Invited to stay: Acts 28.14

“There we found some brothers and were invited to stay with them seven days. And in this way we came to Rome.”

Acts 28.14

In Roman custody, on his way to appear before the emperor in his defense, Paul and his companions were shown hospitality by brethren in Puteoli.

Hospitality was above all a missionary activity in the first century. Homes of saints were a major factor in church growth. Let them become so again!

#votd #hospitality #Acts #church-growth

In their hearts turned back: Acts 7.39

“Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him. Instead, they pushed him aside, and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.”

Acts 7.39 CSB

In his defense before the Sanhedrin, Stephen showed how Israelite history proved their resistance to God’s plan in Christ.

Israel did not literally go back to Egypt. But they wanted to return. In their hearts they turned back. Do our hearts wish for the world?

#votd #heart #Acts

Warning with tears: Acts 20.31

“Therefore be alert, remembering that night and day for three years I did not stop warning each one of you with tears.”

Acts 20.31

The apostle Paul met the Ephesian supervisors to warn them about dangers they would face. He reminded them of his example among them. That example still should serve to keep them alert.

What examples and reminders have we received that should keep us alert against departures from the faith?

#Acts #alert #VOTD

Hugh’s News & Views (Paul’s Speech . . .)

PAUL’S SPEECH TO THE EPHESIAN ELDERS

I have always considered the apostle Paul’s speech to the elders of the church in Ephesus (Acts 20:17-38) one of the most touching and moving speeches in all of the Bible. Obviously, it does not rank above our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, 7) or Peter’s sermon on Pentecost when the church was established (Acts 2) or Stephen’s sermon resulting in his martyrdom (Acts 7) or even Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17). Yet, for sheer pathos, to say nothing of its sobering content, few if any speeches in the New Testament would outrank Paul’s address to the Ephesian elders. Continue reading

#acts, #elders, #hughfulford

These Jews were more open minded than those…

“These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so” Ac 17.11 NET.

Comment on the verse, please.

#acts, #votd

Moving and speaking: Saul’s first trip back to Jerusalem after conversion

old-jerusalemAfter Saul is converted in the city of Damascus, Barnabas opens the doors for him into the fellowship of the Jerusalem church.

The disciples were wary of him, apparently not believing his conversion was genuine, but rather a ruse in order to find and arrest them.

And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord,” Ac 9.28 NASB.

Here are some disparate thoughts on this verse.

What does Luke mean by the phrase, “moving about freely in Jerusalem”? Among the brethren? Or that he was already going to the Jews to preach the gospel? Continue reading

#acts, #apostle-paul, #jerusalem

The First Gospel Sermon (Mike Glenn)

This month the Joshua Generation characteristic encourages us all to be evangelistic. The slogan is “Go ye means go me.”

It is by the foolishness of preaching that God will save the world (1 Cor. 1:18-31). Therefore, I would like to turn our attention for this study to the first gospel sermon ever preached. Particularly, I would like for us to consider at least some of the preparation that made that first sermon possible.

To prepare us to make the application of the lesson, let’s you and I remember that we are “members one of another” (Eph. 4:25) and that we have “obtained like precious faith” with the apostles though they are long passed. What made the first gospel sermon possible? What made it necessary? Let’s take the second question first.

What made this first gospel sermon necessary? Simply, Adam, and every man and woman who has lived since then, has committed sin against God, others and self, thus bringing the penalty of eternal death and suffering upon all (Rom. 3:23, 5:5-18, 6:23). Paul would say that if one died for all, then all were dead (2 Cor. 5:14). No man has ever been able to find his own solution to sin or even to control of his passions and temptations (Jer. 10:23).

The second question is, “What made the first gospel sermon possible?”

The simple answer is, the love of God (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8). It is the details bringing us to that first sermon that teaches us the value of our soul and of those around us.

First, the plan was formulated before the world began (Eph. 1:4). Then, it was some 4000 years in the preparation (Eph. 3:9) until the time was just right for our Lord to enter the earth (Galatians 4:4).

Also, there was THE CHOICE. I am talking about the Lord’s choice to give up equality with God to come and to die (Phil. 2:5-8; John 10:17-18). There was also the process of training 12 men of human failings, emotions and intellect (consider Peter, Thomas, Judas) to preach, defend and live by the eternal message they were to carry to the masses and to the individuals. Continue reading

#acts, #gospel, #gospel-sermon

Good communication does not always bring the desired result

3-5 Paul Before Felix

There is only one verse and one point that I want to consider for our study tonight. These thoughts are particular addressed to the many folks on this list who are trying to take the gospel to their family, friends and neighbors. The verse is Acts 24:25. This is the statement of both the effort Paul made to communicate the gospel to Felix and the results of that effort.

