Grow Deep - Sent Vol 2 - Week 3

Week 3: July 7-13

Sent With Answers

Memory Verse: “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account of the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” Peter 3:15

What is my purpose in life? Why am I here? What will I experience in life? What does God have planned for me? Questions, questions and more questions. If you are like me, you want to look into a crystal ball and see how your entire life is laid out. You want to know the roadmap for life, both the straightways and the curves you will experience.

As Christians, we know that God alone holds our future in His hands. He alone knows the plans that He has laid out for us. He alone has all the answers to questions of how we are to live our lives. He gives each of us a free will; yet, He is still in charge. He directs our daily lives; He allows the events and circumstances we experience; He sends His Holy Spirit to inspire us and direct us in our mission and ministry. We trust that whatever God has planned for us, whatever mission or ministry He has mapped out for us, He also gives us “The Answer,” His Holy Spirit. His Spirit strengthens us and directs our efforts to achieve His purpose and plan. All we need to do is open our hearts and minds and listen to the answers that God gives us.

The disciples had a lot of questions, and they also needed a lot of answers. They had questions like these: “God, I had a perfectly good ministry in Samaria and now You want to send me to baptize an Ethiopian eunuch?” “God, am I doing the right thing?” “God, can it be true ... is the Holy Spirit also for these Samaritans?”

In each reading this week there are questions. As you read and reflect, discover how God’s answers to His disciples then are also His answers for us today.

Sunday, July 7
Read: Acts 8:26-35
An angel of the Lord sent Philip on the road traveling toward Gaza. On the same road was an Ethiopian going home after worshipping in Jerusalem. He was reading from Isaiah but had questions about what he read. The Spirit “sent” Philip to the Ethiopian to share the answers.
Reflect: Has God ever called you out of your “comfort zone” and challenged you to participate in a ministry or “sent” you to help a specific person in a way that you never would have thought about, much less done? How did you respond? How did it affect your faith and service to God? What effect did it have on the ministry or the faith of the person you helped?

Monday, July 8
Read: Acts 8:36-40
More questions … After Philip preached to the Ethiopian about Jesus and about baptism, the Ethiopian asked to be baptized. Philip baptized him.
Reflect: The Ethiopian eunuch asked to be baptized so he could receive the Holy Spirit and begin his walk of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior as a baptized child of God. Think of a time you asked God to send His Holy Spirit to increase your faith and increase your service to Him and His church? How does the Holy Spirit increase your faith as you read Scripture? As you pray? As you worship?

Tuesday, July 9
Read: Acts 8:1-4
A young man named Saul (who was at the stoning of Stephen) began to persecute Christians on behalf of the Jewish leaders, going door to door and dragging them to prison. Many of these new Christians were “sent” (scattered) to other areas and shared the Gospel as they went. The church grew.
Reflect: Early Christians faced many challenges and intense persecution for their faith. Perhaps they wondered how God could let such intense persecution try to destroy His church when it was just getting started. Christians today in many parts of the world are still being persecuted for their faith in Jesus. How can we help our fellow Christians around the world (and in America, too!) who are under all forms of persecution? In what ways are we “sent” as missionaries even though we are not called to the foreign mission field?

Wednesday, July 10
Read: Acts 8:5-8
Philip was sent to Samaria to preach Christ. He performed many miracles; there was great joy. As a result, many believed the truth of the Gospel and cultural barriers were broken down.
Reflect: The Jews and Samaritans hated each other. There were a lot of barriers between their societies. They had different beliefs, different cultures, different lifestyles. What “barriers” might Philip, and later Peter and John, have had to overcome so he could present the Gospel to the Samaritans? What “barriers” did the Samaritans have to overcome to listen to and accept the Good News of salvation? What racial, social and cultural “barriers” do you need to overcome so you can share the Gospel with all people?

Thursday, July 11
Read: Acts 8:9-13
In Samaria, there was a man named Simon who astonished the Samaritans with his powers of sorcery. After hearing the truth of Jesus from Philip, many in Samaria were baptized. Even Simon, the Sorcerer, believed and asked to be baptized.
Reflect: Simon was a great magician, a great showman who dazzled people with his tricks and performances. But it was just a bunch of “smoke and mirrors.” Along came Philip with the Holy Spirit—no smoke, no mirrors—just preaching the true saving grace of Jesus. Our society today is dazzled by the “smoke and mirrors” of materialism and self-centeredness. Think of your friends, co-workers and family who do not know Jesus. How can you reach out to them with the Good News of Jesus? (It isn’t easy!)

Friday, July 12
Read: Acts 8:14-19
Peter and John were sent to the new Christians in Samaria. They prayed with them and laid hands on them. Those Christians received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Simon offered to pay money to the Apostles to give him the power to bestow the Spirit by the laying on of his hands.
Reflect: Simon didn’t understand that the power of the Holy Spirit was from God, not from Peter and John. God’s grace is freely given to everyone. All we need to do is to believe it and accept it. Why is it so hard for people to realize and accept this free gift of salvation through Jesus?

Saturday, July 13
Read: Acts 8:20-25
While Simon confessed a belief in Jesus and asked to be baptized, what he really wanted was power for himself. Peter’s answer to Simon was to tell him that his heart was not right with God.
Reflect: Simon wanted to use his new faith and “power” for his own selfish gain. Do you ever use your faith in Jesus for your own purposes? How can you begin to recognize that you are not following God’s will? What can you do to correct your course?