That power of the early church is not manifested in churches today. Because the early church operated on a high spiritual level which has not again been attained in any age since then. However, it is the Holy Spirit working through the believer when any service brings honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. Prominence of the church, visible and invisible. The church is a new institution. It has come into existence in the Book of Acts. Prominence of places. The book begins at Jerusalem and ends in Rome. Sir William Ramsay checked all the places mentioned by Dr.
Luke and found them to be accurate. Prominence of persons. Luke mentions persons by name, besides the references to multitudes or crowds. I believe that by the end of the first century there were millions of believers in the world. The church had a phenomenal growth in those first two to three hundred years. It certainly has slowed down today, exactly as our Lord said it would.
Prominence of the Resurrection. The Resurrection is the center of gospel preaching. In too many churches today, we have one Easter sermon once a year. As a pastor, many times I have featured Easter in August. People would come just to find out what had happened to the preacher. They thought the heat was getting to me. However, in the early church the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the very center and heart of the message, and no sermon was preached without it. He explained that what was taking place on that day was because of the fact that Jesus was now in heaven at the right hand of God and had sent His Holy Spirit into the world.
It was all due to the Resurrection. You will find that the Resurrection is the very heart of the messages of Paul. Now, if you want to ride a hobby, let me suggest one for you: the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Acts Study Guide
In the early church, every Sunday was Easter, a day to proclaim the Resurrection. There is a prominence of Peter in the first section of the book and of Paul in the last section. There is a strange omission of the other apostles. God had good reasons, I am sure, for emphasizing the ministry of these two men.
Also there is a human reason. I believe that Dr. Luke was acquainted with the ministries of these two men.
He was an associate of Paul. Some people hold the idea that there was a disagreement between Peter and Paul. Very candidly, I am of the opinion that Dr. Luke and Peter and Paul got together a great many times and had many talks. The proper title for this historical book has always been a problem. The Bantu title is Words Concerning Deeds. I would rather think that the key is given to us in the first two verses of the first chapter.
McGee, J. Thru the Bible Commentary, Vol. Harry Ironside.
Bob Shuler. But I can say today the world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully yielded to Him. Also sign me up to receive Thru the Bible's monthly newsletter by email. Sign Up. Programs Global Reach Resources. Click image for larger view Introduction Download Dr. Some special features of the Book of Acts are: 1. Harry Ironside Acts "We are called to fish in the fish pond, not to clean up the fish pond. He certainly could have simply "vanished" to the Father's presence in a secret sort of way. But with the ascension, Jesus wanted His followers to know that He was gone for good, as opposed to the way He appeared and reappeared during the forty days after the resurrection.
Remember Jesus' words to His disciples in John : It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. Now the disciples could know that that promise would be fulfilled. Why do you stand gazing up into heaven? The two men apparently angels told the disciples to put their attention in the right place obedience to Jesus' command to return to Jerusalem , not in wondering where and how Jesus went. Jesus told them to go to the ends of the earth , and they stood gazing up into heaven. Morgan speculates that the "men" were possibly Moses and Elijah.
It seems best to say they were angels. Will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven : Jesus will return just as He left: physically , visibly , and to the Mount of Olives. Act The followers of Jesus return to Jerusalem. Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey.
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. A Sabbath's day journey describes a short distance, the only kind allowed on the Sabbath. Who was there? The eleven disciples the twelve minus Judas are present; along with Mary, the mother of Jesus, the brothers of Jesus such as James and Jude , the women who followed Jesus, and others, adding up to about Acts The brothers of Jesus never seemed to be supportive of His ministry before His death and resurrection John , Mark , but now that has changed - the power of the resurrected Jesus is already on display.
Calvin translates with the women as with their wives , a reference to the wives of the apostles. Their obedience is notable: They returned to Jerusalem. Jesus told them to return to Jerusalem and wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit, and that is exactly what they did. They didn't forget the sermon right after they heard it, and they actually did what Jesus told them to do, even though He was no longer physically present with them. Their unity is notable: These all continued with one accord. When we saw the disciples in the gospels, it seemed that they were always fighting and bickering.
What had changed? Peter still had the history of denying the Lord; Matthew was still a tax collector; Simon was still a zealot. Their differences were still there, but the resurrected Jesus in their hearts was greater than any difference. Their prayer is notable; they all prayed, and they continued in prayer and supplication. The idea of supplication is a sense of desperation and earnestness in prayer. Already, we see three important steps in making godly decisions: The disciples are in obedience, they are in fellowship, and they are in prayer. Act Peter suggests selecting a replacement for Judas.
And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty , and said, "Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry. And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.
Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples : Here, Peter takes a natural leadership role among the disciples. There is nothing wrong with seeing Peter as the leader of the first group of the apostles, even as he often was the spokesman among the disciples during the earthly ministry of Jesus. However, the idea that the authority of Peter was supreme, and that he handed it down in unbroken succession, is unbiblical and wrong. Peter's words show a wisdom we did not often see in him before; he begins by noting that Judas didn't spoil God's plan, he fulfilled it this Scripture had to be fulfilled.
This is something that only the wise and mature can see when evil happens. Luke's historical note calls attention to how Judas died. Matthew says that Judas hanged himself, but apparently he failed in the attempt, fell, and was killed by the impact of falling from the tree in the Field of Blood. It was a Field of Blood not only because Judas spilled his blood there, but also because the field was purchased with the "blood money" given to the betrayer of Jesus. For it is written : Peter, quoting from two separate Psalms, shows why God would have them choose another disciple to "officially" replace Judas.
Their reliance on God's Word is notable; this wasn't the wisdom of man at work, but a principle revealed in Scripture. Also, this is the first time in the New Testament we read that Peter quoted Scripture! Let his habitation be desolate : David, the writer of these quoted Psalms, knew what it was like to be betrayed by another. When he was a fugitive from Saul, he was betrayed by a man named Doeg 1 Samuel , and many innocent people died as a result. David may have penned these very words in reference to this betrayer. Let another take his office : When David was betrayed, he desired that the betrayer would be desolate and that another fill the betrayer's office.
It wasn't hard to understand that the Son of David - Jesus, whom David often pictured - would desire the same thing. Their desire for God's will is notable; because of the principle of the quoted Scripture, they will replace Judas because they believe it is what Jesus wants, not because it is what they want. Act Qualifications are stated and two men are nominated. One of these must become a witness with us : The disciples were bold enough to make a decision because they knew from God's Word that this is what He wanted.
The apostles did not sense an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them; that was yet to come.
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But God did not leave them without guidance. They knew what to do from the Word.
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Even when we don't "feel" the Holy Spirit, we still have God's voice permanently established in His Word. When we don't feel a special blessing from the Holy Spirit in an area not revealed by God's Word, we still know what to do: Obey God's Word. Who have accompanied us all the time : Whoever replaces Judas must be one who had been with them since they were baptized by John, stayed with them during the days of Jesus' earthly ministry, and they must have seen the resurrected Jesus.
What told them that these were to be the qualifications? Sanctified common sense! There was no direct, awesome revelation from God; their common sense was being blessed because they were in obedience, in fellowship, in prayer, in the Word, and desiring God's will. Their sanctified common sense was notable; it didn't answer everything, but it did narrow it down to two men.
The main job of the new apostle was simply to become a witness with us of His resurrection. We can do the same job by showing that Jesus lives in our lives. Act The disciples pray and cast lots to select a replacement for Judas. And they prayed and said, "You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
And he was numbered with the eleven apostles. And they prayed : They prayed first, and it was easy to pray because they had already been praying Acts Their doing what Jesus would do was notable. How did Jesus choose the disciples? He prayed Luke , even as these disciples did, to see who the Lord would add to their number.
And they cast their lots : Many people have questioned the method for choosing one of the two men - after all these great spiritual steps, they end up rolling dice to pick the winner. Is this any way to choose an apostle? Their reliance on God is notable. Though they were not yet filled with the Holy Spirit, as they would be, they still wanted to choose a method that would make them rely on God.
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. Proverbs The casting of lots may be an imperfect way to discern God's will, but it is much better than the methods many Christians use today, relying on emotions, circumstances, feelings, carnal desires and so forth. And the lot fell on Matthias : Was Matthias the right man for the job of the twelfth apostle? Some insist that Matthias was the wrong choice and the use of lots was not right.
The idea is that God would have chosen Paul if the office had been left vacant. But we must respect the testimony of the Scriptures; God did not want to leave the office vacant. If He did, it might be seen as a victory for Satan - Jesus picked 12, but one came up short and defeated Jesus' desire to have 12 apostles. Even though we read nothing more of Matthias, we should not assume he was a "dud" as an apostle; except for Peter and John, none of the original twelve are mentioned again after Acts 1.
Matthias was no more of a "dud" than Matthew or Andrew or Thomas or any of the others. Paul considered himself an apostle, but one born out of due time 1 Corinthians It doesn't seem that he objected to the selection of Matthias. Revelation tells us that each of the twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem has the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Is the twelfth apostle Paul or Matthias? Who can say for certain?
No one can fault all the things they did before they cast lots. We must believe that all these things put them into the place where God would truly guide their decision. If we would put ourselves into the same place, we wouldn't make many wrong decisions! How many wrong decisions would we make if we did all of these things before the decision? The disciples were in obedience, they were in fellowship, they were in prayer, they were in the Word, they wanted to do God's will, they used sanctified common sense, they did what Jesus would do, and they did what they could do to rely on God.
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