Scattered Series Big Picture
Page 1 is a quick overview of where each teaching for the Scattered Series. This may help you guide people in where we are going. Pages 2-3 are the teaching for the first week.
February 3: Acts 1:8 Celebration
The purpose of the talk is to help us understand that the Great Commission is a collective call that requires that we simultaneously be involved in reaching people right where we are (Jerusalem), to be intentional in loving those who are like us (Judea), to cross boundaries with people who are not like us (Samaria) and to reach those who are far from us (the ends of the earth).
February 10: Scattered to make Jesus make sense – Philip and the Eunuch Acts 8
In this talk, it would be good to emphasize the persecution that broke out against the believers in Jerusalem. Up to this point, Acts had taken place in Jerusalem (Acts 1-7) but it was through persecution that the Gospel started spreading by regular people, not just the apostles (8:1). The story of Philip and the Eunuch gives us several principles of how to be ready and willing to share Jesus with others. Principles like paying attention to the Holy Spirit, engaging in conversation not just having pre-packaged ideas, pointing people to Jesus and others you might uncover.
February 17: Scattered to cross boundaries – Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10
This talk is incredibly important to show us that as scattered people we have a responsibility to cross racial, ethnic, political and all other kinds of boundaries to reach people with the Gospel. This is the story of when Peter first crosses the Jewish/Gentile divide. It would be good to talk about the fact that in Peter not associating, or talking with someone like Cornelius, he was simply being a good Jewish person. However, God challenged his upbringing and prejudice, leading him to the realization that “God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (10:34-35). This would be a great time to read the whole story and pull out principles from it with some context added to make it more accessible.
February 24: Scattered to live intentionally – Paul in Acts 28:30-31
This talk is important in helping us understand how as scattered people we should live out Kingdom values despite the circumstances in which we find ourselves. It might be good to give people some context on who Paul is and why these verses are important. In these verses, we see Paul utilize every means at his disposal (his home, his relationships, his talents, his attitude) to do his part in making sure the Gospel went unhindered despite he personally being in jail. This is a good opportunity to talk about aligning our values with God’s Kingdom values. Also, notice the book ends on a cliff-hanger, almost as if pointing to the fact that the story is not over – we are continuing the story of Acts today!
Just a reminder of the types of the different methods we have used to construct the teachings. You can use any of these to prepare your teaching:
- Explore a passage – This could be done through observation, interpretation, application method
- Explain a truth – This could be done through an outline that makes points and guides people to understand and apply specific truth
- Ask key questions – This is done by asking questions like What do we learn about God, about humans, about sin, etc
Scattered to Make Jesus make sense: Acts 8:26-40
Facilitators, here is a link to commentary of this passage https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Acts/Philip-Ethiopian-Eunuch
- This teaching is a more guided discussion so instead of asking people to discover the principles, guide them to discuss the principles listed here.
Intro – Let’s take some time to say a way in which someone in this group has encouraged you in your relationship with Jesus.
Scattered Series – The purpose of this series is to explore different aspects of what it means to be sent by Jesus. As we see in the book of Acts, regardless why believers are scattered (i.e., God’s calling or circumstances like persecution) we are called to be on mission!
Acts 1:8 Recap – Last week at celebration we discussed that the Great Commission (to make disciples of all nations) is a collective call that requires that we simultaneously be involved in reaching people right where we are (Jerusalem), to be intentional in loving those who are like us (Judea), to cross boundaries with people who are not like us (Samaria) and to reach those who are far from us (the ends of the earth). When we talk about disciples or discipleship we are referring to following and loving Jesus and loving the people Jesus loves. In ancient times, teachers would have disciples, or students, who would dedicate their lives to learning from and imitating their teachers – that is what Jesus had in mind for those who follow Him.
Today we are going to look at a passage to see what we can learn about making Jesus make sense. We are going to look at Four principles to be learned from this passage about how to relate to others – two negative, two positive. We will also look at the response of someone who is willing to follow Jesus.
Background: The book of Acts is the 2nd of two books written by Luke, a physician traveled with Paul [the author of 13 books of the New Testament]. It recounts the expansion of the church from its early beginnings with a few raggedy followers of Jesus to a movement that impacted the whole Roman Empire.
- Making Jesus make sense is NOT just for the elite, super-spiritual (Acts 8:1; 4)
- Read Acts 8:1 and 4. What are your initial thoughts of these verses?
- How do these verses relate to Acts 1:8 (Read it together)? These verses show us the way in which Acts 1:8 is fulfilled.
