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Discipleship Guide: Week 2 Acts

When the crowd heard this, they were deeply troubled. They said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’” —Acts 2:37, CEB


There is much to be distilled from Acts 2, as the writer of Luke/Acts narrates the story of Pentecost and the reality of the Early Church. But one of the things I find to be most crucial for our life of faith is the understanding that the work of the Holy Spirit does not call us to huddle in ever-shrinking—self-congratulatory circles, thanking God that we are not like those with whom we disagree. The work of the Holy Spirit, as witnessed in the Holy Scriptures, calls the followers of Jesus to move beyond their spaces of safety and comfort so others can receive the good news of Jesus Christ.


After all the Spirit-led movement, noise, and visions, those who heard the good news in their own language were moved to respond. They asked Peter and others, “What should we do?” There is something to paying close attention to this response. The transformative movement of the Holy Spirit caused the believers to act in a new way. It caused them to engage others in a more open manner. It caused the outside community to notice that something new and strange was taking place. All this, in turn, allowed an opening for Peter to share a witness about the realities he had seen and experienced. This was not the work of a single individual determined to make a difference. There was full participation from the entire community, some sharing, others listening, but all being transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit.


Today, we must ask ourselves, what new and strange thing is God doing in our midst that the world beyond our doors would care to pay attention to? Too often, we get caught up in arguments among ourselves, which may cause outsiders not to ask, “What should we do?” but exclaiming, “How is that any better?”


Can we be open enough to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives so that, like the disciple, we can act in ways that cause holy curiosity in others? Can we be open to something new God is doing around us? Can we hold off on judgment and extend grace, allowing the Holy Spirit to convict and transform? That is the reality of Pentecost: the Church moving outward so that good news can reach all people.


Reflection Questions:

  •  How does the “social holiness” concept resonate with the communal life seen in Acts 2:42-47?

  • Where do you see sanctifying grace operating within your community?

  • How can modern churches cultivate ‘koinonia’ (fellowship) like the early church?

  • How does your community celebrate spiritual gifts?

  • What practices can your church community implement to live out Acts 2:42-47 better?

  • How does your community respond to needs within and outside the church?


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