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Lesson 5: Spirit-Empowered Witnessing *

Introduction: Do you feel limited in life? If you were smarter, better looking, more gifted in speaking, better at relationships, would you be more effective in your work? Last week we discussed how prayer accesses our “superpowers.” This week we study the source of that superpower, the Holy Spirit. I believe the Holy Spirit makes me better than I am. Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more about the source of our superpowers!

  1.         Moving From Stupid

  1.         Read Acts 1:6. Jesus is ascending into heaven and this is His last conversation with the disciples. You may remember that we discussed this two weeks ago. Could the disciples have asked a more discouraging question?

  1.         Read Acts 1:3. Do you think they understand their mission? Did they understand the Kingdom of God? (This is what is so discouraging about this question, it shows that they do not understand the mission before them even though Jesus has been explaining it (again) after His resurrection. Worse, Jesus is now leaving!)

  1.         Are the disciples really stupid? ( Luke 24:25 recounts Jesus using the term “slow of heart.” Contrary to the outline caption, I don’t think the disciples were of low intelligence. Rather, they had preconceived ideas about the Messiah that they did not want to let go.)

  1.         Read Acts 1:7-8. Would you expect the disciples to know everything?

  1.         What was essential for them to know? (They did not need to have all of the answers, what they needed was the Holy Spirit.)

  1.         Read Acts 1:9. Did Jesus have a rocket ship to catch?  Or, did He have His own private transport?

  1.         If your answer is “He had His own private transport,” then He could have left whenever He wanted, right? He did not have to meet a deadline, right?

  1.         Why didn’t He delay his departure so that He could do a little remedial teaching to His slow of heart disciples? (He was confident in the power of the Holy Spirit to work out this serious problem.)

  1.         Read Acts 1:4-5. Why does Jesus compare the Holy Spirit to baptism?

  1.         What does this tell us about the nature of our relationship to the Holy Spirit? (Total immersion is the goal. We are not just taking a sip of the Holy Spirit, we are to be immersed in the Holy Spirit.)

  1.         What do you think it means to be immersed in the Holy Spirit?

  1.         Read Acts 1:14. What do you think is the subject of their prayers? (They must have been praying that Jesus would send what He had promised, the Holy Spirit. My guess is that they prayed that they would be able to properly work with Him as witnesses.)

  1.         Power Witnessing

  1.         Compare Acts 1:13 and Acts 2:1-2. We are told they are in a house when the Holy Spirit arrives. Do you think this is the same house referred to in Acts 1:13? (It seems likely it is the same house where they were staying and praying.)

  1.         How long had they been staying in place and praying? (If you compare Acts 1:3 (40 days) with Acts 2:1 (Pentecost is 50 days after Passover), we learn that they have been waiting about ten days. What emotion would you feel if you were there? Would you be bored?

  1.         Read Acts 2:2-3. What has happened to any possible boredom?

  1.         Why do you think the Holy Spirit came in such an attention grabbing way?

  1.         Read Acts 2:4. Who is controlling the disciples’ speech? (The Holy Spirit.)

  1.         Let’s revisit our discussion about Acts 1:6. They asked a dumb question. How does this gift precisely target the problem? (Their speech is now guided by the Holy Spirit.)

  1.         Will the Holy Spirit guide your speech so that you do not say “dumb things?”

  1.         Read Acts 2:5-6. How does this answer the question I asked earlier about the “attention grabbing” entrance of the Holy Spirit? (It brought people to listen. It let them know something special was going on.)

  1.          Let’s focus on Acts 2:6, the last part. What specific goal is being achieved by the Holy Spirit? (Allowing the listener to understand.)

  1.         What is the first goal for your witnessing? (Being understood. That is why I oppose using a Bible version that you cannot understand.)

  1.         Read Acts 2:7-8. What limitation of the disciples is highlighted here? (They are expected to speak only a single language.)

  1.         What has the Holy Spirit done to what they were saying? ( Acts 2:4 says that they “spoke” in different languages. Acts 2:6 says that every listener heard “in his own native language.”)

  1.         Read 1 Corinthians 14:20. What is our challenge in witnessing? (To use mature common sense. To use God’s sense.)

  1.         Read 1 Corinthians 14:21-22. In this context “prophecy” refers to something that can be understood by others and “tongues” something that is not understood by others. What additional teaching do we find about witnessing in a clear, understandable way? (We need to be clearly understood when we witness. But, even when we are understood, some will not listen.)

  1.         Let’s return to Acts 2. Read Acts 2:12-13. Does the charge that the disciples are drunk make any sense? (You do not become more fluent when you are drunk.)

  1.         Let’s skip down a few verses. Read Acts 2:32-33. What does Peter say the crowd is seeing and hearing? Is it drunkenness? (No. It is the promise of the Holy Spirit being poured out.)

  1.         Power Today

  1.         Read Acts 2:15-17. Peter is quoting the last verses of Joel 2. What does Peter’s statement that Joel 2 was being fulfilled teach us about witnessing today? (If the Acts 2 events are “in the last days,” then we are obviously living in the last days. This power is available to us.)

  1.         Let’s re-read Acts 2:17 and add Acts 2:18. Can the Holy Spirit speak through you? (Yes! Everyone is included. Including those with no social standing (male and female servants).)

  1.         Let’s skip down and read Acts 2:37. Some may have mocked the disciples, but others were convicted and asked what they needed to do in response to Peter’s message.  What did they need to do? (Read Acts 2:38-39.  They needed to repent, be baptized, and receive a gift.)

  1.         What gift is that? (The Holy Spirit.)

  1.         Acts 2:39 refers to a promise. What promise is made to all Christians? (This is still referring to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is promised to all who repent and are baptized.)

  1.         Read Acts 2:41. What is the result of the Holy Spirit working through the disciples?

  1.         Read Acts 2:42-43. All received the Holy Spirit. All were eligible to use His power, according to Joel 2. Why did only the apostles perform “wonders and signs?”

  1.         Is there a lesson in this for us today? (The Holy Spirit is a gift. He is promised to us. But, how the Holy Spirit works is up to the Holy Spirit. We need to guard against presumption and arrogance on this point of who is in charge of the working of this gift.)

  1.         Friend, you have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit if you have repented and been baptized. Will you ask to have Him direct your speech and your witnessing? Will you ask for Him to work through you to bring many to faith in Jesus?  Will you ask Him to cure your “slow of heart” speaking? Why not ask right now?

  1.         Next week: Unlimited Possibilities.
* Copr. 2020, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2020 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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