Acts of the Apostles
Salvation to the
Ends of the Earth
Acts of the Apostles
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Second Volume of Luke-Acts
 Compare Luke 1:1-4 and Acts 1:1-2
Author was Luke, a companion of Paul
 Early church accepted author was Luke
 “We” passages
Acts of Holy Spirit or Acts of Jesus
Mission “to the ends of the earth”
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Why was the mission of the early church so
successful?
History and Theology Combined
Significance of Acts for today
Date and Location
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Written between AD 62 and 64
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Before Peter and Paul martyred.
Paul had been imprisoned in Rome for two
years
Right up to date
If written after AD 66, why are deaths of
apostles omitted?
Historical accuracy of Luke surprising if written
later
Location of writing – Uncertain (Rome?)
Chronology of Main Events in
Acts
29 AD – Ascension and Pentecost
 35 AD – Martyrdom of Stephen
 37 AD – Paul’s Conversion
 38 AD – Peter and Cornelius
 39 AD Paul in Tarsus
 40 AD Paul’s first visit to Jerusalem
 43 AD Barnabas in Antioch
 45 AD Paul’s First Missionary Journey
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Chronology of Acts (cont)
51 AD – Council of Jerusalem
 52 AD – Paul’s Second Missionary Journey
 53 AD – Letters to Thessalonians
 58 AD – Paul arrested in Jerusalem.
Imprisonned in Caesarea
 59 AD – Paul’s journey to Rome
 60 AD Paul in Rome
 62 AD – End of Acts
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Structure of Acts
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Major Sections
 Beginnings
of the Church (1-2)
 The Church in Jerusalem (3-5)
 Expansion (6-9:31)
 Beginning of Gentile Mission (9:32-12)
 Missionary Journeys (13-20)
 Paul’s Arrest and Imprisonment (21-28)
A fulfilment of Acts 1:8?
 Transition Points?
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Cultural Background
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Interest in Judaism
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Unworthy gods
Philosophy tended to be religion-free
Moral rigour of Judaism
Diaspora
But ethnic & required circumcision
God-fearers
From root of Judaism
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But negative aspects – Speech of Stephen.
Purpose
To tell us what happened next – a historical
account as a legacy to the church
 Addressed to Theophilus - “lover of God”
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Acts 1:1-2; Luke 1:1-4
Author not an eye-witness
Writing to a rich patron?
PR/spin/Propaganda?!
Christianity’s founder had been crucified
 Its main spokesman was under house arrest
 It seemed to cause disturbance wherever it
spread
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Purpose (cont)
Genre of Acts exists in ancient world
 Refutation of Heresy (unlikely)
 Luke portrays Christianity as a Credible
Religion (ie political apologetic)
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Luke 23:13 Miscarriage of justice
Appeal to Caesar, cf Nelson Mandela
Instigators of riots – Religious Jews,
tradespeople
To show how the church, composed of
Jews and Gentiles, stands in continuity
with Judaism
Luke's Concerns
Continuity of God’s purposes
The Holy Spirit
The mission and message of the church
The Role of Prayer in church life
Jesus' concern for poor and women
Christianity as a Universal Faith – Inclusion
of the Gentiles
Christianity as a Lawful Religion
Jesus as Saviour
Key Themes
Jesus – the fulfilment of Israel
 The Church as the new People of God
 Life and Structure of the new Community
 The Holy Spirit as agent of Renewal and
Mission
 The Mission of God – Salvation to the
ends of the earth
 Reaching out across Religious and
Cultural Boundaries
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The Speeches in Acts
About 30% of Acts consists of Speeches. Can
we tell what the early Christians preached?
 Explanations – Acts 2, 3
 Fit into contexts
 Jerusalem
 Athens
 Quotations from the OT (Acts 2)
 Reference to culture/history
 Quotations from secular writers (Acts 17:8)
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Sermons in Acts
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Peter
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Stephen
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Acts 6
Paul
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Acts 2:14-37; 3:12-26; 4:8-12; 10:34-43
Acts 13:16-41, 46-47; 14:15-17; 17:2-3, 22-32
Testimonies
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Acts 22:3-21; 24:10-21; 26:2-27, 29; 28:23-28
Kerygma – Acts Sermons
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The Age of Fulfillment has dawned, the “latter
days” foretold by the prophets.
This has taken place through the birth, life,
ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus.
By virtue of the resurrection, Jesus has been
exalted at the right hand of God as Messianic
head of the new Israel.
The Holy Spirit in the church is the sign of
Christ's present power and glory.
