Acts, the Explosive Early Church Archive

Acts Lesson 1: The Continuing Work {Linking the Gospels to Acts}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:00 pm

The Book of Acts is the natural out-flow of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).  It is really what we could call the fifth book of the New Testament "Pentateuch"!  Although Acts is not considered a "gospel," it is an extension of them; it supplementary to them; it is an expansion of them.  It is the record of the continuing story of Christ working through His Church (i.e. ". . . the Lord added to the church daily . . ." (2:47).  The One working in Acts is the Ascended Christ, through His Spirit using the "mouths" and "hands" of the Church body.

Acts, the inspired account of the first 40 years of the Lord working through His Church, presents for us a pattern of every other generation of the Church.  It is an historical book, not a doctrinal book.  It is "a pattern" for Christian enthusiasm, testimony, discipleship, mission-work, and church planting.  Although the Lord's work of redemption for sin was finished, His work of evangelism, through His Church, was just beginning!

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Acts Lesson 2: A Last Look {The Ascension}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:01 pm

The Lord's final post-resurrection appearance.  It took place in Jerusalem, where He was again with His Apostles, teaching them for the last time about Himself from the Old Testament Scriptures.  When He completed His teaching session, He took His men to the Mount of Olives; the same place He had gone 43 days earlier to pray in Gethsemane and then allowed Himself to be arrested.  It had been the appointed hour for Him to be lifted up on a cross to die for the sins of the world.  Now, in His glorified, resurrected body, it was the appointed hour for Him to again be lifted upbut not on a cross!  This time, He would defy gravity and return to the glory He had with His Father in Eternity Past.  Do you know what the last act of the Lord Jesus was before He left this earth?  He lifted up His forever nailed-scarred hands to bless the men He entrusted with the task of blessing the world with the message of the blessed Gospel of salvation in Him!

Learn about Christ's Ascension, and the important words of two angelic messengers to the Apostles about His one-day Return!  

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Acts Lesson 3: A Productive Wait {The Selection of Matthias}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:02 pm

This lesson is on Acts 1:12-26 and what the disciples of Christ did after His Ascension.  They were told by Him to wait in Jerusalem until they received the promise of the Father.  We discuss all those we know were included in the 120 disciples, as well as others we speculate may have been included. We learn about their unified minds (they were all in "one accord") and their passionate prayers and the very high regard they had for the Word of God!  We also discuss the decision of the eleven Apostles to appoint a replacement for Judas, who had betrayed the Lord (and had then hung himself).  

We discuss the three qualifications needed to be one of the Twelve.  We also discuss how it was that Matthias, whose name means "gift of God," was chosen - and if this choice was "of God".  Was not Paul the Lord's choice for Judas' replacement?  Tune in to find out!

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Acts Lesson 5: A New Birth {The Church is Born}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:04 pm

Learn about the amazing morning when the Church was born in light of its prophetic significance!  It will amaze you how God fit everything the Jews did that day in celebration of the Feast of Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) - like read from the Books of Ezekiel and Habakkuk, which speak of whirlwind and brightness around an amber-colored fire that infolded itself, and a voice of a great rushing wind, and of a time of silence, followed by speech and God remembering mercy in His wrath.

We discuss the difference between the baptism of the Spirit and the filling of the Spirit in this lesson.  We also discuss an interesting comparison/contrast between the work of God at Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) and the work of God on Pentecost (Acts 2:2-13).  We also discuss "the tongues" that the believers in Christ spoke when the Holy Spirit gifted them for the special occasion!  

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Acts Lesson 6: The First Church Sermon {Peter’s New Sword}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:05 pm

This lesson (from Acts 2:14-36) is our look at the first sermon of the Church Age!  It was preached by Peter, who (amazingly) only 53 days earlier had committed the greatest denial of the Lord Jesus in history (it was the greatest because it was committed by a believer - and one who had the fantastic spiritual privilege of being the leader of the Lord's Apostles).  When we hear what "foot-in-mouth," impetuous Peter preached - now that he had been fully and gracious restored to his position in the Apostolate by the resurrected Lord Himself (John 21:15-19 - see our podcast Lesson #  from the Life of Christ study), we realize the answer to Christ's prayers for Peter (who Satan had desired to sift as wheat).  Peter's Spirit-filled, Spirit-led message was entirely Christ-centered, which is what all preaching should be!  It was also very practical, which all preaching should be!  His sermon is filled with application (what to do with the Truth one learns about Christ).

