(Acts 1:8b) "…Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." These early chapters of the Book of Acts detail for us the development of God's program for the setting aside of Israel and the establishment of the church. There are spiritual principles given in these chapters which apply to believers today, but we must be careful to avoid basing any doctrine upon these events. The teaching of Christian doctrine for the body of Christ is to be found in the epistles. With these things in mind we will begin our study.
I. Christianity in Jerusalem 1:1-8:3
A. The risen Lord 1:1-26
1. The Lord confirming v 1-5
a. Luke is recognized as the author of the book of Acts
b. The former treatise - the Gospel of Luke
c. Now this is a continuation of Luke's writing to Theophilus who was most likely a Roman official
d. He gives us the only reference to the length of Christ's ministry on earth between His resurrection and His ascension
e. He records for us our Lord's confirmation of the promise
(Luke 24:49) And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
f. The promise is the baptism with the Holy Spirit which came at Pentecost and continues on in every believer as they are placed into the body of Christ the moment they repent and believe the Gospel.
2. The Lord commissioning v 6-11
a. The disciples ask if it was time to restore the kingdom to Israel
b. Jesus re-focuses their attention from themselves to the promise and program of God
1) Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.
2) Ye shall be witnesses unto me
a) in Jerusalem
b) in all Judea and in Samaria
c) unto the uttermost part of the earth
c. Jesus ascends to the Father
1) He defied the law of gravity and began to rise to heaven.
2) Two heavenly messengers told them that He would return in the same way
3) Not the rapture - that will be secret but the second coming will be personal and visible. cf. Rev. 19:11-16
3. The Lord choosing v 12-26
a. They returned to Jerusalem in obedience to Christ's command "...tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high." Lu. 24:49b
b. They continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.
c. I believe they were praying for God's power and direction upon their lives
d. That direction came through studying God's Word and meaningful prayer
e. They were to choose one who would take Judas Iscariot's place among them.
f. They cast lots and Matthais was chosen by the Lord.
(Proverbs 16:33) The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
B. Pentecost 2:1-47
1. The power of Pentecost v 1-13
a. "And when the day of Pentecost was finally come..."
1) Pentecost means fiftieth
2) The feast of Pentecost took place fifty days after the feast of firstfruits
3) This was a Jewish celebration which is outlined for us in Lev. 23:15-22
4) The timing is significant here - Jesus had told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem cf. Lu. 24:49
5) Now - when Jerusalem was crowded with multitudes of Jews who had come for the celebration of Pentecost the 'promise of the Father' was to come.
b. The filling of the Holy Spirit v 1-4
1) Luke tries to describe for us what took place; but as is often the case he was limited by his vocabulary and experience.
2) A sound came from heave - like a mighty wind
3) This sound filled the house where they had been assembled.
4) There appeared "cloven tongues" like as of fire.
5) It sat upon each of them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost.
6) The Holy Spirit enabled them to speak with other (Heteros) or different languages.
c. The reaction of the multitude v 5-13
1) Sometime between verse 4 and 5, the disciples left the house and went to the temple.
2) The reaction of the multitude of Jews were varied.
a) They were confounded v 6
b) They were amazed v 7
c) They were confused v 8 "and how....?"
d) They were doubtful v 12
e) They were mocking v 13
d. Note some observations
1) These men were praising God - for His wonderful works cf. 11
2) The Holy Spirit had empowered them to speak in other languages than their own
3) These languages were understood by those present
4) This is not the same as the gift of tongues.
5) This prepared the crowd to listen to Peter preach
2. The preaching of Pentecost v 14-36
a. Peter explaining the phenomena (v 14- 21)
1) That means Peter understood what was happening. He wasn't in some kind of trance. He was fully aware of what was taking place.
2) He tells them that it's too early for them to be drunken - 9:00 A.M.
3) He makes reference to the Prophet Joel's writing in Joel 2:'28-32
a) He is not declaring that Joel's prophecy is being fulfilled.
b) He is reminding these Jews, who were familiar with the prophecy, that what they are witnessing is not a result of drunkenness but an outpouring of the Holy Spirit!
b. Peter proclaiming the Gospel (v 22-35)
1) He reviews the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ v 22-24
2) He recites the prophecy of the resurrection from Ps. 16:8-11 and then interprets the prophecy. v 25-35
c. Peter makes application of his message v36
1) His closing statement is one of tremendous impact upon his Jewish listeners
2) You have crucified the Messiah!
3. The results of Pentecost v 37-47
a. The conviction (v 37-40)
1) Faced with this awful fact and realizing in their hearts that they were guilty -
2) They asked for help "...what shall we do?"
3) Peter told them to repent - repentance is a change of mind which results in a change of action
4) Baptism is the outward sign of an inward action - "...be baptized for (because of) the remission of sins..."
5) Remission of sin is through faith in Christ not through the act of baptism
6) Peter states that the promise of the Holy Spirit is for all Jews who would repent!
7) He calls them to deliver themselves from their crooked generation.
b. Obedience (v 41-47)
1) They that gladly received the message were baptized
2) About 3,000 souls
3) They continued steadfastly in doctrine and fellowship
4) Note: some observations:
a) They were meeting in the temple - a Jewish temple
b) The Apostles continued to testify through signs and wonders
c) Matt. 12:38-39 - "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign..."
d) These early believers practiced "Christian communism"
e) The Lord blessed the church and daily conversions were seen
C. The Healing of a Lame Man 3:1-26
1. The miracle v 1-11
a. The place (1)
1) The temple
2) This is because they were still on Jewish ground
3) The first seven chapters of Acts show us that the ministry of the disciples still primarily focused upon Israel
b. The picture of man without Christ (2-3)
1) He was born lame - as all are born sinners
2) He could not walk - no sinner without Christ can walk so as to please God
3) He was outside of the temple - no sinner has access to God - that comes only through Jesus Christ our mediator
4) He was a beggar - man without Christ is destitute spiritually
c. The power of Christ (4-7)