Sermon Discussion Guide (April 19th)

Download Link: Book of Acts – Week 18 – Discussion Guide

Book of Acts – Week 18 – Acts 7:1-53
Discussion Guide

Before working on this discussion guide, please do the following:

  1. Watch the message from this past Sunday if you were unable to attend the online service. You can find the message on our Facebook Page and on our website (renovationchurchsd.com).

 

  1. Spend 5 minutes or so in prayer. You can either pray through the “Lord’s Prayer” or simply share what is on your heart. It is also good to spend at least 1 full minute in silence so that God can quiet your heart and mind as you prepare to study the Scriptures.

 

Discussion Questions

  1. Read slowly and prayerfully through Acts 7:1-53. What stands out to you? What questions do you still have after reading through the text?

 

 

 

  1. In Stephen’s sermon, he points to three “heroes” of the faith and explains how they ultimately point us to Jesus. The first person he begins with is Abraham (Acts 7:1-8). In what ways does Abraham point us to Jesus?

 

 

 

  1. The second person he speaks about in his sermon is Joseph (Acts 7:9-16). How does Joseph point us to Jesus?

 

 

 

  1. Finally, the third person is Moses (Acts 7:17-43). In what ways does Moses point us to Jesus?

 

 

 

  1. As you think through the many stories in the Old Testament, what are some other stories/Scripture that comes to mind that clearly points us to Jesus (specifically from the Old Testament)?

 

 

 

  1. Stephen provides a pretty scathing rebuke to the Sanhedrin when he says, “You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit.” In what ways does the church today (including you) fall into this category at times?

 

 

  1. One of the main sins Stephen accuses the Sanhedrin of is idolatry. First, what is idolatry? Second, what is Stephen accusing the Sanhedrin of worshipping instead of God? Finally, what are some ways the modern church has been guilty of idolatry?

Sermon Discussion Guide (April 12th)

Easter_Worship

Easter 2020 – Sermon Discussion Guide

Book of Acts – Week 17 – Luke 24:36-53
Discussion Guide

Before working on this discussion guide, please do the following:

  1. Watch the message from this past Sunday if you were unable to attend the online service. You can find the message on our Facebook Page and on our website (renovationchurchsd.com).

 

  1. Spend 5 minutes or so in prayer. You can either pray through the “Lord’s Prayer” or simply share what is on your heart. It is also good to spend at least 1 full minute in silence so that God can quiet your heart and mind as you prepare to study the Scriptures.

 

Discussion Questions

  1. Read slowly and prayerfully through Luke 24:36-53. What stands out to you? What questions do you still have after reading through the text?

 

 

  1. The first thing Jesus does is offer his disciples peace. What kind of peace was Jesus offering? How is the peace of God different than the peace of this world? In what ways are you in need of peace this week?

 

 

  1. Jesus asked his disciples two questions: Why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your hearts? – From your perspective, what are some reasons people in our world might be troubled and doubtful of God right now? Do any Scriptures come to your mind that speak into these situations?

 

 

  1. Tyler shared that there are five paths that we can use to enter into God’s peace – Jesus’ wounds, Jesus’ physical body, Jesus’ words, Jesus’ Gospel, and Jesus’ Ascension. Briefly explain what each of these mean and which one resonates with you the most:

 

 

  1. In Luke 24:44-45, Jesus explains to his disciples how He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. As you think through your own study of the Old Testament, what are some ways the Old Testament points us to Jesus?

 

 

  1. In Luke 24:46-49, Jesus lays out five essential components of the Gospel. Read through this passage slowly and write down each component of the Gospel according to Jesus.

 

 

  1. Finally, what is one takeaway that you are applying to your life after studying this passage?

 

Maundy Thursday Reflection

Easter_Worship

To help people observe Holy Week, I will be releasing videos today, Friday, and Saturday. Below is the first video and is a short reflection on Maundy Thursday. My prayer is that these teachings help prepare your heart for Resurrection Sunday. If there’s anything I can be praying about for you, leave a comment or send me an e-mail (tyler@renovationchurchsd.com).

Video is below!

(If you are reading in your e-mail, you need to go to the actual page to see the video.) 

The Way to Peace

Easter_Worship

What if this was your last Easter with a loved one? What if a family member – a child, a spouse, a parent – dies this year as a result of COVID? What if a business owner you know and are friends with commits suicide this year because the business they have worked so incredibly hard to get started falls apart as a result of the economic toll facing our nation?

