Explore the Bible Study: Faithful

6:30 AM

Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park was named by the Washburn expedition of 1870. Since 2000 the park rangers have been able to predict its faithfulness with a 90% accuracy within +/- 10 minutes. The faithfulness of Old Faithful has attracted visitors for an untold number of years. This kind of faithfulness to the mission given to us in Acts 1:8 to be witnesses, should be exhibited by believers regardless of the circumstances we might face. We learn more about this kind of faithfulness as we continue to study the witness of Peter and the apostles in this week's Explore the Bible study: Faithful.

As I searched the web for helpful articles and ideas using the search term "faithful," I discovered something very interesting. There were tons of images and ideas that acknowledged the faithfulness of God to people but very little information relating to believers' faithfulness to God. You will notice that I used that discovery as a way to teach the passages we are studying. Below is the activity I am using and some questions to help guide the discussion:

Display: Draw a line graph on the board and number it from 1-10.  (Option: Instruct each person as they arrive to draw a line on a sheet of paper or on a blank space in their study guide, and number it 1-10 .)

Direct (As adults are arriving): Call out a number or mark a number on their line graph that indicates to what extent they expect God to be faithful to them.

Discuss: What number did you put? Why?

Ask: How important is faithfulness today in our society? Do we expect others to be more faithful than we are?

Acts 5:25-28
  • If you were one of the apostles, how would you have responded to the Sanhedrin’s accusations? Would you have defended, admitted, or folded under the pressure?
  • Based on the soldier’s cautions when arresting the apostles and the accusations from the Sanhedrin, what were they concerned about?
Acts 5:29-32
  • Ask: Some have used this verse to defend all types of civil disobedience against a variety of issues. But, what was the reason they were being civilly disobedient? (They were sharing their faith.)
  • Reflect: Are you more likely to be civilly disobedient for moral issues over sharing your faith? Would you ever disobey civil authorities in order to share your faith? What does this communicate about your priorities as a believer? About your desire to be faithful to our mission of sharing Christ in a lost world?
  • Reflect: If you had been Peter or one of the apostles, would you have been this direct if you were standing before the Sanhedrin? Why or why not?
Acts 5:33-35; Acts 5:38-39
  • Do you think the Holy Spirit wasn’t working since the response was anger?
  • Was God continuing to be faithful even though the response wasn’t as great as it was previously?
  • What can we learn from the response of the Sanhedrin regarding sharing our faith ?
  • Discuss: Do you think God’s Spirit was working through Gamaliel? Do you think God was demonstrating His faithfulness even in the midst of this difficult time?
Acts 5:40-42
The message of the gospel could not be stopped by external circumstances. These early believers remained faithful because of their growing relationship with Christ and the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

Reflect: Consider the last time that you were concerned about expressing your faith in Christ. Did you respond as the apostles did in Acts 5:29, “We must obey God rather than men,” or did you back down due to external pressures?

Activity: At the beginning of the session we discussed how much people expect God to be faithful to them. We often get angry with or doubt God when we feel as if He isn’t being “faithful” to us. The reality is, He is always faithful. Review the line graph you created at the beginning of the session.
  • Place a mark on the scale that indicates how faithful you are in sharing the gospel with others.
  • Consider whether your response is one that is pleasing or disappointing to God.
  • Consider whether you hold God to a higher standard of faithfulness than you demonstrate toward Him.
Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost for His Highest, states that, “being faithful to Jesus Christ is the most difficult thing we try to do today. We will be faithful to our work, to serving others, or to anything else; just don’t ask us to be faithful to Jesus Christ. Many Christians become very impatient when we talk about faithfulness to Jesus. Our Lord is dethroned more deliberately by Christian workers than by the world. We treat God as if He were a machine designed only to bless us, and we think of Jesus as just another one of the workers.”
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