Learn what Peter meant when he quoted from the Prophet Joel in his sermon!  Learn what the terms "day of the Lord" and "prophesy" in his sermon refer to.  Learn, too, about the tremendous fruit from this very first Church sermon in the lesson to follow, Lesson 7, "Early Church Growth".

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Acts Lesson 7: Early Church Growth {Piercing 3,000 Hearts}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:06 pm

In the previous lesson (Lesson #6), we discussed "The First Sermon" ever preached during the God-designed period of time known as "The Church Age".  I was preached by a completely restored Peter, who now yielded a new sword, the two-edged sword of the Spirit, the only offesnsive weapon of the Christian warrior.  It was the "fully come" Day of Pentecost - the fulfillment of all God planned it to be when He first gave His prophetic, Messianic, redemptive calendar to His people in Leviticus 23.  It was the day proclaimed through Joel when God would pour-out His Spirit on "all flesh" - whether Jew, Gentile, man, woman, free, or slave.  When the Spirit came, as the Father promised once His Son was glorified, the 120 believers were baptized by Christ with the Spirit into the mystical, spiritual body the Old Testament saints knew nothing about - the Church!

In this lesson, we review Peter's powerful, Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, Christ-centered sermon, and then we discuss the results!  There was: 1. Great Conviction, which was summarized by the people with one question, "What shall we do?"  Then there was 2. Peter's Great Solution, "Repent!  Come to Jesus for the remission of sins!"  3. This was followed with Peter's Invitation (2:40), and the wonderful conclusion was Great Addition!  Much fruit in 3,000 human souls was added to the new-born Church!

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Acts Lesson 8: Early Church Life {An Awe-some Church}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:07 pm

From Acts 2:42-47, Luke takes us into the early life of the Church; the days and weeks that followed as the 3,120 "charter members" of the Church met together and grew, both in knowledge and in number ("deep and wide")! 

The Book of Acts is the record of the first generation of the Church and how that one generation expanded to the uttermost part of the world at that time.  If we really want to know what the Early Church was like in her character, we look at these verses (2:42-47).  We discuss the desired characteristics of the surrendered Early Church, the divine confirmations of the Spirit-filled Early Church, and the daily consequences of the sanctified Early Church.  

The Early Church had an invigoration and vibrancy that was yet unaffected by the wrinkles, scars, and gray hairs that come from troubles and trials.  She was yet naive about the things that lay ahead.  Like the freshness, wonder, and purity of a newborn, the Early Church had leaders who had a vivide remembrance of Jesus, Who had so recently walked with them.  The Early Church was unified!  She may have been inexperienced and naive in certain ways, but she was a model Church in spirit (not perfect, for she was comprised of sinners saved by grace).  We can benefit greatly by studying the characteristics that made-up the Earthly Church.  

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Acts Lesson 9: Greater Than Silver or Gold {New Life for the Lame}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:08 pm

This lesson is on Acts 3:1-11, Peter's healing (with John) of a lame man (who had never walked) at the Beautiful Gate, begging for alms.  To his plea, Peter spoke the famous words, "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk" - and the man who had never stood on his own legs before, much less know how to walk, immediately leaped up, walked, went into the Temple walking, leaping, and praising God!  Isn't it wonderful the former lame man knew to whom the praise belonged?  He did not kiss the hand of Peter; nor did he even praise Peter.  His praise went to the Lord, Who the man knew and understood had done the healing through His servants! 

"The power was Christ's, but the hand was Peter's" (Thomas Walker).  This was the Lord continuing His work on earth through His Church by His Spirit.  This was an Apostolic miracle.  This miracle confirmed the great sermon he had just preached (his first, and the first of the Church Age).  Remember - the miracle confirmed the message, and it was the message that produced the fruit!


