Introduction: Our study this week is the church after
Pentecost. Is it a model for us today? It is certainly
different than the church today. What lessons can we learn?
The early church called on sinners to repent. What does that
mean? If we see different opinions, and one side resorts to
threats rather than persuation, what should we conclude? Let’s
plunge into our study of Acts and see what we can learn!

  1. Days of Awe

    1. Read Acts 2:42-43. What activity is missing from
      this daily calendar? (Working! They are eating,
      praying, being taught, having fellowship, and
      observing miracles. It is a great time, but it does
      not seem like a “workable” long-term plan.)

      1. Can you think of any parallel today? (In one of
        my religious liberty cases, I defended the wife
        of a “Black Hat” (ultra-conservative) Jewish
        man. I was only supposed to speak to him, not
        directly to her. Because of this strange (to me)
        situation, I became aware that only she worked.
        He spend his days studying and discussing the

    2. Read Acts 2:44-47. What is the solution to the
      financial problem of eating and not working? (They
      sold their possessions when the need arose.)

      1. I don’t recall seeing this model anywhere else
        in the Bible. Some have suggested this is how
        Christians should live today. What do you think?
        (This is a voluntary program. However, when
        governments take the property of those who have
        it and give it to those who do not, eventually
        they run out of “other people’s money” and the
        situation gets much worse. In the absence of
        divine intervention, this is not a long-term

      2. If this is not a model or a long-term plan, why
        is it described, why is it recorded in the
        Bible? (Pentecost, this “retreat” time of
        prayer, study, miracles, fellowship and eating,
        is special. Perhaps its unique nature is the
        reason why it is described?)

        1. Have you ever experienced anything like it?
          (“Campmeeting” reminds me of this. A
          special time of the year for spiritual
          teaching, fellowship and eating with
          friends. I loved those times.)

  2. Days of Healing

    1. Read Acts 3:1-4. Why didn’t the man automatically
      look at Peter and John? (No doubt begging was
      demeaning. He did not look into the eyes of those
      who gave him money.)

      1. Look back at Acts 2:46. If the new believers had
        everything in common, and they passed by this
        crippled beggar every day, why didn’t they take
        him into their group, and share their food,
        fellowship, and teaching with him?

    2. Read Acts 3:5-8. What solution does Peter prefer?
      (They could have taken him in. Perhaps they did
      later, but Peter heals him through the power of God
      so that the beggar can take care of himself.)

      1. Look again at Acts 3:6. Did Peter truly not have
        any money? He certainly must have had access to
        money if Acts 2:45 is understood literally – and
        I understand it literally. What are we being
        taught here? (This makes us look deeper. A
        shallow approach to the texts we have read
        concludes that “rich” people should just give
        their property to those in need. While the Bible
        says a lot about charity, it almost never
        endorses indiscriminate giving, or what we today
        call “random acts of kindness.” The Bible
        encourages work ( Leviticus 19:9-10), worthiness
        ( 1 Timothy 5:9-10), and compassion (Proverbs
        28:27 & Exodus 22:25-27).)

    3. Read Acts 3:9-12. What additional motive does this
      suggest for this man’s healing? (We saw the same
      thing with Jesus – miracles were the basis for
      gaining people’s attention and then teaching them
      the gospel.)

    4. Skim over Peter’s sermon on Jesus in Acts 3:13-18.
      Read Acts 3:19-21. What call to action does Peter
      make? (He calls on them to repent.)

      1. Repent of what? (The sermon that we skimmed over
        had to do with their rejection of Jesus as the
        Messiah. The call to repentance is the call to
        accept Jesus.)

      2. I have long wondered about what it means to
        “repent.” When I was young, I was led to believe
        that I must remember and confess every sin. If,
        somehow, I missed a sin, then I was not saved
        because I had an unconfessed sin. Today, this
        seems to me to be another form of righteousness
        by works. This time the work is tracking down
        and confessing each sin. If I don’t get it
        right, I’m not saved. Is the idea of recalling
        and confessing every sin consistent with Peter’s
        call to repentance? (Peter is asking his
        audience to accept Jesus and repent from
        rejecting Him.)

    5. Read Hebrews 6:1. How does this describe repentance?
      (It calls repentance an “elementary teaching about

    6. Read Hebrews 6:4-6. How many times can we repent?
      (The writer of Hebrews says it is “impossible” after
      “fall[ing] away.” This sounds like something that we
      do once.)

      1. Let me ask you a personal question. Do you find
        yourself confessing (repenting) of the same sin
        over and over again? (I know I do that, and that
        makes me think what I was taught as a child
        about confessing sin is wrong. Repentance is a
        change of mind, a decision to accept Jesus as
        your Savior.)

    7. Read Acts 3:19, Acts 5:31, and Luke 24:47. Are
      repentance and forgiveness of sin two different
      things? (The result of repentance is that our sins
      are “wiped out.” At the same time, they seem to be
      two different things.)

    8. Read Acts 26:20. How are actions connected here to
      repentance? (If you have changed your mind, changed
      your attitude, then you should act differently.)

    9. Read Luke 11:2-4. How often does Jesus say that we
      should pray this? (“When you pray.” That suggests
      this is a regular prayer. We say it frequently.)

      1. Why is forgiveness of our sins linked to us
        forgiving others? (This is what makes me think,
        once again, that repentance and confession of
        sin is likely more of an attitude, than a
        chasing down of every sin. Do I forgive those
        who sin against me? If I have that attitude,
        then Jesus employs that same attitude towards

      2. Note to the reader: I included these questions
        about repentance and confession to spur your
        thinking on the subject, the matter is not yet
        resolved in my mind.

  3. The State Strikes Back

    1. Read Acts 4:1-4. What is the message that troubles
      the Jewish authorities? (“In Jesus [we have] the
      resurrection of the dead.”)

      1. What do you think this means? (I doubt that
        resurrecting the dead was a burning issue.
        Rather, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead
        was the point of controversy.)

    2. Read Acts 4:5-6. Why is the issue of Jesus’
      resurrection of concern to this group? (They are the
      leaders who pressed to have Jesus’ crucified. If
      Jesus is resurrected, and I think they knew this,
      their problem has just gotten worse, not better.)

    3. Read Acts 4:7. What is the specific question given
      to Peter and John? (By whose power did you heal the
      crippled beggar?)

    4. Read Acts 4:8-10. Is this the answer the Jewish
      leaders were looking for? (It is just the opposite.
      Peter’s argument, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is
      that Jesus’ resurrection is proved by the miraculous
      healing of the crippled beggar!)

    5. Read Acts 4:11-12. What is the claim made for Jesus?
      (Think about this. This statement means that the
      entire Jewish system of worship is without any value
      when it comes to the issue of salvation. This is a
      frontal challenge to the Jewish leaders.)

    6. Read Acts 4:13-14. What defense do the Jewish
      leaders have to this courageous challenge? (What
      could they say? The proof was standing in front of

    7. Read Acts 4:15-18. What does this tell you about the
      spiritual goals of the Jewish leadership? (They have
      now decided to leave the truth behind. Threats take
      the place of proof and argument, because threats are
      all they have left.)

    8. Read Acts 4:21-26. What is the first basis on which
      they praised God in their prayer? (That He is the
      Creator! Accepting creation is central to
      acknowledging the power of God. If God can speak the
      creation into existence, He can take care of all of
      the lesser things we need in life.)

    9. Friend, will you examine your life? Will you see if
      there are areas in which you hold opinions that are
      contrary to the evidence before you? Please ask the
      Holy Spirit to align your views with the revealed
      power of God.

  4. Next week: The First Church Leaders