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The Book of Acts

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					                             The Book of Acts
                                   Lesson 1

                                  Introduction

Writer:

1. The book of Acts was written by Luke who was a companion of Paul and who
   was part of the story he records. There are several “we” sections that Luke
   records as an eye witness

   He never states himself as the author but the early church tradition can be
   confirmed by deduction based on the mention of Paul’s companions in his
   epistles.

2. Luke wrote more of the New Testament than any other writer (volume)

3. Luke was a physician (Colossians 4:14)

4. Luke may also have been a gentile. If so, he was the only gentile that was
   used to write scripture. (Colossians 4:11, 14)

Colossians 4:10-14
(10) Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of
Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome
him),
(11) and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the
kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort
to me.
(12) Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always
laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete
in all the will of God.
(13) For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are
in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis.
(14) Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.




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    Luke wrote with a very sophisticated/cultured Greek.

Date:

5. It is unlikely that Luke would have neglected to record several significant
   historical events in the early church had he written after their time.

   The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD

   The siege of Jerusalem and the flight of Christians from Jerusalem 66 AD

   The persecution under Nero 64 AD

   The martyrdom of James in 62 AD (recorded by Josephus)

6. It is believed that Luke wrote Acts before the end of Paul’s first Roman
   imprisonment (60-62 AD) which would explain its abrupt ending

Purpose:

   Written to Theophilus as a follow up of the former Gospel.

   Some believe that Theophilus might have been an official involved in Paul’s
   court case before Rome and Luke was writing to further explain the Christian
   faith and Paul’s involvement.


7. The first Christian history we have after this is by Eusebius from the early 4th
   century

8. Scripture vs. history: Scripture contains history but not all church history is
   Scripture

   Luke’s story is not meant as a history because he leaves out so much of the
   early church history, though it contains the only Biblical history we have of
   the early church.



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   Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working
   with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

   Luke 24:52-53 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with
   great joy, (53) and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.
   Amen.

Theme:

9. The story begins with the birth of the Church on Pentecost and emphasizes
   the work of the Holy Spirit in the spreading of the Gospel especially among
   the Gentiles

   If Luke was a Gentile, there could be reason to understand his effort to
   record the work of Christ through the Spirit among the Gentiles. Theophilus
   was likely a Gentile himself.

   Some believe that Acts records the fulfillment of the command to be
   witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. The
   book does record that fact but may not be the intended theme. Luke mostly
   follows the ministry of Peter in the beginning and then of Paul and we don’t
   have the history of the other Apostles and their missionary journeys.

Significance:

10. The book of Acts records the birth of the church and snapshots of its first
    40 years of history.

 Acts is the link from the Gospels to the Letters

 Imagine if we had the Gospels and then the Letters without Acts. We’d be in
  the dark about …

   how the church started
   how it spread
   how it developed
   how did the Gentiles hear and receive the gospel


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   and more…

 There are 14 major sermons recorded in Acts (see chart)

11. The last thing recorded about Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew is the
    resurrection also recorded in Acts 1

    The last thing recorded about Jesus in the Gospel of Mark is His ascension
    also recorded in Acts 1

   The last thing recorded about Jesus in the Gospel of John is the promise of
    His second coming also recorded in Acts 1

   The last thing recorded about Jesus in the Gospel of Luke is the promise of
    the Holy Spirit also recorded in Acts 1


The early church turned the world upside down

(Acts 17:6) But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some
brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, "These who have turned the world
upside down have come here too.

   “They did it without a single media consultant, church growth seminar,
   management strategy, or slick presentation. They impacted the Roman
   empire and the entire know world without buildings, busses or budgets”
   ~Pastor Jon Courson

Acts Chapter 1

Acts 1:1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both
to do and teach,

 The “former account” was his gospel that he address to “most excellent
  Theophilus” which was a title of a high rank political office

 “all that Jesus began both to do and teach”


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 The gospels were the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and when they close it is
  not the end. Acts was written as a testimony of His continuing ministry

12. The book could be called “The Acts of Jesus Christ Through the Holy Spirit”

 Jesus was not just a teacher, He was of action and demonstration “…began
  both to do and teach”

Acts 1:2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit
had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,

 “through the Holy Spirit”

   Luke 3:21-22 When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus
   also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. (22) And
   the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice
   came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well
   pleased."

