Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Testament survey (05): Book of Acts

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)


[1] Acts, from Thru The Bible Radio with Dr. J. Vernon McGee ©, with free downloads Notes & Outlines (PDF), Complete 5-Year Study (MP3), What is the Mark of a Good Church? (PDF), and What Really Happened on the Day of Pentecost? (PDF)
The theme or key to the Book of Acts is found in 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

The book divides naturally according to this key verse. The first seven chapters record the Lord Jesus Christ at work by the Holy Spirit through the apostles in Jerusalem. Chapters 8 through 12 record the Lord Jesus Christ at work by the Holy Spirit through the apostles in Judea and Samaria. The remainder of the book is devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ at work by the Holy Spirit through the apostles unto the uttermost part of the earth.(Read the complete article)
[2] Book of Acts, from (this website is also available in Afrikaans, Arabic, Bengali, Burmese-Myanmar, Cebuano, Chinese - Simplified, Chinese – Traditional, Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Malaysian, Persian-Farsi, Portuguese, Quechua, Sesotho, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Urdu, Vietnamese, Zulu, and 70 other languages)
The book of Acts serves as a transition from the Old Covenant of law-keeping to the New Covenant of grace and faith. This transition is seen in several key events in Acts. First, there was a change in the ministry of the Holy Spirit, whose primary function in the Old Testament was the external “anointing” of God’s people, among them Moses (Numbers 11:17), Othniel (Judges 3:8-10), Gideon (Judges 6:34), and Saul (1 Samuel 10:6-10). After the resurrection of Jesus, the Spirit came to live in the very hearts of believers (Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:16), guiding and empowering them from within. The indwelling Spirit is the gift of God to those who come to Him in faith. (Read the complete article)
[3] The Book of Acts, from Blue Letter Bible
The purpose of Luke-Acts may be ecclesiastical or apologetic. For ecclesiastical purpose, it may have been written in order to edify the church, serving as a history of both Jesus and his apostles. Or apologetically it may have been composed to make the case that Christianity was not a threat to the Roman Empire—more specifically, it seems that it could have been Paul's defense before Caesar. This last argument seems to fit the abrupt ending the best and is also supported through the acceptance (or non-conviction) of Paul from governing officials (Acts 18:12-17; 23:23-30; 26:31-32; et al.).

The main theological emphasis of the book of Acts is the Holy Spirit. The book begins with Jesus' promise of the Holy Spirit, which is later fulfilled in reference to the Jews (ch. 2), and then for the Gentiles (ch. 10). Reference to the Holy Spirit comes in a variety of ways. Many of the occurrences are references to a person being filled with the (Holy) Spirit: Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9, and 52. Luke also equates the Holy Spirit with God (cf. Acts 5:3 with 5:4), and the Holy Spirit directly intervened in Paul's life (Acts 16:6-7). (Read the complete article)
[4] Acts, from Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)
WRITER: In the Acts of the Apostles Luke continues the account of Christianity begun in the Gospel which bears his name. In the “former treatise” he tells what Jesus “began both to do and teach”; in the Acts, what Jesus continued to do and teach through His Holy Spirit sent down.

DATE: The Acts concludes with the account of Paul's earliest ministry in Rome, A.D. 65, and appears to have been written at or near that time.

THEME: This book records the ascension and promised return of the Lord Jesus, the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter’s use of the keys, opening the kingdom (considered as the sphere of profession, as in Matthew 13) to the Jews at Pentecost, and to the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius; the beginning of the Christian church and the conversion and ministry of Paul.

The Holy Spirit fills the scene. As the presence of the Son, exalting and revealing the Father, is the great fact of the Gospels, so the presence of the Spirit, exalting and revealing the Son, is the great fact of the Acts.

Acts is in two chief parts: In the first section (Acts 1- 9:43) Peter is the prominent personage, Jerusalem is the center, and the ministry is to Jews. Already in covenant relations with Jehovah, they had sinned in rejecting Jesus as the Christ. The preaching, therefore, was directed to that point, and repentance (i.e. "a changed mind") was demanded. The apparent failure of the Old Testament promises concerning the Davidic kingdom was explained by the promise that the kingdom would be set up at the return of Christ (Acts 2:25-31; Acts 15:14-16). This ministry to Israel fulfilled Luke 19:12-14. In the persecutions of the apostles and finally in the martyrdom of Stephen, the Jews sent after the king the message, "We will not have this man to reign over us." In the second division (Acts 10:1-; 28:31) Paul is prominent, a new center is established at Antioch, and the ministry is chiefly to Gentiles who, as "strangers from the covenants of promise" ( 2:12), had but to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" to be saved. Chapters 11,12, and 15 of this section are transitional, establishing finally the distinction, doctrinally, between law and grace. Galatians should be read in this connection.