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Acts Lesson 10: Second Church Sermon {Peter’s Sharpened Sword}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:09 pm

The healed lame man (see Lesson 9) was not only immediately very public about his over-flowing joy, but also about his praise to God and his thankfulness to the men the Lord used to perform his miracle.  Those men were Peter and John.  The Apostolic sign-miracle was divinely orchestrated to draw a large, very willing-to-listen crowd to whom Peter than had an opportunity to preach "The Second Church Sermon.  The theme of the first sermon was that God made Jesus Who Israel had crucified both Lord and Christ (2:36).  The theme of this second sermon was the God wanted to bless the people through His Son Jesus by turning them from your iniquities (3:26).

In just seven verses, Peter again yielded his new sword (the Word of God), under the leading of the Spirit, to exalt the name of Jesus.  He referred to Jesus as "the Holy One," "the Just," "the Prince of life," "Christ," and a Prophet of the Lord like unto Moses.  The sermon was Christ-centered, Scriptural, highly theological, bold yet compassionately confrontational, and applicational.  Peter's sermon was only seven verses long because it was interrupted by the sudden appearance of the priests with the captain of the Temple guard and the Sadducees.  They came collectively to arrest both Peter and John (and maybe even the former lame man with them).

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Acts Lesson 11: The Persecution Begins

May 26, 2020 @ 8:10 pm

While Peter (accompanied by John and the healed lame man) was still in the midst of his powerful second sermon (Acts 3:12-26), he was interrupted by the sudden appearance of "the priests . . . the captain of the Temple [guard] . . . and the Sadducees" (4:1).  They came to arrest both Peter and John (likely also the former lame man).  These enemies of Christ were not only furious that His followers were preaching His resurrection, but doing so in broad daylight in the Temple!  Interestingly, in Acts, it is primarily the Sadducees who take the lead in persecuting the Church.  This is because their erroneous theology taught there is no resurrection of the dead!

In this lesson (Acts 4:1-22), we not only discuss the interruption of Peter's sermon (the arrest), but the interrogation he and John faced the next morning before the Sanhedrin Council, the inspiration of Peter's remarkable speech in answer to that interrogation, the immense impression his speech made on the Council, and then their intention to silence them with threats to never speak or teach in the name of Jesus again!

The response of the two Apostles to the threat of those in authority over them to never preach of Jesus was fantastic!!  They would obey the Higher Authority, God!  Anti-Christian governments and powerful institutions are increasingly trying to stop the spread of the Gospel message of Christ Jesus - we need to follow the example of Peter and John!

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Acts Lesson 12: Church Response to Persecution

May 26, 2020 @ 8:11 pm

In this important lesson on Acts 4:23-33, we learn, by example, how a Spirit-filled Church responds to persecution!  In the previous lesson, we had an example of how Spirit-filled individual Christians respond to opponents of the Gospel.  Now, we are given the example on how the entire body of believers corportately should respond to the persecution of those in the Body of Christ, which is a threat on all of them.

What is our response to the pressures being increasingly brought on Christians in our world (and nation) today?  Do we magnify the power of the Lord in our responses or do we magnify the enemy?  Are we filled with anxiety and fear and anger and resentment?  If so, we are magnifying evil men way out of proportion to the power and authority and sovereignty of our Almighty God!

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Acts Lesson 13: Sin From Within {Ananias and Sapphria}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:12 pm

A very, very interesting lesson!  This is the first recorded serious intrusion of "Sin from Within" the Church!  Learn why this lesson is really "the tale of two men, Barnabas and Ananias"?

What did the married couple of this account do to cause both their lives to be taken by God Himself?  Were they saved (true believers) or unsaved?  How do Ananias and Sapphira compare with Adam and Eve?

Peter's word to Ananias of Acts 5:4a repudiate those who claim the Early Church was practicing communism (no private property; an enforcement of communal property)!  Find out how!


