Route 66 - Stop 44 ACTS

Audio File: 
Speaker: 
Dr. Rich McCarrell
Date: 
Sunday, October 29, 2017

Author:           

Dr. Luke, the writer of the third Gospel. Though his name is not specifically mentioned, as is also true concerning the Gospel that bears his name, we come to some firm conclusions by comparing Luke 1:1-4 with Acts 1:1-5. Also, as has been noted, medical terms are used throughout this book which seem to give increased validity to Luke’s authorship (3:7, 9:18, 12:23, 13:11, 28:8). Luke wrote more of the N.T. than any other individual, and in reality was the first “church historian”.

As we shared previously he was a close associate and traveling companion of Paul. We can easily note the passages in Acts where “we” and “us” are used.

We note that in the Gospel, Luke shows us what Jesus began to do and teach, in Acts, he shows us what the risen Christ continues to do and teach through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

 

Date:              

About A.D. 60-62. We note in chapter 28 that Paul is in Rome under house arrest. Obviously, this was written before Paul’s death, which was somewhere around A.D. 66-68. This book therefore covers a period of just over 30 years, from the ascension of Christ to the time of Paul’s imprisonment in Rome.

 

Recipients:     

Written to Theophilus, a high Gentile official, who was also a Christian (1:1). Beyond this man, this book was written for the information and instruction of all who are     interested in what the church did to evangelize the world in the first generation. It has been referred to as a “manual of patterns” for church life and missionary work.

 

Theme:           

The beginning of the church and the outreach of the Gospel “unto the uttermost part of the earth.” We also see in the lives of believers the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, C.I. Scofield called this book – “The Acts of the Holy Spirit”. He reminds us that the Holy Spirit is referred to more than 50 times in Acts. We see ~ Baptism of the Holy Spirit ~ being filled with the Holy Spirit ~ being led by the Holy Spirit. (“The Walk of       Control” – Eh. 4:30-32 – 9/17/17)

                       

Purpose:         

This book is an extremely important book as it is the only inspired record of the beginning of the church as well as its early years. The purpose of this book could be summed up in a threefold way. First, to continue a record of the work and acts of our risen Lord (1:1); Secondly, to record and give us a history of the acts of the church in       the formative days and beginning years. We see the beginning of various churches in various places. Though not a complete history, these little insights give us proper foundational information when reading the epistles. Third, to give us the acts of the apostles and various godly men and women of the early church. We see that even though Christ has returned to heaven, yet He continued and continues to work directly through individuals in the power of the Holy Spirit, who has come in accordance with His promise to indwell all believers.

How exciting to see Christianity spread from the day of Pentecost and the coming of the Spirit to Paul’s arrival in Rome to preach the Gospel in the worlds capital!

 

Importance:    

  • This is a book of transitions.
  • The Judaism of the O.T. is changed to the Christianity of the N.T.
  • The Gospel was preached first only to Jews and the first members were largely Jewish. As more and more Gentiles became believers, the church transitioned into a universal body of believers. God’s spiritual people – distinct from God’s national people. The church is birthed on Pentecost and grows into a vibrant living organism, spreading the Gospel to all!
  • This book was not written as an “explanation” of what was happening, but simply to show and report “what was happening”. A great way to fill in the blanks and grasp a deeper understanding is to connect the appropriate epistle with the proper time period of events in Acts (i.e. – foundation of church, etc.).
  • The rule of life changes from law to grace, as ministered by the Holy Spirit.
  • In the Gospels, the disciples trusted in the present Christ, here they are taught to rely on the risen Christ.
  • Peter is the central figure in the first 12 chapters and Paul in the last 16.
  • Without this book, we would not see some of the most powerful days in the lives of men such as Peter, Stephen, Philip, James, Barnabus, Paul, and ladies such as Lydia.
  • Last, it is important to see how Doctrines, later developed in the epistles, first appear in seed form in Acts.

 

Outline:          

The outline of Acts is very simple to remember. All you need to remember is that the key verse is Acts 1:8.              

I. The witness in Jerusalem (chapters 1-7)

* Receiving power –

 

II. The witness in Judea and Samaria (chapters 8-12)

* Receiving persecution –

 

III. The witness to the uttermost parts of the earth (chapters 13-28)

*Reaching potential – (in the spreading of the Gospel)