Acts/Holy Spirit: The Early Church
Partner: Christ's Church of the Valley
WEEK 1 – The Church Begins
Main Point: You have power to be a witness.
Summary: The Holy Spirit is the power and presence of God that lives within those of us who follow Jesus. The primary reason Jesus gave us His power was to be a witness to His life, death, and resurrection. We can be a witness through two main ways: our words (we tell others the story of Jesus and invite them to be a part of it) and our actions (we live our lives devoted to behaviors that honor and serve Jesus and His Kingdom). When we live our lives as witnesses for Jesus, we offer that same hope and new life to everyone around us.
WEEK 2 – Paul’s Conversion
Main Point: You have power to change.
Summary: The power of the Holy Spirit can change even the most messed up life. This principle is so evident in the life of the Apostle Paul, who started out as Saul, a great persecutor of God’s Church. Every one of us can change if we surrender to Jesus and the power of His Spirit. And we need to continue this process of transformation by surrendering to Jesus every day. Practically, this means taking our next step (or steps) – we start doing something we’re supposed to be doing. It also means repentance – we stop doing something we’re not supposed to be doing. Ultimately, it’s about aligning our lives to go God’s way instead of our own.
WEEK 3 – Paul’s Endurance
Main Point: You have power to stand.
Summary: The power of the Holy Spirit helps us endure difficult times. After his conversion, Paul endured many, many difficult times. But he kept standing up for Jesus no matter what, and so many people began following Jesus because Paul had the courage to endure suffering and persecution. Although many of us who follow Jesus don’t endure physical persecution (at least, rarely if ever in the United States), we need to be prepared to stand against all kinds of persecution. When we respond to hate with the love and kindness of Jesus, we end up bringing even more people into the Kingdom of God – just like Paul did.
WEEK 4 – Paul’s Confidence
Main Point: You have power to never be alone.
Summary: The power of the Holy Spirit is evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit. That means we are always connected to Jesus through His Spirit. Plus, we are always connected to other followers of Jesus, since they are connected to Jesus too. Jesus gave Paul a vision about these truths during his ministry travels. Paul had been constantly persecuted and under threat of death often, so he had lots of opportunities to be afraid. Jesus reminded Paul why he never has to give in to fear – Jesus was with him and so were other followers of Jesus. Truth is that the power of the Holy Spirit is the power to never ever be alone.
WEEK 5 – Paul’s Mission
Main Point: You have power to make a difference.
Summary: In many ways, deciding to follow Jesus is deciding to be a part of the greatest rescue mission in history – a mission that Jesus started and, ultimately, completes – but, by the power of the Holy Spirit, He allows us to partner with Him in this amazing mission. Really, our entire life is meant to make a difference by His Kingdom. Paul understood this sense of mission and purpose to his life, which is why he was “compelled by the Spirit” to “finish the race” and “complete the task” of “testifying to the good news of God’s grace”. Not all of us will suffer hardship like Paul or even be preachers like him, but all of us have a race, a task, and a mission – to live a life that is a witness to the person of Jesus through the power of His spirit. No matter our role in the Kingdom of God, we all have the Spirit’s power to make a difference in this world with our lives.
WEEK 6 – Paul’s Adventure
Main Point: You have power to make life an adventure.
Summary: Every person wants their life to be as happy and fulfilled as possible. As followers of Jesus, we know true happiness and fulfillment comes from the adventure of following Jesus. While every adventure has degrees of risk and danger, we trust Jesus with our journey as well as our destination. And Jesus did not leave us alone for the journey! He gave us His powerful Holy Spirit, the Ultimate Guide along the way. The more we trust and follow the leading of His Spirit in our lives, the greater adventure our lives will be.