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Acts Lesson 14: Evangelism Explosion

May 26, 2020 @ 8:13 pm

Satan's use of persecution in the arrest of Peter and James by the High Court of Israel had not worked to silence either the Apostles or the Church!  The threats of the religious rulers only succeeded in empowering and emboldening all the early believers even more than before they were persecuted!  Thus, the Evil One tried-on another disguise.  He went from being the roaring lion to the deceiving serpent when he attempted to destroy the unity of purity of the Church from with (the sin of Ananias and Sapphira - see previous lesson).

However, the persecution of the Church by Satan was mightily used by the Lord for her overall good; she was now in possession of great power, great grace, and great fear [of Him] (Acts 4:33, 5:5, 11).  The great fear of the Lord, due to the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, caused the Early Church to be even more effective for Christ!  The result was that multitudes both of men and women were being added to the Lord!  In other words, there was an "Evangelism Explosion"!

In this lesson, all the Apostles are arrested for disobeying the Council's threat not to preach Jesus!  They are liberated from prison by an angel.  What did they do upon being so miraculously released?  Did they run for cover in the Upper Room?  No!  They went straight back to the Temple where they were arrested, and stood up and preached Jesus!

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Acts Lesson 15: Happy to Suffer for Jesus!

May 26, 2020 @ 8:14 pm

In this lesson, we are brought back to the issue of whether it is right to obey God when His commandments come into direct conflict with those of men in authority over believers.  Peter and John had asked this question as they stood in trial before the High Court Council of Israel, but it had not been answered.  However, the Lord Himself answered the question through the series of events that followed their release!  When the men, with the other Apostles, returned to "preaching Jesus," all twelve were arrested for their disobedience.  But a God-sent angel released them from prison, and they immediately returned to "preaching Jesus" - plus performing all manner of mighty miracles in His name.   The Lord was providing the answer to the question of obeying Him over men when their commandments contradict!  He also gave a direct answer through the mouth of Peter, who spoke on behalf of all the Apostles, when he said (again standing in trial before the Council), "We ought to obey God rather then men" (5:29).

The high priest and others went into a rage and wanted to slay all twelve men!  God intervened by providentially using one of their own members, Gamaliel.  His words spared the men from being killed, although they were each severely beaten.  What the Council members saw after the men were flogged absolutely amazed them!  The men were beaming with joy!  They were thrilled to have been "rewarded" for knowing (in a small way) the fellowship of Christ's sufferings!  They were "Happy to Suffer for Jesus"!

Find out what the Apostles did right after they were beaten and then released!  It is such a strong testimony to us today!

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Acts Lesson 16: Growing Pains and Gains

May 26, 2020 @ 8:15 pm

I want to post this now, so will write blurb about it later.

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Acts Lesson 17: Stephen’s Ministry

May 26, 2020 @ 8:16 pm

This is the first of ten messages on one of the most influential men for the furtherance of the Gospel of Christ who ever lived, Stephen.  There is a reason why more information is recorded in the eternal Word of God on the martyrdom of Stephen than any other man's death except the Lord Jesus - that reason is twofold.  First, Stephen's words and witness had an IRRESISTIBLE impact on the heart, soul, and mind of Saul of Tarsus (who became Paul, human author of about half of the New Testament).  Second, it was Stephen's martyrdom that resulted in the great First Century persecution of the Church in Jerusalem, which forced Christians into the next two regions of Christ's Great Commission, Judea and Samaria.

Stephen is my ultimate hero when it comes to understanding the importance of using the Old Testament to preach Jesus Christ!  He is my hero when it comes to boldness in proclaiming Christ to a very hostile audience!  He is my hero when it comes to giving his all for his Lord and Saviour and doing it with grace and forgiveness of those who killed him.  Stephen well deserved the STANDING OVATION he received from the Lord Jesus!  I cannot wait to meet him one day.

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Acts Lesson 18: Stephen’s Message I {Abraham of Mesopotamia}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:17 pm

Stephen had "an irresistible ministry"!  He was a Scripture-scholar, extremely skilled and astute in using the Old Testament to defend his faith in Jeus.  He was a Christian apologist ("apologia" is a Greek word that refers to "a speech in defense of something").

