Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triomphe

Monday, November 14, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Nov 15, Acts 1-3

Today's readings are Acts 1-3. Tomorrow's are Acts 4-6.

One should be careful to understand the primary function of Acts in the Bible. Acts is, to the New Testament, what the two books of Chronicles are to the Old Testament. Chronicles is the story of the period of Israel's history dominated by the kings of Israel. Acts is the story of the formation of the first century church. Written by Luke, originally as one volume combined with his gospel, Acts starts immediately after the resurrection and tracks the major events impacting the new church through about 65 AD, just prior to Paul's martyrdom in Rome.

As such, we should be careful deciding what events portrayed in Acts are indicative of the normal Christian life (prescriptive) and which ones are descriptive of the unique period immediately after the resurrection in which the church is being formed and established.

Acts 1 starts in Jerusalem where the disciples are told to wait for the Holy Spirit who will empower them, making them witnesses in "Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria. and to the end of the earth." This pattern will become the template for how the Spirit and gospel move out from Jerusalem after Pentecost.

Acts 2 documents the arrival of the promised Holy Spirit at Pentecost. His presence transforms the disciples from a group of scared, apprehensive people into bold proclaimers of the gospel and powerful, authoritative teachers of God's word. God makes it possible for people of all nations to hear and understand the gospel, a clear indicator that the message of redemption is for all nations. 3,000 people are saved as a result of their preaching. Immediately, we see the role of the Holy Spirit. God devises the plan of redemption, Christ actualizes it, the Holy Spirit draws men into it. We must be careful not to over-emphasize the work of the Spirit but we should be equally careful not to minimize it, as well. While the Spirit's primary role is to bring glory to the Son, He does a number of other tasks in accomplishing that goal. One of His responsibilities is to bring unity to believers (Acts 42-47)

Acts 3 sets a pattern for ministry. Signs and wonders are manifested before those who are lost. They are always followed by authoritative teaching/preaching of the word which leads to some of the lost being saved. It is clear that the signs and wonders are present to give credibility to the teaching which is focused on presenting the gospel. 

We should never lose sight of the fact that the miracles were always a sign that led to the preaching of the gospel or some primary facet of the gospel. 

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