These are the realities that many people – even those in our own communities – are facing right now. Jesus alone can offer us lasting peace in the midst of chaos. This Sunday, I will be teaching through Luke 24:36-53 and sharing five ways to enter into God’s supernatural peace during this time of darkness and death. The service will be online via Zoom and the connection information is below. All are invited!


Sunday Morning Church Service
“Doors” open at 9:30am & service begins at 10:00am

Computer:
Go to this link and it should automatically download the needed plug-in and launch the meeting. A webcam is encouraged but is not required. https://zoom.us/j/662467207

Phone Call:
Call: 1-312-626-6799
You will then be prompted to enter the Meeting ID.
Meeting ID: 662 467 207

Smart Phone:
Download the Zoom app. When prompted to connect to the meeting, enter the Meeting ID (662 467 207)

Sermon Discussion Guide (Sunday, April 5th)

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Book of Acts – Week 17 – Discussion Guide (Download Link)

Book of Acts – Week 17 – Acts 6:8-15

Discussion Guide

Before working on this discussion guide, please do the following:

  1. Watch the message from this past Sunday if you were unable to attend the online service. You can find the message on our Facebook Page and on our website (renovationchurchsd.com).

 

  1. Spend 5 minutes or so in prayer. You can either pray through the “Lord’s Prayer” or simply share what is on your heart. It is also good to spend at least 1 full minute in silence so that God can quiet your heart and mind as you prepare to study the Scriptures.

 

Discussion Questions

  1. Read slowly and prayerfully through Acts 6:8-15. What stands out to you? What questions do you still have after reading through the text?

 

 

  1. Tyler went into detail on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. What has been your experience with the Holy Spirit? Why do you think so many Christians and Churches are uncomfortable teaching on the Holy Spirit?

 

 

  1. In the message, we also spent time discussing the role of spiritual gifts. In the first century, the church in Corinth over-emphasized certain spiritual gifts and used them as a barometer to measure other people’s spiritual maturity. Paul provides a proper teaching to them in 1 Corinthians 12. Read through 1 Corinthians 12 and make note of the things that stand out to you.

 

 

  1. We learn from the example of Stephen in Acts 6:9-10 that opposition will always follow being filled with the Holy Spirit. Have you ever face opposition as a result of your faith? What effect did it have on you?

 

 

  1. Read through Jesus’ famous beatitudes in Luke 6:20-26 and pay special attention to verses 22-23 & 26. In light of what happened to Stephen, what are some principles from these passages that we need to keep in mind for our own faith journeys?

 

 

  1. In this passage, Stephen is facing a horrific death sentence that will be enacted by the crowd throwing large rocks at him until he is beaten to death. Although he knows this is the prospect he is facing, Acts 6:15 describes his countenance in this way, “And all who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.” The peace that Stephen had in the face of death was a supernatural peace. What other passages can you think of that teach on the peace of God?

 

 

  1. Finally, what is at least one way you will be applying this passage to your life during this season of uncertainty?

 

NEW Discipleship Platform (Join me!)

I will be launching an online discipleship hub for Renovation Church on Monday (April 6th). This will help you grow significantly in your faith & understanding of the Scriptures.

Even if you’re not part of Renovation Church, you are invited to be part of this process. For more info, watch the video below. If you are interested in taking your faith more seriously, send me a message.

This is free, of course.

(If you are reading this in your e-mail, you need to go to the actual page to see the video).

The Danger of Division

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One of the deadliest wars in the history of the United States was a war fought against our own people – the Civil War. The Civil War lasted 4 years – from 1861 to 1865. It was a war waged between the Northern States and the Southern States over the issue of slavery and secession (some disagree with me and say it wasn’t about slavery – they are wrong – they need to study history).

The war literally divided the country and weakened it beyond what anyone could have imagined. In the intense combat of these four years, around 750,000 people died – 750,000 Americans died as a result of direct attacks from other Americans.

For context, this is more American deaths in a single war than all of the other wars combined up until the Vietnam war.  The most horrific war fought by the United States of America was… against itself. In 1858, a few years before the beginning of the Civil War, a U.S. Senator named Abraham Lincoln (you may have heard of him) gave a speech on the importance of unity in the young nation. The speech was a warning of what would happen if division continued to spread across the country and he began the speech by quoting the words of Jesus – “A house divided against itself will not stand.”

Why am I sharing all of this? If you are a Christian and part of a church (if you are a Christian and NOT part of a church – you are outside of God’s will for your life) we need to understand that we are engaged in an ancient war that has lasted thousands of years. At Renovation Church we have been going verse-by-verse through the Book of Acts. Although the Book of Acts is commonly referred to as the “Acts of the Apostles” it can also be studied to gain a grasp on spiritual warfare.

