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Intro Acts

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Faith Builders Welcome –2003

! Introduction to Luke’s two volumes *

The author of the gospel of Luke is also the author of the book of acts.

In  has become common to refer to the writing of  Luke as Luke-Acts

Luke was a physician who became a follower of Christ through the preaching of the gospel - probably by Paul

To the Romans, physicians were looked upon as slaves --

But to the Greeks - physicians were held in high esteem and were highly trained and intelligent individuals


The Preface of Luke’s Writings

Preface written by Luke in his gospel

Luke claims to be writing accurate history

This Luke who claimed to be writing accurate history was well qualified to do so.   

He was an educated doctor, a traveling companion of Paul and had lived in Palestine.

Even then, doctors had rigorous training and Luke’s use of the Greek language gave evidence that he was a cultured person with the vocabulary and powers of observation that one might expect from one in the medical profession

Acts 16:10

Another reason to regard Luke’s writings as history is that he was a traveling companion of Paul.


Rather than draw attention from his message to himself, Luke simply changes from the third person plural (they) to the first person plural (we) when he writes of first hand events.

This subtle shift of tenses relates that many of the trials and occurrences written of in acts were witnessed first hand by Luke...and therefore are truly historical and accurate in their representation

Let us turn to the gospel of Luke and read the first verses which give us the reason for Luke’s writing of these two volumes

Luke 1:1-4

I have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us,

{2} just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.

{3} therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,

{4} so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

1. Historic Events

Luke calls them "certain things"

Which have been fulfilled - these occurrences were neither random nor unexpected - but fulfilled old testament prophesy

2. Contemporary eyewitnesses

- handed down by those who had witnessed the events

Luke excludes himself from these accounts because he was not an eye witness “from the first”

He does  not include himself but says that these things have been handed down to us

Tradition that was handed down by the first eye witnesses to others of what they had seen and heard

But he speaks of the apostles who were eyewitnesses of the happenings and fulfillments Luke is recording.

3. Personal research

Though Luke belonged to the second generation, he did not take it at face value or uncritically

He "carefully investigated everything from the beginning"

4. Written History

"many have undertaken to draw up an account of these things and now "it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account

Certainly includes Mark

5. Factual Certainty

The writing would have readers - among them Theophilus - and others "so you may know with certainty of the things you have been taught"

Luke is essentially saying that , “That which you have been taught is true and I verify its truthfulness as one who has researched from eyewitnesses, have experienced and have recorded faithfully and exactly.

Introduction to Acts

Luke does not consider volume one of his writings to be the story of Jesus Christ from his birth, death resurrection and ascension...and volume two as the story of the church of Jesus Christ!!!

The parallel that Luke draws for his two volumes is not between Christ and his church

but between two stages of ministry

of the same Christ!!!

In his 1st  book he has written

"about all that Jesus began to do  and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven

In this 2nd book, he will write about what Jesus continued to do and to teach after his ascension

John Stott suggests that rather than the title of this book being the Acts of the Apostles, or the Acts of the Holy Spirit, or just "the Acts"...

A better name might be

"The Continuing Words And Deeds Of Jesus Christ By His Spirit Through The Apostles"

These opening verses of Acts set Christianity apart from all other religions!!

All other sects regard their founders as having completed  their ministry during their life time...

But Luke says that Christ only began his !!!

The church relieves the life of Jesus and Carries on His Mission to the World


The Ascension marks the beginning of the Church

-         The Holy Spirit is Sent

-         The Mission of the Church is to be Sent

-         The Church is to work between the two advents of Christ

The Jews had no concept of Mission

God would draw people to the Jews

- conversion of proselytes



| ! Israel









As we study the growth of the church and the working of the Holy Spirit in acts we will see the development of a reoccurring cycle of all Christian service accomplished in the holy spirit.


1.      Prayer, followed by

2.      Power to preach or witness so that lives are changed..followed by

3.  Persecution or opposition of some kind.

 Acts 2:42-47

2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Devoted themselves to

1.      the apostle’s teaching

2.      Fellowship

3.      Breaking of Bread and Prayer

  1. Devoted to the Apostle’s teaching

Apostle’s teaching – the bible!

They didn’t focus on the experience of Pentecost


They weren’t seeking a “Mystical Experience”


- they weren’t seeking another experience they engaged their minds with the Truth with a Capital “T”

Ant-intellectualism and

Fullness of the Spirit

are mutually incompatible because

 the Holy Sprit is the Sprit of Truth

The Spirit of God leads people to submit to the Word of God

They sat at the Apostle’s feet to receive instruction


Devotion to the apostles teaching will mean submission to The authority of the New Testament.


A Spirit filled church is one that submits to New Testament instruction

The Bible = the apostle’s teaching


***Teachers will be judged for what they are teaching
2. Devoted to the Fellowship

koinonia” is the word for generous


--Koinonia groups

- common life  of the group of believers

Fellowship is a quality of togetherness

They shared things together

- A sharing church

This sharing is voluntary and not compulsory – it is not communism.

They had homes.. (46)

Giving to those who need


- Life Group project

True Fellowship costs

-         sharing in food here


3. Devoted to Worship 42,46-7

2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Lord’s supper along with meals and gathered/corporate prayer meetings

Why Breaking of Bread = Lord’s Supper?

