Acts: The Holy
Spirit at Work
in Believers
Based on the Independent-Study Textbook
by George O. Wood
Berean School of the Bible
a Global University School
1211 S. Glenstone Ave.
Springeld, MO, USA 65804
Phone 800.443.1083
Fax 417.862.0863
Global University
Springeld, Missouri, USA
© 2010 Global University
All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture is taken from the Holy Bible,
NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984
International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world.
Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers Independent Study Textbook
PN 01.16.01
ISBN 978-0-7617-1567-2
Printed in the United States of America
Dr. George O. Wood currently serves as the General Superintendent of
the General Council of the Assemblies of God. The son of missionary
parents, he pastored Newport-Mesa Christian Center in Costa
Mesa, California, from 1971 until 1993. In addition to his pastoral
responsibilities there, he conducted two daily radio and television
programs and served as part-time professor at Vanguard University
and as Adjunct Professor of Preaching at Fuller Theological Seminary.
During this time he served as the assistant superintendent of the Southern
California District of the Assemblies of God from 1988 until 1993.
Prior to being elected as the chief executive ofcer of the Assemblies
of God, Dr. Wood served the Fellowship as its general secretary for
fourteen years. He has authored ve books and numerous articles in
Christian periodicals.
After receiving his bachelor of arts degree from Evangel University in
Springeld, Missouri, he earned a juris doctorate from Western State
University College of Law in Fullerton, California. He also holds the
Doctor of Pastoral Theology degree from Fuller Theological Seminary
in Pasadena, California. Dr. Wood is an attorney and a member of the
California State Bar.
This IFM was designed and written by Between the Lines Creative
Services in Springeld, Missouri. Editing, development, and production
services were provided by Global University staff and faculty.
IFM Design and
PREPARING STUDENTS FOR FINAL EXAMS ..........................................................x
Session 1 Understanding Acts ....................................... 13
1.1 Approaching Acts .................................................................................... 14
1.2 Appreciating Acts .................................................................................... 15
1.3 Analyzing Acts ........................................................................................ 17
Session 2 From the Resurrection to Pentecost ........... 19
2.1 The Gift Our Father Promised ................................................................ 19
2.2 The Work of the Church .......................................................................... 21
2.3 Steps to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit ................................................... 23
Session 3 The Holy Spirit Is Poured Out ....................... 27
3.1 Pentecost Fullled ................................................................................... 27
3.2 Signs of Spirit Baptism ........................................................................... 29
3.3 Four Purposes of Speaking in Tongues ................................................... 30
Session 4 The Birth of the Church ................................ 33
4.1 Responses to Pentecost ........................................................................... 33
4.2 The Pattern of Peters Preaching ............................................................. 35
4.3 The Biblical Pattern of a Dynamic Church ............................................. 36
Session 5 Peter and John Heal a Lame Man ................ 39
5.1 Embracing the Needs around Us ............................................................. 39
5.2 Explaining the Gospel ............................................................................. 41
5.3 Enduring Hardship and Testing ............................................................... 42
iv Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
Session 6 The Growth of
the Church ...................................................... 45
6.1 The Purifying of the Church ................................................................... 45
6.2 The Powerful Church .............................................................................. 47
6.3 The Persistent Church ............................................................................. 48
Session 7 Stephen: What Good Can Come
of Trouble? ..................................................... 51
7.1 Conict in the Church ............................................................................. 52
7.2 Stephen’s Arrest and Trial ....................................................................... 53
7.3 The First Martyr ...................................................................................... 56
Session 8 Scattered Seed: The Church Expands ........ 59
8.1 Mass Evangelism .................................................................................... 60
8.2 Personal Evangelism ............................................................................... 62
8.3 Seed for Future Harvests ......................................................................... 64
Session 9 The Acts of the Apostles ............................... 67
9.1 Peters Expanding Ministry .................................................................... 67
9.2 Antioch: The Changing Shape of the Church ......................................... 70
9.3 Jerusalem: The Difcult Will of God ...................................................... 71
Session 10 The First Missionary Journey ....................... 75
10.1 To Galatia: On the Cutting Edge of Spiritual Growth ............................ 76
10.2 The Galatian Ministry: How to Minister Successfully ........................... 77
10.3 The Jerusalem Council: A Biblical Pattern of Conict Resolution ......... 78
Session 11 The Second Missionary Journey ................. 83
11.1 The Second Missionary Journey Begins ................................................. 83
11.2 A Tale of Three Cities ............................................................................. 86
11.3 Corinth: The Final Leg of the Journey .................................................... 88
Session 12 Paul’s Third Missionary Journey ................. 91
12.1 Ephesus: Battle for a City ....................................................................... 91
12.2 From Ephesus to Jerusalem: The Rest of the Journey ............................ 95
Session 13 Paul’s Journey
to Rome .......................................................... 97
13.1 Paul’s Imprisonment in Jerusalem .......................................................... 97
13.2 Paul’s Imprisonment in Caesarea ............................................................ 99
13.3 Paul’s Imprisonment in Rome ............................................................... 100
Visual and worksheet masters for all sessions are located at
the back of this manual for your convenience.
This Instructional Facilitators Manual (IFM) was
developed to review and reinforce the essential
elements of the course Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work
in Believers. The class deliveries outlined in the
manual review the course through lecture, small group
interaction, discussion, and role-play. These elements
of communication are otherwise absent in individual
distance learning.
The purpose of reviewing the course content in a class session is to
reinforce, rehearse, amplify, and promote application of the material
taught in the course. The instructional material provided in this manual
is to be considered supplemental to the corresponding course material
and should in no way replace the content of the course. Students must be
encouraged to study and review their own course materials thoroughly
and not rely on class sessions as their sole means of instruction.
All components necessary for facilitating a classroom review of the
course content are included in this manual. Downloadable and interactive
electronic les of the material are also provided on the enclosed CD.
