Food for Thought
Here you will find some material from Greg to help us dig deeper into the book of Acts while we focus on this book.
The Acts of the Apostles
This book was written by the ‘beloved’ physician, Luke, and is in a way a sequel to his Gospel, linking and uniting it to the Epistles. Both books were written to his friend Theophilus, whose name means ‘lover of God’, and contain many particulars concerning the apostles Peter and Paul and of the development of the Christian church from the ascension of Christ to the arrival of Paul in Rome. This covered a period of about 30 years.
Many Bible scholars see in the book of Acts the formal beginning of the age of the Holy Spirit. It can be divided into two parts. Jesus, at his ascension makes the announcement in chapter 1: 8 of the great mission to be undertaken through human agency under the power of the Holy Spirit. The first period of home mission was to the Jews, initially in Jerusalem, and then further afield. Peter was the most prominent figure in this phase. Then there is the period of foreign mission, dominated by the apostle Paul.
The object of the book has been considered to be:
To relate ways in which the gifts of the Holy Spirit were communicated on the day of Pentecost by confirming the miracles performed by the apostles and affirming the truths of Christianity (by showing that all that Christ had declared was really fulfilled).
To prove that Gentiles could be admitted into the church of Christ.
Before reading a book, it can be very useful if one has an overview of its contents and understands its overall significance. This is exactly what Luke aims to provide in the very first verse when he says, "The first account I composed, Theophillus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach." Luke, the historian, is referring to his gospel - the Gospel of Luke. This was volume 1, and the book of Acts is volume 2 about the continued doing and teaching of Jesus.
The gospels in one sense tell the story of the finished work of Christ. Jesus in John 17:4. In his high priestly prayer, says’ I have finished the work you gave me to do’. While on the cross those final words just before he gave up his life, he said’ It is finished’ John 19: 30. The gospels all speak of the finished work of Christ – The long awaited sacrifice of sin that he offered ,satisfied God fully. By His sacrifice, he saved forever those who believed, and secured their redemption by his resurrection from the dead. NOTHING can be added to the finished work of Christ. It was satisfactory so God raised him from the dead to validate his satisfaction, then He gave him the name that was above every other name, exalted him to his right hand as savior. This work of redemption Jesus finished. The work of doing and teaching and proclaiming the kingdom had just begun. There were a very few who believed to start with. So Acts is volume 2 of the New Testament history of redemption . It could actually be said that it is volume 3 because the first volume of redemptive history is the Old Testament itself. The Gospels tell the story of the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. The old testament gives the prophesies of the coming Messiah and the gospels give the realization of those prophesies. The plan of God promised in the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New Testament. In Luke 1 ,he speaks about the exact truth about the things you have been taught. As a precise historian inspired by the Holy Spirit, Luke writes one long history to provide absolute certainty of the facts of redemptive history so as to provide full assurance to believers that God’s promise of salvation was being fulfilled. In every minute detail.
He ends his gospel by telling the disciples to ‘ stay in the city(Jerusalem) until you are clothed with power from on high and the book of Acts begins with the coming of the Holy Spirit and in Acts 1:8 He gives the promise of the Holy Spirit and the great commission to be his witnesses in Jerusalem , Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. This is in fact the outline for the entire book of the spread of the message of good news from Jerusalem (Chapters 1-7) Judea and Samaria (Chapters 8-12) and the ends of the earth (chapters 13-28). You will receive. It is the Holy Spirit which would bring effectiveness to their witness and ministry.