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The Acts of the Apostles

The Acts of the Apostles

The Acts of the Apostles is a continuation of the book of Luke.  Its records span a period of thirty years from the Ascension of Jesus to the captivity of Paul in Rome. It recorded how the apostles waited in Jerusalem for the promise of God – the Holy Spirit (1:4), how they were led by the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and to the end of the earth (1:8)

The main theme in the first twelve chapters is Apostle Peter and the church in Jerusalem.  After the death of Stephen, persecution of the church became more severe. Saul was one of the leaders who persecuted the church.  After his conversion, he was renamed Paul and he devoted himself to preaching the Gospel.  Antioch, a city of the gentiles, became the center of his ministry.  It was in Antioch that the believers were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26).  Chapters 13 to 28 recorded the three missionary of Paul.

I.       Outline of the book

A.     The development of the church in Palestine by Apostle Peter (Chapters 1-12)

1.        The establishment of church (1:1-5:42)

 a.      The period during and after the forty days (1:1-26)

 b.      The descending of the Holy Spirit (2:1-13)

 c.      The proclamation of the apostles (2:14-36)

 d.      The birth of the church (2:37-47)

 e.      A miracle and its result (3:1-5:42)

2.        The church spread to the gentile under persecution (6:1-9:31)

 a.      The selection of seven deacons (6:1-7)

 b.      Stephen’s martyrdom (6:8-7:60)

 c.      Philip and Samaritan (8:1-25)

 d.      Philip and Ethiopian eunuch (8:26-40)

 e.      Saul's conversion (9:1-31)

3.        Acts of Apostle Peter:  the beginning of the ministry to the gentiles (9:32-12:24)

 a.      Peter, Aeneas and Dorcas (9:32-43)

 b.      Peter and Cornelius (10:1-11:18)

 c.      The first gentile church – Antioch (11:19-30)

 d.      Church under the persecution of Herod (12:1-24)

B.     Apostle Paul and the spread of the church from Antioch to Rome (Chapters 13-28)

1.        Gospel reached to Phrygia and Galatia (13:1-15:35, 16:6)

 a.      The First Ministry of Paul (Chapters 13-24)

 b.      The conference in Jerusalem (15:1-35)

2.        The Macedonian call (15:36-21:16, 16:9)

 a.      The Second Ministry of Paul (15:36-18:22)

 b.      The Third Ministry of Paul (18:23-21:16)

3.        Paul’s journey to Rome (21:17-28:31, 28:14)

 a.      Paul's imprisonment in Jerusalem (21:17-23:35)

 b.      Paul's imprisonment in Caesarea (Chapter 24-26)

 c.      The journey to Rome (27:1-28:15)

 d.      The two years in Rome (28:16-31)

II.    Contents of the book

A.     The forty-day before Jesus’ Ascension - prepare to establish the church

1.        The importance of resurrection (I Cor 15:12-31)

2.        Jesus appeared to the disciples to strengthen their faith

·         Many disciples were in unbelief (Mk 16:14)

 a.      Interpreted the Bible (Lk 24:32)

 b.      Show the scars of nail (Jn 20:25)

 c.      The 153 fish (Jn 21:12)

3.        Entrust the mission

 a.      All nation believe in Jesus (Mk 16:15-18)

 b.      To tend the sheep (Jn 21:15-19)

·         Two missions of the Church:  to increase quantity and enhance quality

4.        Descent of great authority (Jn 20:22-23)

 a.      Descent of Holy Spirit (Lk 24:48)

 b.      The power to forgive and to retain sins (Jn 20:23)

5.        Give us a living hope (Acts 1:10-11)

 a.      Ascension (Jn 14:1-2)

 b.      Second coming (Jn 14:3; II Pet 3:10-13)

B.     The descending of Holy Spirit (1:12-14, 2:1-13)

1.        The prayer of 120 people (Zech 4:6)

 a.      The 120 people - motivating force of holy work

(a)     Apostle - entrusted to preach (I Cor 9:16-19)

(b)     Several women - received grace (Lk 8:1-3; I Cor 15:10)

(c)     Jesus' mother and brother - those who know Him (Lk 1:35)

 b.      Prayer - the first step to spread the holy work

(a)     With one mind

(b)     Prayer constantly

2.        The experience of Pentecost

 a.      Pentecost is the Feast of First Grain (Lev 23:15-21)

·         Jesus was nailed on the day of Passover (Mk 14:1)

 b.      The prophecy of the down-pouring of Holy Spirit (Acts 2:16-21)

 c.      The down-pouring of the Holy Spirit

(a)     Like wind, like fire (2:2-3)

(b)     Speak in tongue (2:4)