Stephen's POWERFUL message of Acts chapter 7 was basically a last major appeal to the leadership of Israel (the Sanhedrin Council) to accept Jesus as the long-promised Messiah.  Stephen was brought for trial before the Council, falsely accused of four things: speaking blasphemous words (1) against Moses, (2) against God, (3) against the Temple, and (4) against the Law.  While he stood before his opponents and their lying accusations, his face was glowing with the righteousness of truth and the glory of God!  Amazing.  By visibly putting His "glory stamp" on Stephen's face, the Lord Jesus was showing forth His approval of the message he had been proclaiming in the synagogues and which he was about to proclaim in Acts 7.

Stephen's message was his response to the evil high priest's question, "Are these things so?" - referring to the four accusations against him.  In verses 2 to 50, he managed to keep his hostile listeners' attention by talking about their favorite subject: themselves and their heritage!  Yet, as he reviewed the major periods of Jewish history, he indirectly was responding to the false and accusations against him and building his case against them!   His sermon is brilliant on so many levels!  It was completely irrefutible, and cost him his life.  

In this lesson, Stephen began his "history lesson" regarding Israel's period of the patriarchs by speaking about Abraham.  You have to listen to how absolutely clever Stephen was in using "father" Abraham to convict the Jews of their own sinful prejudices!

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Acts Lesson 19: Stephen’s Message II {Jet-Tour of Life of Joseph}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:18 pm

In his purposely selective account of Jewish history (which kept the attention of the Council members, for they loved their own story), Stephen was making his defense against the accusations that he had blasphemed Moses, God, the Temple, and the Law.  In doing so, he was also (unknown to them, at first) building his case of indictment against his Jewish audience!  He was exposing their unjustified physical obsession with the land (Israel), the Law, and the Temple.  Rather than humbly acknowledging these were great privileges to be used wisely for God's glory in their witness of Him to the rest of the world, they proudly turned them into their false triune "god"!  They had come to view them as pillars of proof for their heavenly security!

The most important thing Stephen was accomplishing (yet unknown) in his powerful sermon was presenting the High Council of Israel with evidence for faith in Jesus!  He did this by using several key figures from Israel's history: Joseph and Moses.  In this lesson, which is Stephen's jet-tour account of the life of Joseph, the Council members heard for the first time the Biblical account of Joseph used as a graphic illustration of their own evil, envious betrayal and murder of Jesus!

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Acts Lesson 20: Stephen’s Message III {Moses, the Deliverer Delivered}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:19 pm

In the first 16 verses of his amazingly brilliant sermon, Stephen covered Israel's history from Abraham in Mesopotamia to Joseph in Egypt (a fascinating way to attack the Jews' proud obsession with the land, as well as their arrogance toward Jews who lived outside the land).  In his second sermon "division," he dealt with the historical period of Moses and the Law.  In verses 17 to 43, he actually covered the circumstances prior to the birth of Moses all the way to the time of the Babylonian Captivity.

As Stephen did with Joseph (Lesson 19), Israel's first deliverer, he did likewise with Israel's next historical deliverer, Moses - he used them both as types of Christ (which they are).  He knew the Jews would not interrupt him as he spoke of Moses, for they thought of no one more highly than him (they elevated him far too much).

The whole idea of picture-types of the Messiah having been prophetically revealed in the lives of their most honored historical figures was a completely new concept to the Jews.  Stephen showed them, via his summary-narration of the life of Moses, that the similarities between Moses and Jesus are nothing short of having been divinely orchestrated.

Take out your Christ-colored glasses as we take a train-ride (not a jet-tour as with Joseph) through the life of Moses!

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Acts Lesson 21: Stephen’s Message IV {Moses; Two Deliverances}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:20 pm

As Stephen did with Joseph, he likewise did with Moses - he preached Christ (without mentioning His name) by his selective summation of Moses' life (his initial rejection and eventual acceptance as Israel's deliverer).  He wanted them to see that Jesus was very much the Fulfillment of Moses' words about the Messiah being "a Prophet . . . like unto me" (Deut. 18:15).

In this lesson, Stephen got into the second phase of Moses' life (his second 40-year life segment), when he made his first "visit" to his people as their deliverer and was rejected and then vanished from sight (presumed dead) as he lived with the Gentiles (Midianites).

