Week 18 - Group Activity
“Discipleship is not primarily for the church; it is for the world."
- Bill Hull, The Disciple-making Church
Sharing the Gospel
Last quarter, on Week 3, we began to discuss the topic of preaching the gospel in our groups. We then worked through three activities over the 10 weeks which helped us grow in being able to witness to others. Now, as we seek to continue living as God's sent people, we are adding another tool to our belt. A theme that is central in the book of Acts, sharing the gospel.
You can also view these methods of disciple-making this way; to witness is to tell your own story of how God is at work in your life.
Acts 1:8 NIV "...But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Then to preach, or share, the gospel is to tell the story of Jesus the Messiah.
Acts 5:42 -"Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they [the apostles] never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah."
The Gospel in Acts
All throughout the book of Acts we see God's loving pursuit of his people. A work that began in Jerusalem, expanded into Samaria and is still continuing across the globe today. At the center of it all, is the Greek verb euangelízō. Translated to English this phrase means to announce good news (evangelize), to preach (the gospel of the kingdom). A term which occurs more in the book of Acts than any other book of the New Testament. At the center of this good news is the proclamation of Jesus’ death and resurrection. But, is that the full gospel?
We use the term gospel often in the church but do we have a full understanding of its meaning and implications? Some of us have chosen to be part of Resurrection Church because the gospel is preached weekly, but are we ourselves able to confidently share that message with others?
These are some of the questions we will seek to answer today and in the coming weeks as we move through three parts; Believing the Gospel, Living the Gospel, Sharing the Gospel. Our goal is to grow in believing and understand the depth of this truth so we can then live out God's will for us.
Believing the Gospel
In his book, Gospel Fluency Jeff Vanderstelt wrote this about believing: "We all need help because we can come up with plenty of reasons not to believe, not to hope, and not to trust in God's word and work for us...We need to know how to believe and speak truths of the gospel - the good news of God - in and into the everyday stuff of life." (p23)
As Jeff points out when the storms of life arise, when we struggle with temptations, or we begin listening to lies what we believe will either throw us overboard or carry us through. If my understanding of the gospel is limited or weak then my tendency in trials is to become self-reliant rather than God-reliant. If the gospel I believe only applies to salvation and not all of life then where do I turn when it comes to making financial decisions, pursuing a relationship or deciding how I spend my time?
A limited definition of what the gospel truly is, has, unfortunately, become common in the church. And sadly this is not new. It has been around for centuries. All too often the gospel has been reduced down to a message concerning only one's salvation or entrance to heaven. So again, as we venture forward, our goal is to gain a robust understanding of the gospel so we can believe it, live it and share it.
Past activities; Sharing Testimonies, Spiritual Convos 1, Spiritual Convos 2
(approx. time: 60 minutes)
Activity - What do you believe and why do you believe it? As disciples, we are called to share the gospel with others. We are also told in 1 Peter 3:15 to be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in us. However, we first need to be reminded of what we believe and why so we can then share this message of hope to others.
Step One - Read 3 of the following passages either as a large group or in smaller groups. Then use the information below to highlight some of the key points in each presentation of the gospel.
Acts 4:1-12 (Peter & Jews)
Acts 8:26-39 (Philip & Ethiopian)
Acts 10:34-48 (Peter & Gentiles)
Acts 17:16-34 (Paul & Greeks)
Acts 26:1-29 (Paul & Agrippa)
Acts 28:23-24,30-31 (Paul & Roman Jews)
As you examine the text identify the gospel message in these categories;
Primary Content Of Gospel Message - What does it say about;
Call, Promises, and How Accepted - What does it say about;
How the gospel is accepted
Additional questions to consider/ discuss;
What common themes do you see?
What truths stand out to you the most, personally?
How did examining these truths help you in knowing what you believe and why you believe it?
Immersion - What additional Bible passages or books could you read to gain a greater view of the gospel? Who will you share this good news with?
(approx. time: 15 minutes)
Spend time in prayer together acknowledging all that God has brought up throughout the evening. This might a prayer of gratitude or might even include a prayer of repentance or a confession. This might have even challenged some in their standing with the Lord or in their faith. Whichever the case, lovingly guide your group to spend time appreciating our glorious and gracious God.
The following videos and books have helped me as I have been working through the Spiritual Conversations activity and now the Sharing the Gospel equipping. I encourage you to add some or all of these to your reading list.