Acts 1 1-8
SERIES: THE CHURCH ON FIRE / THE FELLOWSHIP OF EXCITEMENT
A SEQUEL THAT IS WORTH READING
All of us have read a book or seen a movie that we really liked and then got excited after learning that the author or director was coming out with a sequel. That is the book of Acts. It is a sequel to the Gospels and forms a perfect complement to those writings.
“In the Gospels, the Son of Man offered His life. In Acts He offered His power. In the Gospels we see the original seeds of Christianity; in Acts we see the continual growth of the church. The Gospels tell us of Christ crucified and risen; Acts speaks of Christ ascended and exalted. The Gospels model the Christian life as lived by the perfect Man; Acts models it as lived out by imperfect men.” Kent Hughes; Acts
In these opening verses, Luke is building a bridge for us from the Gospels to the book of Acts to help us understand what is going on. It records for us the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the church, and has some have pointed out it even talks about their business meetings. Today, I want us to notice the four parts of this opening sequel that will help us to understand the rest of the book, and begin an exciting journey that I hope will lead us to truly being A Fellowship of Excitement.
I. THE PROLOGUE vv.1-2
A. A Previous Document 1
1. Clearly this is the Gospel of Luke.
2. " Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in
order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed." (Luke 1:1-4, NKJV)
AMP:/ In the third Gospel, Luke mentions Theophilus = “friend of God” or “lover of God.” Here he is continuing the story, or writing the sequel if you will of the ministry of Christ in His post resurrection appearances. Clearly it is an additional record of things that Jesus did and taught.
B. A Prominent Person 2
1. All that Jesus began to do and teach.
2. Notice the emphasis upon Him in these verses:
He was taken up, He gave commandments, He had chosen, ……..
AMP:/ Jesus gave commands to the apostles and prepared them to be useful tools in His hands after He was gone, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, Jesus continues to both do and teach through His Word and His body the church.
II. THE PROOFS v. 3
A. Eye Witnessing Proofs 3a
1. They saw Him!
2. Some of them may have had doubts after the crucifixion, but there were none after the resurrection.
AMP:/ For forty days, He ate with them, invited them to touch His body, and did other things that convinced them beyond all doubt.
The number 40 is significant in the Scriptures:
It rained on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights
Moses was on the mountain for 40 days at the writing of the Ten C.’s
The spies were in the land for 40 days spying out Canaan
Elijah went for 40 days on the food God provided for him in Horeb
Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days
APPL:/ “The proof of Christianity is not a book but a life. The power of Christianity is not a creed but a Christian character; and wherever you see life that has been transformed by the grace of God, you see a witness to the resurrection of Jesus.” William M. Woodfin, Leadership, Vol. 8, no. 1.
B. Eye Opening Proofs 3b
1. This is the original 40 days of Purpose.
2. He taught them things pertaining to the Kingdom.
AMP:/ Acts opens and closes with the Kingdom
"preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him." (Acts 28:31, NKJV)
Jesus tells us in John 3 how a person enters the kingdom
"Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”" (John 3:3, NKJV)
And in Matthew He said that the Kingdom is to be a priority for a believer
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33, NKJV)
III. THE PROMISE vv.4-5
A. It Was a Promise To Believe 4
1. Here is a command from Christ ….. “stop departing from
2. This promise was introduced in Luke 24:49
AMP:/ "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.”" (Luke 24:49, NKJV)
"And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—" (John 14:16, NKJV)
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." (John 14:26, NKJV)
APPL:/ “Every command of God is built upon a promise from God. Every divine call to action (obedience) is, at the same time, a divine summons to trust in God's promises (faith).”
B. It Was a Promise To Receive 5
1. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance ---- we still
observe it as a sign of confession in the biblical community today.
2. One thing is very obvious or clear in Acts --- Repentance and the gift of the Holy Spirit is essential for conversion.
AMP:/ The Holy Spirit is a gift from God. You don’t chase it around like a butterfly hoping to catch it --- you receive it from God, and they would desperately need it.
APPL:/ Jesus had told them that they could not do anything without Him. "“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5, NKJV)
He (The Holy Spirit) would:
∙ Enlighten them as to what should be written.
∙ Instruct them where to go --- when to go --- and who to go to.
∙ Energize them to preach with power.
∙ Enable them to live the Christian life.
∙ Encourage them in times of trials and testings.
III. THE PURPOSE vv.6-8
A. It Was Not About God’s Concealed Purpose 6-7
1. This was something that was on the minds of the disciples, so they immediately concluded that the restoration of Israel’s kingdom was close at hand.
2. Jesus didn’t deny the restoration of the kingdom of Israel --- it is scriptural.
AMP:/ "“And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the Lord has said, Among the remnant whom the Lord calls. “For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, " (Joel 2:28-3:1, NKJV)
APPL:/ These things are fixed within the plans and purposes of God. He will decide when they will come to pass and not anyone else….. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses or anyone else!
There are hidden things we will never understand and don’t need to worry about.
“Only when God hath brought to light all the hidden things of darkness, whosoever were the actors therein, will it be seen that wise and good were all his ways, that he saw through the thick cloud, and governed all things by the wise counsels of his own will, that nothing was left to chance, or the caprice of men, but God disposed all strongly and sweetly, and wrought all into one connected chain of justice, mercy, and truth.” John Wesley (1703-1791)
B. It Was About God’s Revealed Purpose 8
1. Verse 8 has been called an “Index of Contents” for the
book of Acts.
2. The activities in Jerusalem cover the first 7 chapters.
3. Judea and Samaria cover chapters 8-11.
4. The remainder of the book covers the “ends of the earth.”
AMP:/ What is curious is the number of times the word “witness” is used in the book of Acts: 20 times at least. It is a dominant word.
APPL:/ The message is simple, but the demands upon the messenger are serious. His words to us are a call to action. It is to see one thing, to care for one thing, to live for one thing ---- to please Him!
Conclusion: This message is not an option for us.
There are three Greek words that bear upon this demand.
Logos = There is a message to proclaim --- the Word of God.
Ethos = Who you are --- your inner reality --- the real you and the
Word must be a part of this.
Pathos = This is you personal passion and conviction.
Are any of these missing or lacking in your life?