This post is part of a 5-session teaching series covering the first 5 chapters of the book of Acts in the New Testament. It is designed to be used in a small group environment for young people aged 11-14, but can be adapted for other purposes. The young people were encouraged to read the chapter in advance.
I originally planned on writing a 12-part series, but our groups fell behind and I didn’t continue the notes. For more youth group resources check out my page here.
Image credit: JustinLowery on Flickr
Acts Chapter 2: The Holy Spirit
To learn what happened to the disciples at Pentecost, and to understand the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The disciples were waiting in Jerusalem as Jesus had told them to ([youversion]Acts 1:4[/youversion]) when the Holy Spirit came upon them. It was the day of Pentecost; a major Jewish festival celebrating the day God had given His written word to Moses, and there were Jews staying in the city from every country in the world. This gave Peter and the disciples a fantastic opportunity to spread the good news of Jesus when they were filled with Godâ€™s Spirit.
Ask the group to think about a time when they were really excited about something, and just had to tell other people! It may have been recently, or maybe when they were younger, but it should be something that they werenâ€™t able to keep quiet about. Get them to try and recall how they felt.
When they are ready, get the whole group to start talking about that one exciting thing. They should all talk for about 1 minute and try to drown each other out so that they can get their message across louder than the others! At the end of that minute, see if anyone managed to share his or her excitement with the others. Talk about who was most animated and why they could get so worked up over their experience.
Reading: [youversion]Acts 2[/youversion]
Your group should have read the chapter in advance. Take a few minutes to recap on its content for those who havenâ€™t.
Illustration: The Trinity
There are loads of different analogies for the Holy Trinity that you could use to try and illustrate the Godhead and how the Holy Spirit works with the Father and Son in unity. A common example is in the three different states of water; liquid, solid (ice) and gas (steam). Why not get the group to come up with their own metaphor that can help them understand the different attributes and characteristics of God?
When doing this, please be aware and explain that analogies are helpful tools for our understanding but do not fully explain the awesome complexity of the Trinity. Our God cannot easily be described or categorised.
The Holy Spirit is a person but is also part of God and has always been present in creation. He is mentioned right at the beginning of the Bible in [youversion]Genesis 1:2[/youversion]. When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, God sent Him to permanently live in and be with His followers. As Christians we carry the Spirit of God with us!
- What do you think it was like for the disciples to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
- Have you ever had an experience of the Holy Spirit in your life? If so, when and where?
- Which of our 5 Values (Follow, Honour, Serve, Support, Share) apply to this passage? What can you learn from it?
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to be more obvious in our lives. Ask for God to reveal Himself in us through the Spirit.
- Pray for any issues affecting the group this week.
Start expecting God to work in you each day as the Holy Spirit guides you. Ask Him to transform you by the renewing of your mind ([youversion]Romans 12:2[/youversion]) and be open to what he may tell you to do!
Further Reading: [youversion]Galatians 5:16-25[/youversion]
So I tell you: Live by following the Spirit. Then you will not do what your sinful selves want. Our sinful selves want what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against our sinful selves. The two are against each other, so you cannot do just what you please. But if the Spirit is leading you, you are not under the law.
The wrong things the sinful self does are clear: being sexually unfaithful, not being pure, taking part in sexual sins, worshiping gods, doing witchcraft, hating, making trouble, being jealous, being angry, being selfish, making people angry with each other, causing divisions among people, feeling envy, being drunk, having wild and wasteful parties, and doing other things like these. I warn you now as I warned you before: Those who do these things will not inherit God’s kingdom.
But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their own sinful selves. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do. We get our new life from the Spirit, so we should follow the Spirit. We must not be proud or make trouble with each other or be jealous of each other. (New Century Version)