Acts Chapters 1-8
Topic: Acts Chapters 1-8
In this session, we look at the book of Acts Chapters 1-8.
Speaker: Rebecca Whittlesea
Rebecca is a member of staff at City Hope Church in London and helps run their own Theology School.
God’s Power in Us
Commissioning – Jerusalem – Acts 1:1-6:7
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and be my witnesses in Jerusalem….”
Acts 2:1-13 The Spirit comes on the Jews
“So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly” 6:7
Commissioning – Judea and Samaria – Acts 6:8-9:31
“…and in all Judea and Samaria”
Acts 8:4-25 The Spirit comes on Samaritans
“Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit it grew in number” 9:31
Commissioning – The Ends of the Earth – Gentiles – Acts 9:32-12:24
“…and to the ends of the earth”
Acts 10:44-48 The Spirit comes on Gentiles within Israel
“But the word of God continued to increase and spread” 12:24
Commissioning – The Ends of the Earth
Asia – Acts 12:25-16:5
Europe – Acts 16:6-19:20
Rome – Acts 19:21-28:31
“…and to the ends of the earth”
Acts 19:1-7 The Spirit comes on Gentiles outside of Israel
“So the churches were strengthened” 16:5
“The word of the Lord spread widely” 19:20
Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) – What is it?
- What is the feast of Pentecost? Harvest festival. Jewish men from all over come to Jerusalem. No work. Party atmosphere.
- Disciples in a room. Echoes of the Last Supper before Christ’s passion; now at the dawn of the Spirit born church.
- Sound of mighty wind brings to mind OT references to Red sea parting; God passing Elijah. Wind = Breath = Spirit (ruach).
- Filled the house. What did the Spirit fill in the OT? The tabernacle and temple. So?
- Tongues of Fire. When does fire come in the OT? Pillar of fire; on the sacrifice with Elijah and Baal; on the mountain. Holiness and awe.
- Other languages. Earthly languages for witness to the gospel.
Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) – Why?
- They were filled. The church is the eschatological temple.
- They spoke with other languages. All nations and peoples will be reached with the good news.
- They received power. Signs and wonders which announce the kingdom; bold preaching which results in mass conversion.
- A new age, as prophesied by Joel where ‘all flesh’ will receive the Spirit.
- A new community. All nations incorporated into the holy people, not just Israel.
Peters Pentecost Sermon
- Facts of the life and passion of Christ
- OT promises of hope in a King from David
- David is not the answer
- Christ fulfils the promise
- We’ve seen the ascension, and we’ve received the promised Spirit, which you now witness
- Don’t you see, Jesus is the Messiah and the Lord?
- Response? Repent and be baptised. God will give you his Spirit and forgive your sins
The New Spirit Filled Community
- One another
- Breaking bread
- Reverential fear
- Signs and wonders (power)
- Sharing everything
- Joyful and thankful
- Favour of all the people
- Daily conversions
Chapter 3 – Jerusalem – Crowds
- Healing miracle
- Peter preaches
- To the Jews: you killed God’s servant
- Witness of the truth of the resurrection of Christ
- You want God to restore just as we do
- God has always promised this, if you have eyes to see
- You are Abraham’s heirs of promise
- You can be delivered from your sin
Chapter 4 – Jerusalem – Leaders
- Peter preaches, filled with the Spirit (2:4; 4:8, 31)
- There is no other name under heaven….
- Recognised as changed and Jesus as the agent
- Extreme boldness. We can not but speak
- Opposition leads to prayer
- They pray for boldness!!
- Characterised by extreme generosity among themselves
Chapter 5 – Opposition – Internal Deceipt
- What could possibly go wrong?! V 1-11
- FF Bruce “The story of Ananias is to the book of Acts what the story of Achan is to the book of Joshua. In both narratives, an act of deceit interrupts the victorious progress of the people of God.”
- Joshua 7:25 – Joshua said, “Why have you brought disaster on us? The Lord will bring disaster on you today!” All Israel stoned him to death.
- Acts 5 – How have you thought up this deed in your heart? You have not lied to people but to God!” 5 When Ananias heard these words he collapsed and died, and great fear gripped all who heard about it.
Chapter 5 – Opposition – External Persecution
- Miraculous release
- Boldness preaching
- Arrested: “We must obey God rather than people”
- “God raised up Jesus, whom you killed!”
- Gamaliel’s counsel takes the heat out of the situation
“38 So in this case I say to you, stay away from these men and leave them alone, because if this plan or this undertaking originates with people, it will come to nothing, 39 but if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them, or you may even be found fighting against God.”
- Gamaliel: a manifesto for Luke
- Chapter 5 ends with gospel preaching throughout the city
- Chapter 6 begins with complaining within
- Gathered the church to discuss: didn’t impose
- Seven deacons appointed to avoid apostles being distracted
- Church choose the seven
- Diakonia – same word used of the apostles and the seven
- Differing ministry/service but both ministry/service
- **Vital ministry: a divided community subverts the gospel**
- Stephen, a man full of the Holy Spirit, and one of the seven is arrested
- Accused of blasphemy against Moses and God, against the temple and the Law
- False witnesses called against him
- They saw his face shining, just as Moses’ face had shone when he came down the mountain with the Law!
Chapter 7 – Stephen’s Speech to the Sanhedrin
- Is it a sermon?
- On tables discuss
- What is Stephen’s point here?
- What is the outcome?
- Would you do anything differently?!
Chapter 8 – Philip the Evangelist
- Scattered 8:1-3
- Evangelising with signs 8:4-13
- Spirit filling 8:14-17
- Contratemps with Simon the magician 8:18-24
- Preaching continues 8:25
- Evangelising with Bible exposition 8:26-35
- Baptism follows conversion 8:36, 38
- Whisked away 8:39-40