Teacher Notes

Bible Stories for Adults


Acts 8

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - The Ministry of Peter (Acts 9:32-11:18)
    Bible Words to Remember:
      God our Savior ... wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4

Opening Prayer

The Church's Mission (Acts 1:8)
    What mission did Jesus give to His church before He ascended?
      Matthew 28:19 = Go and make disciples of all nations
    How could this small group of only 120 accomplish such a huge task? = Spirit would empower
      Acts 1:8 = Progress from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria to ends of the earth

    Where did this group begin their ministry and why? = Spirit came there at Pentecost
      Acts 1:4, 12; 2:1, 4 = Jerusalem, because Jesus told them to start there
    How effective were they in Jerusalem?
      Acts 2:46-47; 4:4, 16; 6:7 = Grew rapidly and effectively In Jerusalem
    Did the Good News move out into Judea as Jesus had said?
      Acts 5:12, 16 = Yes, but only by the Spirit bringing people, not by missionary efforts

A Gentle Reminder (Acts 6-7)
    What problem provided a reminder that Christ came for everyone, not just those in Jerusalem?
      Acts 6:1 = Hebrew Jews got preferential treatment over Greek Jews (still only Jews)
    How might the solution to this problem have been a gentle reminder to look outward?
      Acts 6:3-5, 9 = Greek-named deacons, Stephen preached in Greek-speaking synagogues
    What did Stephen say that should have also reminded the Christians of moving past Jerusalem?
      Acts 7:48-50 = God doesn't just live in the temple or Jerusalem, but in heaven & earth

God Turns Evil to Good (Acts 7:54-8:4)
    Of what did Stephen accuse the Jews that could warn a church focused only on its home town?
      Acts 7:51 = Resisting the Holy Spirit, ignoring His guidance and calling to go out
    How did the Sanhedrin respond to this accusation?
      Acts 7:57-58 = They stoned and killed him
    Did killing Stephen satisfy the Jews who were trying to protect their faith?
      Acts 8:1, 3 = An over-zealous Pharisee persecuted Christians thru Judea & Samaria
    Usually only men were held in jail before a trial. Why did Saul even put women in jail?
      Galatians 1:13-14 = He was trying to destroy the church
    How did God use this evil act to help His need for the church to move beyond Jerusalem?
      Acts 8:4 = Those who had been scattered preached the Word wherever they went

Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria (Acts 8:5-6)
    How did the church stay together if they all ran from the dangers in Jerusalem?
      Acts 8:1b-2 = The apostles & godly men stayed to keep the church together
      Dying unburied was a great dishonor. It was illegal to publicly mourn for a criminal.
    How did the central church in Jerusalem stay in touch with the scattered Christians?
      Acts 8:5 = Philip, one of the 7 deacons went and preached in Samaria

    Did Philip go to preach to the scattered Christians or to witness to Samaritans?
      Acts 8:6 = He brought the Good News to the Samaritans
    Why is this a significant step for the early Christians?
      John 4:9 = They were Jews and had been raised despising Samaritans
    How would Samaritans feel about rumors that Christians spoke against venerating the temple?
      John 4:19-20 = They'd like it; Samaritans worshipped on Mount Gerizim
    What would Jesus have thought about this teaching?
      John 4:21-24 = It is exactly what He preached and clearly explained to the S. woman

    With the Pentateuch as their Scriptures, would the Samaritans accept a Messiah from the Jews?
      Deuteronomy 18:17-19 = God had promised a great prophet from their brothers
    How likely is it that Philip would have reminded the Samaritans of this?
      Acts 3:22-23; 7:37 = Peter and Stephen had already used these words with the Jews

The Great Power (Acts 8:7-13)
    How effective was Philip, a Greek-speaking Jew, in Samaria?
      Acts 8:7-8 = The Spirit gave him great powers, many healed, great joy in the city
    Had these Samaritans seen great powers before?
      Acts 8:9 = Yes, a man in the city named Simon was a terrific magician
    Was Simon ignored because of his great ego?
      Acts 8:10-11 = No, they assumed his great powers were from God or he was a god
    Did the Samaritans view Philip as another great magician like Simon?
      Acts 8:12 = No, they listened to what he said about Jesus (v6) and became Christians
    Did Simon get mad about this new competition and try to discredit Philip?
      Acts 8:13 = No, he was impressed by Philip's Greater Powers and followed him

