Called to Live
A series in the Book of Acts
House Group Leaders Notes
Intro to the series:
With a new chapter soon to begin in the life of the church we’re going to spend some time looking at a short section of the Book of Acts. In particular we’re going to look at some of the ways in which the early church lived out their calling to a life of radical missional discipleship.
As we read and pray through the passages we’ll take some time to stop and ask the question:
‘As someone with the same calling, how does the experience and way of life of the early church relate to and inspire my call to live as a radical missionary disciple?’
Week 5: Living Boldly
Acts 4:23-31, Matt 10:5-15
In some respects the whole of the book of Acts is a study in living Boldly for Jesus Christ. In various different ways we see the fledling church courageously and boldly living a distinctive kind of life and proclaiming the good news about Jesus Christ. As we look back on this period of the church's life we might well be inspired and encouraged by the boldness with which they lived, or we might well be a touch intimidated.
Peter and John have been hauled up before the Sanhedrin because they have been speaking about Jesus Christ, publicly accusing the authorities of being responsible for his death, talking about his resurrection and even offering the hope of resurrection to others. All of which were problematic to the various groups who made up the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin has attempted to silence them. Caiphas, who will appear in Chapter 5 is perhaps already doubting the wisdom of the attempt to keep a lid on these men? Who knows? But whatever internal politics are going on, Peter and John are left in doubt that of the will of the Sanhedrin - they must stop proclaiming Jesus in word and deed.
The Apostle's response is now legendary, to paraphrase it:
"Lord help us to boldly continue doing exactly what they want us not to do"
There is a bit more to it than that, so let's have a brief look:
"Sovereign Lord, you made the heaven and the earth and everything in them" - The God to whom they pray is over-all, thier courage will be rooted in who God is.
"You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our Father David" - The God who will grant them boldness and courage is a God is speaks and who is involved.
"Why do the nations rage....They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen" - The God for whom they will live boldly is the God whose hand is on history and who is working all things towards his purposes of redemption.
"Now Lord consider thier threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus" - Because of who God is, because of all that he has done, the request for boldness is made. The boldness on the part of the disciples is concurrent with the working of Gods Spirit as he demonstrates Gods restoring power in the signs of the Kingdom.
After they had prayed, they experienced a manifestation of Gods Holy Spirit receiving from God the courage to do as they had prayed and speak Gods word with all boldness.
Some questions to start us off…
What does living boldly look like for you in your daily life and in the situations in which you find yourself?
What are the challenges to living boldly in your daily life? Where do they come from? How do you experience them?
How might you go about living boldly for Christ in your daily life as you are inspired by the example of Peter and John?
Some prayer prompts:
Pray for each other that you might be able to '...speak Gods word with great boldness...' in your daily life and the various situations in which you find yourself
Pray for each other that as you boldly live for Jesus, God might '..stretch out his hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of his holy servant Jesus'
Why not spend some time wiating on God as he ministers in the group by his Spirit?
Simon Butler, 17/07/2015