(i)       People heard it like in their own language (2:6)

(ii)     Appeared to be full of new wine (2:13)

(c)     Can be seen and heard (2:33)

 d.      Disciples received the power from above (Lk 24:49)

C.     The establishment of church (2;14-47)

1.        The plan of God (Mt 4:17, 6:10 ; Mk 9:1-2; Acts 1:8)

2.        The proclamation of disciples (Rom 10:14-15)

 a.      Full of power (2:37)

 b.      Contents were simple

(a)     The resurrection of Jesus (2:24)

(b)     He is Christ (2:36)

(c)     Holy Spirit has descended (2:33)

 c.      The effectiveness is great (2:41)

3.        The right path of salvation

 a.      Believe (4;4)

 b.      Repent (2:38, 20:21)

 c.      Forgiveness through water baptism (2:38)

 d.      Receive Holy Spirit (2:38-39)

 e.      Receive a new life (2:42-47)

4.        The establishment of church - three thousand people believed in Christ  (2:41)

 a.      The meaning of church (Acts 20:28)

 b.      The foundation of church (Acts 4:11-12; I Cor 10:1-4)

D.     The life in the early church (2:42-47, 4:32-35)

1.        Believing in Jesus must be able to change our life (Mk 3:7-10; Lk 3:7-14; Jas 2:22)

2.        Obey the teachings of Apostles (2:42)

 a.      The foundation of faith (Jn 6:68)

 b.      The guideline of life (II Tim 3:16-17)

 c.      Love is the general principle (Mt 22:34-40)

3.        Care for one another (2:42)

 a.      Place God in the center (I Jn 1:3; Phil 2:1-5)

 b.      Walk in the light (I Jn 1:7)

 c.      Walk in love (I Jn 2:5,10)

 d.      Walk in Truth (I Jn 1:24; 2:19)

4.        Breaking the bread (2:42)

 a.      Fellowship meals

 b.      Remembrance of God (I Cor 11:24)

5.        Prayer (2:42)

6.        Shared all things together - have love among them (2:44, 4:34)

 a.      Result:

 b.      No one was lacking (4:34)

 c.      Received grace (4:33)

 d.      Live in joy (2:46)

 e.      Great fear came upon all (2:43, 5:11,13)

 f.       The increase of membership (2:47)

E.     The first miracle and its result (3:1-5:42)

1.        Healed the paralytic (3:1-7)

 a.      Paralytic - cannot practice the truth (Rom 7:18-25)

 b.      Nature - not by his own will (Rom 7:23)

 c.      Need people to carry - the burden of the church (Mk 2:3)

 d.      Healed by the Lord (3:6; Mt 28:18; Rom 7:25)

·         The effectiveness of prayer and faith of the disciples (Acts 3:1, 4:28-31)

2.        Results:

 a.      Glorified God (3:9)

 b.      Testimony is full of power (3:15-16; 14:3))

 c.      To prove the status of apostles (3:5; II Cor 12:12; Mt 10:8)

 d.      More people believe in Christ (Acts 4:4; 5:12-14; 9:35,42; 13:12)

 e.      Great fear came upon all (5:11, 13; I Kg 18:37)

 f.       The beginning of persecutions

(a)     Obstruct the holy work (Acts 4:17-18, 5:27-28)

(b)     Disciples speak by the power of Holy Spirit (4:13, 8; Mt 10:18-20)

(c)     Obeyed the commandment of Jesus to preach the Gospel (5:29, 4:19-20, 5:42)

(d)     The abidance and the help of God (5:19-21)

(e)     Rejoice in suffering (5:41)

·         The will of God cannot be corrupted by men (5:34-39)

3.        Gamaliel’s advice:

 a.      Did not have heart of hatred (33-34)

 b.      Spoke with righteousness (38-39)

 c.      Observe quietly and deal carefully (35)

 d.      Use previous examples to exhort the people (36-37)

F.      The Martyrdom of Stephen (6:8-7:60)

1.        The seven virtues of Stephen (Col 2:9-10)

 a.      Kindness (6:8)

 b.      Power (6:8)

 c.      Wisdom (6:10)

 d.      Holy Spirit (6:3)

 e.      Knowledge (7:1-50)

 f.       Good reputation (6:3)

 g.      Love (7:60)

·         His face was like an angel (6:15; Lk 9:29-31, Ex 34:29)

2.        The speech of Stephen (7:1-53)

 a.      The controversy of the HolyTemple (6:13, 7:44-48)

 b.      Jews have killed the righteous (7:52-53)

3.        The death of Stephen

 a.      Heaven opened (7:56, 59; Rev 14:13)