Ask God to help in the preparation and presentation of the course. The
Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers course and this IFM have
been designed to enable students to further God’s kingdom. “The Lord
gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding”
(Proverbs 2:6).
Any questions or comments concerning this manual should be
addressed to:
Berean School of the Bible
a Global University School
1211 South Glenstone Avenue
Springeld, Missouri 65804-0315
Phone: (800) 443-1083
Fax: (417) 862-0863
vi Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
The purpose of this Instructional Facilitators Manual
is not to tell you how to conduct your class sessions.
Rather, it is a manual with suggestions on how you
can most clearly and logically present the material.
The purpose of having a classroom experience around
the course content is to ensure that the students
enrolled in the course comprehend the material and
can successfully complete the course and related
exams. Each session of this course will offer a variety
of classroom activities and resources.
Included in this facilitators manual is a complete set of lesson plans
and instructional aids for your class presentations. The manual content
is divided into sessions that correspond directly to the chapters in the
course’s Independent-Study Textbook (IST). Feel free to modify the
presentation to match your personal style, class time available, and the
unique needs of the students.
The content for each session includes:
A quick reference to the IST lesson titles and objectives.
Topical elements essential for minimal content mastery,
indicated by
(a checked box).
Additional topical elements for extended classroom sessions,
indicated by
(an empty box).
Logos Digital Library Research references. These are
hyperlinked in the PDF le to study materials in the Logos
Digital Library System (DLS) for use by those who have this
biblical research software.
The CD provided with this manual contains an interactive PDF
version of the IFM manual, digital les of worksheets, and the
PowerPoint presentations.
The lesson plans in this manual prompt the facilitator to display visuals
indicated by a number and title. These visuals can be displayed as both
overhead transparencies and PowerPoint slides. Paper masters for preparing
overhead transparencies are provided in this manual in the section labeled
“Visuals.” Overhead transparencies can also be created by printing directly
from PDF les on the CD. PowerPoint slides are provided on the CD.
The lesson plans in this manual prompt the facilitator to distribute
worksheets and other printed material. These worksheet handouts are
What This
Manual Includes
Session Contents
Compact Disc
viiInstructions to the Facilitator
identied by number and title. Paper masters for photocopying are provided
in this manual in the section labeled “Worksheets.” These worksheets can
also be produced by printing from the PDF les provided on the CD.
You are not expected to use all the material or suggestions provided
for each session. Instead, this manual is intended to provide all the
material necessary for you to build your own presentation for the class
time you have available. The manual allows you to select which session
components you will include in your teaching sessions.
Each chapter in the IST is represented by a session in this IFM. This
allows you to allocate an entire class to one session or combine several
sessions together into a single class presentation. You may also choose
to extend a single session over more than one class presentation. For
example, some study groups will review an entire course in a few hours
using a seminar approach. Other groups will extend the course study
over several weeks or months of classes. This manual is intended to
accommodate any class structure or format.
Essential elements that will help students master the core content of the
course and adequately prepare for a nal exam are indicated by checked
boxes in the left margin. These checked items indicate the minimal
material that should be covered to adequately prepare students for a nal
exam. (Facilitators should read and understand the section below,
titled “Preparing Students for Final Exams.”) Unchecked boxes
appear next to all other elements, allowing facilitators to mark those
additional elements they intend to include in their class presentation.
Study the IST content until you are condent you have mastered the
material. Make sure you are thoroughly versed in all related Bible texts.
1. In addition to the checkboxes that are already checked, select
other IFM components you intend to present based on the
available class time and the goals of your class study.
a. Select additional session components you wish to include
by marking the blank checkboxes on the printed pages of
the IFM, or
b. Click the empty checkboxes in the interactive PDF le
on the CD. After you have built a presentation using the
PDF document, save the le to your personal computer.
You can open and modify this PDF le as often as you
like or create different presentations and save them under
different le names.
2. Enter lecture and discussion notes in the margins of each
page in the PDF document. You may also write in the
margins of the printed IFM pages.
3. Locate and prepare visuals and worksheets corresponding
to the checked boxes. To view a worksheet from within
the interactive PDF le, click on the worksheet icon next
How to Use
This Manual
Building Your
viii Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
to the description of the worksheet in the IFM text. This
opens the worksheet for you. To return to the IFM, click the
worksheet title.
a. Prepare visuals by selecting PowerPoint slides from the
CD (you will probably want to save the PowerPoint les
to your computer). Assemble these slides into a slide
show that corresponds to your custom presentation. Use
the Custom Show menu in PowerPoint to select slides for
your classroom session. This will allow you to display the
slides consecutively as you work through your material.
Note: The PowerPoint slides for all pre-checked visuals
have been assembled for you in a quick-review slide
show. To use this slide show, click on the “Quick-review
Slide Show” in the left corner of the title slide.
b. If you are using overhead transparencies, create these
prior to class time, and have them available in order,
according to your presentation.
c. Print or photocopy enough worksheets or handouts to
accommodate your number of students.
d. Practice with your PowerPoint slideshow to conrm that
selected slides are available and in the appropriate order
relative to your presentation.
4. If you own a Logos Bible Software digital library, study
the resource material listed at the end of each session. This
research will equip you with complementary knowledge to
signicantly enhance your students’ learning experience.
5. Keep reviewing the IFM material you have selected until
you are condent enough to deliver a clear presentation and
adequately prepared to address students’ questions.
If you have the Logos DLS software, you may want to add background
materials or items of interest to your class time from the rich store of
materials in the Logos library. Clicking on the links in the Logos Digital
Library Research box at the end of each session in the PDF le will take
you to specic materials in the Logos Leaders Library that address topics
of interest from that session. Note: Some PDF readers may not support
these links. The Logos resources can always be accessed by manually
navigating to the source in your open Logos software. You may also
consider using Adobe Reader 9 or Foxit PDF reader.
