Passage: Acts 1:1-11; Acts 2:1-13
Guide for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection
Like the first disciples, we can often feel ourselves ill-equipped for the mission of Jesus. Because of Jesus’ ascension, however, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we are more than equipped to play a fruitful and fulfilling role in God’s plan to bring redemption to the nations.
First, we need to understand that Jesus equips us abundantly. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, in which we are “baptized” in as believers, we are filled with a presence and power that not even the prophets or kings of old possessed (Acts 1:4-5)! Pentecost represented the fulfillment of centuries of Old Testament prophecy, where God had promised to “pour out (his) spirit on all flesh” (Joel 2:28), enabling every one of us to experience and serve him powerfully. God’s giving us his Spirit in such full measure is a sign of his abundant generosity towards us— he wants us to have all of what we need and more!
We don’t always feel this empowered, however. We still feel timid, and God’s mission still feels daunting. For many of us, the path to a greater experience of the Spirit’s equipping comes through simply stepping out in faith—putting ourselves in a position of service and mission, where we need to rely on him, and in the process experiencing his enabling power.
Jesus also equips us specifically. Just as at Pentecost, God gave each person a particular gift (in this case, speaking in a specific foreign tongue) for the particular purpose of being a witness to Jesus, so too today God equips us in a wide variety of ways. God’s equipping is not “one size fits all” but is beautifully varied in its expression. It is an exciting thing to discover, and have others affirm in us, the specifics gifts we have for extending God’s kingdom.
Lastly, Jesus equips us purposefully. The purpose of our equipping is so that we can fruitfully serve as Jesus’ witnesses “to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Our mission is a redemption mission, and God loves us enough to include us in this great work! We are abundantly and specifically equipped…let’s go for it!
- Jesus equips us abundantly (Acts 1:4-5)
- Jesus equips us specifically (Acts 2:1-13)
- Jesus equips us purposefully (Acts 1:8)
Group Discussion & Personal Reflection Guide:
Re-read the passage(s): Acts 1:1-11, 2:1-13
Jesus equips us abundantly (Acts 1:4-5)
1) INTRO: Have you ever experienced a time when you felt like you were inadequate or ill-equipped to participate in God’s mission? What was it like? What do you think made you feel that way?
2) Read Acts 1:4-5 and meditate on these verses together. Consider:
- Why did Jesus refer to the Holy Spirit as “the promise of the Father”? (vs. 4)
- Why was receiving the Holy Spirit so important that the disciples were told not even to depart from Jerusalem until they had received it? What implications might this have for us today? (vs. 4)
- Why was the disciples’ receiving of the Spirit referred to as a baptism? What might this suggest about how abundantly we’ve been equipped? (vs. 5)
3) Read Joel 2:28-29, where Joel prophecies about the coming of the Holy Spirit. How do these verses highlight God’s generosity?
4) In the sermon, Richard said that though we have been equipped so abundantly through the Holy Spirit, we don’t always feel equipped. What are some barriers that keep us, both as individuals, and as a church, from experiencing the equipping help of the Holy Spirit as we carry out Jesus’ mission? How might the gospel speak into these barriers?
5) In the sermon, Richard gave the illustration of a car with a turbo diesel engine parked in the garage and said, “you have to start driving before the power of the turbo kicked in”. Likewise, we often need to take small risks towards living on mission, to experience the equipping of the Spirit. Have you ever taken a small risk for the sake of God’s kingdom, and noticed the Holy
Jesus equips us specifically (Acts 2:1-13)
6) Re-read Acts 2:1-13 and meditate on these verses together. Consider:
- What original purpose did the Holy Spirit empower the disciples for?
- What were some of the various reactions people had to disciples’ “speaking in other
- How did the empowerment of the Holy Spirit help further God’s mission?
7) In the sermon, Richard said that the Holy Spirit’s empowerment is not “one size fits all”, but
is unique to each of us, as each of us has received our own spiritual gift. Do you know what
your spiritual gift is? How did you discover it? (For groups – you might also spend time
speaking into each other’s’ lives, sharing with others in the group what specific gifts you see in
8) What is one practical way you’d like to use the spiritual gifts you have to serve God’s
kingdom, in this next season of your life?
Jesus equips us purposefully (Acts 1:8)
9) Re-read Acts 1:8. What was the specific purpose for which the disciples were to receive power? 10) In the sermon, Richard said, “The purpose of our gifting is to be witnesses, so that others may come to follow Jesus, have their sins forgiven, and have their lives transformed”. How often is this purpose on the forefront of your mind? What step(s) might you take to more regularly remember the purpose for which you were redeemed?
Additional Application Questions
Q) How else would you like to engage with God this week?
Q) How can you tangibly care for those in your community this week, both inside and outside of the church?
Spend time praying for yourselves, our church community, the North Shore community, and our nation and world—particularly those most vulnerable.