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Acts: The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the First Century Church (5 of 32)
Through the Bible Survey
Dr. Stan Coffey
June 9, 1991
INTRODUCTION: The writer of Acts was Luke who wrote the Gospel by that name. The book has the same introductory address as his gospel and resumes the history where that document leaves off. Actually the book describes not the "acts of the Apostles,'" for only a few of them are given any degree of prominence, but the acts of the risen and ascended Lord through the Holy Spirit. - Luke used a number of sources for his information and some of his facts are firsthand. The "we" sections of the book (16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1 - 28:16) indicate that he was often in the company of the Apostle Paul.
THEME: The Book of Acts traces the history of the church from its origin on the day of Pentecost to its spread throughout the western part of the Roman empire. It records that the church began as a small Jewish minority and eventually became a populace group predominantly composed of Gentiles. The book is addressed to Theophilus. While Bible scholars are not certain about the identity of Theophilus, Luke's salutation suggests that he may have been an important Roman official. Church congregations today can learn much about church life and ministry from this book. Indeed the Book of Acts should be the hand book and guide book for church polity and practice.
KEY VERSE: 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 Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of -the earth." "Witness" is a key word in the Book of Acts and is used 29 times as either a verb or a noun. A witness is one who tells what he has seen and heard (Acts 4:19 and 20). Our English word "martyr" comes from the Greek word translated "witness." Many of God's people throughout the ages have sealed their witness by laying down their lives. While some of God's people have a calling to evangelism (Eph. 4:11) all of God's people are expected to be witnesses and to tell the lost about the Savior. While every Christian may not be gifted at bringing a sinner to the place of faith and decision, every Christian can bear faithful witness to the Savior and plant the seed. "A true witness delivereth souls" - Proverbs 14:25. Acts 1:8 also gives a general outline of the Book of Acts as it describes the geographical spread of the Gospel from Jerusalem (Acts 1-7) to Judea and Samaria (Acts 8 and 9), and then ...
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