Summary: Holy Boldness is a series of messages in Acts highlighting the New Testament Christians’ role in today’s world.
Series: Holy Boldness a study in Acts
PRELUDE TO POWER
U.S. News & World Report, April 20, 1992 ‘The First Christians’ ‘The death of Jesus of Nazareth should have put a quick and quiet end to what had been a minor
religious disturbance in the smoldering tinderbox of Roman-occupied Palestine. There was no public outcry when the enigmatic Jewish preacher was executed. His
demoralized disciples had simply given up and gone home.
As the N.T. tells it, suddenly and dramatically, they began preaching boldly in the streets of Jerusalem that the resurrected Jesus was both Lord and Christ.
After a few decades, the movement would begin to take hold in the commercial and cultural centers of the Greco-Roman world. And within a few centuries, what
began as a grassroots movement of Jewish peasants would become a powerful institution and a dominant force in Western culture.
It was no coincidence that Christianity spread mainly to the North and West from Palestine. The network of roads built and protected by the Roman armies provided
relatively easy access from Jerusalem to the cities of Asia Minor, Macedonia...and on to Rome. Paul is estimated to have traveled nearly 10,000 miles by land and sea during 4 missionary journeys.’
In the New Testament we are given four accounts of the earthly ministry of Jesus, but only one of the development of the early church.
Martin Lloyd Jones said, ‘Live in that book, I exhort you; it is a tonic, the greatest tonic I know of in the realm of the Spirit.’
Reality is – we all have visions of a church with the power - presence of Holy Spirit - evangelistic results of that 1st church.
As we move through this book, we will find it was NOT a perfect church - had it’s problems - problem people - persecution - opposition and heresies to deal with.
I have approached this study with great excitement & at the same time, w/ fear and trembling – I have 68 different commentaries/ studies in my library on Acts.
I find myself in agreement with Sir William Ramsey, ‘It is impossible to find anything to say about Acts that has not been said before by somebody.’
My goal is not to be original – but to speak the truth - to examine the text & apply it to our church.
Take this study in 2 parts:
We discover the Holy Spirit - his descent & work in the church.
We see miracles.
We learn about church discipline & the role of deacons.
We discover a diversity of ministries.
We see the church dealing with racial prejudice.
We understand the cost of unity.
We grow in our understanding of the Sovereignty of God - Acts 4 - the church viewed their suffering as a part of God’s plan.
We will see various methods of evangelism.
We will be reminded that those who follow Christ are often called to suffer for the gospel. Most of the suffering in Acts was from those who opposed the Gospel – our times are becoming more like Acts every day.
We will see that some events in Acts are unique and unrepeatable events – like Pentecost.
WE ARE NOT AT LIBERTY TO COPY EVERYTHING IN ACTS - the ministry of the Apostles was uniquely theirs.
TRUE EXEGESIS OF THE DIDACTIC AND NARRATIVE SECTIONS OF THE BOOK DEMAND THAT WE UNDERSTAND THAT NOT
EVERYTHING THAT PEOPLE EXPERIENCED OR LUKE RECORDED IN ACTS IS TO BE PRACTICED OR EXPERIENCED BY US TODAY.
Why exegesis is so important – we have to study the immediate context – then compare Scripture with Scripture.
Acts was the 2nd of 2 books written by Luke. Luke was a doctor and a historian. It was the custom of writers of that time, if they were writing a 2 vol. work, to put the preface of both volumes in the 1st.
Luke 1:1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from
the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
A. LUKE WANTED TO RECORD HISTORY.
Acts is called by some the Pentateuch of the New Testament.
1st – the historical events - ‘things accomplished among us’
2nd – the eyewitnesses - ‘handed down to us by those who were eyewitnesses....’ - Luke did his homework by interviewing those who followed Jesus in those 3 years of earthly ministry.