Stephen's underlying message to the Jews of his day was that unless they wanted to continue to follow the pattern of their forefathers, who betrayed and rejected the ones (Joseph and Moses) who God providentially "raised from the dead" to be their deliverers, they should repent for having done exactly the same with Jesus!

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Acts Lesson 22: Stephen’s Message V {Moses; Divine Commission}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:21 pm

In Stephen's historical narrative regarding Moses, he came to his Divine Commission at the Burning Bush.  Learn how the thorny bush is a picture of Israel!

Stephen's message about Moses was powerfully applied to the Lord Jesus and Israel's rejection of Him when he got to verses 35 to 37.  Dr. John Phillips wrote that Stephen "skillfully dropped his brush and pallet and picked up his sword" as he brought home to the Council all he had been saying about Moses in light of Jesus!  With Moses, God honored the one Israel had rejected.  He sent them the very one they had rejected to be their ruler and deliverer.  His implication was that the Jews had done to Jesus what their forefathers did to Moses.

It is often said, by Jewish people today and others, as well, that if Jesus was their Messiah, the leaders of Israel would have known and recognized Him.  However, that would not be consistent with her spiritual leaders throughout her history.  This was the point Stephen was making in Acts 7.  It was their typical response NOT to accept the men God sent to deliver them, as exemplified with Joseph and Moses - and how God's prophets were treated.  What they did to Jesus was exceedingly more serious, for in having rejected Him, they rejected the Great I AM of the Burning Bush - they only One Who provides spiritual deliverance!

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Acts Lesson 23: Stephen’s Message VI {The Law}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:22 pm

In Acts 7:38 to 43, Stephen shifted from demonstrating his respect for Moses to demonstrating his respect for the Law.  He was again claiming "not guilty" to the charge brought against him that he blasphemed the Law.  He affirmed his absolute faith in the Law by declaring God was its Author and Moses its recipient.

In summarizing the final 40-year period of Moses' life, Stephen went on the offensive.  He reminded the Council how quickly Israel had turned her heart back to Egypt and her "gods" once Moses ascended Mount Sinai.  With him out of sight, they readily dismissed the very one who delivered them.  Stephen's point was that this was exactly what Israel's religious rulers did.  The One Who came and did the work of deliverance for them was now also "out of sight" - for He had ascended much higher than Mount Sinai!  They turned from the Prophet like unto Moses, their Messiah, and were, in effect, clinging to the works of Aaron's hands, pictured by their whole priestly system of Judaism.  With the completed atonement work of Christ, Judaism was a dead religion.  The reality had come, so the patterns and shadows were no longer needed.  But the hearts of Israel's leadership were focused on the world (Egypt) - and Stephen said, they "rejoiced in the works of their own hands" (Acts 7:41).  They did not worship God; they worshipped a "god" of their own making.

It was the members of Israel's High Court who broke the Law, just as their forefathers had done at Sinai and throughout their entire history!

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Acts Lesson 24: Stephen’s Message VII {The Temple}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:23 pm

Acts 7:44-50; Stephen's defense against the charge that he had blasphemed the Temple.  Tensions are beginning to rise in the Council members listening to his powerful message!  He is coming close to his conclusion.  Stephen had evidently spoken a lot (in his past debates in the Greek-speaking synagogues) about the One (Jesus) Who was greater than the Temple, which is why he was accused of blasphemying the Temple.  In his sermon, Stephen stressed how the Tabernacle (later the Temple) served as a witness of tha which was Greater!  It was a picture-type witness of the day when the Messiah would tabernacle with men and open the way for God to bring a redeemed people boldly into His holy Presence to tabernacle (dwell) with Him forever!

Stephen's point was that he was not blaspheming the current Temple by his understanding that its purpose was ended, and it would give place to the next stage: God dwelling in His people.

