Summary: The frist in a series from the book of Acts
THE BOOK OF ACTS
Jesus First Wrods To His Church
Can you recall what your favorite class was in High School? ( name them, Gym, recess, math…)
When I was in High School, my favorite subjects were Music, English and History.
Many of my classmtes had not choice to choose history, because they were sick on class selection day and so were left with lttle choice but history and cooking with Mrs.Smith. On the oh=ther hand I loved hoistory. I took every history class possible.
Many people do not appreciate history because they feel it is boring. After all, who wants to hear about the then and past. Most people want to know about the here and now.
The book of Acts is classified as one of the ‘Historical’ books of the Bible. It tells the story of how the church began, How the church spread throughout the world and how it endured struggles and persecution , and yet grew to be the one force that would take down an empire.
Some would argue that since Acts is merely a history it is not really relevant for ustoday. Some would even dismiss it as theologicly weak.
However, I would argue that not only is it relevant to us today, but it is also a book of sound teachng and theology.
There are two ways to teach doctrine,; one is by traditional lecture method. The other is to live it by example. As you follow the church fulfilling its call and mission, you will come face to face with theology being practically and radically lived out.
The author of Acts is Luke, who also wrote the gospel. It was written to an unknown Roman bureacrat named Theopholis. We don’t know much about Theopholis, whether he was a seeker, or a new believer. Luke explains his purpose in writing as to give a detailed account of, ‘all that Jesus began to do and teach.’ Here is the main point,
THE BOOK OF ACTS IS THE STORY OF JESUS’ CONTINUING WORK THROUGH HIS SPIRIT EMPOWERED CHURCH
If you turn too Chapter 29, you will notice something quite unique. Did you see it? There is no chapter 29.
As you come to the the end of chapter 28, Luke ends it quite abruptlly. The message I believe is that there is some unfinished business that still needs to be taken care of. The message to us is clear,
JESUS CONTINUES TO WORK THROUGH HIS CHURCH ( 1-3)
1In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
The Gospel of Luke records what God accomplished through the deeds and teachings of the Spirit annointed Jesus. In his second volume, Luke emphasizes the CONTINUING WORK OF JESUS through His Spirit empowered church.
• The appearance of the risen Jesus to the disciples
• The promise of the baptism in the Holy Spirit
• The acsension of the risen Christ into Heaven
In verses 2,5 notice that the Holy Spirit is refered to twice in terms of instructions ot the apostles. What this simply means is that Jesus’ ascension into Heaven DOES NOT MEAN HE IS ABSENT. The Risen Lord Jesus Christ continues to be present in the church and the in His word.
The overwheliing message is that Jesus continues to work wonders and miracles, and HE does so through Spirit empowered believers.
JESUS INSTRUCTS HIS FOLLOWERS TO WAIT PATIENTLY FOR THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ( 4-5)
B eforeJesus’ departure for Heaven, we are told that ‘Through the Spirit’ He gave instructions to the believers. These people included the 11 Apsotles, Mary the mother of Jesus, the women who first witnessed the resurrection, and up to a total of 500 who were witnesses of the risen Christ,. These men and women were chosen by Jesus and HE instructed them to continue His work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Listen to how Luke describes these events,
Acts 1:4-5 “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."