   Luke 4:1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the
   Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

   Luke 4:17-21 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when
   He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: (18)
   "THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE HAS ANOINTED ME TO
   PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR; HE HAS SENT ME TO HEAL THE
   BROKENHEARTED, TO PROCLAIM LIBERTY TO THE CAPTIVES AND RECOVERY
   OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET AT LIBERTY THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED;
   (19) TO PROCLAIM THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD." (20) Then He
   closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the
   eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. (21) And He
   began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

   Luke 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, "I thank You,
   Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the
   wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it
   seemed good in Your sight.


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   Matthew 12:88 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the
   kingdom of God has come upon you.

13. There is no record of Jesus performing miracles prior to His baptism

 Jesus was not without the Spirit up to this point, yet the Spirit descended
  upon Him at His baptism

Acts 1:2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit
had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,

14. These “commandments” or “orders” are likely a reference to the great
    commission but may extend to everything He taught. Since everything He
    taught is part of the great commission then which ever way you see this
    works.

   Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority
   has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (19) Go therefore and make
   disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of
   the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all things that I
   have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the
   age." Amen.

   Mark 16:15-18 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the
   gospel to every creature. (16) He who believes and is baptized will be saved;
   but he who does not believe will be condemned. (17) And these signs will
   follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will
   speak with new tongues; (18) they will take up serpents; and if they drink
   anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the
   sick, and they will recover."



   Luke 24:46-49 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was
   necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
   (47) and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His
   name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (48) And you are witnesses of


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   these things. (49) Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but
   tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."

Acts 1:3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many
infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the
things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

 “infallible proofs…” He appeared, let them touch Him, watch Him eat, etc.

 40 days. If you read Luke 24 it seems that Jesus appears to the apostles in
  the upper room on the day of His resurrection and then gives instructions
  and leads them out to Bethany and ascends to heaven. Luke gives a
  compressed account in his gospel but decompresses it in Acts.

 We learn about the 40 days here from Acts. Otherwise we wouldn’t know.

15. During this time He continued to teach them about the kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

 It is the principle theme of the gospel

 John the Baptist preached about the kingdom of God

   Matthew 3:1-2 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the
   wilderness of Judea, (2) and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at
   hand!"

   Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for
   the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

   Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the
   world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.




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   Acts 28:30-31 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and
   received all who came to him, (31) preaching the kingdom of God and
   teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence,
   no one forbidding him.

 It wasn’t until after Acts 2 that the disciples began to comprehend the
  kingdom of God even though Jesus spent three years teaching them about
  the kingdom.

 Up to the transition in Acts 2 they still believed that Jesus was going to
  establish His kingdom on earth during their lifetime.

   Pre-millennialism believes Jesus will establish His kingdom on earth during
   the 1000 years following the great tribulation

   Post-millennialism believes the reign on earth will be by His church through
   a “Christian Republic, where God’s law rules”
   “Postmillennialists believe that there will be a future golden age during which
   Satan will be bound and peace and righteousness will prevail throughout the
   earth. This will not be accomplished through the personal return of Christ,
   but by the power of the gospel preached through the church to all nations.
   After 1000 years of this glorious arrangement, Satan will launch an abortive
   attempt to destroy the work of God again. His judgment will be at the return
   of Christ, followed by a resurrection and judgment of all people.”
    ~ Steve Gregg (Revelation: Four Views)

   A-millennialism believes that the reign of Christ in His kingdom is the present
   church age until He returns to judge the earth.

 Regardless of your eschatological views, the clear teaching of the kingdom of
  heaven (or kingdom of God) is aside from the view of a “kingdom of earth” in
  the future.

 The Jews believed the Messiah would be a political leader that would
  establish Judaism as God’s divine kingdom over all others.




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 It is critical for the Christian to understand all that Jesus as well as His
  apostles taught regarding the Kingdom of God.

   John 18:36-37 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My
   kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be
   delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here." (37) Pilate
   therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say
   rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have
   come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is
   of the truth hears My voice."