- What do we see about the kind of people God entrusted to be the ones to take the message of Jesus to others? They were not the apostles, they were regular people!
- Who is Philip? Acts 6 Church grows, dispute over who to serve overlooked widows, they picked some people to serve – Philip was one of them
- Acts 8:1;4 Philip was in Jerusalem, then goes to Samaria and then we have him with an Ethiopian, he was one of the people that was scattered because of the persecution.
- Application – We (followers of Jesus) must all discover our identity as messengers, ambassadors regardless what circumstances we find ourselves in.
Now, let’s read the whole story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40)
What initial observations can you make about the passage?
What can we learn about the way in which Philip engaged the Ethiopian Eunuch about following Jesus?
- Making Jesus make sense involves listening and following the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:26;29)
- The Holy Spirit is very prominent in this chapter (just like he is prominent in Acts 1:8 – the Holy Spirit is the one who gives power!) The Holy Spirit is God. He is the Person of the Trinity who lives inside those who follow Jesus.
- Philip made some important decisions here. What can we see about his decision making process? Philip was clearly very sensitive to receiving instructions and obeying God’s instructions. Now that might sound a bit mystical – how does Jesus speak to you? Does he send you an angel? Does he speak audibly? Circumstances, wisdom of trusted advisers, prayer
- What are the factors that influence how you make decisions? Some of us here do not follow Jesus, what factors do you consider when making decisions? Do you sense you are following a plan that will reach fulfillment? If so, what is that purpose? As a follower of Jesus I believe that God is in communication with me – not audibly, but through his followers, through His Word, through circumstances
- Application – The call is not whether to be a messenger or not, followers of Jesus are the messengers of Jesus, the idea is being sensitive as to what the best way to do it might be. Sometimes, it is through long friendships, helping someone in need, being helped, closely following cultural norms or breaking cultural norms. Sometimes to complete strangers like in the case of Philip and the Ethiopian or the Samaritan woman.
- Making Jesus make sense is NOT just about having answers (Acts 8:30)
- The way Philip dove into a deeper conversation was by asking a good question. How can questions be better than answers in spiritual conversations?
- Not a follower of Jesus – I would encourage you sometime to sit down with a follower of Jesus and ask good questions about why they believe what they believe, about their hope, open dialogue about the stuff that matters most.
- Application – Embrace the ambiguity of not having the right answers for people’s questions. Sometimes it is best to go on a journey with people who have questions.
- Making Jesus make sense is best done when we start where people are and from there point them to Jesus (Acts 8:34-35)
- Philip started exactly where the Ethiopian was and from there showed Him Jesus. Isaiah 53 – passage about Jesus. What are examples of conversations where bringing Jesus in is natural rather than forced?
- Significance of the passage for a eunuch – Eunuchs became synonymous with treasurer but this one was probably a physical eunuch, but he seemed to be going to Jerusalem to worship yet he would not be able to be part of temple worship (Deut. 23:1) Eunuchs were excluded! Jesus was inviting him to be part of His Kingdom now!
- Application – Always point people to Jesus in your spiritual conversations. There are many topics that sidetrack us (politics, etc) resolve to point others to Jesus. Here is a basic outline of what it means to help someone follow Jesus (This is a good reminder of the Gospel!)
- God loves people, he created them, He wants a relationship with people
- Sin messed everything up – distance with God, distance with each other, environment, government
- Jesus was sent by God because of love in order to deal with the sin problem
- Follow Jesus means to turn from following own ways and turning to God’s way
What do we see about the way the Ethiopian Eunuch responded to Philip’s message?
- The Ethiopian Eunuch went on his way rejoicing – He did not depend on Philip, he knew it was all about Jesus!
- Some people hold to the idea that the Ethiopian was the one who took the Gospel back to parts of Africa – yet, the result is not as important as the fact that Philip did his part
- The Ethiopian Eunuch got baptized:
- Baptism is a natural response to following Jesus. Baptism is a symbolic act of being immersed in water as a demonstration of being a follower of Jesus.
- Who gets baptized?
- Those who decide to trust in Jesus – it is a statement to the community that you are following Jesus
- Those who have been away from God and decide to recommit to Jesus – it is a statement of commitment. Much like renewing vows for married people.
- It is a privilege to baptize others whom we lead to Jesus
- Philip baptized the Ethiopian official – not the apostles
- We will be having baptisms in the next few months, if you are interested in getting baptized let your Life Group Leader know!