Today is Thursday, September 14th, 2017.  Today we continue working through the book of Acts. In today’s passage we see that the disciples had great faith in the sovereignty of the Lord. Nothing that happens is not known to Him. In the midst of tragedy or hardship, we must be reminded that the Father holds the ultimate victory. When Christ was crucified, the apostles believed that it was over. Now, in Acts, we see that the people of God have the hindsight to see the true purpose. What they thought was defeat was victory.  We must understand that it is not through our work that the kingdom takes hold but through the work of His Holy Spirit. Just as the disciples believed that God would work through them we as His church must believe God will work through our lives. Nothing has or will take God by surprise. Be bold and believe this today.

(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ Have you ever felt at the complete end of your rope believing a situation was unredeemable?
_ Are your prayers emboldened by the truth and victory of the gospel even in the midst of trials?
_ Do you believe that God is sovereign?

Take a moment to recognize who God is in His infinite power. He holds all of eternity in His hand. Pray that you would take comfort in this and be emboldened in the freedom that comes with knowing that you don’t have to be in control. He is.

DISCOVER  [Acts 4:23-32]
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn?
(Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)

23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

“‘Why do the nations rage

   and the peoples plot in vain?

26 The kings of the earth rise up

   and the rulers band together

against the Lord

   and against his anointed one.

27 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. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31 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.

_ What made them raise their voices together in prayer?
_ In v. 24 when they say God is sovereign what examples do they give?
_ Who originally spoke the prayer in v. 25-26?
_ Aside from Pontius Pilate who else has conspired against Jesus? Who has conspired against the disciples?
_ In v. 28 what did they do that God's will had decided beforehand?
_ What does their prayer request in v. 29-30?
_ What happened after they prayed?
_ What does God's sovereignty have to do with boldness?

+ HOW am I compelled to confess sin and how does the gospel compel me to respond with a simple step of action/obedience?  (Here are some thoughts to discuss in break-outs)
_ Are you bold enough to believe that God can work through the context of your life no matter what?
_ Are there any areas in your life where you have given up on the kingdom invading and taking hold?
_ Are you relying on the validity of your own work to redeem something or someone or are you trusting in the sovereignty of God?

+ WHO are you walking with to discover or grow in Jesus and what is your next step with them, how can we help?