Community Group Questions | Finding God's Will: Grow in Community | Nov 10, 2019
Finding God's Will: Grow in Community
Rev. Blake Altman, Lead Pastor
God intends to change you by His Word. How is He at work in you to do that? Read the following passage and consider these questions.
Acts 10:17-48 (ESV)
17 Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon's house, stood at the gate 18 and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. 19 And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them." 21 And Peter went down to the men and said, "I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?" 22 And they said, "Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say." 23 So he invited them in to be his guests.
The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. 24 And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am a man." 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. 28 And he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me."
30 And Cornelius said, "Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing 31 and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.' 33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord."
34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 "Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.
QUESTIONS (40 minutes)
1. Before we get to today's text (if you didn't cover it last week!), let's examine the theme for the next 4 weeks at Trinity: Finding God's Will. Pastor Blake said that finding God's will is 4 things: 1) rest in worship, 2) grow in community, 3) rediscover your calling, and 4) find freedom and make the name of Jesus famous. How is this list different from how we might normally think about "finding God's will?"
Moving from "Me" to "We"
2. In order for the gospel to come to Cornelius through Peter, several barriers needed to come down. What were these barriers? How did the gospel address these barriers?
3. In order for the gospel to come to our neighbors in Owasso and Tulsa, what barriers need to come down?
4. How might the following be barriers to gospel ministry: politics (Republican vs. Democrat), schooling (home vs. public vs. private), interests (sports vs. board games vs. music)? What other barriers or potential barriers can you think of? Why might we place great identity in these barriers?
Practice Makes Permanent
5. Gospel barrier-removal is an ongoing process. It occurred in Peter's life on multiple occasions: here in Acts 10 with Cornelius, in Acts 15 at the Jerusalem council, and in Galatians 2 in Paul's confrontation with Peter. How can we create an ongoing practice of making space for others very different from ourselves?
6. Pastor Blake closed by saying that Jesus' example of community can be seen on the cross, where his words demonstrated absolute self-forgetfulness. How is this both an encouragement and a motivation for us?
PRAYER (10 minutes)
Take prayer requests, and then pray together that through growing in community, we would all better know God, His will, and ourselves, and work hard to tear down barriers to the gospel.