The point that I want to make is this: Good communication does not always bring the desired result. Paul presented the gospel so well in this audience before Felix that Felix felt its power and trembled at the fear of the judgment to come. Yet, he was not moved to obey the gospel. Sometimes Christians become dissatisfied with themselves because they believe that if they had said just the right thing, if they had communicated the truth in a better way, the person with whom they are working would have obeyed.

It is true that some people are better communicators than others. Some have a personality which others feel compelling. However, no one who has communicated the truth in love has failed in their communication. The power of the gospel teacher does not lie in the wisdom of words (1 Cor. 1:17) nor in the persuasive power of enticing words (1 Cor. 2:4). Paul obviously effectively communicated the gospel to Felix. But Felix did not allow the power of the gospel’s words to work in convicting him. The failure was his, and later, Festus’ and later, Agrippa’s.

When it comes to communicating the gospel, we want to do our best. And then we want to leave the increase to the power of God.

—Mike Glenn

#acts, #communication, #evangelism

Trouble From Within and Without (Acts 5)

The Case of Ananias and Sapphira. Acts 5:1-11

 We’re told that Ananias and Sapphira sold their property and gave the proceeds to the apostles. But there was one difference in this case that was not present in the account of Barnabas. They sold the property for a certain amount and then tried to deceive the apostles by only giving a portion of the amount received.  It was their money to use as they saw fit.  There Watson sin in keeping back a portion of the proceeds. The sin came when they tried to deceive. The sin was in lying to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God. Peter tells us that it was Satan who. Filled Ananias’s heart. Peter had foreknowledge of this sin.

Verse 4 tells us that the practice of selling ones land and giving the proceeds to the church was voluntary.  After Peter had told Ananias that he had not lied to man but unto God, he fell dead on the spot.  We’re told that he was buried the same hour. Three hours later Sapphira came on the scene. Peter asked her if the price that Ananias had mentioned was the full amount received for the sale of the land. After she answered in the affirmative, she too was struck dead on the spot for lying to the Holy Spirit.

There is a questioned that needs to be considered.  Were Ananias and Sapphira believers who sinned or were they hypocrites who never were saved?  If they were Christians, were they lost because of their sin? It would seem that at one time they were Christians who let Satan tempt them to lie to the Holy Spirit.  We’re not told the answer to the questions above in this text.

Trouble from Without-the Twelve Arrested. Acts 5:17-26

Again the persecution came from the High Priest and his Sadducean allies.  This time they put the Twelve in jail. During the night God performed a miracle. They were released by an angel who told them to go to the temple and teach the people the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

At daybreak the apostles entered the temple to teach the people.  When the Sanhedrin was called to order they sent word to have the Twelve  brought before them.  In verse 22-23 the officers found the cells locked, the guards at their posts, but when they opened the cell, no one was to be found.  The Captain of the Temple guard and the chief priests could not figure what had happened.  Then someone came and told them the Twelve were teaching in the temple.

The Captain if the Temple guard went to, personally arrest the apostles.  They brought them back peaceably to the Sanhedrin because they were afraid of the multitudes.

The Twelve on Trial. Acts 5:27-40

The High Priest, who was a member of the Sadducees, presided  over the Sanhedrin. He wanted  to know why the  apostles had defied his order not to speak about Jesus. He was  also upset that the  apostles were putting the blame for the  death of Jesus on the  Council. The  apostles told him that they must  obey God rather than men. The Bible teaches  that when there is a conflict between God’s law and man’s laws, God’s must take precedence.

The  apostles take the opportunity  to testify of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The  Sanhedrin was told that it was  “the God of our fathers” who raised Jesus from the depths of the  grave. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Author of our  salvation. (Heb. 12:2)

Again the Twelve testify of the  resurrection of Jesus, of which, they were witnesses. They  preached the same message. It is in this passage that the Word of God tells us that God gives the Holy Spirit to all who obey. This was  more than the  Sanhedrin could take. The High Priest and  his allies were ready to condemn the Twelve to death.

In verse 24 the apostles  found, somewhat of an  unlikely ally in the person of the Pharisee, Gamaliel.  This was not to say that he was on their side, but he seemed to be willing to let  God judge the movement.