The Messianic Age will reach its
consummation in the return of Christ.
An appeal is made for repentance with the
offer of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit, and
salvation.
A Justification of Paul?
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Peter and Paul compared
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Healing
Vision
Release from Prison
Raising the dead
Bestowing the Spirit
Distinctive Teaching of Holy
Spirit
Begins in Acts 2
 Ends with Holy Spirit Acts 28:25
 Holy Spirit Empowering
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Jerusalem, Samaria, Caesarea, Ephesus, Paul
True Israel – Inspired by Holy Spirit
 Boldness of ordinary men
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Power for service
World Mission
Single Pentecost?
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Jerusalem, Samaria, Gentile
Subsequent experiences
Samaritan Pentecost
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Acts 8. Philip
Peter's power of the keys – Lampe
Tied into Israel
Pentecost – birthday or coming of age of church?
A transition phase or a model of ministry for the
“last days”?
Missionary Methods
Fulfilling commission in Acts 1:8?
 Breaking the mould
 Catalysts for movement
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Persecution and Holy Spirit
Focus on Cities, New Regions
 Preaching & healing
 Baptism and Laying on of hands
 Methods of Proclamation
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Churches in Acts
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We encounter many different churches in
Acts.
 Jerusalem
 Damascus
 Antioch
 Corinth
 Ephesus
 Rome
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Do they paint a uniform picture – or is there
acceptable variation among churches?
Use of Old Testament Scripture
Acts 2 – Joel, Psalms
 Acts 3 – Deuteronomy, Genesis
 Acts 4 – Psalms
 Acts 7 – Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy,
Amos, Isaiah
 Acts 8 – Isaiah
 Acts 13 – Psalms, Isaiah, Habakkuk
 Acts 15 – Amos
 Acts 23 - Exodus
 Acts 28 - Isaiah
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The Council of Jerusalem
Acts 15
 The Issues
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The nature of the church now that Gentiles
were being included
 Were they expected to obey the Laws of
Moses?
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How is the church to relate to Judaism?
 What does Acts 15:16-17 tell us about the
relationship of the church to the OT
expectations of Israel?
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Christians in Acts
The term Christian first occurs in Acts 11:26
 The brethren (23x)
 Disciples (21x) – including a woman (9:36)
 Saints (4x) – Acts 9:13, 32, 41; 26:10
 The Church (19x); The Way (10x)
 Those who believe (2:44 etc)
 Those who call upon the name (9:14 etc)
 Those who are being saved (2:47)
 Those who received the word (2:41)
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Community Life
Daily Distribution to widows
 Care of the dead
 Church in the home
 Worship and fasting
 Hymn singing
 Hospitality
 Financial giving
 Late, late church
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Ministry within the Early Church
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Ministry Gifts
– Acts 1:2
 Prophets – Acts 13:1
 Teachers – Acts 13:1
 Evangelists – Acts 21:9
 Apostles
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Church Leadership
– Acts 20:17
 Deacons – Acts 6
 Elders
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How do such gifts inter-relate?
Significant Ministry Events in Acts
Matthias replaces Judas among the 12
 Healing and Preaching
 The Seven chosen to serve
 Calling of Saul of Tarsus
 Appointment of Elders
 Council of Jerusalem
 Prisca and Aquila teach Apollos
 Paul and the Ephesian Elders
 The Collection for poor saints in Jerusalem
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Mission and Ministry
Theology of the Holy Spirit
 Ordo Salutis
 Signs and Wonders
 Gospel Proclamation in diverse settings
 Church growth & church planting
 Missiology
 Patterns of Christian Ministry
 Fresh Expressions of Church
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The Apostle Paul
 Disciple
of Gamaliel
 Talmud
 Grandson
of Hillel
 Native
of Tarsus
 Died in Rome under
Nero (~AD 66)
 A Pharisee before
his conversion (Phil
3:5)
 Missionary
extraordinary
 Great letter writer
Paul the Missionary
 Planned
to visit
Spain (Rom 15:24)
 Worked in a team –
Col 4:10-14,
Philemon
 Focussed on cities
 Trained the next
generation –
Timothy, Titus
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Anthony Thistleton sees
Corinth as a “post-modern”
city. Paul experienced
similar challenges to the
ones we face.
Paul in Prison
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Locations
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Philippi
Jerusalem
Caesarea
Rome
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Responses
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Prayer
Letters
Delegation
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Acts in the Church Today
A model for church ministry
 Only for overseas mission
 A heritage document
 Irrelevant
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