Monday, May 2, 2016

Wrapping Up Acts

Acts = account of the rise and spread of the Christian Faith

After the Resurrection, Jesus gave the command:  Matt. 28:19-20 (Great Commission), Acts 1:8 - don't have to do this on your own.

When practiced, it resulted in:
1)  success and growth (of the church)
2)  opposition and persecution (of the church)
Anytime God is being promoted and Christianity is being promoted, these two will happen.

The church first used "as you go" evangelism - no chosen, selected persons
Soon they added "set apart and sent" missionaries along side the "as you go" - Acts 13:2-3

So....... as a result, Paul and Barnabas set out

(1)  Paul's 3 Missionary Journeys - Acts chapters 13-20 - area:  modern Syria, Turkey, Greece - around 8,000 miles on these three journeys

(2)  Paul's Return to Jerusalem - had clear call from God - expecting trouble!!!  Acts 21:8-15
He was very well known and very hated by the Jewish community!

(3) Paul's Arrest.
riot, arrest, transfer to Caesarea for trial, tried (Felix, Festus, King Agrippa) held for 2 years.
AND, "appeal to Caesar" - his right as a Roman citizen

(4)  Paul's Journey to Rome - Acts chapters 27 & 28 - lengthy journey w/shipwrecks, winter layover, etc.
Arrival = Acts 28:30-31 - under house arrest for 2 years

Probably were 2 imprisonments:  he expected release from 1st. imprisonment - Phil. 1:19, Philemon 22,
but not from the 2nd - 2 Tim. 4:6-8

(5)  Paul executed by Nero - (beheaded 64-66 AD - around age 58?)
not recorded in Acts - because Acts is not biography of Paul, but = the story of the church!!!

So, have completed Acts!  Is this the End of the Story?!  - not by any means, is the beginning of the story.

Acts 1:1-2 - Luke - what Jesus began to do
                    Acts = what Jesus continued doing - through disciples, apostles, followers
 AND .... is still doing today!!!

#1.  This is the story of Jesus at work.
Is more than the work of Jesus.  It IS Jesus at work!! 
Compare to Martin Luther King - his work continues but he's NOT still at work!  He's gone!  His followers are continuing the work he began.

However, JESUS is STILL working - THROUGH his followers.
POINT:  when you do His work, you are promised His Divine Presence and Power!! - Col. 1:29 - "His" energy.
He works with us, through us, in us. 
The Results = phenomenal growth of Christianity!!

#2.  There is still another chapter in this story - the story has not ended!
ie:  what Jesus will finally do!!! - Acts 1:10-11
     Classic summary:  Rev. 21:3-5 - "all thing NEW.... all things RIGHT!!"   - new heavens and new earth.

#3.  The last chapter has no end.  Rev. 1:8, 17-18
'Acts of the Apostles' may have an end, BUT the 'Acts of Jesus' continues forever - even when the end comes.  There is a difference in the process of dying vs death.

Closing:  What is your part in the story??
On one hand, you are not free to totally write your own part in the story, God is in charge.
However, you CAN choose - 1) whether you participate, and 2) how you perform

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