What are some of the facts  about this man? He was a Pharisee, a teacher of the Law and was  respected by the  people. He was also the teacher of Saul of Tarsus, who later become Paul the Apostle. He ordered  the  Twelve out of the Council chambers while they decided what to do with them

In verse 35 he warns the  Sanhedrin not to act in haste. In verse 36-37 he reminds them of  two others who led  revolts or claimed to be the Messiah or  advocated new movements. He  reminds them that the  actions of these men were not  rooted in God. They were killed and their followers scattered. It was only a  passing fad. In verse 38 Gamaliel tells them that if Christianity is from men it will pass away. But if it is from God it will endure and we will be  found fighting against God Himself.

Verse 40 tells us they ordered the apostles  to be brought back into the  room. They beat them and again ordered them not to teach and preach in the  Name of Jesus. Then they released them.

The Twelve Released. Acts 5:41-42

The  record tells us that the  Twelve went away from the  Council rejoicing in the fact that they had been worthy to suffer for Jesus’ sake. Verse 42 informs us that everyday they continued to uphold the  Name of Jesus and preached His resurrection to the people.

Please read the 6th chapter of Acts in preparation for our next  study. Some have said that the first church election is  in this  chapter. The lesson  will be title “The Choosing of Fellow Workers.”

#acts, #book-of-acts, #studies-in-acts

Why The Early Church Grew (Acts 4:1-37)

The  Persecution: Acts 4:1-7

Verse 1 tells us that first persecution the early church experienced came from the Sadducees. This was not unusual because they did not believe in the resurrection from the dead. It was the resurrection of Jesus Christ that the Apostles were proclaiming to the people that day.

The Captain of the temple guard is mentioned in this passage; he was second in command on temple grounds to the High Priest. Rome allowed the Jews to police the Temple grounds. We would like to give you a comparison of the beliefs of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Irving Jensen, gives us this account:

Pharisees

Sadducees

Name meant “the separated ones.” Name may come from zaddikum “the righteous ones.”
Largest and most influential sect. Second to Pharisees in prominence -majority power in the Council at this time, the aristocratic minority, educated and wealthy class.
Extreme legalism External legalism
Little interest in politics Major concern was politics.
Operated principally in the synagogues. Operated principally in the Temple. 
Held these doctrines: immortality, resurrection, spirits and angels. Denied: immortality, resurrection, spirits and angels.
Regarded rabbinic tradition highly. Accepted as authoritative only the written Old Testament.

In verse 2 we read of the opposition by the Sadducees concerning the resurrection from the dead. They had Peter and John put in jail for the night. Their reasoning: the Mosaic Law forbade night trials. This was conveniently disregarded in the case of Jesus. Verse 4 tells us of 5,000 souls being added to the church.

The Sanhedrin convened the  next day. Some of the  ones  presiding over the procedures had been the same ones  who condemned Jesus. They wanted to know by what authority Peter and John healed the lame man.

Peter’s Defense: Acts 4:8-22

Peter, filled with the  Holy Spirit. Now  presents his defense. He says that they were on trial for doing good. In verse 10 he  says it was  by the  authority of Jesus Christ that this man was healed. He then refers to Psalm 118:22 where it says that the  Messiah would be  rejected. In verse 12 Peter emphasizes the fact that Jesus is the  hope of the  world. Jesus is the  Blessed Hope, as  Paul calls Him in Titus 2:13. Only  through Jesus can sinful mankind come to the Father. We think back to John 14:6 where it reads, I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

The Sanhedrin took note of the fact that these  men were unlearned. This  meant that they had  not  attended  or were trained in the rabbinic schools. They were not professional scholars. They also recognized them as  being with Jesus. The lame man stood with them, witness to the fact that a miracle had taken place. The Sanhedrin could not  deny that.

In verse 15 the Bible tells us that the Sanhedrin ordered the  apostles out of the chambers so they could  come to a decision. What shall they do with these men? They could not  deny that a  miracle had transpired. They decided to warn them never again to speak in the  Name  of Jesus. They brought  Peter and John back in and gave them the decision.

In verse  19-20 Peter tells them  that he and John can’t stop preaching. The  apostles had been commanded by the Risen Savior (Luke 24:48-49) to proclaim His resurrection and to teach about Him. We are told that they set them  free and that the  lame man’s age was  40.

