An overview of the book of Acts
Maps to help you as you read in the book of Acts
Books of the Bible – Lesson 44
“THE ACTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THROUGH THE APOSTLES”
KEY VERSE: ACTS 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
KEY WORDS: WITNESS – 30 x
THEME: SPIRIT FILLED SOUL WINNING AND SPIRIT DIRECTED CHURCH PLANTING
DATE: 63 A.D. Covers a period of thirty-two years.
WRITER: LUKE (Acts 1:1; Luke 1:3; 2 Timothy 4:11)
WRITTEN: TO THEOPHILUS (Lover of God – Friend of God)
THE BOOK: NO. IN BIBLE: 44th Book
PURPOSE: TO SET FORTH GOD’S PLAN FOR WITNESSING TO THE LOST AND PATTERN FOR PLANTING CHURCHES.
In the key verse (1:8) the disciples were told to witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost part of the earth.
PETER and the Church at Jerusalem (ch. 1-12) JEWS
PAUL and the Church at Antioch (ch. 13-28) GENTILES
III. THE CHURCH EXTENDED TO JUDEA AND SAMARIA (8:1-9:43)
GIVE PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING IN THE BOOK OF ACTS:
Starts with predominately Jews and ends with predominately Gentiles
Book of Transition – (4 phases of transition 8:1; 13:46; 18:6; 28:28)
Be careful about the doctrine you pull from Acts because it is a book of transition.
The 7 P’s of Acts
The PERSON: LORD JESUS CHRIST
The POWER: HOLY SPIRIT
The PREACHERS: PETER, STEPHEN, PHILLIP, PAUL
The PASTOR’S MODEL: PAUL
The PLACES: JERUSALEM, ANTIOCH, ROME
The PROGRAM: SOUL WINNING
The PATTERN: CHURCH PLANTING THE BOOK OF ACTS:
POSSIBLE CHAPTER CONTENT:
SEVERAL CHURCH PLANTERS IN ACTS:
THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE BOOK OF ACTS
Christians are mentioned as being filled with Holy Ghost ten (10) different times.
Only 3 of the 10 times do they speak in tongues
Practical Lessons From The Book of Acts
Only 120 people were the workers at Pentecost
Acts 2 is not the starting of the New Testament Church, it is the empowering of the church.
It was only an event in the Book and if a church will have the ingredients, they can have Pentecost.
The Church was started in Matthew 10
Ephesians says the church started with two things.
He is the Stone by which every other stone is measured.
(If you can’t walk on water then live holy.)
When He called out the 12 it was the beginning of the church.
Ecclesia – church – to call out for the purpose of an assembly of preaching
Anytime anyone spoke in tongues or healed anybody.
Acts 2:4-6 – The result of tongues were confusion
Acts 2:14 – Peter interrupted the things in his preaching
Acts 3:1-6 – Acts 4:4 – 5,000 men got saved as a result
Acts 10 – Cornellus spoke in tongues then his family got saved
God only gave gifts to soul winners
God said in going to give the soul winners some help
Tongues is the least important!
Tongues were given to convince prejudice Christians that the Gospel is for everyone
Acts 15:7 Then Jesus said that if any man would get saved he had to become a Jew first then a Christian from there.
The Apostle Paul is our example
One of the mistakes we have made is using Paul as only a model Missionary. Paul is not only the model Missionary…
PAUL IS THE MODEL CHRISTIAN AND THE MODEL PASTOR!
His question when he got saved should be our question
Acts 9:1-6 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
Paul is the pattern for the New Testament Christian
1 Timothy 1:12-16 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
The Apostle Paul is to be followed
Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
Romans 15:15-17 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,
16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.
As Peter was Apostle to the Jews you could say God robbed Peter to pay Paul.
1 Corinthians 4:15-16 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Philippians 3:14-17 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
1 Thessalonians 1:5-6 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
2 Timothy 2:7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
Paul was a church planter
Titus 1:5-9 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
then he lists the qualifications of a pastor to look for…
6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not
given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine
both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
Acts was penned by Luke and its theme is “The Continuation of Jesus’ Ministry by His People.” This is the same Luke who wrote the Gospel of Luke. In the book of Acts, he continues his account of Christianity begun in the book of Luke. Notice in Acts 1:1 the words, “former treatise.” In the “former treatise,” or the Gospel of Luke, he tells what Jesus BEGAN both to do and teach. In the book of Acts he tells what Jesus CONTINUED to do and teach through His people. Though our Lord went back to Heaven, He left His work in the hands of godly men who were to continue what He began.
