Category Archives: Acts

Acts, Chapter 4.

Persecution.  Have you faced any?  Do you think persecution still exists? 

Acts, chapter four, shows Peter and John as they face the courts over the healing of the lame man in chapter three.  Actually, it wasn’t the healing that got them in trouble with the court, it was the credit given to Jesus.  The court did not want them to speak “in the name of Jesus”.  They were even released after an overnight stay in jail, but were told to not speak in that name again.

Little did the court know what would happen….

Enter the Holy Spirit again! 

Encouraging, uplifting, pointing the way to Christ and all He is, and giving boldness…boldness that quickly multiplied among the believers and jump started a whole new movement for the Lord.

These are the basic details of chapter four.  I don’t feel like I can expound on them in any better way than to explain the details of yesterday’s gathering at Cornerstone.

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Acts, Chapter 3.

“Peter and John went to pray.

They met a lame man on the way.

He asked for alms and held out his palms,

and this is what Peter did say.

Silver and gold have I none,

but such as I have, give I thee.

In the name of Jesus Christ

of Nazareth, rise up and walk.

He went walking and leaping and praising God!

Walking and leaping and praising God!

In the name of Jesus Christ

of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

This chapter reminds me of the song I used to sing as a child.  The words explain verses 1-10 of chapter 3. 

The lame man was lame from birth.  This was not a trick.  Because the lame man was brought to the temple daily, most people recognized him and were familiar with his disabilities.  It was especially peaking to their interest when he was healed, because they had personal knowledge of his life before the healing. 

Peter and John acted “in the name of Jesus Christ”, not crediting self, but pointing the action and the power of the miracle to the appropriate owner.  Jesus was the One who healed the man. 

Also note that the lame man instinctively gave praise and credit back to God.  He went “walking and leaping and praising God”.  It was a natural response.  He was excited.  He was grateful.  He didn’t thank Peter or John, he thanked God.  The healed man gave immediate testimony of the miracle to all those present that day.  There was no doubt that the man was healed, and there was no doubt who was responsible for the healing because the man, himself, gave credit to God.  Who better to know the Healer’s name, but the one who has been healed?

The name of Jesus holds immeasurable power.  Have you ever just expressed your faith by audibly speaking in the name of Jesus Christ?

There are times in my life where I remember Christ’s name, audibly spoken, evoking power over the situation.   One such time was during a 5 1/2 minute seizure my son was having.  We were practicing with the praise team when he fell to the ground seizing uncontrollably.  My husband ran toward us holding him and screaming my son’s name.  It was horrific.  I had never seen my husband that scared.

I took Brett, laid him down on the floor, called his name over and over, trying to figure out what we could do to help him.  I think there was several people who were near us, others trying to keep children away, one running to call an ambulance.  A lot of the ordeal was subconsciously blanked out, but what I remember is someone saying they called 911, the images of him jerking violently, his lips turning blue, then hearing the words of one of our paramedic friends say, “There’s just nothing we can do for him right now“……time just ticking by, still seizing, praying in my mind, “Lord, he’s only two…God, please help him, help him Lord“….then, suddenly I hear Cherie’s voice,

“In the name of Jesus……through the power of Your Name….”

Her prayer will always be a remembrance of that day, because the name of Jesus echoes over and over in my mind.  It was Jesus who heard our cries.  It was the name of Jesus that calmed my motherly panic and assured me that Brett would be okay.  The name of Jesus rang out, bursting through all the chaos and noise and confusion, as if it were blasted through a loud speaker in my ear.   Even now, 2 years later, I cannot fully describe the whole power that His name gave over that whole situation.  It is just wonderfully unexplainable.  

The name of Jesus is a powerful weapon.  It cuts through fear and doubt and hurt.  It reminds us that we don’t have to face situations alone.  It brings our ally, the most powerful and victorious One, to our side to comfort, strengthen, heal, and destroy the futile attempts of satan against us.  

This reminds me of another song:

“There is power, power in the name of Jesus.

There is power, power in Jesus’ name.

Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess

The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Son of Righteousness.

Hell is trembling at the strength we possess.

We have power, power, power in Jesus’ name.”

Jesus’ name gives us power, just as we receive through the Holy Spirit, to face each day.  Verse 16 points out that Jesus’ name, through faith in His name, makes us strong.   

Hell trembles at the sound of it.  We have nothing more to fear.  Praise the Lord for the freedom to use the name of Jesus!   

 

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Acts, Chapter 2.

Verse 1

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”  Acts 2:1

There’s several things that jump out at me about this verse:  1)  The “Day of Pentecost”, 2) the words “fully come”, and 3) that they were all with “one accord”.