Berean School of the Bible courses are also available from Logos Bible
Software for use within a Logos DLS. The various libraries are available
for purchase at a discounted price from Global University. For more
information about Logos Bible Software library systems and Berean
courseware, go to
You are not expected to use all the material or suggestions provided for
each session. Instead, this manual is intended to provide all the material
necessary for you to build your own presentation for the class time you
Logos Links
Teaching Methods
ixInstructions to the Facilitator
have available. The manual allows you to select the session components
you will include in your teaching sessions.
A lecture is a discourse before an audience for the purpose of instruction.
While lecture is popular for its ease of use, in comparison with other
methodologies, it is less effective in aiding understanding and retention
of material. For this reason, facilitators should make only limited use of
this teaching method.
Questions are used to communicate (rhetorical learning) and test
knowledge (factual learning) as well as to guide and facilitate discussion
(thinking ability). Consider using the Test Yourself quizzes and Unit
Progress Evaluations (UPEs) as part of question and answer exercises.
We encourage you to make use of a variety of techniques to promote
relevant, fruitful, and guided discussion. Kenneth Eble summarizes
discussion as “a context where the students can voice their specic
questions, confusions, and doubts and where they can put ideas together,
frame hypotheses, and be assisted in their ability to learn on their own”
(Eble, Kenneth. 1988. The Craft of Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-
Bass, 85).
Role-playing allows learners to actively engage in the material being
studied. Physical involvement through dramatization reinforces subject
material because it provides visualization and application (Eble, 36).
The facilitators personal experiences can be a signicant benet to
students. However, accounts of personal ministry experience should
be carefully chosen for relevance to the topic and the students. These
personal accounts should be limited so as not to dominate the discussion.
Question and
Personal Sharing
Berean School of the Bible courses are designed to
be used by individuals who are studying on their
own; however, learning is enhanced when students
study in groups with a facilitator. The study group
and District School of Ministry options provide
relational networking, motivation, accountability,
and enrichment for busy adults who sometimes need
encouragement and accountability.
A quality experience for students in such a group learning environment
largely depends on committed and motivated facilitators. Such
committed facilitators will naturally be concerned about how their
students perform on the nal exams. Since nal exams are designed
to measure students’ success in mastering the course content, it is
understandable that facilitators will focus on preparing students to do
well on these exams.
It is extremely important that facilitators, as well as group administrators,
understand the meaning of a nal exam and the signicance of a nal
course grade. How course material is reviewed in preparation for a
nal exam will determine what a nal grade actually means and its
signicance in measuring student mastery.
Berean School of the Bible nal exams are designed to measure students’
mastery of the full breadth of each course’s content. This means that the
exam score represents approximately how much of the course content a
student learned. For example, a nal exam score of 43 correct answers
out of a possible 50 questions indicates that the student mastered
approximately 86 percent of the course content. The nal exam grade
will only have this accuracy if, prior to taking the exam, no one identies
for the student specic questions or information that will appear in
the exam.
The meaning of a nal grade is altered if a student has previous
knowledge about exam questions. If a student is informed about what an
exam’s questions will cover prior to taking the test, the student’s score
will not reect mastery of the course’s breadth. Instead, it will only
reect mastery of the questions contained in the exam. For example, a
facilitator reviews the course content but also indicates each piece of
information that will be included on the nal exam. The nal exam grade
for students exposed to such a review cannot be said to measure mastery
of the entire course content. Instead, the exam score only indicates
mastery of the specic information related to test questions.
Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
It is critical to an educational program administered nationwide that nal
course grades reect a standard meaning. The integrity of the Berean
School of the Bible transcript grades can be compromised if some
students are being tested over the entire course content and others tested
only over limited and pre-identied lists of information. The result would
be that Berean grades would not retain a standard, accurate meaning
regarding student achievement.
Therefore, it is crucial that facilitators do not identify for students
information that will be included on their nal exams. This does not
mean that facilitators should avoid reviewing tested material or preparing
students to do well on the nal exam. These IFMs are designed to
fully prepare students for the exams. Facilitators who include all of the
prechecked components in their sessions will have covered all material
that students will be tested on in the nal exams. Students will be
adequately prepared even though they have not been told which specic
information will appear on the exam or the form in which questions will
be presented.
Facilitators may inform students that all the material covered by exam
questions will be addressed during the group sessions. However,
facilitators should NOT identify specic information related to test
questions, even by subtle gestures. This standard approach will be
helpful, especially for groups reviewing an entire course’s content in one
extended session, such as a seminar format.
The Berean School of the Bible faculty and administration appreciate
all efforts by study group and ministry school personnel to protect the
integrity of the exam process. This mutual cooperation maintains the
dependable standard represented by Berean academic transcripts and
helps to ensure the quality education BSB students deserve.
Preparing Students for Final Exams
12 Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
1 Chapter 1 Understanding Acts
1.1 Approaching Acts
1.2 Appreciating Acts
1.3 Analyzing Acts
Worksheet 1 Solving the Mystery of Who Wrote
Visual 1 Solving the Mystery of When Acts
Was Written
Visual 2 The Bridge
Visual 3 Four Themes of Acts
Worksheet 2 Help Wanted: Spirit-Empowered
Ministry Opportunities
Visual 4 The Church’s Mission
Visual 5 Three Common Ways to Outline
2 Chapter 2 From the Resurrection to
2.1 The Gift Our Father Promised
2.2 The Work of the Church
2.3 Steps to the Baptism in the
Holy Spirit
Visual 6 The Holy Spirit: The Gift Our Father
Visual 7 Why You Should Obey the Lord’s
Command to Be Filled with the Holy
Visual 8 The Work of the Church
Worksheet 3 I am a Witness
Visual 9 Steps to the Baptism in the Holy
13Session 1 ▪ Understanding Acts
Lesson 1.1 Approaching Acts
Analyze the title, author, and date of Acts.
Lesson 1.2 Appreciating Acts
Explain how Acts bridges the Gospels and Pauline Letters.
Identify how Acts traces the growth of the church.
Discuss how Acts serves as a guide for faith and
Indicate how the Holy Spirit is key to witnessing.
