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Relevant Verses: Acts 2:42 – 5:42

Leading Question: According to Acts 2:44, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” The point in emphasized again in Acts 4:32, which says, “No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” Would you like to be part of such a group?

1. The description of the early church in Acts 2:42-47 sounds rather foreign to many of us today.

What were the primary activities that the early church community engaged in, according to the text?

What are the differences between that church and our church today?

What would be some of the benefits of belonging to such a group? Are there any drawbacks?

Would you like to be part of such a group? I’ve asked my students this question before, and it’s generally about a 60/40 split, with the 60% saying yes. On many occasions, students have described this communal approach as “communism” or “socialism”. Is this an accurate description?

Should church members today feel a responsibility to provide financial assistance to each other?

2. There is a repeated reference to miraculous powers being present in the early church. To what degree should we expect this today?

3. Acts 3 and 4 record one of the longest healing narratives in the entire Bible: the healing of a 40 year old man who was unable to walk.

The text says that Peter and John were going to the temple at the time of prayer. If these men were now Christians, why would they continue to worship at the Jewish temple? Why would they continue to orient their days around the Jewish times of prayer?

The man was healed “by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,” according to Peter in Acts 4:10. What does this mean? Is there power in the name of Jesus? Does this power “translate” into different languages, or should we attempt to pronounce the name of Jesus as it appears in Greek, or Aramaic, or Hebrew?

The text specifies that the man was placed at the temple gate every day. The apostles (and even Jesus) must have passed him by before. Why did the man have to wait so long for his healing?

The religious leaders were upset about this healing and they wanted to know who had given Peter and John authority to heal. If we look at the history of God’s actions, to what degree does God follow established hierarchies of religious authority?

The disciples announce Jesus as Savior, saying, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Does this mean someone must hear about Jesus and accept him in order to be saved? What about the salvation of those who have never heard of Jesus?

4. The story of Ananias and Sapphira is an example of a punitive miracle. What are the lessons for us from this story? Does God still sometimes step in to “miraculously” punish sinners?

5. In Acts 5, the Sanhedrin became so angry with the apostles that they wanted to kill them. Gamaliel tried to dissuade them, and was successful.

Who was Gamaliel?

Gamaliel said, “Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But, if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God” (Acts 5:38-39). Is this still good advice when we face theological threats to the church? When do we actively try to protect the church, and when should we just wait to see what happens?

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