The book of Acts tells how this family began and grew. Some people think "church" is just a building where people go to worship. In fact, for nearly 300 years there were no church buildings! In the book of Acts you'll learn the truth.
The church is people, people who love Jesus and care about each other.
1. What brings people close to each other? (Acts 2:42-47)
The fellowship of believers They are devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
2. How can others help when you're facing tough decisions? (Acts 4:23-31)
The believers' prayer On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heart this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea. and everything in them. You spokes by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together
against the Lord
and against his Anointed One.
Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Strech out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus"
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
3. Have you ever prayed for something and then been surprised by the answer you got? (Acts 12: 1-19)
Peter's Miraculous Escape From prison It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the feast OF Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers , bound with chains and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell of Peter's wrists.
Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals." And Peter did so. "Wrap your clock around you and follow me." the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passes the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one of the street, suddenly the angel left him.
Then Peter came o himself and said, "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating."
When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed , "Peter is at the door!"
"You're out of your mind," they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, "It must be his angel."
But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. "Tell James and the brothers about this," he said, and then left for another place.
In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed.
4. Have you ever fallen asleep during a long sermon? (Acts 20:7-12)
Eutychus raised from the dead at Troas On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "He's alive!" Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. the people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.