Lesson 1.3 Analyzing Acts
Explain two ways to outline Acts.
Chapter Introduction
The book of Acts chronicles the birth and growth of the early church. The
Holy Spirit powerfully changed individual lives and, through them, the
world. Starting with just over one hundred believers in Jerusalem after
Jesus’ ascension, the church grew by thousands on the Day of Pentecost,
increasing exponentially as the good news spread to Rome, the heart of
the Roman Empire. Today’s world is desperate for such change—and a
demonstration of such power. By pursuing the Acts blueprint, today’s
believers can set out to win the world for God. This session overviews
Acts: the example set for church growth, faith and apologetics, and the
Holy Spirit’s role in spreading the gospel. Every believer is called to
ministry. Studying Acts will help us follow the apostles’ example in
turning our world upside down in the power of the Spirit.
14 Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
Approaching Acts
Group Discussion:
Although believers began calling Luke’s
book the Acts of the Apostles around AD 150, some people have
argued that a more accurate title would be the Acts of the Holy
Spirit. Which do you think is a better title? Explain your choice.
The best title for Acts may be the Acts of the Holy Spirit. Although Acts
1:13 lists all the apostles’ names, most are never mentioned again. The
Holy Spirit is emphasized more than any of the apostles. Luke refers to
the Spirit more than fty times in Acts.
Review with students.
If Luke were to write a book featuring you
and/or your church, would the title Acts of the Holy Spirit be appropriate?
Why or why not?
Distribute Worksheet 1—Solving the Mystery of Who
Wrote Acts.
You can choose to allow students time to complete
the worksheet independently or complete it as a group.
Emphasize that the evidence within Acts narrows the time of its writing down to a
small window of time in which we can be quite convinced the book was written.
Solving the Mystery of When Acts Was Written
Historical fact: Paul was rst imprisoned in Rome (AD 60–63).
Corollary fact: Acts chronicles this imprisonment in Acts 28.
Evidence suggests: Acts was written after this imprisonment.
Historical fact: Jerusalem was destroyed by the future Roman
Emperor, Titus, in AD 70.
Corollary fact: Acts makes no mention of this fact.
Evidence suggests: Acts was written before AD 70.
Historical fact: Rome burned in AD 64.
Corollary fact: Nero blamed Christians, igniting a wave of
Evidence suggests: Paul’s good relationship with Roman authorities
in the book of Acts suggests it was written before
this event.
Conclusion: Most Bible teachers believe Luke wrote Acts
around AD 63.
Group Discussion:
Does it matter when Acts was written and
by whom? Why or why not?
Answers may include the following: Gathering as much trustworthy
information as we can about the author helps us to see that Acts is
authentic and was written in close proximity to the events it covers;
15Session 1 ▪ Understanding Acts
placing the growth of the church into proper historical context is
helpful; when we nd solid answers about things not clearly stated
in Acts (time of writing, authorship), we gain assurance that we can
discover the right answers for other questions we do not yet know.
Appreciating Acts
Discuss why knowing the stories of Paul’s missionary journeys to places like
Galatia, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, and Colosse would enhance our reading of
Paul’s letters that were addressed to those churches.
The Bridge
In the New Testament, Acts is a bridge between the Gospels and Paul’s
letters. At rst the New Testament had only two parts: the four Gospels
and the letters Paul wrote to various churches and believers. This left a
gap in the written history of the church. [See Visual 2 for illustration.]
Review the four themes of Acts.
Four Themes of Acts
1. Bridging the gap between the Gospels and Paul’s letters
2. Tracing the growth of the church
a. Growing numerically (from the number of believers who
could t in one room to many thousands of Christians)
b. Spreading geographically (from Jerusalem to Rome)
c. Expanding missionally (from reaching only Jews to reaching
Samaritans, then Gentiles)
d. Growing theologically (from strict adherence to the law of
Moses to salvation by grace through faith)
3. Guiding faith and apologetics
4. Emphasizing the Holy Spirit’s power for witnessing and service
Group Discussion:
Which of the four themes of Acts seems
most important for you at this point in your life and ministry?
Answers will vary.
16 Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
Group Discussion:
How are each of the four themes critical for
the church and those who minister today?
Answers may include (1) the idea that knowing the history of the
churches illuminates the teaching in Paul’s letters to those churches;
(2) tips for church growth and encouragement to evangelize; (3)
many basics of the faith are claried in Acts, such as the relationship
between grace and the Law; (4) we gain encouragement through the
examples of witnessing and ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Review with students.
Briey summarize the four areas of church
growth chronicled in Acts: numeric, geographic, missional, and
theological. Discuss how this still stands as a template for church growth
in the twenty-rst century. You may want to share from your own
experience how a church you were involved with grew in all four areas
and challenge students to talk about what they can do to spur growth in
their own churches in these ways.
Review with students.
Acts traces the growth of the church from
the starting point of Jerusalem, the site of Christ’s crucixion and
resurrection, to Rome, the heart of the mighty Roman Empire. Discuss
the signicance of this—of starting where we are and expanding our
sphere of ministry and inuence as God opens doors. Share your own
insights—and encourage students to share theirs—as to what lessons
from this we can apply to our own evangelistic and church growth goals.
Group Discussion:
Acts places great emphasis on the church’s
outreach to people of all races and cultures. How well do you think
churches today are doing in following this example? Explain. Is
cultural and racial unity and inclusiveness important? Is a church
“failing” if it includes people of only one race or culture? Explain.
Answers will vary.
Review with students.
Perhaps Luke’s greatest purpose in Acts was
to emphasize the ministry of the Holy Spirit through believers. In his
Gospel, Luke stated that Jesus depended on the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14,
18). He also recorded Jesus’ promise that the Spirit would come to all
believers (Luke 11:13; 24:49). But in Acts, Luke emphasized the Spirit
fty-ve times. He emphasized that the Holy Spirit is the key to effective
witnessing and must be the source of all we do for Christ.
