1. Icebreaker - describe a time in your life when you where in community with a radically diverse group of people. What were the dynamics like? What was it that drew all of you together? What were some of the difficulties? What were some of the blessings?
2. This past week, we looked at 3 very different people who in one form or another, responded to the gospel message. There was a high class business woman, a middle class working military guy and a young girls with no social standing. Was there anything that stood out to you as we went through the biographies of these three people?
3. Lydia is referred to as a “God-fearer” in this chapter. This meant that she was a Gentile who felt the draw towards the God of bible and the law contained within the Old Testament. What do you think it would have been like to have been a gentile reading the Old Testament and not being Jewish and knowing nothing about Jesus?
4. What do you think the message of Paul and the apostles would have sounded like to her after knowing the law and the prophets so well?
5. Before Paul shared the gospel with the Jailer in verses 31 and 32, he prepared the way for his gospel presentation to be heard. Two things in particular:
a) They exhibited joy and peace by praying and singing hymns in the midst of their pain and uncertainty. What does this tell us about the way we should suffer? Is it appropriate to pretend like everything is fine when it’s not? Is that the message here? If not, what is?
b) In the midst of exceptional cruelty against him, he exhibited kindness and forgiveness. We see this in verse 28. Maybe this was the first time this man had ever been shown mercy. Regardless, these two actions were ordained by God to prepare his heart for the gospel message. What kind of acts are currently around you that God could be using to prepare hearts?
6. We noticed 3 marks in the soldiers life that indicated he had accepted the gospel message: 1. He became compassionate where he wasn't before 2. He became committed to community by sharing the news with his entire family and by being publicly baptized. 3. Joy came into his life as he rejoices that he and his family have now believed in God. v.34
What are some practical ways that you can live these three marks out in the week ahead?
7. In this chapter we saw that Jesus was beautiful enough for Lydia, powerful enough for the young girl and practical enough for the soldier. Spend a few minutes giving God glory for how he is enough for you.
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