Acts 1:4-9 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not
to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He
said, "you have heard from Me; (5) for John truly baptized with water, but you
shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." (6) Therefore,
when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this
time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (7) And He said to them, "It is not for you
to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. (8) But
you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall
be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of
the earth." (9) Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He
was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

 notice their question “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to
  Israel?”

16. Their concept of the Messiah was still Jewish not Christian. A couple of
    weeks earlier they are told that there were things that they couldn’t
    understand yet.

   John 16:12-14 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear
   them now. (13) However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will
   guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but
   whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (14)
   He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.




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 The kingdom was to be restored but not to the nation of Israel but to the
  spiritual Israel. The kingdom was the kingdom of heaven not a kingdom of
  earth.

 “It is not for you to know…” Jesus is not agreeing with their misconception
  but is letting them know that they were not to understand the kingdom until
  the empowering of the Spirit

 Jesus understands their misconceptions and knows that the day was coming
  when they would receive more spiritual understanding when the Holy Spirit
  came upon them and they would eventually “get it”

 As Jesus was sharing these last words with them they didn’t know He was
  about to ascend to His throne and leave them on earth. They might have
  been assuming He was there to establish His physical kingdom now that He
  had raised from the dead. There was nothing stopping Him in their eyes.

 I can imagine them thinking “what is He waiting for. We thought at the
  triumphal entry that His time had finally arrived and would set up His
  kingdom which He has been talking about. Then He was killed! That sure
  knocked us for a loop. It didn’t make sense then but now we get it! He’s
  come back to life and now is indestructible. If that doesn’t get Him the
  proper respect when He rides back into Jerusalem to take His place on the
  throne of David, what will? Besides, He’s invincible! The problem is, what is
  He waiting for? It’s been over a month of Him popping in and out, when is
  He going to make His move and establish this Kingdom of His? … ah …maybe
  He’s waiting for the next festival, that will be grand…”

 They asked “will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel” and Jesus
  tells them that the information they want is classified but they need to know
  about something more important at the present… the coming of the Spirit in
  Power. This single event would change them forever and become the birth
  of the Christian church.

17. He didn’t want them thinking about being princes in an earthly kingdom but
    witnesses to the entire world at the cost of their lives.



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Acts 1:4-9 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not
to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He
said, "you have heard from Me; (5) for John truly baptized with water, but you
shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." (6) Therefore,
when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this
time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (7) And He said to them, "It is not for you
to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. (8) But
you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall
be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of
the earth." (9) Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He
was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

 “You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now”

18. Not many day was about 10 days. Pentecost was 50 days after Passover
    and we are told that Jesus was with them for 40 days.

 He said that they should wait to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

   Matthew 3:7-12 When John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to
   him to be baptized, he said to them, "You snakes---who told you that you
   could escape from the punishment God is about to send? (8) Do those
   things that will show that you have turned from your sins. (9) And don't
   think you can escape punishment by saying that Abraham is your ancestor. I
   tell you that God can take these rocks and make descendants for Abraham!
   (10) The ax is ready to cut down the trees at the roots; every tree that does
   not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire. (11) I baptize
   you with water to show that you have repented, but the one who will come
   after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. He is much greater
   than I am; and I am not good enough even to carry his sandals. (12) He has
   his winnowing shovel with him to thresh out all the grain. He will gather his
   wheat into his barn, but he will burn the chaff in a fire that never goes out."

 Jesus doesn’t tell them to wait for a baptism of fire but of the Holy Spirit




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 When Mark records the words of John the Baptist, he does not include the
  preaching about judgment and likewise he does not include Jesus’ statement
  about a baptism of fire.

    Mark 1:7-8 And he preached, saying, "There comes One after me who is
    mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and
    loose. (8) I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the
    Holy Spirit."

 Outside of John’s preaching we never hear again of a baptism of fire because
  the baptism of fire that he mentioned was in contrast to the baptism of the
  Holy Spirit.

 That being said, it is reasonable to relate the work of the Holy Spirit to a fire
  within. Some think the flames on top of the believers heads were a
  fulfillment of that but I think it speaks of something more significant.