THE KEY VERSE OF THE BOOK OF ACTS IS ACTS 1:8
In fact, this verse can outline the entire book of Acts. Since the job of the church is to carry the Gospel, Acts 1:8 tells the church where she is to carry the Gospel.
“… in Jerusalem.” This covers chapters 1-7. In these chapters the church stayed in Jerusalem. They did not take the Gospel outside Jerusalem until they had filled the city (Acts 5:28) with the Gospel of Christ and until they had gone to every house (Acts 5:42) with the Gospel.
“… in Judæa and in Samaria.” In Acts 8-12, we have the carrying of the Gospel throughout Judæa and Samaria. Up through chapter 12, no missionaries were sent out; no one was sent overseas; no one was sent to another country. Before they went to Judæa and Samaria, they filled Jerusalem. Before they went around the world, they were to fill Judæa and Samaria.
“… unto the uttermost part of the earth.” This covers chapters 13-28. Now that the Gospel has filled Jerusalem, Judæa and Samaria, it can go to the uttermost part of the earth. This is real foreign missions. The church that sends missionaries around the world but not around the block, across the ocean but not across the street, is not a real missionary church. The real mission program is to fill the city, then fill the state, then fill the country, then fill the uttermost parts of the earth.
Hence, Acts 1:8 is an outline of the entire book of Acts. (Teacher, talk to the pupils about what he is doing to fill his own area with the Gospel. God is simply telling us here that we are to begin where we live. Our Jerusalem is our own area, our own town, our own family. God is saying we should win the ones closest to us first, then those in nearby areas, then those farther away, until we get the Gospel around the world. That means that the pupil in school is to spread the Gospel first to the people in school. The member of the family should win his own family first. We are to start where we are and carry the Gospel of Christ.)
The Bible is full of Scriptures that tell us that we are to continue being and doing what Jesus was and did when He was on earth. He has gone back to Heaven, so He needs us to carry out His commission. This is basically what the Great Commission means. In Mark 16:15, He tells us, “Go … preach the gospel to every creature.” In Matthew 28:19-20, we are told, “Go … and teach all nations.” Then He says, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Notice we are to teach them what He commanded us. He just commanded us to go, teach, and get people baptized. Hence, before He goes back to Heaven, He tells us that He wants us to do what He did. When we finish getting someone saved and baptized, we are to tell him to continue doing what Jesus did. In other words, I am to get someone saved and baptized and then teach him how to get someone saved and baptized, that he may teach him how to get someone saved and baptized, that he may teach him how to get someone saved and baptized. The book of Acts is simply a continuation.
There are many Scriptures that teach us that we are to do what Jesus did.
In other words, we are representatives of Jesus. Each of us is to be a “little Jesus” on earth, doing what He would do if He were here, teaching what He would teach, preaching what He would preach, etc.
III. WE ARE TO CONTINUE RUNNING THE RACE
The book of Acts is the second leg in a relay race. A man runs the first leg of a relay race. He then gives the baton to another. In the mile relay, a person runs one lap around the track; he then gives the baton to the second fellow; he runs the same lap, does exactly what the first person did, stays in the same lane, and comes back to the same place; he gives the baton to another who runs the same race, etc. Jesus had ministered on earth for 3½ years. He said to His people, “Now I am going back to Heaven. I want the work that I have done to continue. I want the teachings that I have taught continued.” He gives to us the continuation of what He began to do and teach.
TWO GREAT PERSONS IN ACTS
Acts is basically centered around two great men – Peter and Paul. Peter was given the ministry to the Jews (circumcised). Paul ministered to the Gentiles (uncircumcised). The word “circumcision” was a word for the Jews. The word “uncircumcision” was another word for the Gentiles. In other words, Peter was given to the Jews, and Paul was given to the Gentiles. The book of Acts is basically built around the ministries of these two great men and their carrying out of the Gospel of Christ according to the will of God.