Things You Can Use / Apr 03, 2018
Testimony To The Resurrection
Easter 2 - Acts 4:32-35
Name Your Favorite
To get your group members warmed up and ready to talk, start with a round of “Name Your Favorite.” If not everybody knows everybody else’s name, start by having each person introduce themself. Name your favorite…
- Marvel hero
- app other than Snapchat
- thing to smell
- parental threat
- time to wake up
- food you eat with your fingers
- salad dressing
- judge on “The Voice”
- famous old person
- “sing like nobody’s listening” song
- Starbucks drink
Last Sunday, we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus. Did you know that Christians always get together to worship in celebration of the risen Christ? It’s like a mini-Easter every week! Anyway, soon after Jesus emerged from the tomb, his followers began figuring out what it would mean to live as a community of believers. What would their customs be? When would they meet together? How would they support one another? Who would be in charge? How would they spread the word?
The book of Acts, sometimes known as “Acts of the Apostles,” records these and other actions taken by the first Christians. It opens just after Jesus has spent weeks showing himself to hundreds of people, proving he was alive again. He told his followers to hang tight and wait for the Holy Spirit, and he ascended into Heaven right before their eyes. Ten days later, the Holy Spirit came upon them—tongues of flame flickered above their heads, and they were able to speak in multiple languages. Right after that, Peter’s sermon inspired 3000 people to be baptized, and the Church was born! That happened on the day of Pentecost, which we will celebrate and study on May 20. But today, we’re going to learn how those early Christians cared for one another.
Read Acts 4:32-35.
What did you hear about the early Church that seems to be different than the Church today?
For each of these points from the passage, discuss whether or not it is part of today’s Church experience:
- The believers were all of one heart and mind.
- Nobody claimed private ownership of their possessions; everything was shared.
- The people gave powerful testimony to the resurrection of Jesus.
- There were no needy persons among them.
An apostle is somebody who has been given authority to represent somebody else. When Jesus ascended into Heaven, he left his disciples here to continue his mission. They offered powerful testimonies about him and his resurrection. Outside of church circles, the word testimony is most often heard in connection with a courtroom proceeding. A witness saw something, heard something, or knows something, and is called upon to tell the story. In order to give a testimony, two things must be true: you must know what you’re talking about and you must be able to articulate it.
Pass out an index card or similar-sized piece of paper and writing utensils.
Based on what you know about Jesus and the Easter story, what are some of the things the apostles probably included in their testimony? Write down one or two ideas on your card.
Collect the cards and read through them in random order. Keep track of the main ideas on the whiteboard and work together until you have a good testimony. Here are some points to help:
- Jesus came to seek out everybody who struggles with sin and give them hope.
- Jesus came for everybody, not just the powerful, popular and rich. Nobody is left out.
- Jesus is God in the flesh.
- Jesus promised to prepare a place for us in Heaven.
- Jesus sacrificed his life for us, to pay the penalty for our sins--all sins for everybody for all time.
- Jesus arose from the dead, proving his power over death and his ability to fulfill his promises.
- Jesus asks us to acknowledge that he is the Son of God and follow his commandments to love God and love one another.
While the early Church operated differently than ours does today, the testimony of the believers is exactly the same now as it was then. And it is still our job to share this news with people who don’t know it.
When have you had an opportunity to talk to a friend about Jesus? How did it go? How did you feel doing it?
What keeps us from talking to people about Jesus? How can we overcome these things?
Why is it important to talk to people about Jesus?
Can a testimony be given without using words? If so, how so?
It is interesting that the Scripture points out there was not a single needy person among the early believers. What is testimony does this fact give?
Needy can describe people facing a number of different circumstances: homelessness, chronic unemployment, underemployment (they have a job, but still can’t afford all of life’s basic necessities, such as housing), addictions, illnesses, insufficient access to healthcare, and so on.
Is our testimony diminished by the fact that there are many needy people among today’s believers? If so, how so?
If you had all of the resources necessary to help people in need, what would you do?
What might happen if we could improve the situation for just one person in need?
Is there anything we could do as a group to better serve people in need?
Want to get active with this lesson? We have a great element called “The Soda Slop Soup Slurp” that works great. You can get it at the Youth Worker Collective: youthworkercollective.com/the-soda-slop-soup-slurp-a-creative-tool-to-explore-acts-4