Read Acts 17:16-33
Key Verse: Acts 17:32 “When they heard Paul speak of the resurrection of a person who had been dead, some laughed, but others said, ‘We want to hear more about this later.” (NLT)
When we want to share our faith with others we are often nervous and hesitant because we are afraid that someone might laugh at us. The desire to Act Out for God is there in our lives but the idea of being laughed at makes it so difficult to do what we really want to do for God. The important thing that we need to remember is that we are not alone in this, even the Apostle Paul was laughed at, yet he never let that stop him from continuing to Act Out.
People always laugh at ideas that seem strange to them, it’s just a human reaction to try and deal with being forced to accept new ideas. People laughed at the idea of the world being round instead of flat, they laughed at the idea of space travel, they even laughed at the idea of gravity. It does not really matter that people laughed at those ideas in the past, what matters is that we have accepted them all now. Imagine if people stopped trying to prove that the world was round simply because they were laughed at. North America would hardly be populated at all and it certainly would not be the home of some of the world’s greatest nations.
People may laugh at you when you share your faith and Act Out for God. But the real important thing is that while some may laugh others may come to believe and you may be able to help change the world for somebody.
Prayer: “Lord, it is very hard to share about your love to people who laugh at me but I know that they only do it because they don’t know how to react. Help me to stand up and Act Out for you because although some may laugh, others may come to believe in you.”
Read Acts 17:1-15
Key Verse: Acts 17:12 “As a result, many Jews believed, as did some of the prominent Greek women and many men.” (NLT)
By this time it seemed that everywhere Paul went to spread the Gospel message people opposed him and tried to stop him for doing God’s work. Time after time the same things happened. Paul would arrive and start teaching people about Jesus. People would get saved and some people would try to stop them from teaching about Jesus there anymore.
The exciting part is that Paul was always a couple steps ahead of the bad element that wanted him stopped. He always seemed to be able to get to a new place and sow the seeds of the Gospel into people lives before he was forced to move on. Another great thing about this was that Paul never seems to get discouraged by the whole process. It must have been frustrating to just barely get a chance to start the work before he had to run off and try again somewhere else. But Paul kept on doing it anyways and according to verse 6 he and Silas turned the whole world upside down.
You may not get to see the fruit of your labor as you try and plant the seeds of the Gospel into people’s lives. But the important thing is to never give up and to keep Acting Out for God no matter how much bad seems to be following you around. You can turn your world upside down for Jesus if you refuse to give up and keep doing whatever work you can for Him. God will use you and only time will tell how much of a change you really made in the world.
Prayer: “Lord, I want to keep on Acting Out for you even in the face of the bad things that try and stop me. Give me the strength to keep on working for you and the courage to face anything that may come my way.”
Read Acts 16:19-40
Key Verse: Acts 16:25 “Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.” (NLT)
Paul once again ended up in prison for doing something good. Healing that demon possessed girl was the right thing to do, yet both Silas and Paul were beaten, imprisoned, and bound because of it. We read on to see the wonderful things that God does as a result of their being in prison. The prison shakes, the doors swing open, and the jailer and his whole family turn to Christ. It even served as an opportunity to encourage the believers (v. 40).
All of the wonderful things that happen in this passage can be traced back to the way that Paul and Silas reacted to being in prison. They were just badly beaten, thrown into the inner dungeon, and even tied up. But what do we find them doing in the midst of all of this? According to verse 25, they prayed and worshiped God. What’s more, they did it where everyone in the jail could hear them and they did it despite the fact that they were suffering so greatly for their faith.
How would you have reacted? Would you have prayed in that situation? Most of us find it difficult to say grace at a restaurant because there are people around us. Paul and Silas never let being beaten or even being imprisoned stop them from expressing their love to God. They choose to Act Out for Him even in the worst possible situation and God blessed them in incredible ways. Acting Out for Him means we need to learn to never be embarrassed of our faith in God whether we are in a restaurant or in jail.
Prayer: “Lord, please forgive me for the times that I lived like I was ashamed of you. Help me to never be embarrassed of you. No matter where I end up in life I want to let everyone know that you are the most important part of my life.”
Read Acts 11:19-30
Key Verse: Acts 11:21 “The power of the Lord was upon them, and large numbers of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord.” (NLT)
We are told in chapter 8 verse 1 that after Stephen was stoned a great persecution of the Church began. This seems like it would be enough to make the Christians keep quiet about their faith and cause the growth of the Church to slow down. According to 11:19 the persecution of the Church really served to cause the Gospel message to spread faster and farther than anyone could have imagined. It is interesting to note that Saul, who was instrumental in starting that persecution, was now being used of God to further teach those who only heard about Jesus because of that persecution.
