Explore the Bible Study: Courageous

1:47 PM

What would you do if you shared your faith with someone and it was deemed illegal? Would you be brave enough to take a stand in the public square, knowing that you could lose everything?  As believers we face more and more people who tell us we can’t share our faith. We also live in a culture that continually says that faith is a private issue. But, if we are believers, we can’t remain silent, we must be courageous. This is the focus of this week's Explore the Bible study.

A 2012 study of Christians in our country indicate that the majority of believers remain silent about Christ. LifeWay Research, revealed that 83% of believers surveyed are hesitant to let others know that they are Christians (See complete report). I pray that our study of  how Peter and John boldly shared the gospel among a crowd that was growing more and more hostile will encourage and challenge us to no longer remain silent or passive about our faith!

This week's teaching helps expands the suggested passages to include Acts 4:1-19. The following discussion points could be used to walk your group through the scriptures:

Acts 4:1-5
  • What words or phrases describe the response of those in power?
  • Why did it provoke such a response from leaders?
  • What positive responses did they witness?
Acts 4:6-7
  • What if you were placed in a semi-circle of 71-plus key community leaders and asked why you were sharing your faith? How would you respond?
Acts 4:8-12
  • Why did Luke point out in verse 8 that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit? What is God telling us by including this in the narrative?
  • How can or should we respond when we are afraid to talk about our faith?
  • Peter did not just give Jesus credit for healing the man. What else did he say about Jesus?
  • Do you think Peter was too confrontational?
  • How exclusive was Peter about the way of salvation?
  • If you don’t believe that there is only one way a person can be saved, would you be as bold as Peter?
  • If you believe that there is more than one way to be saved, doesn’t this make Peter's stand worthless?
Reflection Questions:
  • Would you have said any of this if you were standing before this group?
  • How often do we allow fear to keep us from sharing our faith publicly? 
  • How often do we assume we can’t share our faith?
  • Do you believe we still have the freedom to talk about our faith publicly?
ILLUSTRATION
The following is an illustration that could be used to drive home the fact that many times we assume we can't or aren't allowed to share our faith publicly, when in truth we can in our country.

Many times we assume we can’t talk about our faith. If you were a federal employee you would have guidelines for how you could express your faith. Which of these do you think are allowed in the federal workplace?
  • You may keep a Bible or other scriptures on your desk and read it during breaks.
  • You may observe the Sabbath or other religious holidays.
  • You may wear religious attire, religious jewelry, or clothing.
  • You may meet other employees for religious study and/or prayer during lunch in a conference room that is scheduled for use on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • You are permitted to engage in religious expression directed at fellow employees, and may even attempt to persuade fellow employees of the correctness of your religious views.
  • Proselytizing is as entitled to constitutional protection as any other form of speech.
  • In informal settings, such as cafeterias and hallways, employees are entitled to discuss their religious views with one another.
  • During a coffee break, one employee can engage another in a polite discussion of why his faith should be embraced.
  • One employee can invite another employee to attend worship services at her church.
  • In a parking lot, a non-supervisory employee can hand another employee a religious tract urging that she convert to another religion lest she be condemned to eternal damnation.

Answer: All of these are permissible in the federal workplace as long as it is not viewed as government endorsed or, in the case of personal conversations, the wishes of the individual to stop the conversation is respected.

(Reference: On August 14, 1997, President Clinton established The White House Guidelines on Religious Exercise and Religious Expression in the Federal Workplace; they have been continued by Presidents Bush and Obama.)

Video Options 

LOOK IN (Introduction)


LOOK OUT (Application)
We actually have it very easy in the United States. God has given us a climate in which we have the freedom to share our faith. Sadly we forget this and move about among those without Christ, strangely silent about the gospel and the relationship we have with Him. This is not the case in other areas of the world. What if you faced what this family faces in regard to sharing faith? Would things be different then, or would we cave in to the persecution?



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