Let's Check This Out (Acts 8:14-17)
    What did the church in Jerusalem think when they heard about Philip's activities in Samaria?
      Acts 8:14 = They sent the head cheese, Peter & John, to check it out
    What did Peter and John find?
      Acts 8:15-17 = They found Christians who needed the Spirit, they prayed it on them
    Why would God have withheld the Spirit from the Samaritans until Peter and John arrived?
      Acts 11:1-3, 15-18 = So the church understood God was moving them outward
    Couldn't they have learned from the evening news? Why did Peter have to go bring the Spirit?
      Matthew 16:17-19 = Jesus gave Peter the keys to heaven to open the door of faith
      = Peter opened doors at Pentecost, now for Samaritans, later for Gentiles (Cornelius)
      = Brought acceptance by and incorporation into the one Christian church

Anything for a Buck (Acts 8:18-23)
    What did Simon the magician think when he saw the Spirit being given to the new Christians?
      Acts 8:18-19 = He thought it was a great trick & offered to pay them to teach it to him
    What did Peter think of this opportunity to fund some great new church programs?
      Acts 8:20-23 = He condemned Simon for his evil motives and lack of faith
    But verse 13 says Simon believed and was baptized. How could Peter accuse him of scheming?
      Matthew 7:15-20 = Jesus had warned Peter and the others about false prophets

Faith (Acts 8:24)
    But Simon believed that Jesus was the Messiah. Doesn't that mean that he was a Christian?
      Matthew 7:21-23 = No, just belief in Jesus as Lord doesn't save. Even Satan believes.
    So what was Simon missing?
      Romans 10:9-11 = Must believe in your heart - confess & trust and you will be saved
    What are the three elements of an adult faith? = Bethel New Testament Picture 12
      Notitia = Knowledge - Must know something before you can have faith
      Assensus = Assent (believe) - Must accept that knowledge as truth
      Fiducia = Trust - Faith involves putting trust into that which is accepted as truth

    Was Simon rebuked for not developing his faith beyond mere assent?
      Ephesians 2:8-9 = No, but for not accepting the faith that only comes as a free gift
    Did Simon see the error of his ways, repent of his sin and ask for this saving faith?
      Acts 8:24 = No, he asked for pardon & forgiveness without repenting

Outward Bound (Acts 8:25-29)
    Did this experience in Samaria effectively open the church to inclusion of these half-brothers?
      Acts 8:25 = Yes, Peter and John purposely witnessed through Samaria on way home
    Did Philip focus his ministry on witnessing to the Samaritans? = Why go to desert to witness?
      Acts 8:26 = No, he followed the Spirit's lead and direction, even to the empty desert
    Why would the Spirit send a great evangelist like Philip out into the desert?
      Acts 8:27-29 = He sent him to a specific individual - a non-Jew God-fearer

    Proselyte - A Gentile who believed in God, was baptized and circumcised
      God-fearer - A Gentile who believed in god and was baptized, but not circumcised
    Why would this man likely be a God-fearer and not a full proselyte?
      Deuteronomy 23:1 = A eunuch (castrated man) was too mutilated to enter Judaism
    Why might he be so interested in the book of Isaiah to have a copy?
      Isaiah 56:3-5 = He was included into God's family despite being a foreigner & eunuch

    Ethiopia - South of Egypt, north of current Ethiopia between Aswan & Khartoum
      Ruled by the queen mother (title of Candace)
        The king was the child of the sun and was too holy for government
      The eunuch was a very important official - "Secretary of the Treasury"
      Only important and rich could get a copy of a book of Scripture

An Opportunity to Witness (Acts 8:30-35)
    What did Philip do with this opportunity to witness to this Ethiopian? = People read aloud then
      Acts 8:30-31 = He casually offered & was invited to explain a prophesy from Scripture
    What section had the Ethiopian so confused and why? = Jews thought it meant the Israel nation
      Acts 8:32-34 = Isaiah 53 on the Suffering Servant (describes Jesus' passion)
    How did Philip respond to this great lead-in?
      Acts 8:35 = He began with that very passage ... and told him the Good News

A Response of Faith (Acts 8:36-38)
    How effective was Philip's witness? = Philip likely was gun-shy because of Simon (v37)
      Acts 8:36-38 = The Ethiopian became a true believer and was baptized
    Was it difficult for Philip to provide this witness to the Ethiopian?
      1 Peter 3:15 = No, he was prepared to give an answer to the reason for his hope
    Was Philip able to respond so well because he had a carefully prepared witness speech?
      Luke 21:15 = No, the Spirit gave him the words, just as He will give us the words

The Spirit's Direction (Acts 8:39-40)
    How else do we see the Spirit's hand besides the desert meeting and the Scripture selection?
      Acts 8:39 = The Spirit suddenly took Philip away (disappeared in open desert)
      Note: Simon would have loved this one!
    How did Philip react to this strange and amazing experience?
      Acts 8:40 = He saw God's hands and continued to preach everywhere he went

Closing Prayer

Copyright © 1998 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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