The believers spread the Gospel wherever they went even if they went there because their lives were in danger. Saul and Barnabas traveled to Antioch to teach the Christians there and they in-turn decided to send help to those in need in Judea during the famine. All of these activities are missionary work and these kinds of work are very important.
All of us can be missionaries for Jesus Christ if we do our part to Act Out in the name of Jesus in these ways. Wherever we find ourselves in life we ought to tell others about Christ. We can look for opportunities to teach other believers more about what it means to a Christian and everyone can, in some way, give to meet a need that we are made aware of. Acting Out for Jesus is about letting your faith show up in every part of your life and in every way possible.
Prayer: “Lord, help me to look for every possible opportunity to Act Out for You whether it be with my words or my actions.”
Read Acts 10:24-48
Key Verse: Acts 10:45 “The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles, too.” (NLT)
For the last two thousand years Christians have debated whether or not the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was meant for all believers or was it just meant for the early Church. In our key verse for today we see that the Jewish believers had a similar concern. They had difficulty believing that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was meant for all believers and not just the Jewish ones. In fact, they even thought that Christianity was strictly meant for the Jews and that no one else would ever be accepted by God.
It seems very obvious in this passage that the Jewish believers had to change their minds about whether or not all people could be saved. Now that God had proved that He accepted them by giving them the Holy Spirit how could the Jewish believers disagree.
If God used His Holy Spirit as proof that He accepts all people as believers of Jesus Christ we can know with great confidence that God also intends the Holy Spirit to be available to all believers. The baptism was not simply meant to jump start the church’s growth as some believe. It is meant for you. God wants to fill all believers with the Holy Spirit so we can all know that we have been accepted by God and so that we can Act Out for Him with the same kind of power, boldness, and faith that the early Church had.
When someone offers you a gift don’t you usually accept it? Why should gifts from God be any different?
Prayer: “Lord, thank-you for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Please help me to be a witness of the great things you have done in me.”
Read Acts 10:1-23
Key Verse: Acts 10:15 “The voice spoke again, ‘If God says something is acceptable, don’t say it isn’t.” (NLT)
Peter begins to experience a major shift in thinking in this passage. Peter was a Jew. As far as Jews were concerned they were God’s chosen people and they had become convinced that they were the only people that God would have dealings with. God gives Peter this vision as a sign to him that God was ready to reach out to the whole world with the message of the cross.
When given this vision Peter protests the idea of eating anything impure because he did not want to defile himself. God responded to him by telling him that if God says something is acceptable, then it is.
God had two meanings to this, first of all he was telling Peter that it was now ok for him to eat foods he normally would not have eaten. More importantly, God was beginning to reveal to Peter that Jesus’ death on the cross was for the forgiveness of the sins of all people, not just the Jews.
Sometimes God asks us to speak to people who we really don’t think are the “right type” of people to get saved. We think they are not going to accept God so we decide that it is not acceptable to reach out to them. We need to remember that Jesus died for the sins of all people not just for ours. When God prompts us to witness to individuals who we would not have chosen we need to trust that God knows what He is doing and Act Out in faith. Sometimes it may seem hard to do but the rewards are amazing.
Prayer: “Lord, help me to have the faith to Act Out and witness to whoever you ask me to witness to, no matter who they are.”
Read Acts 9:1-19
Key Verse: Acts 9:15 “But the Lord said, ‘Go and do what I say’…” (NLT)
The conversion of Saul (who was later renamed Paul) is one of the major turning points in the Church’s history. Saul went from uttering murderous threats (v.1) to being chosen as one who would suffer many things for the sake of the Gospel (v. 16). Saul was not the only one who was dramatically changed in this passage. We are also introduced to a Christian named Ananias who needed to be changed. When God first spoke to Ananias, Ananias reacted positively, “Yes Lord”, but as soon as he found out what God wanted him to do and who God wanted him to witness to his reaction changed to “But Lord”. Ananias began to try and make excuses as to why he should not have to do what God wanted.
Sometimes we are enthusiastic about doing things for God that is, right up until we find out what it is exactly that God wants us to do. It is at that point that we start to make excuses and try and get ourselves out of having to do anything at all. God responded to Ananias very forcefully and demanded that he do as God said. It would have been so much better if Ananias had trusted God from the beginning and did as God asked.
It is important for us to learn to trust God completely and to not hesitate when God asks us to do something for Him. God is in control and He knows what He is doing. That Saul who God asks you to witness to may be the next Paul.
Prayer: “Lord, sometimes it is easy to want to say “Yes Lord” when you speak to me but then my answer turns to “But Lord” as I look for excuses. Help me to trust you completely so I can Act Out for You.”