1.  Context:  breaking of bread sandwiched in between two theologically loaded terms:  fellowship and prayers


2.  Breaking of Bread and eating together are separate in v. 46

Christ’s atoning work was continually before them…

- heartfelt, glad & sensitive hearts

“Joyful” – Joy is a fruit of the Spirit

Celebration of the mighty acts of God

…Alistair on the Lord’s Supper…

Family Meal…all should attend…

! A Reverent Church

43 Everyone was filled with awe


the KJV says

And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles


Signs – John 2 – Cana

John 2:11This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.


Verification of who Jesus is and what He has accomplished in the Cross and Resurrection .


It was a church where things happened!


-         Are things Happening here?

“When faith dies achievement dies “

4. Devoted to Evangelsim (47b)

A. The Lord  added daily to their number


The Lord added

He alone has the perogative to admit people

We are humbly dependant upon Him

B. ..those who were being saved


He did not add them to the church without saving them!

 There is no nominal Christianity in the New Testament.

He didn’t save them without adding them to the church

- there is no solitary Christianity in the New Testament

a.  The church is comprised of  believers (exclusive)

b.  The believers are the church

are necessarily in community


3. .  Jesus added daily

He didn’t wait until Sunday

He didn’t waif for a Crusade

He added through the daily giving of the Gospel by the people

The Spirit drives the church to witness

…a healthy church grows…


The church was in Relatinships


- Related to the Apostles in submission

- eager to receive the apostolic teachigs and instructions

- they were anxious to believe and obey what Jesus and the Apostles taught

Related to each other through the Holy Spirit

- truly cared for one another

- generous caring



Review Of Acts

1. The disciples are told to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit.


Acts 1:4-5On one occasion, while he 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."


2. The Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost

Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

3. Paul’s Conversion – Acts 9

Acts 9:15-16But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.

16        I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."

4. Peter goes to the gentiles

Acts 10:34-36 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism

35        but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36           You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

III. The Riot in Ephesus

A. The Setting:

The Worship of Artemis/ Diana

Paul's preaching was effective

So much so that people's lives were changed

One lesson that we have learned over and over in the book of Acts is that when the gospel is manifested in a community and lives are changed, persecution seemingly always follows.

An effective church is a bold church and a bold church is often made strong through suffering.

Those whose lives had been changed, no longer had any need for the statues and shrines of Artemes

The external signs of spirituality and worship…

- statues, shrines, pins, silver adornments- were replaced by internal, heart changes which resulted in true spirituality and True worship of the True God.

Wherever the church boldly and faithfully proclaims the gospel it faces satanic opposition

B. The Silversmith

Demitirus who ‘made silver shrines of Artemis’ (24)  realized the potential loss of not only revenue, but prestige for among the cities of the world for Ephesus.

(Like Cleveland w/out professional sports or the Rock Hall)

The silversmiths knew that their pocket books were being affected adversely...

And they wanted this to stop..

Of course no one would care if they merely said that they were losing money...

So they said Acts 19:27   ..that the temple of the great  goddess Artemis will we discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty."

So many people had changed lives that it impacted how they spent their money!!!

The silversmiths were promoting idolatry and immorality in order to make a living!!

Principle: Whenever the gospel is preached in power it will be opposed by people who make money from superstition and sin!!

The gospel makes people angry:


1. It confronts them with their false religion and their sin


2. It forces them to recognize the inadequacy of their world view


3. It Exposes the emptiness of their lifestyle



The situation was complete chaos and disorder


19:29  The people seized Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, Gaius and Arisarchus.


19:32 “Most of the people did not even know why they were there”

C.. The Solution

What was Paul’s response this situation?

Acts 19:30 Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him.

He wanted an opportunity to speak the gospel to the crowd without regard for his own safety!



Is the Gospel that important to you?


Has your life changed to the point that it impacts how you spend your money??

If your checkbook were revealed....

Would it match what you say is important to you?

19:35  The City Clerk quieted the crowd



He continued to preach the truth daily,

lives were changed

Paul’s Reaction to the Riot


Allow me to turn your attention to the verses that we seemed to skip over



Acts 19:21-22

21        After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. "After I have been there," he said, "I must visit Rome also."

22        He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.



Why did Luke insert this information before the he tells us about the riot?

As I pondered this question, I realized that perhaps he didn’t want his readers to think that Paul’s decision to leave Ephesus was as a result of the riot.

But rather it was a decision that he had made before the uprising of the silversmiths.

Paul’s decision to return to Jerusalem was led by the Spirit and not by Fear!


 Luke says that Paul was going to pass through Macedonia and Achaia on his way to Jerusalem.

If you look at a map, you discover that Jerusalem is east of Ephesus, but  Macedonia and Achaia are West.

Paul’s decision was not only to go to Jerusalem, but to do so by visiting the churches that have already been established and to encourage and strengthen  them

A further motivation might lie in the fact that  many in the Jerusalem church were poor and in need.

To meet that need, Paul wanted to bring an offering with him to Jerusalem from the mostly Gentile churches he had founded.

Rom 15:25-27  Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews' spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.

1 Cor 16:1-4 Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do.

2          On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

3          Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.

4          If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.

2 Cor 8-9

I Must See Rome

In the mean time, Paul sent two of his own to pave the way for his return and the collection in the sending of Timothy and Erastus.

Timothy is Paul’s spiritual son was in Corinth ((18:5) before joining Paul in Ephesus.

Nothing more is known about Erastus nor if he is the same person mentioned in Romans16:23 or 2 Tim 4:20.

We know that Paul delayed his travel plans temporarily because he wrote 1 Corinthians at this time saying in

1 Cor 16:8-9 But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost,  9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.

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