The Early Church Was A Praying Church: Acts 4:23-31

After their release the two apostles went back to the company of their companions. After relating the  events  of the trial to fellow-believers, they went to the Lord in prayer. First of all they acknowledged  the sovereign power of God. In verse 25 they quoted from Psalm 2. In verses 26-27 there is a  quote from Psalm 2:2. This  brings  out the  fact that responsibility for the death of Christ lay on both Jew and Gentile. Verse 28  tells us that all this was in  the eternal plan and purpose of God.

They did not  pray for the persecution to stop, but, rather prayed for the boldness to speak with  confidence amidst the  persecution.  While they spoke the Word, God confirmed the  Word  with miracles. Verse 31 relates that they were filled with the Holy Spirit. It is right and proper to pray for God’s Holy Spirit to fill us.

The Early Church Shared Their Possessions: Acts 4:32-37

The early Christians shared  what they had in common with each other. They said  what is mine is yours. In verse 33 the Twelve were continuing to proclaim the  power of the resurrection. Those  who owned  property would  sell it and give the  proceeds to the  apostles to distribute to the  needy.  That this was  voluntary, we will see in the  5th chapter of Acts.

In verse 36 we  see the  first  mention in  the  New Testament of Barnabus. He was  a Levite from the island  of Cyprus.  His name means “Son of Encouragement.” He  ownedsome land and sold it and gave the  proceeds to the  aposltes to be  used for feeding the  needy. This is  how the  4th chapter ends. If their was a need the  church met it; they helped their own.

There will be  an  additional article based on the  4th  chapter. It will be  called  “Five Reasons For  Chruch  Growth.” After that  article, we will continue  with Acts  5: “Trouble From Within and Without.”

#acts, #studies-in-acts

Studies In the Book of Acts: “The Birthday of the Church of Christ” (Acts 2)

The Coming of the  Promised Holy Spirit: Acts 2:1-4

What was the  importance of the Day of Pentecost? Warren Weirsbe, gives us this account:

         The Feast of Pentecost took place fifty  days after the Feast of First Fruits. (The word Pentecost means fiftieth.) It is outlined in Lev. 23:15-21. Just as Passover is a picture of the death of Jesus (1 Cor 5:7), and First fruits a  picture of the resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15;20-23), so Pentecost pictures the coming of the Holy  Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). The loaves of bread with leaven were presented that day, a picture of the  Church composed of Jews and Gentiles (In 1 Cor. 10:17 the  Church  pictured as a loaf of bread). The leaven in the bread speaks of sin yet in the Church. Actually there are  two occurrences of the  Spirit’s baptism in  Acts: upon the Jews in Acts 2, and upon the  Gentiles in Acts 10. This illustrates the  two loaves presented at Pentecost by the priests.”

The events that took place that day were a fulfillment of Matthew 16:18. There is one interesting  fact that should be  noted here. No where in Acts 2 does it say, point blank, the Church of Christ began on the  Day of Pentecost. We find the  inference in Acts 11:5.

It is this  writer’s conviction that only the  Twelve were present on that  day. In the  original text there were no chapter or verse  breaks. Here is  Acts 1:26 followed by Acts 2:1. Read them as if there were no chapter breaks.  “And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.” It  tells us that Matthias was numbered  with the eleven. In the next  verse they were all together. Who were  the  “They?” It refers to the Matthias  being  numbered with the  eleven. Only the  Twelve Apostles were present on Pentecost. Jesus, before  His ascension, in Acts 1:8, had  told them that they  would receive the Holy Spirit. This as  the  Baptism of the Holy Spirit and not the Gift of the Holy Spirit that  is  promised  to all believers in verse 38.

As the  events in  chapter 2 transpired, they were still in the upper room. In all probability they  left the  upper room in verse 3. The Bible states that God sent  from Heaven a sound like a mighty wind. This is  how Dr. Luke describes it. It tells us that the  tongues of fire appeared over each of the twelve. In the next  verse they received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. What Jesus had  promised had come  to fruition. This  event only took place twice in the New Testament; here in Acts 2 and also in Acts 10. There are no instances of this  baptism anywhere else in the New Covenant  scriptures. All believers are promised the Gift of the Holy Spirit (verse 38-39), but we are  not  promised or  told to seek after the  Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

It is important that we realize that they were speaking and praising God in known languages. This was  not  undecipherable gibberish. They were  speaking (or at least the  hearers were hearing them in their own languages) in the well known  languages of the  day.