Distribute Worksheet 2—Help Wanted: Spirit-Empowered
Ministry Opportunities.
Allow time for students to complete
their worksheets before coming back together to discuss practical
opportunities for ministry open to them right now.
Review with students.
Consider sharing from your own experience
some unique and valuable ways you have seen laypeople serve God and
the church through the power of the Holy Spirit. Challenge students to be
more conscious of the ministry opportunities all around us and commit to
serving in every way they can.
17Session 1 ▪ Understanding Acts
Analyzing Acts
Ask students to discuss whether they think this mandate still applies to the
church today and, if so, how well we are doing. Notice the source of power for
fullling the directive—the Holy Spirit at work in believers.
The Church’s Mission
Jesus said:
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will
be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the
ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Group Discussion:
Where is “Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria,
and the whole earth” in terms of your personal witnessing and
ministry? Could God be calling you to take it to the next level?
Answers will vary.
Explore three common ways to outline Acts.
Three Common Ways to Outline Acts
1. Outlining geographically
a. Jerusalem Acts 1–7
b. Judea and Samaria Acts 8–12
c. The whole earth Acts 13–28
2. Outlining based on the ministries of Peter and Paul
a. Peter Acts 1–12
b. Paul Acts 13–28
3. Outlining according to messages preached
a. Peter Acts 1–12
b. Paul Acts 13–28
Review with students.
It may help students remember the three
different ways of outlining Acts when they realize that it all comes back
to Peter and Paul. When outlining Acts geographically, the ministries in
Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria coincide with the ministry of Peter, the
apostle to the Jews. When the mission expands to the whole earth, the
focus shifts to Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.
18 Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
When outlining Acts according to messages, the sermons in Acts 1–12
are primarily preached by Peter, while those recorded in Acts 13–28 are
overwhelmingly preached by Paul.
Group Discussion:
Which way of organizing Acts is most
helpful to you? Why?
Answers will vary.
Larry Richards and Lawrence O. Richards, The Teacher’s Commentary,
Includes Index. (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1987), 756. See Article, “Acts
and the Epistles.”
D. Thaine Norris, Logos Deluxe Map Set, Contains 189 Maps by the Review
and Herald Publishing Association and 13 Maps Created by the Logos Bible
Atlas. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997 c1995). See
“Acts” for 22 maps based on the book of Acts.
19Session 2 ▪ From the Resurrection to Pentecost
From the
Resurrection to
Lesson 2.1 The Gift Our Father Promised
Analyze the promise, the command, the gift, and the
Baptizer in Acts 1.
Lesson 2.2 The Work of the Church
Explain the plan, the place, the power, and the purpose of
witnessing. Relate these to self and others.
Lesson 2.3 Steps to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Identify four attitudes or actions that precede the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Chapter Introduction
The book of Acts features the last words of Jesus on earth—telling
the disciples to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit—as well as the
rst actions of the church in the power of that same Holy Spirit. The
juxtaposition is signicant: waiting for the Holy Spirit made possible
the great acts of the believers and unparalleled growth of the church. As
believers today, we can learn much from this example. No matter how
eager we are to serve God, no matter how determined or committed, we
cannot truly achieve all that we could unless we wait for the Holy Spirit.
His power, His guidance, and His wisdom enable us to reach out and
meet the needs of our troubled world while drawing people to our Lord.
We must ll up before we can pour out to others. The Holy Spirit—don’t
leave home without Him!
The Gift Our Father Promised
Group Discussion:
In what ways was it good for the disciples
that Jesus go away? What is the benet for believers today?
Jesus was one Person in one place while on earth. But when He went
away, He sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can be with every
20 Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
believer, thus multiplying the ministry and effectiveness of the church.
Each believer can live with the constant presence and inlling of the
Holy Spirit.
The most precious gift a person can receive after salvation is the gift of being
lled with the Holy Spirit. Remind students that each Person in the Trinity plays a
role in our being baptized in the Spirit. Briey review these roles and each of the
following points with students.
The Holy Spirit: The Gift Our Father Promised
The Promise of God
“I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will
prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see
visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my
Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28–29).
The Command of Jesus
“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which
you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a
few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4–5).
This was the last command of Jesus before He ascended to heaven.
The Gift of the Holy Spirit
“You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
The Baptizer, Jesus
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who
is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not t to carry. He [Jesus]
will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with re” (Matthew 3:11, the
words of John the Baptist).
Review with students.
Acts records the last command of Jesus to His
followers: “Wait for the gift my father promised,” the gift of the Holy
Spirit. You may decide to share your own memory of waiting patiently
to receive something valuable—or of experiencing or observing the pain
that comes from not waiting to be properly equipped or prepared before
plowing into some task. Invite students to share similar experiences;
then commit to following Christ’s command to seek and wait for the
empowering of the Holy Spirit for ministry.
Discuss reasons we should be lled with the Spirit.
Why You Should Obey the Lord’s Command to Be Filled
with the Holy Spirit.
21Session 2 ▪ From the Resurrection to Pentecost
1. The task is bigger than you are.
No matter who you are, no matter how bright, how gifted, how
strong, you must rely on a power greater than your own.
2. The task is too hard to accomplish without the Spirit’s power.
You need the Spirit’s power to do what Jesus has called you to do.
3. The task is not yet nished.
Not everyone has heard the gospel.
Group Discussion:
In what way is the Holy Spirit a gift from
the Father?
The Holy Spirit is a precious gift that the Father gives to His children
who ask. Being lled with the Spirit is not something that can be
earned or purchased.
Group Discussion:
Have you received the gift of the Holy
Spirit? Describe your personal experience of waiting for the gift
promised by the Father, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Answers will vary.
The Work of the Church
Review with students.
Just as we would not drive a car without rst
putting gas in the tank or brew a pot of coffee without rst plugging in
the coffeemaker, so it is foolish to try to serve without rst lling up
with the Holy Spirit. You may wish to tell students about a time when the
Holy Spirit empowered you for witnessing, encouraging, or some other
form of ministry. Challenge students to share their own stories.