Here’s what I mean.

The birth of the church was opposed by Satan and his demons. Although we do not (usually) see spiritual warfare with our physical eyes, we DO see the effects of the war. Beginning in chapter four, Satan seeks to destroy the church by having Peter and John arrested and threatened for preaching Jesus. This doesn’t work and the church continues to grow. In chapter five, Satan changes his tactics and seeks to destroy the church by planting hypocrisy and self-righteousness in their midst through Ananias and Sapphira. God puts them to death, purifies his church, and the church continues to grow. Becoming desperate, Satan then has all of the Apostles arrested and put in prison – likely thinking to himself that if he can get rid of the leaders, the church will collapse. Instead, God sends an angel to set them free and commands them to keep preaching.

Honestly, I feel a little bit sorry for Satan (okay, no I don’t). Everything he has done up to this point has backfired. But, if there’s anything the Scriptures testify about Satan, it is his craftiness. Satan understands human nature better than the most educated psychiatrist because Satan has been studying humans from the very beginning. One of Satan’s greatest successes in his war against God’s people happens in the Book of Exodus. Almost immediately after God frees His people from slavery to Egypt and leads them into the wilderness, they begin grumbling and complaining against God and Moses – division nearly destroys God’s people.

A very similar thing is beginning to happen in Acts 6:1-7; grumbling and complaining threaten to destroy the church in its infancy. Certain widows in the church (who would have no social security net to uphold them) were being overlooked in the “daily distribution” of food. This truly was a life or death situation; a widow being overlooked means she could have gone days – even weeks – without a consistent source of food. Many widows in the ancient world died due to starvation or resorted to prostitution as a last resort to put food on the table.

The way the early church handles this situation provides immense wisdom for our churches today.

1. The Apostles Involve the Church 
“The Twelve summoned the whole company of the disciples…” (Acts 6:2a) 

I think we would all agree that the Apostles had the authority to hold a closed-door meeting and make an executive session about what to do. Most churches have a board or leadership team and when the church encounters major issues, they are almost always solved by this exclusive group of people rather than the church as a whole. In contrast with this, the Apostles recognize that every member of the church has the Holy Spirit and the ability to hear God speak – as a result, they get everyone involved.

2. The Apostles Define Their Calling 
… and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching the word of God to wait on tables.” (Acts 6:2b)

Do not miss what is happening here – they are making a moral claim as to why they cannot continue to oversee the daily distribution of food. On the surface, it almost seems as if the Apostles are arrogant. A better (but more confusing) translation of the Greek would be something along the lines of, “It would not be right for us to give up serving the word of God to serve on tables.” Both are needed – physical food IS important but so is spiritual food. For the church to continue its mission of making disciples of all the nations, the Apostles needed to define their calling. In other words, they needed to learn to say no to good things so they could say yes to the God thing.

3. The Church Selects Leaders 
“Brothers and sisters, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:3-4)

Volunteers (and leaders) are needed so desperately in many churches that if you fog a mirror and are willing to show up on time, you will become a leader. In contrast with this, the Apostles call the church to select people who meet three qualifications: a good reputation; fullness of the Holy Spirit; fullness of wisdom. What I find fascinating are the things NOT included – they do not require any prior experience in running a food ministry, they do not require any leadership experience, they do not require formal education. There’s a lesson here for all of us (especially those in areas of leadership) – You can teach competency but you cannot teach character.

4. The Leaders Come from the Complaining Group
“This proposal pleased the whole company. So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicoloaus, a convert from Antioch.” (Acts 6:5)

Something that is easy to miss while reading this passage is that all seven of these men have Greek names. This is significant because they are part of the “Hellenistic Jews” who were complaining that “their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution.” It is tempting as a church member to complain about issues in the church – this isn’t bad in and of itself. Unfortunately, we tend to complain and are not willing to be part of the solution. Friend, do NOT complain to your pastor about an issue in the church if YOU are not willing to be part of the solution. God shows us issues in our congregations not so we can complain and bicker about them but rather so we can step up and be part of the solution.

5. The Apostles Confirm/Commission the Leaders
“They had them stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.” (Acts 6:6)

Finally, what we see the Apostles confirming the selection of the church and commissioning these men for the work of ministry. The act of laying their hands on them is symbolic of the Apostles transferring a portion of their authority to these men so they can accomplish the duty they have been given. As leaders, it is necessary that we delegate many of the tasks before us. Unfortunately, one of the great failures of delegation is we delegate the responsibility without also giving the authority. The Apostles are wisely doing both.