They  Heard The Apostles In Their Own Languages  (Acts 2:5-13)

Why were there so many  different  nationalities assembled in Jerusalem? There is a simple answer; they were there to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. The Jewish religion had gained converts from all over the known world. The sound like a mighty wind probably brought the multitudes together. How big was the number? There were at least 3,000 because that many became Christians.  Those assembled could not understands how they were hearing the Twelve in their own language. They were very perplexed. The Galileans were not known for their proficiency in speech. They had like, our Southern neighbors, a distinct accent. The Bible tells us they were still confused. They realized that something was happening but could not fathom the importance. In Acts 1:9-11 we have a listing of the people’s and languages represented on Pentecost

“Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes. Cretans and Arabs, we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”

Verse  12 shows us that the multitudes were still at a loss for what was transporting. In verse 13 some said they were drunk.

The First Gospel Message (Acts 2:14-36)

We find Peter acting as the spokesman for the Twelve. Less than two months earlier it was he who denied his Lord. Here we find him possessing blondness and ready to stand up and proclaim that Jesus Christ the only hope of the world. Peter tells them  that they were not drunk as it was only the third hour, they is, 9:00 a.m. On feast days the Jews neither ate or drank until 10:00 a.m.  or 12:00 p.m.

In verses 16-21, Peter relates that the events transporting we’re prophesied by Joel in Joel 2:28-31.     In verses 22-36, he gives them a review of the life and times of Jesus. He says that Jesus proved Himself to be the Messiah by the working of miracles among the people. He also brings out the fact that all Jesus said and did was in the eternal plan of God.  Jesus saw us in our sinful condition and loved us so much that He was willing to come to earth to die that we might be redeemed (Rom. 5:8). He died on the cruel cross of Calvary, was buried and arose on the third day according to the scriptures.

Peter then quotes from Psalm 110:1. This passage refers to the present ministry of the Lord Jesus, that of sitting at the right hand of the Father.

The Results of Gospel Preaching.  (Acts 2:37-47)

Peter got to the main point of his message in verse 36. He informed them that they had killed the Christ of God, as Luke refers to Jesus in the account of the good confession in Luke 9:20. The One that they had killed, God raised up to conquer death. This was a strong charge, but a true one.  Perhaps some of the people assembled were present when Jesus was brought out by Pilate and called on him to execute Jesus.

These people were now ready to make a complete reversal in their lives. Just weeks ago, they rejected the Messiah, now they were willing to put their trust in Him.  They had been convinced by the overwhelming  evidence that the apostles presented.  Because they were convinced of His resurrection they were willing to accept Him as Lord of their lives.

They had recognized their sins and wanted to know if there was any way to remedy the dark deed that they had done. They wanted to know if their was anyway they could turn to Jesus. They wanted to know if their sins could be forgiven. Next we have the question of the ages: “What shall we do?” They had come the place where they were willing to put their trust in Jesus as Lord of their lives.  They believed that He was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. In verse 38, Peter gave the answer that should be given today to a lost and dying world: “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

         We want to break down the different  phrases of the passage. Repentance  meant a complete reversal in their lives. We  must be  willing to live for Him who died  for us. In Galatians 3:26-27, Paul says that  all who are in Christ have been baptized. In the Name of Jesus Christ means by  His  authority. For the forgiveness of sins:  Jesus  promises that He will forget your  past  sins; He  promises you a  new life. The Gift  of the Holy Spirit: All who are baptized into Christ are  promised the Gift of the Holy Spirit. It is given at the time of the  new birth. The Holy Spirit enables us to live the Christian life. In verse 40 the Gift of the Holy  Spirit is promised to all who accept God’s saving grace and seek to obey His commandments.

Peter continued teaching the   people. The   record tells  us that on that  day 3,000 souls were added to the  Church of Christ, being baptized into Christ for the  remission of their sins.

Verse 42 gives us some of things the early  church shared in.