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Acts Lesson 25: Stephen’s Message VIII {Israel’s Indictment}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:24 pm

This is the conclusion of the longest sermon in the Book of Acts - and likely the most important.  Stephen had reviewed Israel's history and the great contributions of some of her most honored leaders (Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, and Solomon).  The High Court of Israel had gotten a quick overview of her history, which the men permitted Stephen to present because they loved to hear about themselves.  However, slowly, his selective presentation started to get uncomfortable as they began to realize where his focus on their "rejection of deliverers" pattern of behavior was going.  Was he really going to indict them for having rejected (and killed) Jesus?!  Would he dare to go that far!?

Yes, he would, even though he knew it would likely cost him his life.  Realizing his listeners were reaching the end of their tolerance of him and were about to make him stop, Stephen catapulted into his application-rebuke - and it was BOLD and BLUNT!  After calling them "stiff-necked" and uncircumcised in heart and ears, He told them, ". . . ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye" (Acts 7:51)!  He also accused them of the betrayal and murder of "the Just One" - and they knew he spoke of Jesus and used for Him a title only reserved for God!

Stephen's phenomenal use of his two-edged sword, the Word of God, hit its target.  The Sanhedrin Council members "were cut to the heart" (7:54).  Their hypocritically pious masks were torn off and they were exposed for the false shepherds they were.  Yet, rather than repent, they gnashed their teeth in seething anger.  THEY had been the ones on trial, and they were guilty of having blasphemed everything God had ever given them!  They could not defend themselves, so they decided they would silence the one who spoke the truth about their depraved hearts.  Saul of Tarsus was among them; little did they know he would soon pick-up where Stephen left off!  Truth cannot be silenced, much as men might try.

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Acts Lesson 26: Stephen’s Martyrdom {A Standing Ovation!}

May 26, 2020 @ 8:25 pm

Stephen's message of Acts 7 was the masterpiece of a skilled artist painting pictures of Jesus Christ from Old Testament characters; it was the discourse of a Scriptural scholar, the keenly selective historical dissertation of a Spirit-filled prophet, and the work of a lethaly skilled warrior using the two-edged sword of truth!  It was also Stephen's death warrent.  He had lived like Jesus, he had spoken like Jesus, and he was to die for Jesus.

Stephen, whose face glowed like that of an angel, was bound for Heaven.  There are causes worth dying for, and Stephen found the best.  He died for the sake of the only message on earth that saves the eternal souls of men, the Gospel of Christ.  Stephen was the first person to die for the truth of Jesus' atonement work.  When his spirit was about to depart from his body, he looked up to see the resurrected Lord standing on the right hand of God!  He was not in His seated "finished-work of redemption" position!  It was the body language of the Redeemer saying, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant"!  Stephen finished his course; he ran the race to the finish line and was the first to cross - and the Lord gave him a standing ovation!

Filed under DefaultTag, Acts, the Explosive Early Church, 1. Life of Stephen 2. Life of Abraham · Comments

Acts Lesson 4: A Meaningful Day {The Fully Come Pentecost}

May 16, 2021 @ 12:00 pm

A great SUMMARY of the 7 GOD-GIVEN FEAST DAYS, which serve as PROPHETIC PICTURE-TYPES of the MAJOR EVENTS in His OVER-ALL REDEMPTION PLAN (4 Spring Feasts: Christ's First Coming / 3 Fall Feasts: His Second Coming).  The Feast of Weeks (in Hebrew, Shavuot and in Greek, Pentecost) is the fourth Spring feast given to Israel by God in Leviticus 23.  It comes 50 days after the third Spring feast, the Feast of Firstfruits.  

It was on the 50th day of her "new life" (freedom from her bondage to Egypt) that God, from Mount Sinai, gave Israel the Torah (the Law).  The rabbis declare this to be the "birth" of Judaism.  Is it not fascinating that the same feast day is celebrated by the Jews as the birth of Judaism and by Christians as the birth of the Church!  

The Spirit's arrival on Pentecost 50 days after Christ's resurrection on the Feast of Firstfruits was the fulfillment of the Feast of Weeks.  This is what Luke meant when he wrote, "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come" (Acts 2:1).  A VERY IMPORTANT LESSON FOR THOSE WHO LOVE TO LEARN! 

Filed under DefaultTag, Acts, the Explosive Early Church · Comments

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