Living Confidently in Christ – Week 6 – Why Pentecost matters
Sermon Date: May 20th
Reading Acts 2:1-21
What is your first reaction when you hear someone talk about the Holy Spirit? Excitement? Cynicism? Intrigue? Confusion? Faith? Fear?
Do you know why you feel that way? Could you share your thoughts with others in the group?
Can you remember anything from last Sunday's sermon that struck you?
You don't have to be a Christian for long before you become aware of the many different ideas believers have about the Holy Spirit. One group of Christians name themselves Pentecostals as the Holy Spirit is of such high importance to their faith. Others think the Spirit’s gifts aren't active today, so called cessationists. Charismatics often encourage expression of the gifts of the Spirit; contemplatives may focus on abiding in the Spirit.
These may be generalizations but with so many contrasting opinions within the church as a whole and most likely within our own small groups it can be hard to know what to think. With this in mind it may be wise to start with a prayer...
Prayer: Father God, lead us into your truth as we meet together.
Where our ideas and thoughts about your Spirit are pleasing to you, encourage us.
Where we may be mistaken, guide us and help us.
Speak to us in your grace and love.
In Jesus name.
Please read Acts 2 v 1-21
Q1 - What was the day of Pentecost and why were crowds drawn from all over the world to celebrate it?
Q2 - Where in the Old Testament can we see God's presence in 'fire'?
Q3 - What were the reactions of the people in Acts when the Holy Spirit came? How does this reflect our different attitudes to the Holy Spirit?
Q4 - Why is a strong leader needed in these times of polarized views? What characteristics and skills do we see in Peter's leadership in the passage?
Q5 - What was the point of Pentecost? Why did God do this?
(look into Acts 1:8)
Q6 - Does He only move when there is a big gathering like this?
Q7 - Assuming the Spirit gave authority and power to the early church, is this always the purpose of the Holy Spirit in Biblical times and today?
Q8 - Are there specific spiritual gifts or manifestations that you practice? When do you utilize them?
Q9 - What do you think is more important - Gifts of the Spirit or Fruits of the Spirit?
Close in prayer or by listening to some worship. Invite the Holy Spirit to move amongst you in your group and in the weeks ahead.
Hint Q1- The day of Pentecost was the second annual harvest festival and occurred 50 days after Passover. This made it a popular festival for Jews to travel to Jerusalem for.
Hint Q2 - On multiple occasions in Exodus and elsewhere e.g. In the burning bush, pillars over God's people escaping the Egyptians and on Mount Sinai.
Hint Q4- Many would argue Peter's use of scripture in front of a largely Jewish audience is a good example of mixing the word with the Spirit to make sense of the chaos.
Matt and Anna Barham, 17/05/2018