Derek Stone’s notes on the first 11 verses of Acts chapter one are below – enjoy!
(Luke 24:45-Acts 1:1-11)
Can someone summarize what this section is about? It is the commission of the apostles to carry out Christ’s work in the power of the Spirit. McArthur would say that it is, Resources for carrying out Christ’s work on earth. (Message, Manifestation, Mystery, Might, Mission, and Motive)
Acts (praxeis in greek) was often used to describe the achievements of great people.
Acts of the Apostles or Acts of the Spirit- the work, or great achievement that the Spirit did through the Apostles
Great practical information and gives us examples to follow. It is loaded with sermons, primarly from Peter and Paul that compose nearly 1/3 of the text.
Mostly chronicles the life of Peter and Paul, Acts 1:8 gives us a timeline/progression of the book, Jerusalem 1-7, Samaria/Judea 8-10, Ends of the Earth 11-28
Verse 1: Luke references his gospel and how he chronicled the life of Jesus, with his stated purpose being to write an orderly account to Theophilus, (a high ranking Roman official, lover of God) so that he may have certainty of what he had been taught.
If this is what Jesus began to do and teach, what is Acts probably about?
What was Jesus’ ministry, what was he primarily involved in? He was teaching, preaching and healing. We see the same pattern with the apostles in Acts which is really cool!
Note that Jesus practiced what he preached, he was not just a theologian, he put it into practice. We are to follow the same pattern. We must not just listen to the word and so deceive ourselves, but be a doer, be the wise man that Jesus talked about.
Verse 2-3: Jesus was teaching the apostles for 3 years and then continued to teach them after the resurrection. He was concerned that they had the right message. If he was going to entrust His church to them, they had to have the right message. This is the first resource that they needed! This is the same for us, we must know the truth. We must have a complete knowledge of the gospel and the truth in general. Jesus consistently called for his disciples to know the truth, Paul taught the same thing, urging his disciples to be commited to the truth, do you best to show yourself approved, rightly dividing the word of truth, watch your life and your doctrine.
Note that Jesus worked in the power of the Holy Spirit, which is a great example for us to follow. We can only do God’s will as we are filled or controlled by the Spirit .
Describe the Holy Spirit?
-McArthur says,” the Holy Spirit is the divine agent who creates, sustains, and perserves spiritual life in those who place their trust in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is not merely an influence or impersonal power emanating from God. He is a person, the third member of the Trinity, equal in every way to God the Father and God the Son. He is also called our Helper, Counselor, Advocate, Comforter, and the Spirit of Truth. He is the author of Scripture. Among many characteristics of personhood that the Holy Spirit manifests are: He functions with mind, emotion, and will. He loves the saints, He communicates with them, teaches, guides, comforts and chastises them. He can be grieved, quenched, lied to, tested, resisted, and blasphemed. Since Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has indwelt all believers, illuminating their understanding and application of God’s Word. He fills them, seals them, communes with them, fellowships with them, intercedes for them, comforts them, admonishes them, sanctifies them and enables them to resist sin and serve God.
What is an apostle? One who is sent, a messenger, proxy, ambassador . A person acting with full authority for another. Remember in Matthew 10, he says, I am sending you out as sheep amongst wolves. They were sent out to represent him.
Why do you think Jesus showed himself to the apostles over 40 days? They needed confidence to proclaim this message even if it cost them their lives. They needed to know that he was alive and would fulfill his promise of the kingdom. We see Jesus eating with them, appearing to them and showing him his hands. Paul gives us the best description of his appearances in 1 Cor 15.
What is the kingdom of God? Primarily refers to God’s sovereign rule in human life and the affairs of history. It is universal and includes all, in that sense, we are all in the kingdom of God no matter what. It has come with the King himself Jesus, but will not be consummated until Christ comes back. The kingdom also in one sense includes only believers, his special covenant community.
Verse 4-5: Jesus gave them this command, it was as if they were ready to go out and get to work, they had been given the Great Commission, right, so they were ready, but they forgot that they needed the Spirit, they had forgotten what he told them in John 14:16, 15:26.
What does the word baptize mean? To immerse a person in water or to deluge him with it, usually as a means of cleansing.
Notice that this is not a command to be baptized, but is something that will be done to them. They are passive in the process and this is different from being filled with the Spirit. I will let PJ get more into that when we study Penecost.
Verse 6-7: What do we need to know and we don’t we need to know about the time of Jesus’s return? Jesus wants us to be ready, to be good and faithful servants. He gave the disciples some hints into when the times would be, but never a specific time. He wanted his followers to always be watchful and ready.
Verse 8: Here the mission is given. This is the theme of the whole book and of the section. It is the last words of our Lord. It involved a person, Christ, power, the Holy Spirit, and program, Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the Earth.
What is a witness? Has anyone ever been a witness before?
They are to be witnesses, one who tells the truth about what they have seen, heard and felt. 1 John 1:1 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes,, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” They are to bear witness to Jesus Christ, who he is and what he has done.
-“Dunamis”, translates in the English, power, from which we get dynamite. If they were going to go out and proclaim the truth, they would need power. This is what they were told to wait for, the power that will come from the Holy Spirit. 2 Tim 1:8, 2 Peter 1:3. We all have been given this power, the same Holy Spirit that the apostles have, we have.
-As already mentioned, the verse here gives the outline of the whole book. The gospel was always presented to the Jew first and then to the Greek/Gentile. Jesus started with the Jews and had his apostles start there and branch out.
-Note that this is a command, we are all witnesses, the only question is how effective is our witness. Witnesses is translated “martures”, which came to mean martyr, which because of the bloodshed that came on these witnesses, came to refer to one that died for his faith.
-Read Study Skill-application page 27. Does Acts 1:8 apply to us? What is this calling us to change about how we live our life?
–Verse 9-11: What conviction was going to sustain the apostles as they fulfilled their mission while Jesus was physically absent? Does 1:11 motivate you to be a witness for Christ, if so, in what way?
-This is the apostle’s motive for completing the mission. We all need motivation for doing the things we do. It is as if the angels are standing there saying, what are you doing staring into heaven, get to work! All these men were of Galilee except Judas Iscariot. The cloud symbolizes the shekinah, the visible manifestion of the divine presence and glory of God. Such a cloud hovered above the tabernacle in the wilderness as a visible token of the glory of God that dwelt within the tabernacle. Jesus as the ascended Lord is enveloped by the shekinah cloud, the visible manifestation of God’s presence, glory, and approval.
Application: What is the main message here? What is one verse or insight that we could meditate on this week to help put this into practice? Joshua 1:8