What Makes Spirituality Christian? (Galatians 3:1-9)

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From books and movies to TV shows, there is a rising interest in all things spiritual. And in the midst of this booming spiritual melting pot, the question we must ask ourselves is, “What makes spirituality Christian?” In this passage from the book of Galatians, Paul teaches that the spiritual Christian is someone who is cross-shaped, empowered by the Holy Spirit, carried by the grace of God, marked by suffering, and is fully submitted to scripture.

These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.

1. What are some of your favorite books, movies, or TV shows that have a spiritual undertone?
2. Why do you think there is such great interest in spirituality these days?
3. Have you ever personally been deeply involved in spirituality that was not Christian? How did you get involved? What was that experience like? Briefly explain.
4. If you ever attended the Newcomer’s Class, you would have learned that Vineyard Columbus is orthodox, evangelical, and empowered evangelical. Briefly discuss the meaning of “orthodox,” “evangelical,” and “empowered evangelical.”

1. Briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon. What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling? Explain.

2. Read Acts 1:4-9, 2:1-21:

1:4 On one occasion, while he [Jesus] was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” 14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”

• What is the setting of Acts 1:4-9?
• What does Jesus command his disciples to do? (Acts 1:4)
• Have you ever personally experienced being “baptized with the Holy Spirit”? Briefly share your experience.
• How do the disciples respond? (v. 6) Why do you think they responded this way?
• What does Jesus say will happen when the Holy Spirit comes on them? (v. 8)
• Why were the disciples “all together in one place”? (Acts 2:1) What do we know about the Pentecost?
• Briefly describe the scene that plays out in verses 2-4.
• When they were filled with the Holy Spirit they began to speak in tongues. (v. 4) What does it mean to speak in tongues? Why would God give them the gift to speak in tongues? Have you received the gift of speaking in tongues? How did it happen? What did it feel like? Briefly share your experience.
• How did the “God-fearing Jews” respond to what was happening? (vv. 5-13) Why do you think they responded this way? Compare and contrast the different responses found in verse 7 and verse 13. What has your own response been to the work of the Holy Spirit? Has your response changed in the last few years? If so, in what way? Why might those changes have come about?
• In verses 14-21, Peter stands up to address the crowd. And he begins to explain to them what is unfolding right before their eyes. How does he explain it? What passage does he quote? As you study verses 17-21, what stands out to you the most?

3. In his sermon, Rich spoke these challenging words specifically addressing all the small groups and small group leaders of Vineyard Columbus. Please read these words and take his challenge to heart.

“Let me just speak to any of you who are small group leaders, women’s group leaders, men’s group leaders, co-ed group leaders, recovery group leaders. I implore you to not settle for what’s comfortable in your group! Rather, every time you meet, welcome the presence of the Spirit. Welcome the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Pray for the sick in your group by the laying on of hands. Ask God for miracles. Ask God in your own life for his dynamic in-breaking. That is Christian spirituality!”