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ACTS   4/1-37

Introduction:

The dynamics  of change threaten everybody to a greater or lesser degree. The religious leaders are greatly by the influence of this new movement. There seems to be three key questions that confront us in this 4th chapter of Acts.

[1] THE CHALLENGE CONCERNING AUTHORITY (4/7)

a. “By what power (authority) and in whose name have you done this?” i.e. healed this man.

b. It is the same question they asked Jesus (Matt,21/23). The fact that the man had been healed seems to have escaped their attention! They were more interested in protecting the status quo and securing their place of authority.

c. Discuss the dilemma confronting the religious leaders. (4/13-19). In every generation there are those who see themselves as “Guardians of the Truth”. They are there to make sure nothing changes and that potential threats are dealt with quickly and decisively. Paul was one such Guardian. That’s why he was on his way to Damascus – to make sure that this newly formed group, (The Followers of the Way), did not constitute a threat to the religious establishment of the day.

[2] THE CHALLENGE CONCERNING PRAYER (4/23-31)

This is one of the most exciting, powerful prayers anywhere in the Bible!! You will benefit greatly if you will take the time to examine its content. It’s a prayer that shook the house 

b. How important do you think it was for Peter to have a back-up in the person of John? Remember that Jesus sent the disciples out two by two. (Luke 10/1). What are the advantages of a “team ministry” as against the “Lone Ranger” mentality?

c. Read the prayer and make some notes about the attitude or outlook of the disciples.

[3] THE CHALLENGE CONCERNING OWNERSHIP  vs. 32-37)

This new community of faith was dynamically alive. Recall Session 2A relating to 2/42-47. This dynamism is mentioned again in these verses. It is an amazing account of spontaneous generosity. No one claimed ownership of their possessions. All possessions were treated as kingdom resources. Powerful preaching was attended by God’s great blessing. An example of this is found in vs.36,37. Joseph (nicknamed Barnabas) liquidated some of his assets and gave the cash to the Apostles.

Discuss together the positives and negatives of this gracious lifestyle.

However, this generosity of spirit soon exposes another underlying attitude which was to threaten the unity of this group.

Enter Ananias & Sapphira.

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