Whenever a man or woman enters the armed forces of our country, he/she must take an oath that begins like this: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”
Did you catch that last statement — “foreign and domestic”? Threats always arise from the outside of nations, but serious threats also arise from within their own ranks. The church is no different.
Join Pastor Marc Goodwin as we look at Acts 4:32-5:42 and see how the Spirit is advancing His work through the church, squashing threats from outside the early church but from the inside as well. It’s a fascinating passage—with people dropping dead, a miraculous prison break, and shadows that heal people, among other things!
1. Think about a time when you’ve personally been cared for, or provided for, by God’s people in tangible ways. How might you be able to be generous toward someone in your Life Group, church family, or in our community this upcoming holiday season?
2. What was the root sin in Ananias and Sapphira’s heart that led them to lie and try to deceive the church? Take time to confess areas/ways in which you’ve worked harder at appearing to be godly than you have to actually be godly. What secret sins do you need to bring into the light?
3. Have you ever had “the fear of God” pressed upon your heart by some way that He confronted another person? If so, share about it and the effect it had on you with those in your Life Group. If not, why do you think the Spirit hasn’t routinely acted this way in our context today?
4. Does reading about the apostles’ tremendous courage encourage/excite you? Or does it bring you low as you compare your own efforts to theirs? How do you think God would want us to respond to these stories?
5. Take time to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the globe. You might use persecution.com or icommittopray.com for videos that you can use and suggestions for specific people/groups you could pray for.