Closing the Gap – Week 38 Study Guide

By September 30, 2018 Small Group Study Guide

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:8-11

 

Commentary on Acts 1:8-11

1:8 The major focus of the book of Acts is stated in this verse. Jesus said believers would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, empowering them to be his witnesses in Jerusalem first and then spreading to the end of the earth. Note three things about how this unfolds. First, the empowering presence is to be the Holy Spirit, not Jesus himself. Jesus prepared his disciples for the transition when the Holy Spirit would come to be a constant presence in his bodily absence (see Jn 14: 16-17). Second, the growth of the church would come about through the witness of the disciples. From the beginning, the church is depicted as a community that actively witnesses to their faith in Jesus Christ. Third, the result of this witness will be measurable, geographical growth. This growth will begin in Jerusalem and then spread through ever-widening concentric circles to other Jewish areas (e.g., Judea), to areas on the edges of Judaism (e.g., Samaria), and eventually to “the end of the earth,” which may refer to the known world of that time, likely coextensive with the reach of the Roman Empire. As new lands and peoples were discovered in coming centuries, the church understood that it must keep expanding its witness to reach the newfound “end of the earth.”[1]

1:9 A witness is a person who “gives evidence”, basing his or her testimony concerning actual events on direct, personal knowledge. The apostles gave this kind of evidence concerning Christ’s life and resurrection. You and I can give this kind of evidence concerning God’s work in our lives.

1:10–11 The visible return of Jesus to heaven is evidence for His future return from heaven. As He was able to do one, so He is fully able to do the other.[2]

 

Study Guide Acts 1:8-11

  1. How would you define power?
    1. The power in our passage is the power to be witnesses to the Gospel of Christ. Is that power operational or latent (Latent power is real, but it’s not yet released) in your life? Explain why.
    2. This power from the Holy Spirit is meant to be released into Gospel-centered relationships and a Gospel-centered lifestyle. Has it been released in your life? If not, do you know why?
    3. If all this power is available, then why are its effects so often not present or obvious?
    4. If all this power is available then why is its effects so often not present or obvious?
  1. How do you plug into the power? How is it released?
    1. Why is it important to prioritize relationship with Jesus and not activity for him?
    2. In what ways does activity for Christ cause us to end up living our lives without Christ? Can you give some examples?
    3. Terry stated: We unleash, or turn on that power as we live lives of surrender to him…his power is released in surrender and revealed in changed character. How does this statement speak to you?
    4. How is all this power released?
  1. How is the power revealed?
    1. Look at what Jesus said: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
      1. What does changes in our character and in our values reveal about the power we receive from the Holy Spirit?
  1. Jesus told his disciples, “You will be my witnesses.” What does it mean to be a witness?
    1. Do you have to have seen something with your eyes to be a witness?
    2. As followers of Christ, we are not eyewitnesses to Christ’s physical life on earth. However, we are “ear witnesses” to the truth of the Gospel, “heart witnesses” to the impact of the Gospel, and eyewitnesses to the change the Gospel brings in our lives. It does not make you less of a qualified witness because you have not seen the Lord with your physical eyes. Does the thought encourage you? If so how?
  1. What can block the power?
    1. What can we learn from Colossians 3?
  1. To be a witness for Christ is both a privilege and a responsibility.
    1. Do you believe that you are a reliable witness? If not, then what is it that keeps you from being confident in what you testify to?
    2. How is witnessing a better way of life?
  1. Read our passage again. Is this a command or merely a statement of fact?
    1. Is Jesus saying, “you must be my witnesses” or that “you will be my witnesses”? It is no minor distinction.
    2. What is the difference in being and doing?
    3. If we are not faithful witnesses, does it mean that the Holy Spirit is not resident in us?
    4. The reason we may not be a faithful witness might be apathy, or unbelief, or you may have wrapped your heart around some idol, or any other number of reasons.
      Whatever the reason, He will reveal it to you if you ask Him.
      But if you ask Him to reveal the reason, be prepared to repent of that reason.

      1. Will you ask Him to reveal the reason?
      2. Will you repent and release the power of God that lies dormant and is ready to touch the lives of people who are far from God but close to you?

 

[1] Holman Bible Staff. CSB Study Bible (Kindle Locations 236789-236795). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

[2] Richards, L. O. (1991). The Bible reader’s companion (electronic ed., p. 708). Wheaton: Victor Books.

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