Group Discussion:
Being lled with the Spirit is not
intended to be a badge of honor for believers or a measure of our
spirituality. In his Gospel and in Acts, Luke stressed that the Holy
Spirit empowers believers to serve. In your opinion, how well does
today’s church communicate this purpose when teaching about
the Holy Spirit? Is enough emphasis given to being lled with the
Spirit? How does a church’s teaching or lack of teaching on this
subject impact the effectiveness of the church’s ministry in the
Challenge students to reevaluate their expectation of and commitment to the
work of the church based on the following truths.
The Work of the Church
1. The Plan to Witness
Our main business is to tell others that Jesus has saved us from sin.
22 Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
2. The Place to Witness
Each Christian must witness in his or her Jerusalem, the place he or
she lives. Yet our responsibility to witness does not end there. We
are called to spread the gospel beyond our own neighborhoods.
3. The Power to Witness
The power from the Holy Spirit is the only kind of power that will
enable a Christian to be a faithful witness.
4. The Purpose of Witnessing
Jesus will soon return. Our purpose in witnessing is to get people
ready to meet Him.
Distribute Worksheet 3—I am a Witness.
While you will
not likely have time for students to share their testimonies with
the class, we should encourage fellow believers to clearly work
through and articulate what they have experienced in Christ so they
may be witnesses to others.
Review with students.
Draw ever-larger, concentric circles on a
chalkboard or white board. Review the progression of the early church’s
witness as it expanded like ripples in water: rst Jerusalem, the place
nearby; then to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch; next to the region
of Phrygia and Galatia; then on to Macedonia; and nally to Rome.
Ask students to name ways they are involved in ministry on the most
local level, and write their responses in the innermost circle. Then
brainstorm how such ministries might be taken to the next, larger circle,
impacting more people farther away from home. Write suggestions in the
appropriate circles as students call them out. Challenge students to take
some of the ideas to heart and to expand their personal witness or the
ministry of their churches.
Group Discussion:
What is your excuse for not witnessing
in any of these areas: at home; in your neighborhood; in your
community, nation, and the broader world? Is any excuse valid for
not fullling Christ’s instruction to witness in these different areas?
Answers will vary.
Group Discussion:
What are some practical ways you can reach
your Jerusalem for Christ? What are some ways you can reach
beyond your neighborhood to spread the gospel more broadly? In
what ways are you already doing this?
Answers will vary.
Review with students.
Why was it tting for Jesus to ascend to
heaven from the Mount of Olives? Have individual students look up the
following passages as you review.
1. Jesus taught one of His great sermons, the Olivet discourse,
on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24:3–25:46).
23Session 2 ▪ From the Resurrection to Pentecost
2. He prayed at the base of the Mount in the Garden of
Gethsemane (Luke 22:39–42).
3. The angels said that Jesus “will come back in the same way”
that He went into heaven (Acts 1:11), and Zechariah 14:4
tells us that on the day the Lord returns, “His feet will stand
on the Mount of Olives.”
4. The Mount of Olives was a burial ground dotted with
headstones marking graves. Jesus turned this symbol of
death into a symbol of life and hope, becoming the one
human to ascend from the Mount of Olives rather than to
remain in the grave.
Steps to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Challenge students to examine their own lives in light of each point.
Steps to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
1. Obedience
The path of obedience always leads to God’s blessings. We
disobey if we try to do more or less than God commands.
“We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom
God has given to those who obey him” (Acts 5:32).
2. Unity
We must rise above our differences by offering forgiveness and
love. We must be truly reconciled in Christ.
“When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one
accord in one place” (Acts 2:1 KJV).
3. Prayer
When we develop lives of constant prayerfulness, we open the
door to a fresh move of God.
“They all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14).
“Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
4. Study and Application of the Scriptures
The Bible is our guide to God and to heaven. When we follow the
Word of God—and leaders who interpret the Word accurately—we
can know God is leading us.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking,
correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
24 Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
Group Discussion:
How does your church line up with these
four attitudes and disciplines outlined?
Answers will vary.
Group Discussion:
What can today’s church do to encourage
Answers will vary but should follow the biblical pattern seen here in
the book of Acts.
Review with students.
Outline the steps cited in the lesson for
studying and applying the Scriptures when making decisions or choosing
a course of action: reading God’s Word, applying God’s Word, and
praying for God’s guidance. Encourage students to describe some
hypothetical situations they are likely to face in their churches or their
personal lives. These illustrations should represent the kind of challenges
that prompt uncertainty regarding how to resolve them in a biblical
manner. Ask the class to break into small groups, and give them time
to work together to put these three steps into practice as they attempt to
come up with God-honoring solutions.
Review with students.
The decision to replace Judas was made by
studying and applying the Scriptures (Psalm 69:25; Psalm 109:8). The
disciples chose two men who t the criteria for leadership, then what
did they do? (Acts 1:15–26). Ask a student to read Acts 1:24 aloud. The
disciples prayed for God’s guidance, and Matthias was chosen as the
twelfth apostle to replace Judas. Discuss the importance of both studying
God’s Word and praying for God’s guidance when making decisions.
Distinguish between aspects of the passage in Acts that would be unique
or not repeated elsewhere (replacing an original apostle, casting lots)
and points that would be repeated (seeking direction from God’s Word,
praying for direction).
Conclude by discussing attitudes and disciplines that individuals or
churches can practice to prepare for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Spend time in prayer, asking God to pour out His Spirit in the days and
weeks ahead.
Paul J. Achtemeier, Publishers Harper & Row and Society of Biblical
Literature, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Includes Index, 1st ed. (San Francisco:
Harper & Row, 1985), 1138. See Article on “Witness.”
Henry Thorne Sell, Studies in Early Church History (Willow Grove, PA:
Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1998, c1906). See Study 10, “The Rapid
Growth,” and “Sources of Power.”