  • They devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching. The  3,000 continued to learn from the  apostles the things  God wanted them to hear. The  Apostles were expounding the Word of God to eager converts.
  • Fellowship. Christian  fellowship is wonderful. Christian fellowship is sharing the  common life.  J. W. McGarvey gives this  account     “For the purpose of being taught by the apostles, they must have assembled together, and this was the occasion for manifesting their fellowship, which term expresses their common participation in religious privileges. It has been urged by some writers, that the term koinonia should here be rendered contribution, instead of fellowship, and that it refers to contributions which were regularly made in the public assemblies, for the poor. That the term is used in this limited sense in at least two places in the New Testament, must be admitted, viz.: in Romans 15:26, “It hath pleased them of Macedonia to make a certain contribution for the poor of the saints in Jerusalem;” and in 2 Corinthians 9:13, where Paul says the saints “glorify God for your liberal contribution to them and to all men.” But such is not, by any means, its common usage. It usually occurs in such connections as the following: “You were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ.” [1 Corinthians 1:9.] “The favor of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.” [2 Corinthians 13:14.] “And truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” [1 John 1:3.] “We have fellowship with one another.” [1:7.]”
  • The early church practiced the observance of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the  week (Acts 20:7).
  • They were a praying  church; they believed in the power of prayer.

The Apostles were continually performing wonders and  confirming their office  by these  signs. Verse 45-46 do not  teach “spiritual communism,” as  some teach. The pilgrims  that were converted on Pentecost, at least  some of them, we  believe, stayed on  to be further taught the Word of God.  The  Christians in Jerusalem undoubtedly  helped them with lodging and  good. Communism says “what  is yours is mine.” Christianity says “What  is mine is yours.” There is a vast  difference.

The early  Jewish Christians  still went to the Temple. They were now complete  Jews. But they were also followers of Jesus Christ. They met on the  first day of the week  to break bread in  commemoration of His death, looking forward to His return. The  record  tells us there were  souls added each day. The  early church experienced phenomenal growth. May we  seek to preach the Gospel to the lost, expecting God to bring forth the  increase.

Next lesson will come from chapter 3. The  lesson will be titled “The Healing of the Lame Man and It’s Results.”

#acts, #book-of-acts, #studies-in-acts

The Days Prior To Pentecost. (Acts 1:1-26)

The Risen Lord Upon the Earth (Acts 1:1-11)

This book, like the Gospel, of Luke, was written to Theophilus, probably a high-ranking Roman official. Luke tells him that Jesus, in His post-resurrection body taught the apostles He had chosen. For the first part of chapter 1 it is the eleven He is teaching. This was after the death of Judas Iscariot and before the selection of Matthias.

During the forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension, Jesus made many appearances  to His followers. Thomas D. Thurman, in his book “The Jesus Years,” gives us this suggested chronology of the appearances of Jesus

In and Near Jerusalem

  1. Appearance to Mary Magdalene.  Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18
  2. Appearance to the Other Women.  Matthew 28:9-10.
  3. Appearance to the Two Disciples  on the Emmaus Road.  Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24;13-32
  4. Appearance to Peter. Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5
  5. Appearance to the Ten. Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25
  6. Appearance to the Eleven.  John20:26-29; 1 Cor 15:5

In Galilee

  1. Appearance to the Seven by the  Sea.  John 21:1-23
  2. Appearance to the 500 brethren.  Matthew 28:16-20; I Cor. 15:6

In and Near Jerusalem After His Return From Galilee

  1. Appearance to the Apostles.  Mark 16:15-18
  2. Appearance  to James. I Cor. 15:7
  3. Appearance  at Bethany. Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:3-8

Later Appearances

  1. Appearance To Paul. I Cor. 15:8
  2. Appearance to John. Revelation 1:13

These were the  appearances that Jesus made  before many  witnesses. In Acts 1:3 we have the only  reference, in  scripture, to the  length of Jesus’ post-resurrection ministry.

They were  told  not  to leave Jerusalem. He  told them that  ten days  hence they would  receive the  Baptism of the Holy Spirit. In verse 6 the   apostles asked Jesus  if it was  at this time He would restore the kingdom  to Israel. He  told them “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” (Acts 1:7

In verse 8, He  again told them of the promise of the  Baptism of the Holy Spirit. He  made it known to them they  would evangelize the world, starting from Jerusalem. Why Jerusalem? Because that’s where they were. God wants all of us to start spreading the Good News from  wherever we are.

In the  next  verse we have the  ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. The location was the Mount of Olives. It was  located  east of Jerusalem across the Kidron Valley from the  village of Bethany (Luke 24:50). As He was  speaking to them, He  arose out of their sight in  cloud. I’m sure they were  astonished, I  know I would be. It isn’t  everyday you see someone rise up from you in a cloud, even though He is the Son of God. We’re told that while they were staring up in the  sky two men (angels) in white  clothing appeared to them. The  two called them “men of Galilee.”

