Monday, July 21, 2008

Small Group Questions - Acts 8

Acts 8:1-8
Why do you think God allows the church to suffer persecution? Thus far, the church has remained in Jerusalem, but persecution has scattered them in the regions of Judea and Samaria (v. 1b). Is this the way you expected the great commission to be fulfilled (Acts 1:8)?

Notice that Stephen is not condemned (v. 2), but is honored, despite all the consequential persecution. How would you respond to Stephen’s actions?

Saul, who later becomes Paul, is the one ravaging the church. What can we learn about our enemies and how might we treat them in light of that?

Relevant Scriptures:

But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. (Luke 21:12-13)

When facing persecution and suffering, do you see yourself with the opportunity to bear witness of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Statement to consider:

“God spurs the church into missionary service by the suffering she endures. Therefore we must not judge too quickly the apparent setbacks and tactical "defeats" of the church.” (John Piper)


In light of our experiences, does persecution strengthen or weaken our witness/faith? What sort of attitudes should we have when we face persecution?

What dangers do we face when we become complacent in our ease, comfort, and prosperity? What state do you think the church is in now?

Acts 8:9-24

What are your impressions of Simon?

Simon, evidently believes, is baptized, and even follows Phillip (v. 13). But what do we learn about him? What was the object of Simon’s faith?

What does verse 22 reveal about him with regards to his faith? Is there a faith that does not save?

Relevant Scriptures:

When Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs which he did; but Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew all men and needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man. (John 2:23–25)

What similarities are there between the passages above and the passages in Acts?

Statement to consider:

Faith is not our saviour. It was not faith that was born at Bethlehem and died on Golgotha for us. It was not faith that loved us, and gave itself for us; that bore our sins in its own body on the tree; that died and rose again for our sins. Faith is one thing, the Saviour is another. Faith is one thing, and the cross is another. Let us not confound them, nor ascribe to a poor, imperfect act of man, that which belongs exclusively to the Son of the Living God. (Horatius Bonar)


What are your thoughts on the above statement? Is there a tendency for us to misplace our faith unto something other than the Gospel? Even have faith in our faith?

Acts 8:26-40

What are the barriers that Phillip had to face when evangelizing the Ethiopian eunuch?

Phillip explains the meaning of the Scriptures, how important is this when we evangelize? Does theology matter when we attempt to reach the lost?

Statement to consider:

All true theology has an evangelistic thrust, and all true evangelism is theology in action...In the last analysis there is only one means of evangelism: namely, the gospel of Christ explained and applied. (J. I. Packer)


Why is it so difficult to evangelize people different than you? How are we to approach evangelizing our neighbors, especially in a diverse city as Chicago?

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