Church Growth 103
1Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death.
And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. 3 But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.
4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.6 The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. 7 For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 So there was much rejoicing in that city.
9 Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; 10 and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, “This man is what is called the Great Power of God.” 11 And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. 13 Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.
14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.” 24 But Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”
- Saul, the enemy (v. 8:1-3)
the evangelistthe everyman (v. 8:4-8)
- Simon, the enigma (v. 8:9-24)
- Every disciple is part of the family
- Every disciple has the Spirit of God
- Every disciple trusts the Savior, not signs
- Every disciple is saved by grace
- Every disciple needs the church community
- Every disciple walks in repentance & faith
- Every disciple is a work in progress
- Of the three stories (Saul, Philip & Simon), which one can you relate to most? Please explain.
- What gives you a sense you are a part of God’s family? How do you help others around you feel included in the family?
- When have you heard most clearly from the Spirit of God? What do you think He is communicating to you during this lockdown time?
- How have you been lured into yearning for signs and wonders rather than the Savior? (see also John 6:30-35)
- In what ways has God’s grace saved you (past tense)? How is God’s grace still saving you (present tense)?
- How has this time of quarantine impacted your view of community? How will you approach it differently moving forward?
- How has repentance and faith been seen in the lives of those closest to you recently? How has that impacted your faith and practice of repentance?
- Where do you sense God is working in your life right now? How can you help others see His working in their lives today?