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Intro To Acts

November 8, 2014
Acts:  Intro
Who wrote It?
Luke, 

Luke was not an Apostle. 
Most likely a Greek/gentile.
His writing is certified by the Apostles.  (That is why it’s cannon)
He is mentioned by Paul, Colossians and 2 Timothy. Philemon  
Written about in Acts and as third and first person in Acts. 

Occupation: physician, Well educated. Used his education to become a historian.  Luke and Acts. 

Paul mentions Luke in three of his letters.
[Col 4:14 KJV] Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
[2Ti 4:11 ESV] Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.
[Phm 1:23 ESV] Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you,
[Phm 1:24 ESV] and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.

When, Most likely Before 70 AD.  Nothing is mentioned of the burning of Rome and the persecution of the Christians there (a.d. 64), the martyrdom of Peter and Paul (possibly 67) and the destruction of Jerusalem (70).

To Whom?  Theophilus = "friend of God"
Why?
[Luk 1:1 ESV] Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us,
[Luk 1:2 ESV] just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us,
[Luk 1:3 ESV] it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,
[Luk 1:4 ESV] that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

It appears Luke teamed up on the adventure when Paul was in Troas.  Notice how the “Third person changes to the first person. 

[Act 16:8 ESV] So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.
[Act 16:9 ESV] And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."
[Act 16:10 ESV] And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
[Act 16:11 ESV] So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis,

The Purpose of the Book of Acts: 
1 To present a history of what happened after Jesus’ ministry. 
2. To give a defense. One finds embedded in Acts a record of Christian defenses made to both Jews (e.g., 4:8–12) and Gentiles (e.g., 25:8–11),
3. To provide a guide.  ** lots of confusion when discerning if something should be a precedent. Or Timeless Truth to be practiced or observed 
4. To depict the triumph of Christianity in the face of bitter persecution and church confusion. 

In this account we will find 
Jesus’ Ascension: 
[Act 1:8 ESV] But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
[Act 1:9 ESV] And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
[Act 1:10 ESV] And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,
[Act 1:11 ESV] and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."

Miracles, 
[Act 3:1 ESV] Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
[Act 3:2 ESV] And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.
[Act 3:3 ESV] Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.
[Act 3:4 ESV] And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us."
[Act 3:5 ESV] And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.
[Act 3:6 ESV] But Peter said, "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!"
[Act 3:7 ESV] And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
[Act 3:8 ESV] And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
[Act 3:9 ESV] And all the people saw him walking and praising God,

A Growing Jewish Church
[Act 2:41 ESV] So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
[Act 2:42 ESV] And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

The beginning of the Gentile Church.
[Act 10:15 ESV] And the voice came to him again a second time, "What God has made clean, do not call common."
[Act 10:17 ESV] Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon's house, stood at the gate
 [Act 10:28 ESV] And he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.
[Act 10:44 ESV] While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.
[Act 10:45 ESV] And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.
[Act 10:46 ESV] For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared,
[Act 10:47 ESV] "Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"
[Act 10:48 ESV] And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

Persecution
Jewish Persecution: [Act 7:56 ESV] And he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
[Act 7:57 ESV] But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him.
[Act 7:58 ESV] Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.
[Act 7:59 ESV] And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
[Act 7:60 ESV] And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Gentile Persecution: 
[Act 12:1 ESV] About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church.
[Act 12:2 ESV] He killed James the brother of John with the sword,
[Act 12:3 ESV] and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread.

Confusion
Confusion getting organized
[Act 6:1 ESV] Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.
[Act 6:2 ESV] And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.
[Act 6:3 ESV] Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.

Confusion of what to do with the Gentile believers?
[Act 15:1 ESV] But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved."
[Act 15:2 ESV] And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question.
[Act 15:3 ESV] So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.
[Act 15:4 ESV] When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.
[Act 15:5 ESV] But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, "It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses."
[Act 15:6 ESV] The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter.
[Act 15:7 ESV] And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.
[Act 15:8 ESV] And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us,
[Act 15:9 ESV] and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.
[Act 15:10 ESV] Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?
[Act 15:11 ESV] But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will."
[Act 15:19 ESV] Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God,
[Act 15:20 ESV] but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 

Living for Jesus is a Narrow road, but it is not a smooth road. 

Image if 100,000 Adam and Eve’s in the garden right after the fall and God came walking in the Garden. 
Mass hysteria!  

Have Hope.  
As mentioned last week. The Truth brings confusion. Fear, anger, division.  
[Gal 5:18 ESV] But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
[Gal 5:19 ESV] Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
[Gal 5:20 ESV] idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,
[Gal 5:21 ESV] envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

It’s like when parents walk in on two lusty teenagers.   
When God walks in our works of the flesh, we panic. 
However for all who Yield to The Truth
[Gal 5:22 ESV] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
[Gal 5:23 ESV] gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
[Gal 5:24 ESV] And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

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