   The remaining  eleven were from Galilee, Judas  Iscariot being the only non-Galilean. Here in verse  eleven we have the  promise that Jesus  is coming  back again for His  church.

The Choosing of Matthias: Acts 1:12-26

We’re told that the distance between the  Mount of Olives and the  city of Jerusalem was  3,000 feet. According to Josephus, 3,000 feet as the  length of a  Sabbath Day’s journey. In  verse 13 we  find the apostles back in the upper room. It was  in all probability the  same  room  where the Last Supper occurred (Mark 14:15; Luke 22:2), therefore it might have been in the  home of  Mary, the  mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12). Here is a  list of the  eleven apostles who  gathered in the upper room.

Peter, John, James, Andrew, Phillip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot and  Judas the son of James.

We find, early in the book, that the  disciples were a praying group. In verse 14 we have the last mention of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Also, his  half brothers had now  come to accept His Messiah ship. We  remember that not  many  days before that Peter had denied his Lord. Here we see him taking a position of  leadership.

In the next few verse they had to  choose a  successor  to Judas Iscariot.  In verses 21-22, we have the qualifications set  forth for the  office of Apostle. Peter says that they must have been with them from the baptism of John until Jesus’ ascension. That  way one was  both a  witness of His  resurrection and His  ascension . This  clearly shows that the  false practice of  apostolic  succession is  anti-scriptural. After  John’s  death the office  of Apostle ceased to  exist here on the earth.

The record tells  us that there were two men who fit these  qualifications; Joseph, called Barsabbas, who was  also  called Justus, and  Matthias. The  apostles believed that God  had  already made His choice so there had to be a way for  Him to relate His choice to them.

Charles Caldwell Ryrie gives us this  account from the  footnotes of the “Ryrie Study Bible.”

“Two names were written on stones and placed in an urn. The one that fell out  first was taken to be the Lord’s choice (cf. Prov. 16:33; Jonah  1:7) The occasion was  unique, for the Lord as not there in person to  appoint and the  Spirit had not been given in a  special way  on Pentecost.”

Did the apostles acts in accordance with God’s will in the  selection of Matthias? Some have tried to say that the  eleven were acting in haste when they  selected  Matthias. The  critics  say that God wanted  Paul to be the  twelfth apostles. This  can  be shown false by  at least  3  reasons:

  1. Nowhere in the New Testament does it  say that the choosing of  Matthias was in contrast with the  will of God. The fact that Matthias was  filled with the  Spirit on Pentecost proved that he, was in fact, God’s man for the  job.
  2. If the  choosing of Matthias was  wrong, then  Peter erred when he  gave Old Testament passages to back his  actions.
  3. Paul had a  special apostleship. Also, Paul could not fulfill the  qualifications laid down in  verse  21-22. In 1 Cor. 15:5-8, he says that he was not one of the Twelve.

So, according to the purpose and plan of God, Matthias became the twelfth apostles. The office was   complete  again.

In the  next lesson we are  going to deal with the  events in the  second chapter of Acts. The lesson will titled “The  Birthday of the Church of Christ.” We  encourage all to prepare by reading the chapter through. Remember, no truth is truly yours  until you  find it for yourself in the Word of God.

-Larry Miles, Louisville, KY

 

#acts, #studies-in-acts

Studies In The Book of Acts-Introduction

All of God’s Word is profitable for  study (2 Tim. 3:16-17). We want to encourage all who read these  studies to be  like the Bereans in Acts 17 who searched the Scriptures daily to see whether the Apostle Paul spoke truly  from God.

So, we  encourage  you  to have your  Bibles with you as  you read these articles. Let’s study together. Remember, God has  told us to study His Word (2 Tim. 2:15).

In this introductory  article, we are  going to give  an  introduction to the  book and relate some facts about the time setting. There will also  be  some remarks on the  author. The Book of Acts is the bridge from the Gospels to the Epistles. You will not find the establishment of the Church in the Gospels. Only after the death and resurrection and ascension of Jesus could there ever be a Church. Jesus lived and died under the Mosaic Law.

