“You Will Be My Witnesses” A Survey of the Book of Acts Part 1 Title of the Book The title “Acts” or “Acts of the Apostles” refers to some of the acts of some of the Apostles as they carry out the great commission to preach the gospel to all the world (Acts 1:2,25-26; 2:37,42-43; 4:33,3537; 5:2,12,18,40; 6:6; 8:1,14,18; etc.). The Apostle Peter is the focus of Acts 1-12, with Jerusalem as his center, and the Jews as his primary audience. This section of Acts closes with Peter in prison. The Apostle Paul is the focus of Acts 13-28, with Antioch as his center, and the Gentiles as his primary audience. This section of Acts closes with Paul in prison. Author of the Book Luke, the physician (Col. 4:14), wrote the book of Luke and the book of Acts (note the medical terminology used in both books: Lk. 4:35; 9:38; 18:25; Acts 9:18-19; 28:8). Luke was a travelling companion of Paul (note the “we” sections in Acts 16:10-17; 20:5 – 21:18; 27:1 – 28:16) and Luke was with Paul during his Roman imprisonment (Acts 28:30-31; Col. 4:14; Phile. 24). Luke was a researcher and chronicler of events (Luke 1:1-4). He wrote with accuracy (note his use of Roman words: “proconsul”, Acts 13:7-8,12; 18:12; 19:38; “rulers” or “politarches”, Acts 17:6,8; and “Asiarchs”, Acts 19:31). Audience and Purpose Luke wrote to “Theophilus” (Acts 1:1; Lk. 1:1-4). First, the book of Acts is the historical record of the continued work of Jesus Christ from heaven (Mt. 28:20; Acts 2:34-36). Second, the book of Acts shows the fulfillment of the Lord’s plan to build his church (Mt. 16:18). Third, the book of Acts also serves as an historical link between the Gospels (the Lord’s church in planning) and the Epistles (the Lord’s church in progress). Audience and Purpose Fourth, the book of Acts gives the background to several of Paul’s epistles (Galatians, Acts 1314; Philippians, Acts 16; 1-2 Thessalonians, Acts 17; 1-2 Corinthians, Acts 18; Ephesians and 1-2 Timothy, Acts 19-20). Date of the Book Approximately 30 years are covered in the book of Acts. Acts 1-7 covers a period of 2 years (A.D. 3335). Acts 8-12 covers a period of 13 years (A.D. 3548). Acts 13-28 covers a period of 15 years (A.D. 48-63). Luke probably wrote the book of Acts toward the end of Paul’s Roman imprisonment or right after it (Acts 28:30-31), c. A.D. 63. Theme of the Book The theme of the book of Acts centers on the Apostles carrying out the great commission of Jesus Christ to preach the gospel to the entire world (Mt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15-16; Lk. 24:47-49; Jn. 20:21-23). The Apostles would be “witnesses” (give testimony) of Jesus Christ (his life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension) through the power of the Holy Spirit to all the world starting in Jerusalem (Acts 1:8,22; 2:32; 3:15; 4:33; 5:32; 10:39,41; 13:31; 14:3; 22:15; 23:11; 26:16; see also Luke 24:47). Theme of the Book As the Apostles carry out the Lord’s commission and “witness” to the entire world, souls are converted to Christ through the preaching of the gospel and the Lord’s church is established in Jerusalem (Acts 2). The Lord’s church will grow and expand in the rest of the book of Acts. Acts in six words: “Beginning and Spread of the Church”. Outline of the Book “You Will Be My Witnesses” (Acts 1:8) 1. Witness (the gospel preached) in Jerusalem (Acts 1-7). 2. Witness (the gospel preached) in All Judea and Samaria (Acts 8-12). 3. Witness (the gospel preached) to the Uttermost Part of the Earth (Acts 13-28). “You Will Be My Witnesses” - Acts 1:8 ( Theme of the Book of Acts ) “To the Uttermost Part of the Earth” ( Acts 13-28 ) “In Judea and Samaria” ( Acts 8-12 ) “In Jerusalem” ( Acts 1-7 ) The Lord’s Church Is A Model A converted church (Acts 2:14-41). A persecuted church (4:1ff; 5;17ff; 6:8ff; 8:1ff; 12:1ff). A worshipping church (Acts 2:42,46-47). A rejoicing church (2:46; 5:41). A learning church (Acts 2:42; 5:42). An organized church (6:1-6; 11:30; 15:2; 21:18). A united church (2:44-46; 4:24,32). An evangelistic church (5:41-42; 8:4,14; 11:22). A praying church (2:42; 4:24; 6:6; 12:5). A growing church (2:41,47; 4:4; 5:14; 6:1,7; 12:24). The Lord’s Church Is A Model A benevolent church (2:45; 4:32-37; 6:1-6). A disciplined church (5:1-11). A working / active church (see all the references above). The Lord’s Church Is A Model A Model of Conversion The Jerusalem visitors (Acts 2:37-41). The Samaritans (Acts 8: 5-13). The Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40). Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-19; 22:16). Cornelius (Acts 10:1-48). Lydia and the jailor at Philippi (Acts 16:14-34). The Corinthians (Acts 18:5-8). The Ephesians (Acts 19:1-7). The Lord’s Church Is Opposed Opposition from Without Jewish religious leaders (Acts 4-5). Jewish zealots (Acts 7-8). Jewish authorities (Acts 12:1ff). Opposition from Within Hypocrisy of members (Acts 5:1-11). Murmuring of members (Acts 6:1). The Lord’s Church Is Growing The church will grow when the seed of the gospel is planted in the soil of men’s hearts (Acts 2:47; 4:4; Lk. 8:4-15). The church will grow when discipline is exercised (Acts 5:11-14; 2 Thess. 3:6). The church will grow when it is persecuted (Acts 4:4,31; 5:41-42; 8:1-5; 11:19; 12:24; 2 Tim. 3:12). The church will grow when it stays busy working (Acts 6:1-7; 8:2,4; Eph. 4:11-16). The Lord’s Church Is Growing The church will grow when it is at peace, fearing the Lord, and walking by the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31; 1 Thess. 5:13; 1 Pet. 1:17; 2:17; Gal. 5:22-26). Acts For Today The Lord’s church established in the book of Acts becomes a pattern and model for all today who seek to be members of a New Testament church. Faithful members of the Lord’s church will continue to work and grow even in the face of opposition (Acts 4:4,23-31; 5:11,14,41-42; 6:3-4; 8:4; 12:24). The Lord’s church will grow today but it will take the right attitudes and right actions of all the brethren. Acts For Today Have I been converted to the Lord just like the Christians in the book of Acts? Am I a member of a church that is patterned and modeled after the New Testament church in the book of Acts? Am I a courageous Christian who will face opposition in the right way and remain faithful to the Lord just like I read about in the book of Acts? Am I an active Christian member of a local church that is growing just like the growing church in the book of Acts?