25Session 2 ▪ From the Resurrection to Pentecost
26 Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
3 Chapter 3 The Holy Spirit Is Poured Out
3.1 Pentecost Fullled
3.2 Signs of Baptism
3.3 Purposes of Speaking in
Visual 10 Understanding Pentecost
Visual 11 Old Testament Feasts That
Foreshadow New Testament Events
Visual 12 The Signs of Pentecost
Worksheet 4 Symbols of the Spirit
Worksheet 5 Reports from Acts
Visual 13 Four Purposes for Speaking in
Tongues Today
Visual 14 Benets of Regularly Praying in the
Spirit During Personal Prayer
4 Chapter 4 The Birth of the Church
4.1 Responses to Pentecost
4.2 The Pattern of Peter’s
4.3 The Biblical Pattern of a
Dynamic Church
Visual 15 The Crowd’s Responses to Pentecost
Worksheet 6 Peter’s Transformation
Visual 16 The Effect of Pentecost on Believers
Visual 17 The Pattern of Peter’s Preaching
Worksheet 7 Qualications for Effective Disciples
Visual 18 Biblical Pattern of a Dynamic Church
Visual 19 Foundations of an Acts-Like Church
5 Chapter 5 Peter and John Heal a
Lame Man
5.1 Embracing the Needs
around Us
5.2 Explaining the Gospel
5.3 Enduring Hardship and Testing
Visual 20 Our Responsibility to Others
Worksheet 8 Embracing the Needs around Us
Visual 21 Peter’s Major Themes
Worksheet 9 Crushed for Good
Visual 22 Satan Fights God’s Work
Visual 23 Because God Is Sovereign
6 Chapter 6 The Growth of the Church
6.1 The Purifying of the Church
6.2 The Powerful Church
6.3 The Persistent Church
Visual 24 The Right Stuff or the Wrong Stuff
Visual 25 Five Marks of a Powerful Church
Visual 26 Growth of Pentecostal and
Charismatic Believers
Worksheet 10 Shadow Ministries
Visual 27 Satan’s Strategies against the Church
Visual 28 When Times Get Tough
7 Chapter 7 Stephen: What Good Can
Come of Trouble?
7.1 Conict in the Church
7.2 Stephen’s Arrest and Trial
7.3 The First Martyr
Visual 29 Handling Divisions in the Church
Visual 30 The First Martyr
Worksheet 11 Distortion Extortion
Visual 31 Stephen’s Message
Worksheet 12 Stephen’s Message for Me
Visual 32 Following Jesus’ Example
27Session 3 ▪ The Holy Spirit Is Poured Out
The Holy Spirit Is
Poured Out
Lesson 3.1 Pentecost Fullled
Explain how the Day of Pentecost fullls the Old Testament
Feast of Pentecost and launches the Pentecostal era.
Lesson 3.2 Signs of Spirit Baptism
Distinguish between two unique signs of the Holy Spirit’s
presence at Pentecost and the initial physical evidence of
Spirit baptism that continues today.
Lesson 3.3 Purposes of Speaking in Tongues
Analyze four purposes for speaking in tongues and
demonstrate at least two in your own life.
Chapter Introduction
What is Pentecost? What does it mean to be Pentecostal? Many people
are part of a Pentecostal church without fully understanding what it
means or having a personal Pentecost in their own lives. Student leaders
must not fall into this category. It is vital that each one have a full
understanding of the doctrine of the baptism in the Holy Spirit as well as
a continuing personal experience. This chapter explores these important
issues, helping students to understand the historical and theological basis
for Pentecost, the signs of Spirit baptism, and the purpose of speaking in
tongues. It also challenges them to embrace the Holy Spirit’s inlling and
be changed by His presence and power daily.
Pentecost Fullled
After reading through the facts, ask students to consider: Have they been
prepared by the Holy Spirit to work in His harvest elds?
Understanding Pentecost
Fifty Days
Pentecost (Greek: pentékosté) means “the ftieth.”
28 Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
The Old Testament Feast of Pentecost was celebrated fty days after
Seven Weeks
Pentecost was also known as the Feast of Weeks because it falls seven
weeks after Firstfruits, the offering of the rst of the barley harvest to God.
The Harvest
Pentecost was a day of celebration and joy for the end of the barley
harvest. It also included offering the rstfruits of the new wheat harvest.
The Feast of Pentecost was a harvest celebration.
The Day of Pentecost is related to spiritual harvest. God poured out His
Spirit to enable believers to reap that harvest.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the
harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest eld” (Luke 10:2).
Pentecost prepares harvesters for the elds.
Group Discussion:
When was the Day of Pentecost? Is the Day
of Pentecost over? Explain.
The Day of Pentecost was an Old Testament Feast as well as the
birthday of the church in the New Testament. It took place fty days
after Passover, seven weeks after Firstfruits. The church’s Pentecost
began in Acts 2 but continues to the present day until the return of
Christ. The Day of Pentecost is the era of the Spirit at work in and
through believers.
Read 1 Corinthians 5:7 and discuss how Paul describes the fulllment of
Passover. Then read 1 Corinthians 15:20 and discuss how Christ fullls the Feast
of Firstfruits. Refer to the IST content for Objective 3.1.1 for reference material.
Old Testament Feasts That Foreshadow New Testament
[See Visual 11 and IST for chart.]
Group Discussion:
How does experiencing our own personal
Pentecost enable us to keep and fulll the Old Testament feasts not
as once-a-year holidays, but perpetually in our hearts?
Answers will vary but should indicate that the New Testament truths
ll and complete the Old Testament form. We can celebrate Christ’s
death and resurrection and our part in the great spiritual harvest
every day.
29Session 3 ▪ The Holy Spirit Is Poured Out
Review with students.
