Life Lessons from Acts

Life Lessons from Acts

by Max Lucado

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Overview

The Max Lucado Life Lessons series continues to be one of the bestselling study guide series on the market today. This updated edition of the popular New Testament and Old Testament series will offer readers a complete selection of studies by Max Lucado. Intriguing questions, inspirational storytelling, and profound reflections will bring God's Word to life for both individuals and small-group members. Each session now includes a key passage of Scripture from both the NIV (formerly NCV) and the NKJV, and the guides have been updated to include content from Max's recent releases (2007–2016).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310086383
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 02/13/2018
Series: Life Lessons
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 293,558
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Since entering the ministry in 1978, Max Lucado has served churches in Miami, Florida; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and San Antonio, Texas. He currently serves as Teaching Minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. He is America’s bestselling inspirational author with more than 140 million books in print.

Visit his website at MaxLucado.com

Facebook.com/MaxLucado

Instagram.com/MaxLucado

Twitter.com/MaxLucado

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

JESUS CHANGES LIVES

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins."

Acts 2:37–38

REFLECTION

Community. Unselfish sharing. Unity. These are things we hope to experience in our families, our churches, and our society. Unfortunately, these qualities are often lacking. The book of Acts, titled the "Acts of the Apostles," records the continuation of the story of the disciples after Jesus ascended to heaven. The first followers of Jesus came from different backgrounds yet demonstrated amazing community as the early church was formed. Think about your church. In what ways can you see the transforming power of Jesus' presence?

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SITUATION

For almost two months, Jerusalem had been buzzing with plots, a headline crucifixion, rumors of a resurrection, transformed lives, visits from the risen Jesus, and his sudden departure to heaven. After Jesus left his followers gathered to pray in an upper room, and the Holy Spirit showed up! In the early-morning hours of Pentecost, a new sound was heard in the temple courts: Galileans speaking various languages, praising God in tongues other than their own. A crowd gathered. Conclusions were reached. Then one of the disciples stood up and spoke. Peter, the transformed fisherman who had betrayed his Lord, delivered the first sermon, explaining from Scripture who Jesus really was and why he died. The results were remarkable.

OBSERVATION

Read Acts 2:29–47 from the New International Version or the New King James Version.

New International Version

29 "Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

"'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."'

36 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah."

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call."

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

New King James Version

29 "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.

34 "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:

'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."'

36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."

40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

EXPLORATION

1. What did Peter say about David? How would this have resonated with the crowd?

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2. What bold statements did Peter make in his sermon?

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3. How did the people react to Peter's declaration?

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4. What instructions did Peter give to the people?

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5. What did Peter say to the crowds of onlookers about the Holy Spirit?

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6. How did the new believers grow in their faith? How did they practice that faith?

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INSPIRATION

A transformed group stood beside a transformed Peter as he announced some weeks later: "So, all the people of Israel should know this truly: God has made Jesus — the man you nailed to the cross — both Lord and Christ."

No timidity in his words. No reluctance. About three thousand people believed his message.

The apostles sparked a movement. The people became followers of the death-conqueror. They couldn't hear enough or say enough about him ... Christ was their model, their message. They preached "Jesus Christ and him crucified," not for the lack of another topic, but because they couldn't exhaust this one.

What unlocked the doors of the apostles' hearts?

Simple. They saw Jesus. They encountered the Christ. Their sins collided with their Savior and their Savior won!

A lot of things would happen to them over the next few decades. Many nights would be spent away from home. Hunger would gnaw at their bellies. Rain would soak their skin. Stones would bruise their bodies. Shipwrecks, lashings, martyrdom. But there was a scene in the repertoire of memories that caused them to never look back: the betrayed coming back to find his betrayers; not to scourge them, but to send them. Not to criticize them for forgetting, but to commission them to remember. Remember that he who was dead is alive and they who were guilty have been forgiven. (From Six Hours One Friday by Max Lucado.)

REACTION

7. What changes has Jesus made in your life?

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8. What circumstances caused you to open your heart to God?

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9. Why do you think some people resist the convicting work of the Holy Spirit?

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10. The Holy Spirit gave Peter boldness to speak the truth. What ability or gift have you received from God?

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11. How have you discovered the spiritual gifts God has given you?

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12. How can you use your gifts to help bring others into God's kingdom?

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LIFE LESSONS

Authentic followers of Jesus always have company. In fact, if we feel all alone in our faith, one of the explanations may be that we're not following Jesus as closely as we think we are. The first disciples went from feeling all alone to speaking out and discovering more than 3,000 new companions. The practice of faith involves others. So make it a point to pursue healthy relationships with other believers. Ask Jesus to change you into an agent of peace in every situation you find yourself in. Ask him to make you into good company.

DEVOTION

Father, we invite the powerful indwelling of your Spirit, because we know that we do not have the power to change ourselves. May we be open to your convicting work. May we be sincere and willing to grow as you lead us. Father, transform us into your likeness.

JOURNALING

In what area of your life have you resisted the Spirit's work? How can you change that attitude?

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FOR FURTHER READING

To complete the book of Acts during this twelve-part study, read Acts 1:1-2:47. For more Bible passages about God's power to change people, read Romans 1:16–17; 8:9–14; 16:17–19; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 3:16–20; Colossians 1:10-12; and 2 Peter 1:3.

CHAPTER 2

WE ARE WITNESSES

Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."

Acts 3:6 NKJV

REFLECTION

Think back to your life before you knew about Christ. Perhaps you were acutely aware that something was wrong with life. You were missing something. Or maybe you had a vague feeling of unease. Then someone spoke words of truth into your life. Someone witnessed to you about what Jesus meant to him or her. Someone explained who Jesus was. Who helped you understand the truth of the gospel? How did that person accomplish that task?

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SITUATION

The days of excitement and new faith in the early church made the apostles' lives hectic and full. They had to stay focused. There were great spiritual and physical needs everywhere. One day, Peter and John had an eye-opening encounter with a crippled man. He was merely hoping for some financial help, but the apostles gave him something far better.

OBSERVATION

Read Acts 3:1–16 from the New International Version or the New King James Version.

New International Version

1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer — at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

6 Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

11 While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: "Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Life Lessons from Acts"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Max Lucado.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

How to Study the Bible v

Introduction to the Book of Acts ix

Lesson 1 Jesus Changes Lives (Acts 2:29-47) 1

Lesson 2 We Are Witnesses (Acts 3:1-16) 11

Lesson 3 Tried and Tested (Acts 5:17-33) 19

Lesson 4 Getting Along with Others (Acts 6:1-15) 27

Lesson 5 Looking to Jesus (Acts 7:51-60) 37

Lesson 6 The Holy Spirit's Leading (Acts 8:26-40) 45

Lesson 7 God's Saving Power (Acts 9:1-20) 53

Lesson 8 Unity Among Believers (Acts 10:24-35) 63

Lesson 9 God's Grace (Acts 15:1-11) 71

Lesson 10 Presenting the Gospel (Acts 17:16-31) 79

Lesson 11 Facing Problems and Pain (Acts 20:15-31) 89

Lesson 12 Living Your Faith (Acts 27:13-25) 99

Leader's Guide for Small Groups 107

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