|INTERNET BIBLE STUDIES||Acts Lesson 1|
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|Acts Chapter 1
Memory verses for this week: Psa 44:26 Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies' sake.
Introduction: We begin a new study on the book of Acts this week. This is a great book as it shows some of the trials and accomplishments in the early days of the church age. And while doing this, it also expands on the acts of Jesus Christ as were documented in the Gospels. This book was written by Luke, and it teaches some of the finest doctrines we have about the Holy Spirit. In the Gospels, we saw what Jesus did and taught on earth. In Acts, we see what he does and teaches from Heaven as He is now seated on the right hand of the Father.
I. Luke Identified as Writer of Acts
Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Acts 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
Two reasons that cause us to believe that Luke wrote the book of Acts are stated in the first verse.
The first is "The former treatise have I made" which speaks of the book of Luke in his account of the Gospel. And secondly, his direction of the letter to "Theophilus". We see the book of Luke also directed to this same man.
Luke 1:3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
Luke 1:4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
We see in verse 2 how that Luke declares that Jesus was taken up to heaven, and declares that he gave commandments to the apostles, Jesus chosen men to bear witness of the things they had seen and experienced with Christ.
Luke 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luke 24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
Luke 24:50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
Luke 24:51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
Luke 24:52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
Luke 24:53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
Acts 1:3 To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
We know from our study in John that Jesus appeared unto His disciples many times, and we have at least three times documented in the bible. By many convincing manifestations Jesus declared d himself to be alive. As Thomas had to attest, Jesus was alive, and after seeing Christ for the first time after His resurrection, Thomas called Christ "My Lord and my God."
John 20:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
John 20:25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
John 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
John 20:27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
We know by verse 3 that Christ showed Himself to the disciples for 40 days during which time He taught them many things and gave them instructions as to what they were to do as individuals and collectively as the church. Jesus taught them many things during this time about the kingdom of God, and we are to be expanding Christs kingdom as we reach others for the Lord. The apostles felt that Jesus might return at any time and set up His earthly kingdom. Today, we know that time is drawing near for His imminent return due to the many signs that have come to pass as revealed in the book of Revelation. The apostles were to go to Jerusalem and await the arrival of the Holy Ghost. This came on the day of Pentecost when Jesus baptized the church with the Holy Ghost as was foretold by John the Baptist.
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Acts 1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
The disciples were eager to see Jesus take the Throne of David and to usher in His kingdom. In verse they ask if He will at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel. The disciples knew and understood the teachings of how Israel would be reestablished one day.
In verse 7 Jesus tells the disciples that it is not for them to know the time when God would choose to establish His Kingdom, but only the Father knows the time. And while we look for the soon return of Christ, even if it is another 10, 20, or even more years than that, know that God does have an appointed time for Christ to return. Just as in the fullness of time Jesus came and was born of a virgin, and there was the exact hour that He was to die, God has a time appointed when the world will be judged, and afterwards, the Millennial Kingdom of Christ will be established. Note that Jesus never denied there would be a kingdom, but he simply tells them it is not in their ability to know the exact time and hour.
IV. The Church Was to Receive Power to Carry out the Great Commission
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Acts 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
We have spoken many times in our studies about the Great Commission that was given to the church in Matthew 28:18-20.
Jesus explains in verse 8 that the apostles would be empowered by the Holy Spirit for the mission that they were to partake of for the Lord. This directive was to all of us, we who make up the church. The command was to be witnesses of the Lord first in Jerusalem, then in all Judea, and in Samaria, and then unto the uttermost parts of the earth. In the apostles time, they did evangelize all of the inhabited world that they knew about in their day. Im proud of our church having missionaries to many churches all around the world, but sometimes we fail right here in our own backyard (our Jerusalem as it could be called), to witness to the lost in our own neighborhoods. Sometimes it is easier to witness to a stranger than to our friends and family. But we are to be witnesses for the Lord to all that do not know Christ as Lord and Savior. In verse 9, we see that after Jesus spake to the disciples, he was taken up from them into heaven.