Whenever we talk about Pentecost, we must
not talk only of blessing but also of duty. If we try to do the duty of
harvest or evangelism and have no power from the Spirit of God, then
we will be unable to do it. However, if we have all delight and no duty,
we will wind up as a kind of spiritual bless-me club and not complete
God’s work in the world. Pentecost joins these elements of blessing
God’s people and sending them into the harvest. Share from your own
experience a time when an individual, group, or congregation did not
keep the proper balance between the blessings and duties of Pentecost.
Signs of Spirit Baptism
You can ask a student to read Acts 2:1–4 aloud as you display this visual. Then
help students see the distinction between the signs that were unique to that rst
outpouring of the Spirit and the sign of speaking in other tongues, which is a sign
of Spirit baptism that remains to this day.
The Signs of Pentecost
Unique Signs of Pentecost
Rushing, mighty wind
“Suddenly a sound like the blowing
of a violent wind came from
heaven and lled the whole house
where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2).
Tongues of re
“They saw what seemed to be
tongues of re that separated and
came to rest on each of them”
(Acts 2:3).
Normative Sign of Pentecost
The initial physical evidence:
speaking in other tongues
“All of them were lled with the
Holy Spirit and began to speak in
other tongues as the Spirit enabled
them” (Acts 2:4).
Distribute Worksheet 4—Symbols of the Spirit.
students to consider these biblical symbols and their signicance.
Group Discussion:
Do the signs of the sound of a violent wind
and tongues of re resting on individuals ever happen again in the
book of Acts when believers are baptized in the Holy Spirit? What
does this indicate about whether we should expect them today
when believers are baptized?
Neither the sound of wind nor tongues of re occur again in Acts.
From this we can understand that these are not typical signs of being
lled with the Spirit.
Review with students.
Speaking with other tongues is the only
supernatural sign described in Acts 2:1–4 that happens again. It is said
30 Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
to have happened after “all of them were lled with the Holy Spirit.” It
required the involvement of the believers. The sound of wind and re
happened to and around them. Speaking in tongues occurred in and came
out from them. Discuss why this distinction is important and why it is a
special privilege to be a partner with God in His work.
Distribute Worksheet 5—Reports from Acts: They Spoke
in Tongues.
You may wish to divide students into ve groups
and assign one passage of Scripture to each. Allow ve minutes
for groups to read their passage and prepare a sixty-second
television news report about the event, emphasizing the point that
the believers spoke in other tongues when they were baptized in
the Holy Spirit. Keep things moving quickly, and wrap up with a
summary of the common thread running through each incident.
If you or the students prefer not to present news reports, you can
choose to review each passage and the evidence that speaking
in tongues continued to be the initial physical evidence of being
baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Group Discussion:
Do you believe speaking in tongues is still
for today? Explain why you believe as you do.
Answers will vary.
Review with students.
You may decide to allow one or two students
to share a personal experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Or
share your own story.
Four Purposes of Speaking in Tongues
Review with students.
Help students understand the difference
between speaking in tongues as described in 1 Corinthians 12 and in
Acts 2:4. First Corinthians 12 is speaking about a gift of the Spirit for
use in corporate worship services. Acts 2:4 speaks of Christians praying
individually to God in other languages. If you have been used by the
Holy Spirit to give a message in tongues in a worship service, you may
want to open a discussion regarding how a believer can discern when
God intends the message to be shared corporately and when it is for the
believers personal edication.
Group Discussion:
What biblical evidence causes us to believe
that tongues serves as the initial physical evidence of the baptism
in the Holy Spirit?
We are condent this is the case because of repeated biblical examples
as well as the experience of countless believers right up to the present.
Review with students.
The word baptize means “to take completely
under.” To be baptized in water, all of a person must go under the water.
To be baptized in the Spirit, all of a person must come under the Spirit’s
inuence. Ask a student to read James 3:8 aloud. Discuss how speaking
in tongues gives evidence that a believer has submitted the mind and
even the tongue to the Holy Spirit.
31Session 3 ▪ The Holy Spirit Is Poured Out
You may want to ask individuals to read aloud the Scripture passages indicated
for each purpose listed.
Four Purposes for Speaking in Tongues Today
1. Speaking in tongues is the initial physical evidence of baptism in
the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4).
2. Speaking in tongues is one of the nine gifts of the Spirit for
Christian worship (1 Corinthians 12:7–11).
3. Speaking in tongues is a regular means of personal prayer (1
Corinthians 14:13–19).
4. Speaking in tongues is a sign to unbelievers (1 Corinthians
Group Discussion:
How are natural gifts and abilities different
from spiritual gifts? What spiritual gifts has God given you? What
spiritual gifts seem to be scarce or missing at your church?
Answers will vary.
After discussing the benets of regularly praying in the Spirit, it may be
appropriate to allow time for prayer. Encourage those who do not regularly pray
in the Spirit to ask the Holy Spirit to pray through them. Students who have not
yet received the baptism in the Holy Spirit might appreciate it if others, who have
received, would lay hands on them and pray. Be careful to make this voluntary,
as your goal is to help, not to make anyone feel uncomfortable or singled out.
Benets of Regularly Praying in the Spirit During
Personal Prayer
Build up yourself
“He who speaks in a tongue edies himself” (1 Corinthians 14:4).
Release your spirit to fully express itself to God
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to
pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words
cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the
Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with
God’s will” (Romans 8:26–27)..
Review with students.
Praying in tongues in our personal prayer
time praises God and builds up the person who prays. It also frees the
human spirit to fully express itself to God and pray beyond our own
understanding. Here is a good moment to ask a volunteer or two to share
stories from their own experience of praying in the Spirit when one or
more of these purposes was accomplished.
32 Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers
William Evans and S. Maxwell Coder, The Great Doctrines of the Bible,
Includes Index., Enl. ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1998, c1974), 309. See
Article, “Power.”
R.A. Torrey, The New Topical Text Book: A Scriptural Text Book for the Use
of Ministers, Teachers, and All Christian Workers (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos
Research Systems, Inc., 1995, c1897). See “Power of the Holy Spirit”.