This is Episode #317 and today we’ll read Acts chapters 1-3 together. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #317 and today we’ll read Acts chapters 1-3 together. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Intro to Acts
We are starting a new section today! The Old Testament has twelve books of History, but the New Testament has only one – The Book of Acts, also known as The Acts of the Apostles. Please don’t do what I did when I was younger. I always dreaded reading Acts because I thought it was boring! What was I thinking?! It’s critical history for our faith. You’ll meet real people who had no idea what they were doing but the Church grew in spite of that. Kind of like today! Acts is like a jigsaw puzzle for which Jesus only constructed the frame. With each of its 28 chapters, you will add pieces to the puzzle and soon begin seeing a picture forming.
The power of the Holy Spirit was working in ways that had not been seen before or since. Now it’s the disciples performing the miracles. That rag-tag group of coarse fishermen, rascals and ne’er do wells were on fire to bring Christianity to the world. Ironically, there is a moment in Acts when it may have looked like the apostles were actually on fire! You will meet Saul – later known as Paul – in this book. Raised a Pharisee (yes, one of those religious leaders we’ve been criticizing), Paul actually started out as a self-appointed destroyer of The Way, which is how people of the time referred to Christianity. Believers were first called Christians in a harbor town in modern day Turkey called Antioch, and you’ll read that in Acts too.
The Story of How the Church Began
This is the story of the beginning of Jesus’ Church, His precious Bride. You’ll want to bookmark your Biblical map so you can trace Paul’s three missionary journeys and locate places where the church was scattered, all so the Gospel could be known to the ends of the earth. As we begin, notice the receiver of this letter is again Theophilus, so we know that the author is our friend Luke. Remember that Luke was not one of the twelve apostles. He was an historian and personal physician to Paul and accompanied him on several of his missionary journeys. This included the trip to Jerusalem where he had access to many eyewitnesses to Jesus’ ministry. Let’s dive in!
Acts Chapter 1
I wrote the first narrative, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up, after he had given instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After he had suffered, he also presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
The Holy Spirit Promised
While he was with them, he commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “Which,” he said, “you have heard me speak about; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.”
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he had said this, he was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen him going into heaven.”
United in Prayer
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem — a Sabbath day’s journey away. When they arrived, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. They all were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
In those days Peter stood up among the brothers and sisters — the number of people who were together was about a hundred twenty — and said, “Brothers and sisters, it was necessary that the Scripture be fulfilled that the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David foretold about Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was one of our number and shared in this ministry.” Now this man acquired a field with his unrighteous wages. He fell headfirst, his body burst open and his intestines spilled out. This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that in their own language that field is called Hakeldama (that is, “Field of Blood”). “For it is written in the Book of Psalms:
Let his dwelling become desolate;
let no one live in it; and
Let someone else take his position.
“Therefore, from among the men who have accompanied us during the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us — beginning from the baptism of John until the day he was taken up from us — from among these, it is necessary that one become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
So they proposed two: Joseph, called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed, “You, Lord, know everyone’s hearts; show which of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry that Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias and he was added to the eleven apostles.
Acts Chapter 2
When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were Jews staying in Jerusalem, devout people from every nation under heaven. When this sound occurred, a crowd came together and was confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? How is it that each of us can hear them in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites; those who live in Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts), Cretans and Arabs — we hear them declaring the magnificent acts of God in our own tongues.” They were all astounded and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But some sneered and said, “They’re drunk on new wine.”
Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them, “Fellow Jews and all you residents of Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and pay attention to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it’s only nine in the morning. On the contrary, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
And it will be in the last days, says God,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all people;
then your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
I will even pour out my Spirit
on my servants in those days, both men and women
and they will prophesy.
I will display wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below:
blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.
Then everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.
“Fellow Israelites, listen to these words: This Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through him, just as you yourselves know. Though he was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail him to a cross and kill him. God raised him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by death.
Exalted to the Right Hand of God
“For David says of him:
I saw the Lord ever before me;
because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad
and my tongue rejoices.
Moreover, my flesh will rest in hope,
because you will not abandon me in Hades
or allow your holy one to see decay.
You have revealed the paths of life to me;
you will fill me with gladness
in your presence.
“Brothers and sisters, I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David: He is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not abandoned in Hades, and his flesh did not experience decay.
“God has raised this Jesus; we are all witnesses of this. Therefore, since he has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, he has poured out what you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into the heavens, but he himself says:
The Lord declared to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies your footstool.’
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
Call to Repentance
When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, “Be saved from this corrupt generation!” So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added to them.
A Generous and Growing Church
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.
Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Acts Chapter 3
Healing of a Lame Man
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple for the time of prayer at three in the afternoon. A man who was lame from birth was being carried there. He was placed each day at the temple gate called Beautiful, so that he could beg from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked for money. Peter, along with John, looked straight at him and said, “Look at us.” So he turned to them, expecting to get something from them. But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”
Then, taking him by the right hand he raised him up, and at once his feet and ankles became strong. So he jumped up and started to walk, and he entered the temple with them — walking, leaping, and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized that he was the one who used to sit and beg at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. So they were filled with awe and astonishment at what had happened to him.
Preaching in Solomon’s Colonnade
While he was holding on to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astonished, ran toward them in what is called Solomon’s Colonnade. When Peter saw this, he addressed the people:
“Fellow Israelites, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us, as though we had made him walk by our own power or godliness? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and denied before Pilate, though he had decided to release him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer released to you. You killed the source of life, whom God raised from the dead; we are witnesses of this. By faith in his name, his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. So the faith that comes through Jesus has given him this perfect health in front of all of you.
Repent and Turn Back
“And now, brothers and sisters, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your leaders also did. In this way God fulfilled what he had predicted through all the prophets — that his Messiah would suffer. Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send Jesus, who has been appointed for you as the Messiah. Heaven must receive him until the time of the restoration of all things, which God spoke about through his holy prophets from the beginning. Moses said: The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to everything he tells you. And everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be completely cut off from the people.
“In addition, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those after him, have also foretold these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors, saying to Abraham, And all the families of the earth will be blessed through your offspring. God raised up his servant and sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.”
One need look no further than the headings in these three chapters to see the Sunday school lessons we’ve heard since childhood. The Promised Holy Spirit, Jesus’ parting reminder to the Twelve…well, Eleven. The Ascension, when, with heads craned back facing the sky, His chosen ones watched Jesus return to the Father in Heaven. The Choosing of Matthias, because according to Psalm 109:8, one was missing and had to be replaced. We all know the scene at Pentecost where the Holy Spirit landed on the heads of the disciples, and they started speaking in so many languages that everyone present in Jerusalem for the festival recognized their mother tongue.
And who can forget Peter’s Sermon and that famous Call to Repentance. Three thousand believers were baptized and added to their number that day. And Jesus’ church was born. They finally understood His messages and they were on fire to share it with the world.
Let’s pray. Lord, this is where it all began. Thank You for Your Church. It is so much bigger than a building with pews. It is precious to You and we honor that. Help us to support it, nurture it, encourage our brothers and sisters through it, and be found busily caring for it when You come back for us. Amen.
What an exciting time that must have been. Do you see comparisons to today’s church? Disconnects? Share you insights with me at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will be changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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