Acts 1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Im afraid that when Christ returns, He may find many of us standing around wondering what is going on like the disciples were here when the two angels spake to them. The "White apparel" is an indication that these were heavenly beings, not human men clothed in white. And their message was clear. As Jesus had left, He would return. That means that He would come back visibly, in a body, on the clouds. We have this promise in other chapters of the bible, one of the best accounts is in I Thessalonians Chapter 4.
1 Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1 Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1 Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1 Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1 Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Another promise of Jesus return can be found in John Chapter 14.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
John 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
John 14:4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
John 14:5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Acts 1:12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
Acts 1:13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
We see that the disciples returned as commanded and waited in an upper room. They set an excellent example for us as they abode there and prayed, all being in one accord and being concerned one for the other. They were waiting and looking for the imminent return of Christ.
They believed the Lord, and they were patiently awaiting his return. You and I are commanded to be ready for we know not what hour the Lord may return. The disciples were doing what Christ had commanded them to go to Jerusalem and wait until they were endued with power from on high. Sometimes we tend to get ahead of God. When He commands us to wait, we need to wait. The disciples had learned in their walks with the Lord to believe and obey Christ. If we want to please the Lord, we too will obey His commandments.
VII. The Choice of Matthias
Acts 1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
Acts 1:16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
Acts 1:17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
We see that around 120 were present for the first business meeting of the church after the ascension of the Lord. Many believe that the church was originated on the day of Pentecost, but I believe if we carefully study the scriptures we find that the church was started during Jesus ministry. A couple of verses come to mind that point to Jesus establishing the church during His public ministry. The fact that Jesus set up the second of the churchs ordinances with the disciples also points to the church being in existence prior to Pentecost.
We see that apostles were first set into the church before all others.
We know that Jesus was the foundation of the church, not Peter as some have falsely taught. But we see that Jesus proclaims that "I will build my church."
We see in verse 16 that it was necessary that Judas Iscariot betray the Lord so that scripture might be fulfilled. It was a horrible thing that Judas did, but apparently his purpose in life was to betray our blessed Savior to the Priests who sought to put Christ to death. The Holy Spirit foretold what Judas would do by the pen of David over in Psalms 41.
Judas was the guide to those who came to take the Lord back for trial that night. We know Judas was number with the twelve, but unfortunately, he never knew the Lord. Jesus spake of how that one of them was a devil from the beginning.
Acts 1:18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
Acts 1:19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
We know that Judas took the money and tried to give it back to the Priests after he betrayed Christ. They did not want the money back, and eventually a field was purchased called Aceldama, meaning the field of blood. The church was gathering here to replace Judas, who went out and hung himself when he realized what he had done. This should be a warning to all of us that not everyone who names the name of Christ is saved. Many times, churches are destroyed from within when Satan has one of his own to become a member of the local church. The bible says we will know who is a Christian by their fruits. If there is never any good fruit coming from a person, we may need to witness to that person even if they have their names on the church roll. Only from the heart can a person be saved. We must hear the Gospel, be convicted and drawn to God by the Holy Spirit, and when we believe and repent of our sins, we will be saved. But it is an individual decision that each person makes on his or her own. You parents cant save you, and you cant have the faith to save anyone else. But praise God, we can witness and tell others the Gospel, and when we are faithful to do this, God is faithful to save many.
Acts 1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take.
Acts 1:21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
Acts 1:22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
Acts 1:23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
Acts 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen,
We see in verses 20 through 22 that there were certain requirements that had to be met for a man to fill the office of an apostle. The man was to have been baptized of John to take part in the ministry of the apostles. Two men were chosen, Barsabas and Matthias. When the church voted, it says that the lot fell upon Matthias. It does not say that the man became an apostle, but that he was to take part in the apostleship.
Acts 1:25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
Acts 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
I think it is important for us to notice how they went about selecting Matthias. At first, they prayed. They acknowledged that God knew the hearts of all men. We know that we sometimes can not even know our own heart.
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The men were wise and let God do the choosing. In our lives, in our choices in this life, if we are wise, we will always include the Lord in our decisions, and let him direct our path. We see that we have scripture to back up the fact that Judas was lost and never regenerated. In verse 25, it speaks of Judas going to "his own place." As we mentioned earlier, Christ spoke of one of the disciples as "He is a devil."
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Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
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