However, clouds of persecution soon loomed on the horizon. Ultimately these trials would lead to the spreading of the church to far away places. The first trial began with a miracle that led to the Apostles’ first arrest.

Read Acts 3:1-4:22

    2. A. On the way to afternoon prayers at the Temple, Peter and John encountered a crippled beggar. Describe him. What do you think it would have been like to lay around for a day in his shoes? Have you ever been “laid up” for an extended period of time? If so, describe the experience.

    B. What did the lame man want from Peter and John? What did they give him instead? (3:3-7)

    C. (Summit) How complete was the cure? Find other examples of physical healing in the New Testament. Compare them. What can you conclude?

    D. (Summit) Peter and John chose not to give the beggar money, but instead to give him something that would help him long term. From this, what can we learn about helping the poor?

    E. Peter and John were willing to give the beggar what they had. (3:6) What do you have in terms of abilities, gifts, time or resources that could enrich the lives of others?

    F. How did the cripple respond? (3:8, 16) How did the people respond? (3:9-11) Try to envision the scene. Describe it.

    G. (Digging Deeper) Compare this event with Luke 17:11-19. What are the lessons for us?

    H. (Summit) Do believers work these kinds of miracles today? If not, why not? If so, how do you discern an authentic miracle from a counterfeit?

    3. A. How did Peter take advantage of the situation? To whom did he immediately turn their attention? (3:12, 13, 16) What does this teach us?

    B. What accusations did Peter make against the crowd? In what sense were they responsible?

    C. (Digging Deeper) What titles did Peter give Jesus in 3:13-15? What are some of your favorite names for Him? How might knowing and understanding His many names enrich our worship?

    D. (Digging Deeper) Peter calls Jesus God’s Servant in 3:13. What do you learn about Jesus as the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 52:13-53:12? How did He serve us?

    4. A. What did Peter ask the crowd to do? What would happen if they did? (3:19)

    B. What will all believers’ ultimately enjoy? (3:20, 21)

    C. What did Moses foresee for those who would reject Christ? (3:22, 23)

    5. A. How was Peter’s sermon cut short? Why? Where did Peter and John spend the night? (4:1-3)

    B. Even though Peter was interrupted, what was the response to his second sermon? (4:4)

    The next day the 71 member Sanhedrin (the Jewish Supreme Court) met to deal with the disturbance. This is the same group who several months earlier condemned Jesus and hoped they would never hear His name again.

    6. A. What was the first question they asked when they interrogated Peter and John? (4:7)

    B. How did Peter answer them? (4:8-10) What did Peter call Jesus in 4:11? What do you think he meant?

    C. How did Peter conclude his sermonette? (4:12)

    7. A. How did the Jewish authorities react? What made it impossible for them to deny the miracle? (4:13, 14)

    B. What did the court decide to do with them? Why? (4:17, 18, 21)

    C. What was Peter’s response to their verdict and threats? (4:19, 20)

    D. How do you think such courage in the face of danger is possible? (4:8a)

    8. A. The Bible teaches believers to respect and obey human authorities. (See I Peter 2:13-17 and Romans 13:1-7.) However, Peter and John refused. When is it right for Christians to disobey human authorities? When is it wrong? Can you think of any modern day examples?

    B. Are you a courageous person? Are you ready to disobey civil authorities if that is necessary to obey God? Can you recall a time when you exhibited courage? If so, please share.

    9. A. God has now used Peter to influence about 5,000 to put their faith in Christ. Who did God use to influence you? When was the last time you expressed your gratitude? Why not write a note or pick up the phone?

    B. Significant work for God is not always about numbers. If you could do any significant work for Christ in your church, family, or community, what would that work be? What is your motivation? What hinders you from accomplishing your desires? What can make your dream a reality?

Ask not what the church can do for you.
Ask what you can do for the church.

Related Topics: Pneumatology (The Holy Spirit), Curriculum