·         The most meaningful death (Heb 11:35)

 b.      Saul was there (7:58)

 c.      His greatness is revealed (7:60)

·         Churches were persecuted and the disciples were scattered. (8:1, 11:19; Phil 1:12-14)

G.     Barnabas, Son of Consolation

1.        Offered his inheritance (4:37; Lk 12:34)

2.        He was a good man (11:24)

 a.      Console others

 b.      Utilize people

(a)     Paul (9:26-28; 11:25-26)

(b)     Mark (15:35-40; II Tim 4:9-11)

3.        Lead others into Christ (13:46; 11:24; 14:1,7)

4.        Filled with the Holy Spirit (11:24)

5.        Respected God (14:12)

H.    The Ambassador of the Gospel - Philip (8:1-40)

1.        •As a deacon who received the gift of preaching

2.        In Samaria

 a.      The multitudes listened to the things spoken by Philip (8:6)

 b.      Four baptism of Samarian

(a)     Baptism of fire

(b)     Baptism of spirit

(c)     Baptism of water

(d)     Baptism of truth

3.        The conversion of Simon (8:13) and his repentance (8:22; I Tim 6:5)

 a.      Received of the Holy Spirit (8;16-17)

 b.      Great joy in all city (8:8)

4.        Led the eunuch to believe

 a.      Sent by the Holy Spirit (8:26, 39)

 b.      The eunuch received the truth with a meek heart (8:35; Mt 5:30)

 c.      Received baptism joyfully (8:39)

I.       The conversion of Paul (9:1-31, 22:3-21, 26:9-23)

1.        Zealous in Judaism (22:3)

 a.      A Pharisee (26:5)

 b.      Pursued the righteousness of the law (Phi 3:6)

 c.      Brought up at the feet of Gamaliel (22:3)

 d.      Had great authority (26:10)

2.        Persecuted the believers (9:1-2; 26:9-11)

 a.      Kick against the goads (26:14)

 b.      Chief of all sinners (I Tim 1:15)

 c.      Out of ignorance (Rom 10:2; Lk 23:34)

3.        Chosen by God (I Tim 1:16; Tit 3:5)

 a.      Light shone upon him and he fell to the ground (9:4), and became blind (9:8)

 b.      Asked God twice (22:8, 10)

 c.      See Jesus as the utmost treasurer (Phi 3:8; Eph 3:18-19)

4.        A great determination (20:24-27)

 a.      Did not care for his own life (24)

 b.      Determined to finish the journey (24)

 c.      Accomplish the commission of God (24; Jn 17:4)

 d.      Did all things according to the will of God (20, 27):  Pleased God

 e.      Man of good conscience (23:1; 24:16)

5.        God entrusted him with a great mission (9:12-16)

 a.      Became the chosen vessel among the Gentiles (9:15; 22:17021)

(a)     Open their eyes

(b)     Lead them from darkness to light

(c)     From Satan to God

(d)     Sins forgiven

(e)     Receive inheritance

 b.      Suffered for Christ (9:16; II Cor 6:4, 11:23; I Cor 15:10)

 c.      God revealed the truth to him (Gal 1:15-18)

 d.      Move the whole world (24:5)

6.        The assistance of Aeneas and Barnabas (9:26-27., 11:25-26)

J.      Cornelius believed in Christ (10:1-11:18)

1.        Cornelius

 a.      A centurion (1)

 b.      A devout person (2,22; I Tim 4:8; Jas 1:26,27)

 c.      Feared God with all his household (2; Micah 4:6)

 d.      A righteous man (22)

 e.      Gave alms generously to the poor (2)

 f.       Prayed to God always (2)

·         The prayer and the alms were remembered by God (4)

 g.      Personal evangelism (10:24)

2.        The salvation of Gentiles

 a.      Cornelius’ vision (10:30-32)

 b.      Peter's vision (10:9-16)

 c.      The proof of Holy Spirit (11:15-17)

·         Man cannot hinder the work of God (11:17)

·         Good deed does not guarantee that one already has the Holy Spirit

·         The descending of Holy Spirit is the best proof (11:15)

 d.      Received baptism (10:48)

K.    The first gentile Church - Antioch (11:19-30)

1.        The prosperity of the church

 a.      Established by the scattered disciples (11:19)

 b.      Everyone is preaching the Gospel (4:19-20)

 c.      The abidance of God (11:21, 10:38; Jn 8:28-29)

 d.      The helping of apostles (11:24)

·         Many believe in Christ (11:21, 24)