What was the “Day of Pentecost”?  From what I have read, it took place 50 days after the Feast of the Firsfruits.  According to J. Vernon McGee, the Feast of the Firstfruits speaks of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.   “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.  But each one is his own order:  Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.  Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.”  1 Corinthians 20-26 

The Passover speaks of the death of Jesus Christ:  “…For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.  Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  1Corinthians 5:7-8

The words “fully come”, again according to Dr. McGee, could be translated to mean “fulfilled”.  The Passover was fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ.  The Feast of Firstfruits was fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Now, the Day of Pentecost, being “fully come” (aka fulfilled) means that it represented the fulfillment of something — the birth of the church, the day the church came into existence.

So, in order to understand the timeline…..

  1. Jesus was crucified.
  2. 3 days later, He was resurrected.
  3. For 40 days, He walked upon the earth, resurrected.  (Acts 1:3)
  4. He then ascended into heaven. (Acts. 1:9)
  5. 10 more days passed.
  6. On the 50th day (Pentecost) the church was born and the Holy Spirit arrived.

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Acts, Chapter 1

Wow!  I didn’t realize that I was going to write four posts before even getting to the first Chapter!  Thanks for sticking with me so far :0)

Now’s the part where I make observations, ask questions, and depend on all of you to help me with the answers.  This past Sunday’s message by Bro. Mike spoke of a warning.  He made a statement about many people taking verses of scripture out of context, and I really pondered on that for a bit.  My earnest intention is to not do that, but if I should stray, please help bring me back on the right track.  I am by no means an educated theologian, and many times rely on information that I have picked up by reading commentaries or hearing the opinions of others.  I’m just a normal gal, desiring to further my walk with the Lord as I study through Acts, and if by some way I am able to share it with any of you in writing these posts, I pray that God will use this blog as a tool for your growth and walk with the Lord to deepen.  So, please forgive me if I make a mistake, or miss something in the “big picture”. 

Chapter 1 – The “Who”

As I understand it, Luke, the physician, supposedly wrote the book of Acts.  He is writing to a Gentile believer named Theophilus an account of the information he had gathered about Jesus.  Luke, apparently, was not an eye-witness to the events but gathered undisputable evidence of all that had happened.  Continue reading

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Acting in the Spirit.

My last post, Act as a Witness, addressed our mission as Christians using the biblical text of Acts 1:8.  Because I was focusing on our mission, I almost left off part of the verse  — the beginning that speaks of the power of the Holy Spirit:

“you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, …”

Instead of leaving it off, though, I was prompted to go back and add the beginning.  I wasn’t sure why.  I remember acknowledging that the first part of the verse was very important, because without the Holy Spirit’s power, our mission to be a witness is in vain.  Still, my initial reaction was to use only the part of the verse that directly applied to being a witness. 

But! …. Now I know why!! 🙂 (I have to smile when the working of the Holy Spirit is evident!)

Not long after the post my blogger friend, Janet, posted this comment:

“The verse you quoted (Acts 1:8) has “spoken” to me this morning, and reminded me that the Holy Spirit will give me the boldness I need when He wants me to speak out. {In my own strength, I can be timid and shy, but God does not give us a spirit of fear or timidity!–(2 Tim. 1:7)}”

And then, my husband wrote this.  (Click here)

Even as I finished the last post, I planned on devoting one to the power and works of the Holy Spirit, but instead, He has already done that for me! 

It is just amazing to me how God works!  He can take one simple act of obedience — in this case, just the addition of the complete verse on a blog post to equip and give power to Janet, and then He can prompt my husband to write about the power of the Spirit in our “marching orders”, at the same time I was planning my next post.

Some may consider that a small thing, but even in the smallest event, the Holy Spirit is mighty in power.  He can encourage each one of us personally, just when we need it, and at the right time that we need it, and in ways that others won’t understand.  That’s what makes it incredible!  Just to know that God cares so much for us, that He personally relates with our day-to-day thoughts and events!

Which brings me to a point I did want to make as we study the book of Acts and the works and power of the Holy Spirit:  The actions of the church must be led by the Holy Spirit.  If we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to lead, then our actions, efforts, programs, plans, studies, and any other activity we can think of will be fruitless. 

On the other hand, just because we proceed without the direction of the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean that God won’t finish his work.  Regardless of our disobedience, God still finishes His work. 

“Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?  Certainly not!”  Romans 3:3-4

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful…”  2 Timothy 2:13

“And we know that all things work together for good…” Romans 8:28

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38 – 39

We, as humans, are “created things” as referenced in Romans 8.  Many, many times this created thing (me) has begun a work because it was something I thought worthwhile, or because “somebody” needed to do it, or because it was just “something” that the church was “supposed” to do.  Yet, I didn’t stop to consult God about it.  Consequently, the work, although seemingly admirable, was unfruitful and not used to further God’s kingdom. 

Still, God continued on.  He ignored my selfish motivations and all my plans to proceed with His work.  (Thank goodness!

He is faithful, even when we are not. 

The Holy Spirit is real.  We know He is here when He takes the things of Christ and shows them to us.  He visits us personally — encouraging, strengthening, empowering, guiding.

What is the Holy Spirit saying to you today?  

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Act as Witnesses.

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Acts. 1:8

Where is Jerusalem?  Our hometown, our community

Where is Samaria?  The “other side of the tracks”…people we don’t usually associate with on a day-to-day basis.

Where is the end of the earth?  I like the bible translation that says the “uttermost” part of the earth.  It is from one pole to the other pole….from east around the globe to the furthest west…every people, every nation, every tribe, every human on the earth — the uttermost furthest distance you can imagine on the planet earth.

I have never been one to skip to the ending of the book without reading through it first, but in this case, I want to point out something.  Having read several commentaries, it seems that the end of the book of Acts has no proper ending.  It ends with Paul in his own rented house in Rome. 

I just picture Paul, sitting at a table in his room, reading the scriptures and preparing for his next mission.  He is studying, and praying and interceding for the lost people that he, himself persecuted.  He hardly sleeps, is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and very attentive to God’s voice.

The camera pulls back, ending the scene with this image.  You just know that Paul is about to run out the door to his next adventure, when the ending credits starting scrolling and the symphony starts playing…

Ugh! …..want more?!  Yes!  Bring on the sequel!!!

If we watched a movie with this scene at the end of it, there would no doubt be a feeling of incompleteness.  It’s like one of those really, really, good movies that just leaves you hanging at the end!  

In this case, however, there is no proper ending.  Why?  Because the mission of God’s people is incomplete.  It is a continuing story.  We are to continue in the same work as Paul — into Judea, Samaria, and the Uttermost.

The work, as Acts 1:8 points out, is to be a witness of “Me”.  The “me” is Jesus Christ, but what message is it that He wants us to convey?  A witness of what? 

The research I have done tells me that He is speaking of the resurrection.  It is the center and heart of the message.  Without the resurrection, all work and miracles Jesus had performed would have been in vain.  Without renewed life, the testimonies and accounts of Jesus’ life would mean nothing.  He would have been just another man. 

However, He was not a man. 

“I and My Father are one.”  John 10:30

He was God, in flesh, who experienced all the guilt of our sins, endured a torcherous death, but then fulfilled the greatest feat no man has ever been able to do….he came back to life!  He was resurrected, just as the prophecies of old had described!  He is alive — even today!  Now THAT’s something to get excited about 🙂

We are to be witnesses of THAT GREAT MIRACLE…the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is the center and heart of the church’s message.

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Acts, the Gospel Funnel.

Here we go with the definitions again :)…

funnel – A conical utensil with a small hole or narrow tube at the apex used to channel the flow of a substance into a container.

The book of Acts, as J. Vernon McGee points out, is like a funnel.  Prior to Acts, we see the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  All four of these books end with a significant aspect of Christianity which, together, flow into the funnel of Acts where we see God’s plan for the church. 

The last recorded fact in Matthew is the Resurrection.  Mark ends with the Ascension.  Luke closes with the promise of the Holy Spirit, and John proclaims the second coming of Jesus Christ. 

Like the above definition, the book of Acts serves as the funnel used to channel the flow of these four events into one container, the church.  It is in Acts when the church receives birth, then direction and life instruction from our Lord.  The container –the vessel used to reach the lost, lies within the church, God’s people.

It’s like getting bits and pieces of information, and then deciding what to do with them.  We’ve been given the gifts of the Resurrection, Ascension, Holy Spirit, and Promise of Christ’s return.  What are we going to do with them?  Or better yet….what does God want us to do?

The answer is found in Acts 1:8:

“…you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

We are instructed to be a witness, just as the original apostles were, of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This is undoubtedly the purpose of the church as found in the book of Acts.

It is my overall understanding that the book of Acts was written by Luke, the physician, although I did read one opinion that said it wasn’t conclusively Luke. 

I have also read that Luke wasn’t an actual witness to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, but must have extensively compiled research and evidence of the things he wrote about in the book of Luke and Acts. 

What do you think?  Was Luke the author? Also, what does being an apostle mean?  Is an “apostle” the same as a “disciple”?   

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