Why is all of this important? Luke makes it clear at the end of this passage that three incredible things happen in the church as a result of this delegation process. Here is how he closes this section in verse 7: “So (or, as a result of this) the word of God spread, the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly in number, and a large group of priests (former enemies of Jesus) become obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7).

Interested in learning more? This all comes from the message I preached last Sunday at Renovation Church. Here’s a link to the “Sermon Discussion Guide” I wrote for my church as well as the video of the message. I am leading an online small group tonight discussing this text and you are welcomed to join us. Connection information is also below.

Book of Acts – Week 16 – Discussion Guide

Renovation Church – Connection Information

(If you are reading this in your e-mail, you will need to go to the actual page to see the sermon).

Midweek Small Group

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We will be meeting for a time of prayer and to study the Scriptures on Wednesday, April 1st at 8:00pm (note the change of time from last week). The basis of our time together will be the Sermon Discussion Guide from last Sunday’s message through Acts 6:1-7. You can find the sermon discussion guide here: https://tylerramsbey.com/2020/03/29/sermon-discussion-guide-sunday-march-29th/

All are invited to join us! The meeting will be via Zoom and the connection information is below:

Computer:
Go to this link and it should automatically download the needed plug-in and launch the meeting. A webcam is encouraged but is not required. https://zoom.us/j/135464957

Phone Call:
Call: 1-312-626-6799
You will then be prompted to enter the Meeting ID.
Meeting ID: 135 464 957

Smart Phone:
Download the Zoom app. When prompted to connect to the meeting, enter the Meeting ID (135 464 957)

The Cost of the Spirit (Acts 6:8-15)

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This Sunday, we will be continuing our series through the Book of Acts by looking at the cost of being filled and led by the Holy Spirit as seen in the life of Stephen. Although the Holy Spirit is given freely as the result of prayer, being full of the Holy Spirit will lead to opposition, slander, and false accusations.

All are invited to join us! Please note, as a result of COVID-19, this service will be online via Zoom. Although it’s an online service, it will be fully interactive and as close to possible as all of us being in the same room together. The “doors” open at 9:30am and the service begins at 10am. The connection information is below:

You can connect in 3 ways:

Computer:
Go to this link and it should automatically download the needed plug-in and launch the meeting. A webcam is encouraged but is not required. https://zoom.us/j/662467207

Phone Call:
Call: 1-312-626-6799
You will then be prompted to enter the Meeting ID.
Meeting ID: 662 467 207

Smart Phone:
Download the Zoom app. When prompted to connect to the meeting, enter the Meeting ID (662 467 207)

Sermon Discussion Guide (Sunday, March 29th)

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Here’s the sermon discussion guide from the message from Acts 6:1-7 today at Renovation Church. We will be meeting as a small group via Zoom on Wednesday at 7:30pm to discuss these questions. We’d be honored to have you join us!

Book of Acts – Week 16 – Discussion Guide (Download Link)

Before working on this discussion guide, please do the following:

  1. Watch the message from this past Sunday if you were unable to attend the online service. You can find the message on our Facebook Page and on our website (renovationchurchsd.com).

 

  1. Spend 5 minutes or so in prayer. You can either pray through the “Lord’s Prayer” or simply share what is on your heart. It is also good to spend at least 1 full minute in silence so that God can quiet your heart and mind as you prepare to study the Scriptures.

 

Discussion Questions

  1. Read slowly and prayerfully through Acts 6:1-7. What stands out to you? What questions do you still have after reading through the text?

 

 

  1. Tyler shared that in this passage Satan is trying to destroy the church through division. Have you ever witnessed division in the church? What steps do you think the church can take to prevent division?

 

 

  1. The first part of the Apostle’s solution to the problem was to gather the entire church together. Why was it so important for the entire church to be involved rather than just the Apostles?

 

 

  1. The Apostles give three qualifications for those serving in the leadership role of the daily distribution: they must have a good reputation; they must be full of the Holy Spirit; and they must be full of wisdom. In your own words, explain what each of these mean and why it’s important.

 

Good Reputation:

 

 

 

Full of the Holy Spirit:

 

 

 

Full of wisdom:

 

 

 

  1. If you recognize that you are lacking in one of those three areas (all of us are) what is one or two specific steps you can take this week to grow in that area?

 

 

  1. Think for a minute about your own church (even if you’re not part of Renovation Church). Is there any areas of responsibilities you can assume so that the pastor(s) of your church can devote themselves more fully to the ministry of the Word and prayer?

 

 

  1. Finally, as you think through Acts 6:1-7 and reflect on the message from last Sunday, what is one way you are seeking to apply this message to your life?