POWER TO STAND
Scripture: Matthew 26:75; John 13:37–38, 18:15–18, 25–27; Acts 2:14–36; 2 Timothy 3:10–12
Memory verse: Acts 1:8
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you."
We live in an age of machines. Items are constantly being developed to make our lives easier. Often we take these inventions for granted. However, without these machines it would be much harder to carry out our daily tasks. Impress the idea of how much we depend on outside sources of power. Give examples, such as: bicycles, motorcycles, cars, electric lights, etc.
Explain that our human strength is just not enough to accomplish all the physical tasks we must do in our lives. We need help to get the work done. Then tell the students that it is the same in our spiritual lives. In our own strength, we are not strong enough to resist sin and do God’s work alone. We need help. Tell the student to listen to the study today.
Hearing God’s Word
Ask: When we think about Jesus’ disciples, who usually comes to mind first? (Allow a couple of responses.) Peter often heads the list.
Ask: “What is the reason for this? (Discuss the possible reasons.)
Peter is Outspoken
Peter developed quite a reputation for himself. He had some good characteristics. He was faithful to Jesus. He was quick to believe and obey. But he was also impulsive; he often spoke and acted before he thought about the consequences.
Ask: “What particular thing do you remember best about Peter?” (Allow discussion.)
Part of Peter’s problem was that he sometimes made promises he could not keep. He did not always have the courage to do what he said he would do. Peter was a coward when hatred and danger were directed at him because he followed Jesus.
Peter Makes a Promise
For instance, Jesus was talking with His disciples shortly before His trial. Peter had vowed he would follow Jesus even if he had to die. But Jesus knew Peter more than Peter knew himself. What was Jesus’ response? (Ask a student to read John 13:37, 38.)
After Jesus was arrested, He was taken to the high priest. Peter and another disciple followed Jesus and His crowd of accusers to see what would happen. (Ask a student to read John 18:15-18.) Peter waited outside the palace of the high priest while the other disciple spoke to the girl who was on duty at the door. She agreed to let Peter come in.
Peter Denies Jesus
As Peter entered, the girl at the door asked, “Are you not one of Jesus’ disciples?” Peter answered quickly and firmly, “I am not.”
Ask: “Why was Peter so quick to deny Jesus after he had boldly declared the previous day he would die for Jesus?” (Allow responses.)
The verses we just read give account of the first time Peter denied Jesus. But this was not the end of Peter’s cowardice. Another girl who worked in the palace Asked, “Are you not one of His disciples?” Again Peter denied knowing Jesus. Finally, a relative of the servant whose ear Peter had cut off said, “Did I not see you in the olive garden?” Peter became angry. He swore and denied ever knowing Jesus. Immediately the rooster crowed. Peter’s vow of faithfulness was broken. When Peter realized his failure, he felt so sad he cried.
Have you ever faced a similar situation? Have you ever felt like you have really made a big mistake? Unfortunately, many of us are quick to make promises, but we are unable to put acti9ons to our words because we lack the courage and strength to enforce them. (Allow volunteers to relate similar personal experiences or relate an experience of your own.)
Peter is Changed
But Peter did not remain a man of fear. He became a changed man after Jesus left the earth and returned to heaven. (Review the events on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2:1–13. You may wish to allow volunteers to relate the story based on what they learned in past studies.)
The key to change in Peter’s life is given in our memory verse, Acts 1:8. (Repeat the verse with the students.)
Ask: “What did the Holy Spirit give Peter?” (Allow responses.)
He gave Peter power. When he was filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter was no longer weak or afraid. He was charged with a new power and courage. He was able to speak boldly for Jesus.
Peter Takes a Bold Stand
Some in the crowd on the Day of Pentecost mocked and laughed saying, “These men are drunk!” Before Pentecost, Peter may have been tempted to shrink back for fear these people would make fun of him. Peter boldly stood before that great crowd and preached one of the most powerful sermons recorded in God’s Word. The result was that 3,000 men and women believed his message and became part of the Early Church!
The Holy Spirit Gives Power
Ask: “Can this kind of change really take place? How is it possible?”(Allow responses.)
Your life can be transformed by the presence of the Holy Spirit. He will give you greater courage, strength, and determination than you ever thought possible.
Do not misunderstand. The baptism in the Holy Spirit does not suddenly transform you into “Super Christian.” It does not mean you will automatically say wise and wonderful things every time you open your mouth. People probably will not flock to the church altar or fall on their knees each time you tell them about Jesus. But, as you spend time in prayer, as you read God’s Word, as you worship and learn about Jesus in church and as you depend upon the Holy Spirit to help you, wonderful things can happen. Most importantly, the Holy Spirit will give you the strength you need when problems come or when you have a chance to tell someone about Jesus.
It is not always easy to take a stand for Christ. (Ask a student to read 2 Timothy 3:12.) Suffering persecution is not pleasant to think about. Yet we need not live in fear. The Holy Spirit will give us the necessary strength to face unpleasant experiences. In verses 10 and 11, Paul says God had delivered him out of many persecutions.
People may laugh and make fun of you at times because you are a Christian, but you need not be afraid of what others may say or do. Acts 1:8 promises that the Holy Spirit is with you to help and strengthen you. Rather than pretending you do not know Jesus as Peter did before the Holy Spirit came upon him, you too can let the Holy Spirit give you boldness in your Christian testimony.
Ask: “What is most difficult about living for Jesus at school or at home?” (Allow responses.)
If you have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, use the power He has given you. We know that an athlete must exercise to stay in shape. So, also, must a Christian exercise spiritually to stay strong. Receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not all there is to spiritual growth and strength, it is just the beginning. Let the Holy Spirit work in and through you to help you grow spiritually and stay true to Jesus.
Satan does not worry about half-hearted Christians. They are no threat to his work. But Satan trembles at someone full of the Holy Spirit who boldly stands for Jesus and shares his faith.
Accepting God’s Word
Some students in your class may never have experienced salvation. Discuss God’s desire that each person become His child. Explain why it was necessary for Jesus to die for us. Tell the students that we must first admit we are sinners and need forgiveness. Then we believe Jesus died for us, we are sorry for our sins, and we ask Him to forgive us.
Stress that it is not wrong to feel afraid to tell about Jesus. Remind the students that Peter was afraid to show what he believed at one time in his life also. After Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, however, he became very bold and told large crowds about Jesus.
Encourage the students to ask God to fill them with the Holy Spirit. Also, encourage them to tell others what Jesus means to them. Mention that the Holy Spirit will give them boldness to stand for Jesus if they will trust Him and take advantage of opportunities to show their faith in action by refusing to do wrong and doing what is right.
On the way to visit the old sheik, we passed through the chairman’s farm that he had recently cleared by the “slash and burn” method. He explained that he would farm this piece of land for four years and then move to another slash-and-burn plot.
REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Zigula Leaders
1. Chiefs and village chairmen deal honestly with the people,
2. Demonstrate concern for the welfare of the village families,
3. Open their minds and hearts to the gospel message.
"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3).
Remember: Power to Stand
Memory verse: Acts 1:8
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you."
1. Sometimes I am unable to keep my promises to others because I lack the necessary strength and resources.
2. I need the Holy Spirit's power to enable me to live as Jesus wants me to live.
3. The Holy Spirit will help me to resist Satan's temptations and stand up for the truth when with my friends.
Pray for Zigula leaders.
Study 12 | Prayer Power / Holy Spirit | africaatts.org/go-teach