LIFE group guide: the amputated verse

 

NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow night (April 28). This guide will enable your follow-up in our LIFE groups of my sermon tomorrow morning from Acts 2 (specifically vs. 38). This sermon’s title is The Amputated Verse” and is the last sermon in the I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means series. Look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous discussion guides. All Scripture texts reproduced below, unless otherwise noted,  are from the CEB.

I’ll be on a partial “technology fast” during the month of May, there will be no LIFE group discussion guides posted here again until Sat., June 1. Until then …

Aim

To examine familiar Scripture closely, so as to correct common misunderstandings.

Word

“Therefore, let all Israel know beyond question that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

When the crowd heard this, they were deeply troubled. They said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

Peter replied, “Change your hearts and lives. Each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you, your children, and for all who are far away—as many as the Lord our God invites.” (Acts 2.36-39)

Open

Icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.

1. What’s something you “missed” for a long time in life, but which now stands out rather clear and obvious to you?

2. Tell us of a time when oversimplifying something got you confused or off track.

Dig

These questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.

1. What exactly is it that caused the crowd to become “deeply troubled” (vs. 37)?

2. How many words for “God” are used in vs. 36-39? How many times do they appear?

3. To what, specifically, does the phrase “this promise” in vs. 39 refer?

4. Who does the Lord “invite” and how do you know if/when he’s invited them (vs. 39)?

5. What does this passage say about who does the baptizing or where it’s done?

6. According to this text, what does God the Father do? Jesus? The Holy Spirit?

Reflect

These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us thru his word. Choose some.

1. In your experience with the proclamation of vs. 38, what aspect of it has been most strongly and frequently stressed? What has received the least emphasis? Why?

2. What does it mean to be “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (vs. 38)?

3. What tends to happen to God when we make some of vs. 38-39 speak strictly about what he does and other parts of it to be strictly about what people do?

4. Can a person know Christ as Lord and not know that their baptism and their forgiveness had/has connections? That is, must a person specifically know that “forgiveness” is connected to baptism in order for their baptism to “count” with God?

5. How might the various ways a person could construe the meaning of the phrase “the gift of the Holy Spirit” (vs. 38) affect the way they view, and live, their life in Christ?

6. What does it do for you to know that as a Christian, you have received God’s Spirit?

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