Faithlife Sermons

Session 1: Understanding Acts

Acts: The Holy Spirit at Work in Believers  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings

Introductory study on the Book of Acts



Why should the believer study the Book of Acts?
The book of Acts chronicles the birth and growth of the early church.
The Holy Spirit powerfully changed individual lives and, through them, the world.
Starting with just over one hundred believers in Jerusalem after Jesus’ ascension, the church grew by thousands on the Day of Pentecost, increasing exponentially as the good news spread to Rome, the heart of the Roman Empire.
Today’s world is desperate for such change—and a demonstration of such power.
By pursuing the Acts blueprint, today’s believers can set out to win the world for God.
This session overviews Acts: the example set for church growth, faith and apologetics, and the Holy Spirit’s role in spreading the gospel.
Every believer is called to ministry. Studying Acts will help us follow the apostle’s example in turning our world upside down in the power of the Spirit.

Approaching Acts

When was the Book of Acts written, and by whom?
Historical fact: Paul was first imprisoned in Rome (AD 60-63).
Corollary fact: Acts chronicles this imprisonment in Acts 28.
Evidence suggests: Acts was written after this imprisonment.
Historical fact: Jerusalem was destroyed by the future Roman Emperor, Titus, in AD 70.
Corollary fact: Acts makes no mention of this fact.
Evidence suggests: Acts was written before AD 70.
Historical fact: Rome burned in AD 64.
Corollary fact: Nero blamed Christians, igniting a wave of persecution.
Evidence suggests: Paul’s good relationship with Roman authorities in the book of Acts suggests it was written before this event.
Conclusion: Most Bible teachers believe Luke wrote Acts around AD 63.

Appreciating Acts

The Bridge
In the New Testament, Acts is a bridge between the Gospels and Paul’s letters. At first the New Testament had only two parts: the four Gospels and the letters Paul wrote to various churches and believers. This left a gap in the written history of the church.

Four Themes of Acts

Bridging the gap between the Gospels and Paul’s letters.
Tracing the growth of the church.
Growing numerically (from the number of believers who could fit in one room to many thousands of Christians).
Spreading geographically (from Jerusalem to Rome).
Expanding missionally (from reaching only Jews to reaching Samaritans, then Gentiles.
Growing theologically (from strict adherence to the law of Moses to salvation by grace through faith).
Growing faith and apologetics.
Acts places great emphasis on the church’s outreach to people of all races and cultures.
How well do you think churches today are doing in following this example?
Emphasizing the Holy Spirit’s power for witnessing and service.
Perhaps Luke’s greatest purpose in Acts was to emphasize the ministry of the Holy Spirit through believers.
In his Gospel, Luke states that Jesus depended on the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14, 18). He also recorded that Jesus promised that the Spirit would come to all believers (Luke 11:13; 24:49).
But in Acts, Luke emphasized the Spirit fifty-five times. He emphasized that the Holy Spirit is the key to effective witnessing and must be the source of all we do for Christ.
How are each of the four themes critical fro the church and those who minister today?

Analyzing Acts

Three common ways to outline Acts
Outlining geographically.
Jerusalem (Acts 1-7)
Judea and Samaria (Acts 8-12)
The whole earth (Acts 13-28)
Outlining based on the ministries of Peter and Paul
Peter (Acts 1-12)
Paul (Acts 13-28)
Outlining according to messages preached
Peter (Acts 1-12)
Paul (Acts 13-28)

Next Week: From the Resurrection to Pentecost

The Gift our Father promise.
The Work of the church.
Steps to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Related Media
Related Sermons