It is in the Book of Acts that we see the establishment of the Church. The Book of Acts is a book of beginning. Thomas D. Thurman,  wrote the following:

“Acts: The Genesis of the New Testament. Now what does that mean? Well, Genesis means ‘beginnings.’ It tells about the beginning of the Church, of Christian benevolence. It relates about the first church hypocrites, the first church election, and the first Christian martyr. The beginning of the Holy Spirit’s working in the church is described. So is the conversion of the first Gentile, the sending of the first missionaries, and the first great controversy in the church. Paul’s first work in Europe is explained in Chapter 16, and elsewhere in the book we get to meet the first mixed-up preacher and the first church sleeper. We can also read about Paul’s first sermon before royalty and his first view of Rome.” 

At this time we want  to give a brief introduction of the book. Unless one is familiar with the events in Acts, the events in the Epistles will not have much meaning. The book of Acts tells of the advance of the Gospel. It tells us if the spread of Christianity from the Day of Pentecost until Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome in Acts 28.

J. Vernon McGee said that the key verse is Acts 1:8. This verse gives us  divisions of the book.

  • Chapters 1-7 The work in Jerusalem.
  • Chapters 8-12 The work in Judea and Samaria.
  • Chapters 13-28 The work to the uttermost parts of the earth.

The author of the book is not mentioned by name.  Dr. Luke is presumed to be the author.  Post-apostolic writers, as far back as the second century ascribe the book to Luke. One thing that we know us that the writer of the book was with Paul in what is called the “we” passages. They are as follows:

  • Acts 16:10-17. Troas to Philippi (Second Missionary Journey)
  • Acts 20:6-21:18.  Philippi to Jerusalem ( Third Missionary Journey)
  • Acts 27:1-28:16. Voyage to Rome.

Luke was the only non-Jewish writer of the New Testament.  He is mentioned only three times in the New Covenant Scriptures.  The three places are:

  1. Colossians 4:14.
  2. 2 Timothy 4:11.
  3. Philemon 24.

Colossians 4:14  tells us that his occupation was that of a physician. The book was written to a man named Theophilus. Who was this man?  He was, in all probabilities, a high ranking Roman official. His name means “lover of God.”  In Acts, Luke is continuing the narrative he began in his gospel.  He was telling Theophilus the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

What was the date of the writing of Acts?  The most common dates suggested have been between AD 62 and 64.  Why these dates? At least 3 reasons seem evident

  1. If the writer had known the outcome of Paul’s trial, don’t you think he would have mentioned it. The imprisonment Paul mentioned in2 Timothy 4 dies not seem to be the one in Acts 28.
  2. No reference is made of destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem in AD 70.
  3. No mention is made of the persecution of Emperor Nero.  It is believed that Paul suffered martyrdom in the time of Nero.

In our next article we will deal with the events that took place in chapter 1.

Note:   I may try to  post   one article a week- These are   a series  of  articles I  wrote  about  25 years ago. Been  trying to re-work them a  bit–I hope you will be blessed with them and it  will help you in your  study of God’s Word.   -Larry Miles

#acts, #studies-in-acts

Question About the Holy Spirit

A question occurred to me recently that I had never considered before.

The Holy Spirit has always been active in the realm of men. First mentioned in Genesis 1:2, the Spirit has been involved, faithfully doing the will of God in whatever way He was needed (Genesis 1:26; Psalm 51:11, et al).

In addition, the Holy Spirit directed the Word of God to men so God’s will could be taught and obeyed (2 Peter 1:21). The Spirit has been active in various ways since before time began.

With that in mind, Jesus teaches the Apostles in John 14-16 that the Holy Spirit would come as a Comforter (John 14:16) and as a Teacher (John 14:26). Later, He hastens the arrival of the Church (Acts).

Jesus said:

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7, cf. 14:16).

Considering the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture…

  • How is it that the Spirit could not come until Jesus left?
  • In what way had He not come, considering He had always been here working for God?
  • Why had He left in the first place?
  • In what way had He left?

Had the Spirit not been a Comforter and Teacher already in His role as a carrier of God’s will and word?

I find this an interesting thought question and I look forward to your answers.

#acts, #church, #comforter, #holy-spirit, #john

Study Bible notes: Acts 15

Bible reading schedule for today: Acts 15.

Previous posts and project description: “Study Bible notes” tag.

Outline of Acts 15:

  • The Antioch controversy over circumcision (1-4)
  • The Jerusalem meeting (5-7)
  • Peter’s speech (8-12)
  • James’ speech (13-21)
  • The letter to Antioch (22-29)
  • The letter delivered (30-35)
  • Separation and two mission trips begun (36-41)

Your assignment: Add short commentary notes in the comments area (reply, upper right of this post).

#acts, #study-bible-notes