Title: We Are Empowered
Bible verses: Acts 1 – 7 specifically Acts 1:8
8 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.”
Historical Context for this week:
Luke-Acts is a travel narrative or journey to Jerusalem and then out from Jerusalem. In the book of Mark, it takes one chapter for Jesus to get to Jerusalem (Mark 10:32-11:11) in Luke once Jesus heads to Jerusalem in 9:51 it takes ten chapters to arrive (19:45). Jesus focus from 9:53 to 19:45 is to go to Jerusalem, the book pushes towards that pinnacle moment where Jesus arrives in Jerusalem. The rest of the book focuses on the salvation story of his death, resurrection, and ascension that all happens in Jerusalem.
After the ascension, the disciples are told to remain in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes upon them. They then stay in Jerusalem until chapter 7, when persecution drives them out of Jerusalem into ‘all the world.’
“Luke is all about the movement from Galilee to Jerusalem to accomplish God’s salvation, Acts is all about the church’s movement outward from Jerusalem to proclaim that salvation to the lost world (Acts 1:8.”
Weekly Outline: Gathered to be empowered
This week, coming out of the victory of Easter and the ascension, we want our people to know the power of being filled with the Holy Spirit and going into all the world. The first step of being “ministers in the world” is to be filled and empowered. The second was to be in community. The first seven chapters of Acts is the church being equipped in Jerusalem, planted in the community of believers and then taking everything that Jesus did on the cross to the cities around them. We are empowered for a reason, to ‘go’ into all the world. We don’t stay in Jerusalem (the Church) but are called to be empowered in community so we can go from there to Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth (our workplaces). The goal is the ends of the earth, Church (community) is a place of celebration and empowerment to go. Everyone together – corporately but we all go to our people, our families, our work
When the church gathers the Holy Spirit fills the believers lives and heals, delivers, unites, and strengthens the people of God. The word of God is preached, vision is imparted, brothers and sisters in Christ are united in community and the life of God (like the river of Ezekiel 47:1-10) is poured out on the people of God.
When we gather lives are renewed and the process of spiritual transformation (2Co3:16-18) is encouraged and imparted again. The gathered church empowers God’s called out people for another week of life and mission in the world.
The book of Luke-Acts has an incredible journey of empowerment: Jesus empowered by the Holy Spirit at his baptism (Luke 3:21) confirmed in his mission statement (4:18), empowers the 12 (9:1), empowers the 72 (10:1-3) and then the 120 are empowered (Acts 2:1) to be his witnesses and so much more.
When the church gathers it is empowered:
Acts 1:8 Empowered to be a witness
Acts 2:1 Empowered to gather in unity
Acts 2:2-4 Empowered to be filled with the Spirit
Acts 2:14 Empowered to minister
Acts 2:42-47 Empowered in community
Acts 3:1-10 Empowered to bring healing
Acts 4:32-36 Empowered in generosity
Acts 5:1-11 Empowered to live in truth
Acts 6:1-7 Empowered to delegate
Connect Group Discussion Questions:
GATHER: (ensure that these questions centre around community)
- What are some of the ways/things that distract us from gathering as the church each week?
- Have you had moments where you have realised how much you need to be empowered and supported by the church?
- Do you get lonely or feel isolated? Is there something your connect group can do to help you feel more rooted in community (like committing to call/text you or sit with you in church)?
GROW: (ensure that these questions prompt discussion on personal growth and maturity)
- Consider the list of “empowered to” above. Are there things you feel God has gifted you with the skills to do? What about things you don’t feel empowered to do? What will be your next step in fulfilling Jesus’ calling to believers? (Examples like praying for the sick, bringing someone to church, serving on a team, giving, studying the Bible in more depth, reading a book on evangelism)
- Is there something on that list that needs reviving in your life? God empowers His people – we work with Him, not on our own. Pray for Him to equip you in the areas you may have neglected.
GO: (ensure that these questions prompt discussion on going and spreading the good news)
- How can you use the Holy Spirit’s empowerment to reach out to someone this week? Will it be prayer, hospitality, an act of kindness, a gift or just showing concern and listening?
Part of strength in God comes from being rooted in community. Are there people in your world who are isolated, that you can bring into the group and help look after? Pray for them together.