The events recorded in The Acts cover a period of 32 years.

[1] Luke wrote both the Gospel bearing his name and Acts (compare Luke 1:1-4 and Acts 1:1-3; Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11).

[2] Key verses: Acts 1:8; 4:12, 19-20; 9:3-6; and 16:31.

[3] Acts can primarily be divided into two parts: Acts 1- 9:43 with the focus of the narrative on Peter, and then Acts 10:1 - 28:31 with the focus on the Apostle Paul.

Acts can also be divided into six parts, with each part ending with a summary statement: Jerusalem (Acts 1:1-6:7), extends to Judea, Galilee, and Samaria (Acts 6:8-9:31), Syria and Cyprus (Acts 9:32-12:24), Pisidia, Pamphylia, Lycaonia, and Cilicia (Acts 12:25-16:5), Asia and Greece (Acts 16:6-19:20), and finally Rome (Acts 19:21-28:31).

[4] The purposes of Christ’s ascension recorded in Acts 1 1-11 are separation from His earthly followers (Matthew 28:20); consummation of His work (Hebrews 1:3); His glorification (Philippians 2:9); confirmation of His person and work (Hebrews 6:19-20); transition from salvation to sanctification, from Gospels to the epistles (Hebrews 5:14-16); and anticipation of His return (Acts 1:11). From The Ascension (Luke 24:31; Acts 1:1-11), by Bob Deffinbaugh, Th.M.)

[5] The Gospel of John mentions four times the promise of the Holy Spirit (John 1:33; 7:37–39; 14:16–17; 20:22). The same promise is given in the Book of Acts (Acts 1:8). This promise of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled in Acts 2 (for the Jews), and in Acts 10 (for the Gentiles).

[6] Matthew 28:19-20 state the Great Commission (“Go and teach all nations ..”). Acts 1:8 states that the disciples would be witnesses in “Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” This was fulfilled in Acts 1:1-8:3 (Jerusalem), Acts 8:4-12:25 (Judea and Samaria), and Acts 13:1–28 (to the ends of the earth).

[7] Some significant events in Acts: Paul’s dramatic conversion on the Damascus road (Acts 9:1-31), and Peter’s vision of the sheet (Acts 10:9-15).

[8] We are no longer under the Law but under grace (Acts 10:9-15; 15:16-31).

[9] Luke equates the Holy Spirit with God (Acts 5:3-4).

Further study (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] Acts: Introduction, Outline, and Argument, by Daniel B. Wallace, Th.M., Ph.D. (also available in Croatian)

[2] A Study Outline of Acts, by Greg Herrick Th.M., Ph.D. (also available in Dutch)

[3] Materials by Bob Deffinbaugh, Th.M
[4] Speaking in Tongues, by Lehman Strauss, Litt.D., F.R.G.S. (also available in Spanish)

Sermons on Acts 1:8 (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] Personal Evangelism, by Pastor Jeremy Stephens, Southview Baptist Church

[2] Ultimate Mission of the Church, by Mike Foreman, First Baptist Church Level Plains

[3] What is the Church? 3 - The Community of the Sent, by Richard DeRuiter

[4] The Spirit of the Lord is upon us, by Raymond Richards

[5] Spirit Power for Witnessing, by George Toews

[6] Topical - Holy Spirit - Divine Helper, by Ronnie Mitchell

[7] Word of Mouth Marketing, by Bruce W. Logue

[8] The Spirit of Mission, by Noel Sterne

[9] You shall be MY witnesses, by David Harp

[10] Take It to the Next Level, by Alan Monroe

[11] Every Second Counts, by Jeff Jones

For other available sermons, please surf to Sermon / Preaching resources. Sermons are also available from South McGehee Baptist Church, McGehee, Arizona; Central Baptist Church, Lowesville; First Baptist Church, Mountain View, Missouri; Swift Creek Baptist Church; Word of Life Baptist Church, Pottsville, Philadelphia; Palm Springs Baptist Church, California; South Woods Baptist Church; Grove Baptist Church, Ulster; Dudley Baptist Church, United Kingdom; Independent Fundamental Baptist Sermons, Fundamental Christian Radio Broadcasts, Off-Site Audio Page and The Christian Radio Tuner

Notes: (1) This ministry does not necessarily endorse or share all the views and opinions expressed in the materials, resources or links mentioned in these posts. Please always refer to the Articles of Faith and Biblical distinctives of Baptists when you study these materials. (2) This lesson is part of the projected 300 plus lessons. From time to time, the lessons will be updated, revised, combined, formatted, and edited to comply with the VOA Simplified English word list. Later on, these lessons will be categorized, numbered sequentially, and made available as PDF downloads.

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