lesson
7

Bible Class
Discussion Guide
by Edward Thomason

The response
Acts 2:37-47

warm up
 

1. In your judgment, the hardest part of the conversion process is: 

      [  ] Getting people to be aware of who Christ is 
[  ] Getting people to be aware that they are lost and need Christ
[  ] Getting people to truly commit themselves to following Christ 
[  ] Getting people to obey the command to repent and be baptized 
[  ] Getting people to live the Christian life day by day 
wise up

Peter had done his part in preaching Christ (Acts 2:14-36.)  It was now up to his audience to "respond" to what they had heard.

First response: Conviction: Vs 37a
   1.
Put yourself in the shoes (or sandals) of those who heard Peter preach that day. When Peter convinced them that they had crucified the Lord and Messiah they were "pricked in their heart." But what did that expression mean? Did they feel shame, guilt, sorrow? If so, why? Would such emotions exist if they did not "believe" that Jesus was the Christ? 
   2.
What will cause hearts to be pricked today? (What did they hear and what did they become aware?)

Second response: Contemplation: Vs 37b-38
   1.
These people not only became aware of who Jesus really was but they were also made painfully aware of who and what they were. What happens when a person realizes that he or she is lost? What does he or she want to know? Is it understandable that people become curious and concerned as they contemplate their spiritual situation?
   2
. In this text, who did they ask when they wanted more information? [Remember that Peter had been given the "keys to the Kingdom" (Matthew 16:19) and so it is appropriate that he is the one who responds with the information they seek.] 
   3. What information did Peter share concerning what they needed to do? What does the word "repent" mean? When Peter mentioned baptism, what kind of baptism would these people already be familiar with? Hint: What kind of baptism did John administer at the Jordan river? (John 3:23.) What kind of baptism did Jesus and his apostles administer? (John 4:1-2.)
   4. According to verse 38, repentance and baptism is "for the remission of sins." The word "remission" today is often used in reference to cancer. When someone is said to be "in remission" it is usually understood that the disease is not active but still present. This concept "is not" what is meant by "remission of sins." Peter used the word  in the sense of an accounting term. We owe a dept and the dept is remitted or paid in full and taken off the books. As one complies with the apostolic commands to repent and be baptized, Christ removes or forgives the sin debt. (Note that the expression, "for the remission of sins"  is used in a similar way by Jesus in Matthew 26:28.) 
   5. In verse 40, Peter urged his audience (who had been pricked in their hearts) to save themselves. In what way does man "save himself?  

Third response: Compliance: Vs 41
   1.
 What specifically did those who gladly received Peter's word (his apostolic commands and exhortations to save themselves) do? How many people complied that very day? 
   2.  Does the word "gladly" imply resistance and reluctance or a cooperative willingness on the part of those who complied? Have you ever heard someone say, "I'll gladly do whatever is necessary to make things right." When one becomes painfully aware of his spiritual condition and really wants to do whatever is necessary to make things right, he or she will "gladly" obey without any  hesitation or reluctance.    
   3.
What gift was promised to those who would comply? (Vs 38b-39.) 

Fourth response: Consecration: Vs 42-47
   1. 
Those who gladly complied not only received "remission of sins" and the "gift of the Spirit" but much more... they were "added" to the family of God, "the church," by the Lord himself (Vs 47.) (Those who were baptized were added (Vs 41) by the Lord (Vs 47) to the church.)
   2. As a part of this very special body of believers they continued unwaveringly in what four areas of worship? (Vs 42.) Is it possible that the "fear" or reverence (Vs 43a) is sometimes missing in the lives of some today as they worship and serve? If so, why? 
   3. Was there a spirit of generosity or benevolence among them? (Vs 44-45.) Discuss the unity that is implied by verse 46. Who are the people mentioned in verse 47? 

wrap up

   1. When Christians today dedicate themselves to worship (Vs 42); with fear or reverence (Vs 43); and unselfish compassion or benevolence toward others (Vs 44-45); mixed with gratitude as they "praise God" (Vs 47a); not only will they have favor with all the people but the church will grow as the Lord adds daily those being saved (Vs 47b.)

Assignment

  Please read Acts 3:1-26 for next week   copyright 2001