This weekend, Todd finished up the last part of Acts 16, and started into Acts 17. He showed us how the lives in, and the teaching of, the Scriptures from 2,000 years ago are still relevant and applicable to us today. God wants to use us just like He used Paul and the early church in this section of Scripture from Acts.
1. “When you speak the truth in love, truth sounds like hate to those who hate the truth. You are immortal until God is done with you. Live an excellent life. Stand for truth and suffer for your king. To live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).” Who has God placed in your life that is helpless and in need of Him, His love, and His truth? In the next seven days, identify one person who can you “speak the truth in love” to, and go engage with that person.
2. “Sin will keep you from your Bible or your Bible will keep you from sin. Make sure that how you're living can't be rebuked by those that observe your life.” What area(s) of your life are you most prone to—or currently—living in opposition to God’s Word and way? Specify one area, find one Scripture that addresses that area, memorize that Scripture, and ask your community group to hold you accountable moving forward.
3. Todd referred to a sermon from Charles Spurgeon titled “The Lover of God’s Law Filled with Peace,” preached on January 2, 1888:
“The Word of God can take care of itself, and will do so if we preach it, and cease defending it. See you that lion. They have caged him for his preservation; shut him up behind iron bars to secure him from his foes! See how a band of armed men have gathered together to protect the lion. What a clatter they make with their swords and spears! These mighty men are intent upon defending a lion. O fools, and slow of heart! Open that door! Let the lord of the forest come forth free. Who will dare to encounter him? What does he want with your guardian care? Let the pure gospel go forth in all its lion-like majesty, and it will soon clear its own way and ease itself of its adversaries.”
What did you think when Todd quoted Spurgeon regarding defending the Bible, that the truths of scripture are like a lion, you don't defend it you turn it loose? How would that impact or change the way you share the gospel? What scripture comes to your mind when you discuss this truth?
4. Todd challenged us to be able to articulate the central message of the Bible. Discuss this as a group and come up with a few scriptures for each of these key points.
- What does that central message say about man?
- What does that central message say about God?
- What does the central message say about God's provision for my sin?
- What does the central message say about my day to day behavior and choices?
5. Todd shared that God can release you from any anything anything at any time? What has enslaved you over the years? Today? Do you agree God can release you at any time? Why or Why not? Why do you think God may keep you in a tough spot? What can be learned, according to scripture, can be learned by staying under trials?
6. Todd reminded us that our confidence will be with the Father in glory and the full beauty and satisfaction that waits for us there can give us boldness in how we face persecution and trials on earth. Talk about your view of heaven and share with each other the level to which you can glad say with Paul, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
7. When studying the mob scenes in Phillipi and Thessalonica, Todd made the observation that immature people don’t participate in civil discourse while mature people do and courageous faithful people speak the Truth no matter the response. Share a story of how you listened well to someone’s point of view that you disagreed with and share a story where you courageously “spoke to others all that the Lord commanded you” (Jeremiah 1:17) despite the potentially hostile response.