Image courtesy of Shari Lilly Flynn

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weekly Recap #45 - Part 2 - Acts 1-15

Can you believe that we've only got 7 more weeks and we'll finish up "reading the Bible thru"?
Have you all enjoyed it?
Oh....me, too!!!

Let's get started into the book of Acts....because there's LOTS of ground to cover!!!

A bit about the Book of Acts....

~~~This book traces the development of the early church after Jesus ascended into heaven.  It is a sort of  bridge between the life of Jesus and the ministry of the apostle Paul.  It involves a time span of about 32 years.

Luke wrote the Book of Acts.
There were 40 days from the crucifixion to Jesus' ascension into heaven....which marked the beginning of the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit thru the church.  Jesus was taken up in a cloud while the apostles were watching and they  could no longer see Him.  
After praying over who to choose to replace Judas....the disciples cast lots and Matthias was selected to join the other eleven. 
All the believers (12 disciples along with other followers of Jesus) were meeting together when there was a sound from heaven like the roar of a mighty windstorm and it filled the house.  Then what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them....and everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and they began speaking in other languages.  There were Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem who spoke several different languages and each could understand the Good News the disciples were bringing that told about the wonderful things God had done.  Others ridiculed them....saying they were drunk.
:(

Peter spoke to the crowd of believers....
Peter 2:21
But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Peter recited words of King David....
Peter 2:25b-26
I see that the Lord is always with me.  I will not be shaken for he is right beside me.  No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts His praises!
My body rests in HOPE!
 (I love that verse!!!) 

The day that Peter "preached" to the people....about 3,000 were baptized and added to the church.  

Peter healed the lame man who was put each day beside the Temple gate to beg.


Acts 3:20
Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord.....

Ananias and Sapphira

Many of the believers sold what they had and the money was given to help the believers with whatever expenses they had.  Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, sold some property.  He brought only part of the money to the apostles, claiming that was all of it, keeping the rest for himself and his wife.  Peter knew what they had done and told Ananias that he hadn't lied to the apostles, but to God.  As soon as Ananias heard Peter's words, he fell to the floor and died.  Some young men wrapped him in a sheet and took him out and buried him.  About 3 hours later, Sapphira came in, not knowing what had happened to her husband.  When Peter asked her if the money was the price they had received for their land, she lied and told Peter 'yes'.  Peter asked her....
Acts 5:9....."How could the 2 of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord?" 
And....Sapphira died, too.  Great fear gripped the entire  church....and everybody else who heard what had happened.


Many of the apostles were put in jail....and beaten....and ordered to never again speak in the name of Jesus....but they went away rejoicing that God considered them worthy to suffer disgrace for Jesus' name!!
WOW!!!
They continued to teach and preach....every day....
"Jesus is the Messiah"!


The apostles were being troubled with things other than preaching and teaching about Jesus....so they appointed 7 men who were well respected and full of the Spirit of wisdom to help with other matters so the apostles could spend this time in prayer and teaching the Word.  
We call these men "deacons" today!!!


 Stephen

One of those 7 men was a man named Stephen.
He performed amazing signs and miracles among the people.  Some men were persuaded to lie about Stephen, so he was arrested and brought before the high council.  As he was accused of things he didn't do....his face became as bright as an angel's.  As Stephen  spoke and accused the Jewish leaders of disobeying God's law....they became so angry that they shook their fists in rage.  But Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit and as he gazed steadily into heaven he saw Jesus standing at God's right hand.  They dragged Stephen out of the city and stoned him.  They took off their coats and laid them at the feet of Saul (Paul).  As Stephen was stoned, he prayed....
Acts 7:59
"Lord Jesus, received my spirit."
He fell to his knees shouting, "Lord don't charge them with this sin!"....and he died.
This was so similar to what Jesus spoke from the cross!


Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church.  He went from house to house dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.  The believers scattered after the stoning of Stephen, but continued to preach the Good News about Jesus.

Philip and the Ethiopian


