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INTRODUCTION:

The last session in the first phase of our study we titled, “The Storm Clouds Gather”. Now the storm breaks…and with a vengeance! It’s described as a “great wave of persecution”. But, as is often the case,that which is designed to crush faith proves to be counter-productive and achieves the opposite of what was intended. (vs. 8/1-3)

Why do you think the Apostles were the only believers who remained in Jerusalem? I would have thought that they would have been on the first bus out of town. They would have been the most easily recognizable. Any thoughts??

 

[1] STEPHEN - A MAN OF PASSION   (7/57 – 8/4)

a. What spiritual qualities do you recognize in Stephen’s life? (6/2-6/8)________________________

b. He was chosen to help oversee the food distribution programme.(6/2-4)  But God had a further plan for him. As you stand in Saul’s sandals and watch the horrific execution of Stephen, what emotions do you feel?

 

 [2] PHILIP – A MAN OF MIRACLES (8/4-25)

a. Here’s another one of the “Magnificent 7” relieved of Kitchen duties in order to advance the gospel in Judea and Samaria. But to do so with miracles way beyond what others seemed to do.(vs.6-8). Why was his ministry turbo- charged? (vs.12,13)

Could it have been because of that man Simon?  (vs.9-11). Philip was enabled so powerfully so he could demonstrate that the Lord God Jehovah was greater than the magic practiced by Simon; much the same as Moses did with Pharaoh and the plagues (Exodus chp. 4).

Reports reached Jerusalem that people in Samaria were being converted. The Jewish Christians struggled to believe that Samaritans could be given God’s gift of new life so they sent Peter & John to check it out (vs. 14-17). When they arrived they were convinced that the report was true. Why?

Vs.18-25. What do you make of Simon? Was he a true believer or not? Do you know anyone about whom  you just can’t tell if they are believers or not? What evidence would you require to convince you either way?

[3] PHILIP – A MAN OF GOD’S WORD (Vs.26-40

a. Philip’s next preaching assignment involved no miracles at all (unless being spoken to and directed by an angel of the Lord and the Holy Spirit counts as miraculous !!  Discuss these observation

  • Phjlip seems to have had an unusually high sensitivity to hearing God’s directions. (Vs.26, 29)

  • The intersection of these two lives was made possible by Philip’s obedience.

  • The Ethiopian Treasurer was a strategic contact because of his authority back home.

  • The timing of the contact was as a miracle in itself as was the passage he was reading (Isaiah 53)

  • The whole thing was a set-up from go to whoa!! And there are a few more of those to come!

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