Youth Lesson: Spirited Living
While we are unable to meet for Sunday School, I will post an adaptation of the youth Sunday School lesson every Wednesday. Think of the lesson as a guide to discuss a passage of Scripture as a family. Each lesson will include some introductory material, a Scripture reading, questions for discussion, and a short prayer. I encourage you to take just 15-30 minutes every week over dinner, at the end of the day, or whenever best fits your family schedule to actively engage your students in this opportunity to grow together as a family in faith.
The first two chapters of Acts tell us about Jesus’ final days on earth and what his followers did immediately after Jesus’ ascension. Chapter 2 begins with the story of Pentecost, which we will celebrate in just a couple of weeks. The story of Pentecost includes God empowering people to hear the Gospel being preached in their own languages and the coming of the Holy Spirit. The disciples preach the good news that all can repent, follow Jesus, and receive the Holy Spirit. Thousands of people chose to be baptized and follow Jesus that day.
Our story picks up in the days, weeks, or months following Pentecost. It is more of a summation of what happened during this time after Pentecost. This week’s text is descriptive of the church, not necessarily prescriptive. In other words, the author of the book of Acts isn’t necessarily calling or commanding the church to follow the example of the early church but is just describing what the early church did and what happened as a result. While we might not be called today to do the exact same thing these early followers of Jesus did (or maybe some of us are!), we can certainly be inspired by this story.
- What do the early believers devote themselves to? What do you think it means that they “devoted” themselves to these activities?
- Verse 44 says, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” What do you think this means? What do you think this means their everyday life looked like?
- After describing the life of the church, the passage concludes by saying, “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Why do you think this was happening? What types of interactions do you think the early church had with those outside of the church (how would “outsiders” have even known what these first Christians were doing)?
The tradition of sharing with those in need is a central part of Jesus’ teaching. Think about Jesus’ story about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). Jesus condemns the rich man for never showing mercy and caring for Lazarus, and he points out that this is what God has asked of his people since the day of Moses. The church in Acts 2 is doing what God has called them to since the beginning of time and impressed upon them by the teachings and actions of Jesus.
In our society, we often measure success by wealth and what we own. This passage challenges that thinking. God does not condemn wealth – being successful, even by our cultural standards, is not inherently wrong. God does condemn, however, gaining wealth in unethical ways and not caring for others in the ways that we can. This passage describes both how the early church dedicated itself to authentic worship and how their dedication to follow in the way of Jesus led them to make noteworthy efforts to care for one another. This passage should inspire us to consider our own devotion to worship as well as how we allow that to transform the way we are living. As we read this text, we are prompted to consider whether or not the way we live would draw others to Christ.
- What would it look like today in terms of how we spend our time daily or weekly to devote ourselves to the study of God’s Word? To fellowship with others? To prayer?
- What is the importance of “breaking bread together in their homes” and what kinds of things can we do to fellowship together in the same way?
- What is one thing about the way we live right now that we can change in order to better devote ourselves to authentic worship?
- What is one thing about the way we live right now that we can change in order to better meet the needs of others?
Dear God, we are grateful for the stories of your followers across time and around the world that can inspire us to follow you more faithfully. Help us to root ourselves in you that we may transform the world. Amen.