 The fire might be a reference to zeal, the flames on the head, or a burning
  inside with passion.

19. The baptism of fire is either synonymous with the baptism of the Spirit or it
    is contrasted with the baptism of the Spirit, but it is not a distinct spiritual
    occurrence.

    It can be hard enough to help Christians understand the Baptism of the
     Spirit without adding new elements that were not intended to be added.
     Outside of John the Baptists comments there is not other mention
     afterward of a baptism of fire. (other than the continued warnings by Jesus
     and the disciples afterward of a soon coming judgment upon Israel which
     was realized in 70 AD)

Acts 1:4-5 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not
to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He
said, "you have heard from Me; (5) for John truly baptized with water, but you
shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."




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20. Notice the doctrine of the Trinity revealed in this passage. Jesus spoke
    about the Father and the Holy Spirit

 “He commanded them not to depart…” During the 40 days the disciples at
  one point were back in Galilee for a short while (John 21) but now are back in
  Judea and are told to stay in Jerusalem

Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and
to the end of the earth."

 Their understanding had been opened to comprehend Scripture by the Holy
  Spirit in Luke 24:45 and John 20:22 but that did not give them power

21. A right understanding of Scripture does not equal power to preach and be a
    witness. A person can preach and witness without the power of the Spirit
    but Jesus commanded His disciple to wait to receive power.

 Their witness would come as a result of the power of the Holy Spirit when He
  came upon them

 witness is “martyr”

G3144 μάρτυς martus mar'-toos
Of uncertain affinity; a witness (literally [judicially] or figuratively [generally]); by
analogy a “martyr”: - martyr, record, witness.

 A “Martyr” today is often thought of as a person who dies for their
  testimony. The word “martyr” is not related to the death of the person but
  the testimony which at times has led to a believer’s death.

 The Apostles had a special role as witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus and
  as first hand authorities of His teaching and acts.




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John 15:26-27 "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the
Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
(27) And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the
beginning.

 “He will testify of Me…” and you also (He won’t leave you out)

   Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the
   resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

22. We can be witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus not because we are first
    hand witnesses but because of the apostles first hand witness

 You cannot be qualified to preach/teach merely by going to seminary/Bible
  school to receive training

 Jesus apostles had at least three years of training by Jesus but yet they were
  still told to wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them before they would go
  out into the world to be witnesses

 Though the Apostles had a special role as witnesses that doesn’t necessarily
  mean that the baptism of the Spirit and the empowering to minister was
  exclusive to them. On the contrary, if they needed the Spirit’s power how
  much more do we? We will see this pattern in our study of Acts.

   Numbers 11: 29 Then Moses said to him, "Are you zealous for my sake? Oh,
   that all the LORD's people were prophets and that the LORD would put His
   Spirit upon them!"

Acts 1:9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was
taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

 He didn’t just slip away and leave them to guess

   Mark 16:19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up
   into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.



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   Daniel 7:13-14 "I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the
   Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of
   Days, And they brought Him near before Him. (14) Then to Him was given
   dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages
   should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not
   pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

   Ephesians 1:20-23 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the
   dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, (21) far above
   all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is
   named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (22) And He
   put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the
   church, (23) which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

   Colossians 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which
   are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

   Acts 7:54-56 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and
   they gnashed at him with their teeth. (55) But he, being full of the Holy
   Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the
   right hand of God, (56) and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the
   Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"

   Hebrews 10:12-13 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins
   forever, sat down at the right hand of God, (13) from that time waiting till
   His enemies are made His footstool.

   1 Corinthians 15:23-26 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits,
   afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. (24) Then comes the end,
   when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all
   rule and all authority and power. (25) For He must reign till He has put all
   enemies under His feet. (26) The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

 Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is ruling as the King of the
  Kingdom of Heaven and this truth is essential to the gospel.




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Acts 1:10-11 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up,
behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, (11) who also said, "Men of
Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was
taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go
into heaven."

 His second coming may not have been understood until now. They had so
  many misconceptions up to this point and now He ascends to heaven making
  it clear that they were starting a new chapter in history.




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