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Summary: This is a three to four week Bible Study following our Lord from the time of the Resurrection to the time of the Ascencion

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WHAT OUR LORD CONTINUED TO DO

ACTS 1:1-11

THE FORTY DAYS FOLLOWING THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD PROVED TO BE VERY IMPORTANT FOR THE APOSTLES. THEY HAD BEEN TAUGHT BY JESUS FOR OVER THREE YEARS WHILE HE WAS ALIVE. NOW AFTER HIS RESURRECTION HE WAS GOING TO TEACH THEM ABOUT THE MISSION THAT HE WAS ENTRUSTING TO THEM, AND TO THE CHRISTIANS FOLLOWING THEM. IT WOULD BE THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO BE GOD’S AMBASSADORS TO HELP BUILE THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

THE CENTRAL POINT OF CHRISTIANITY HAS TO BE THE CROSS AND RESURRECTION OF THE LORD. CHRIST INSTITUTED A NEW COVENANT THROUGH HIS SACRIFICE, BUT THERE WAS MUCVH TO BE TAUGHT CONCERNING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF HIS KINGDOM AND THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. WHEN JESUS WAS ALIVE THE APOSTLES KNEW THE HOLY SPIRIT THROUGHT THE LIFE OF JESUS. NOW THROUGH THE INFILLING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, THEY WOULD HAVE A CONTINUING RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST.

JESUS WOULD TEACH THEM MORE ABOUT THE UNIVESAL SCOPE OF GOD’S LOVE AND GRACE. NO LONGER WAS IT TO BE JUST FOR THE JEWS, BUT IT WOULD INCLUDE ALL THE WORLD. HE WAS TO TEACH THEM THAT IT WAS NOT IMPORTANT FOR THEM TO KNOW WHEN HIS KINGDOM WOULD BE ESTABLISHED, BUT THAT THEIR MISSION WAS TO PRESENT THE MESSAGE OF THE KINGDOM.

ACTS 1:1-2:

IN MY FORMER BOOK, THEOPHILUS, I WROTE ABOUT ALL THAT JESUS BEGAN TO DO AND TO TEACH 2 UNTIL THE DAY HE WAS TAKEN UP TO HEAVEN, AFTER GIVING INSTRUCTIONS THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THE APOSTLES HE HAD CHOSEN.

THESE TWO VERSES ARE REALLY STATEMENTS OF INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK. WITHOUT GOING INTO GREAT DETAIL, WE KNOW THAT LUKE WAS THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK OF ACTS, AND THEREFORE THE FORMER BOOK IS THE THIRD GOSPEL WHICH BEARS HIS NAME.

LUKE SUMMARIZED HIS GOSPEL WITH GREAT BREVITY, “ALL THAT JESUS BEGAN TO DO AND TO TEACH.” IT IMPLIES THAT THE WORK IS UNFINISHED, AND HERE WE FIND THAT THE BOOK OF ACTS IS THE SECOND INSTALLMENT. THERE ARE SOME WHO BELIEVE HE MAY HAVE BEEN CONTEMPLATING A THIRD BOOK AS WELL.

THE FACT THAT IT GIVES THE TIME BOUNDARIES “UNTIL, HE WAS TAKEN UP TO HEAVEN” IS AN INDICATION THAT VERSE 2 IS GOING TO INTRODUCE A NEW PART TO THE CONTINUING STORY. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE ASCENSION? THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE BIRTH OF THE CHURCH.

WE DO NOT KNOW WHO THEOPHILUS WAS. SOME FEEL HE MAY HAVE BEEN A ROMAN SOLDIER WHO CAME TO CHRIST. OTHERS FEEL THAT IT IS AN INDIVIDUAL PERSON, BUT WE HAVE NO INFORMATION ON HIM. STILL OTHERS FEEL THAT THEOPHILUS IS SYMBOLIC IN NATURE, NOT DIRECTED AT ONE PERSON, BUT AT ALL CHRISTIANS.

THE NAME MEANS “FRIEND OF GOD”, AND THE INFORMATION GIVEN IN ACTS GIVES US A HISTORY OF THE EARLY CHURCH. IT IS BELIEVED THEN THAT THEOPHILUS IS SYMBOLIC FOR THE ENTIRE CHURCH.

SOME GO AS FAR AS TO SPECULATE THAT THEOPHILUS WAS PAUL’S DEFENSE LAWYER BEFORE CAESAR IN ROME, WITH LUKE-ACTS BEING WRITTEN AS HIS LEGAL BRIEF.

DURING JESUS’ MINISTRY, THERE IS NO REFERENCE TO THE HOLY SPIRIT BEING UPON ANYONE EXCEPT JESUS. THE SPIRIT DESCENDED UPON HIM AT HIS BAPTISM (LUKE 3:22), FILLED HIM AS HE RETURNED FROM THE JORDAN (LUKE 4:1), LED HIM BOTH IN AND OUT OF THE WILDERNESS (LUKE 4:1,14), AND RESTED UPON HIM AT HIS PROGRAMMATIC SERMON AT NAZARETH (LUKE 4:18).


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