An angel appeared to Philip (the Evangelist) and told him to leave where he was at and travel south toward Gaza.  Alon the way, he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch who had great authority under the queen of that country.  The man had gone to Jerusalem to worship and he was returning.  He was sitting in his carriage reading out loud from the Book of Isaiah.  The Holy Spirit told Philip to go out and walk along beside the  carriage.  Philip asked the man if he understood what he was reading.  The man asked how could he unless someone instructed him (same for us today and how we should take new converts under our wings).  He invited Philip to get into the  carriage and sit with him.  Philip told the man about Jesus.  The man believed that Jesus was (is) the Son of God....and Philip  baptized him.  As they came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit snatched Philip away and the eunuch never saw him again....but went away rejoicing.



Saul



Saul was threatening and was eager to kill the Lord's followers.  He requested and received letters from the high priest to be allowed to arrest any followers of "the Way" in Damascus.  ON his way there, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him and he fell to the ground.  He heard a voice saying....
Acts 9:4
Saul! Saul!
Why are you persecuting me?
The voice of Jesus told Saul to go into the city and he would be told what to do.  Saul was blind, so his companions led him to Damascus where he remained blind for 3 days and did not eat or drink.  A man sent by God went and laid hands on Saul and something like scales fell from his eyes and he could see.  He got up and was baptized.  From that time, Saul started preaching in the synagogues that Jesus was indeed the Son of God.  All were amazed because they knew how mean he had been to Jesus' followers.
Saul left Damascus and went to Jerusalem and stayed with the apostles because there was a plot to kill him.

Peter and Cornelius 

A Roman army officer, Cornelius....a devout God-fearing man and so was his household....sent 2 of his servants to Joppa to bring Peter to him.  Meanwhile, the Lord showed Peter a vision of a sheet being lowered with things that would  be unclean for a Jew to eat according to Jewish laws....but  God spoke to Peter and told him....
"Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean." 
 Peter entered the home of Cornelius telling him that it was against the laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home or associate with him. 
BUT GOD....
had shown Peter in the vision of clean vs. unclean....that he should no longer think of anyone as impure, or unclean.  Peter told Cornelius and those gathered with him....
Acts 10:34-35
I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism.
In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right?
As Peter spoke, the Holy Spirit fell on all who were listening and the Jewish believers were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured on Gentiles, too!!!
And....I'm so glad it was....considering that I'm a GENTILE!!!


Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul and brought him back to Antioch and they stayed there for a year.
Acts 11:26b
It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.

King Herod Agrippa....because he accepted the people's worship instead of giving the glory to God....was consumed with worms and died.

Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem with John Mark with them.


Paul and Barnabas were driven from several towns they entered into to take God's word.  
So....they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection. (Acts 13:51)
Have you ever had to do that, too?!?!? 


Paul was stoned and dragged from the town of Derbe.  He was left for dead, but as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town.


I'll leave you with these beautiful words spoken by Peter.....that just says it all.....

Acts 15:14
"We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus."

AMEN....and AMEN!!!


In His Most Precious Love....and with mine!!!

4 comments:

  1. Hi Deb, This is a great re-cap..with so many good stories and examples. That story of Ananais and Sapphira always gave me much room for thought and reflection. God loves us enough that sometimes he doesn't overlook our sin.

    And the story of Stephen always breaks my heart. I think..could I be like him? Will I when things get difficult?

    Thanks for sharing!

    Donna @ Comin' Home

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi! Love the blog.Many good and wonderful.
    After this I looked before me was a great multude that no one count, from every nation, tribe, people and language(...)And they cried out in a loud voice: salvation belongs to ou God.
    Lam of God! God Bless!
    Brazil Help to coming

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love the blog!
    God Bless!
    Help to coming

    ReplyDelete
  4. Afeter this I looked and before me was a great multude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and linguage(...)And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our Gog.
    Help to coming!Love you.

    ReplyDelete

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