2.        Antioch became the new gathering place for Gospel (13:1, 14)

L.     Herod  greatly persecuted the church (12:1-24)

1.        Killed James (12:2)

2.        Put Peter in prison (12:3)

3.        Church pray earnestly (12:5)

4.        Angel rescued Peter (12:7-11)

5.        The death of Herod (12:23)

6.        Gospel spread widely and prosperously (12:24)

M.   The First Missionary Journey of Paul (13:2-14:280

1.        Sent by Holy Spirit (13:2)

2.        In Antioch - Cyprus - Prophets - Antioch of Pisidia - Iconium - Lystra - Derbe and Antioch

3.        In Cyprus

 a.      Using signs to convince the proconsul to believe (13:7-12; Rom 15:18 ; II Cor 10:3-5)

4.        In Antioch of Pisidia

 a.      First time to mention that man will be justified by faith (13:39)

 b.      Gentiles believed in Christ (13:46-49)

5.        In Iconium

 a.      Signs and wonders witness to the word of God (14:3)

6.        In Lystra

 a.      Healed a cripple person (14:8)

 b.      Treated as an idol (14:11-18)

 c.      Under persecution (14:19, 22)

N.     The Jerusalem Council (15:1-35)

1.        Jerusalem is the leading center of the church

2.        Purpose:  to solve the crisis in GalatianChurch

 a.      Different viewpoint toward faith (15:12; Gal 1:6)

 b.      Different practices among apostles (Gal 2:11-19)

3.        Methods

 a.      Reports (4-5)

 b.      Discussion (6-11)

(a)     The proof of Holy Spirt (15:8)

(b)     The proof of signs and wonders (15:12)

(c)     The proof of Holy Bible (15:16-18)

·         Democratic but spiritual

 c.      The conclusion of James (19-20)

·         The freedom in Christ (Gal 5:1)

 d.      Pursue holiness (15:29)

·         The decision of Holy Spirit and apostles (15:28)

4.        Results

 a.      Have same point of view toward the Truth (15:28029)

 b.      All Churches keep the same decrees (16:4)

 c.      The churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in number (16:5)

O.    The Second Missionary Journey of Paul (15:36-18:22)

1.        In Lystra

 a.      Call of Timothy

(a)     Good reputation (15:2)

(b)     Genuine faith (II Tim 1:5)

(c)     Know the Bible (II Tim 3:15)

(d)     Can sustain hardship (15:38)

2.        In Macedonia

 a.      The guidance of Holy Spirit (17:7-9)

 b.      In Philippi

(a)     Lydia believed in Christ (16:14)

(b)     Under persecution (16:19-24)

(c)     The keeper of the prison believed in Christ (16:25-34)

 c.      In Berea (17:14)

(a)     Searched the Bible daily (17:11)

(b)     Many believed in Christ (17:12)

3.        In Athens (17:16-34)

 a.      Debated with the philosophers (17:17-18)

 b.      The sermon in Areopagus (17:22-34)

4.        In Corinth

 a.      Met Aquila and Priscilla

(a)     Made tents (18:3)

(b)     Risked their lives living with Paul (Rom 16:4)

(c)     Worked together with Paul (Rom 16:3)

(d)     Church in their house (Rom 16:5)

(e)     Understand the Bible (18:24-28)

P.      The Third Missionary Journey of Paul (18:23-21:16)

1.        Met Apollos (13:24-28)

 a.      Full of wisdom (24; Eccel 7:11-12)

 b.      Eloquent in speech (24; Exod 4:11-12; Lk 21:15)

 c.      Instructed in the way of the Lord (25; Eph 5:26)

 d.      Fervent in spirit (25; Rom 12:11; Titus 2:14)

 e.      Humbly accept others’ guidance (26; Is 50:4-5; Phil 12:3)

 f.       Willing to help others (27; Job 4:4; Rom 15:1-2)

·         His gifts were different from gifts of Paul (I Cor 3:5-6)

2.        In Ephesus

 a.      Two kinds of baptisms (19:3-6)

 b.      Performed miracles and wonders (19:11-16)

·         The name of the Lord was magnified (19:17)

·         Gospel spread rapidly (19:20)

3.        In Miletus

·         The speech to elders in Ehpesus (20:17-38)

 a.      Overseers to shepherd the church (28)

 b.      Be watchful and remember (28-31)

 c.      Build up in the Word of God (32)

 d.      Ordained by Holy Spirit (28)

 e.      Set an example in all things (34-35)

 f.       Tears of love (19, 31, 37)

4.        In Jerusalem (21:1-16)

 a.      Bring alms and offerings to the saints (24:17; Rom 15:25-26; I Cor 16:1-14; II Cor 9:1-15)

 b.      Repay his vow (21:24, 18:18)