“The Book of Acts”
I. The Title
- Acts may have originally never had a title.
- The Greek manuscripts title it “Acts,” and many manuscripts title it “Acts of the Apostles.”
- The English word “Acts” is translated from the Greek word “Praxeis” which was often used to describe the achievements of great men.
- John MacArthur writes…But the book could more properly be called “The Acts of The Holy Spirit Through The Apostles,” since His sovereign, superintending work was far more significant than that of any man. It was the Spirit’s directing, controlling, and empowering ministry that strengthened the church and caused it to grow in numbers, spiritual powers and numbers.
II. The Author and Date
A) The Author
- Acts 1:1…The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
- Luke 1:3…It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
- When you compare these two verses it seems logical to credit Luke for the writing of this book of Acts.
- The early church fathers (Such as Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome) affirm Luke’s authorship, and so does the Muratorian Canon (ca. A.D. 170).
- Luke was Paul’s close friend, traveling companion, and personal physician (Col. 4:14).
- Luke was a careful researcher (Luke 1:1-4), and an accurate historian, displaying an intimate knowledge of Roman laws and customs.
- You will also notice that Luke often writes the personal pronouns “we” and “us” in the book of Acts to let us know that he was an eye witness to the accounts recorded in the book of Acts.
B) The date Acts was written
- Some believe that Luke wrote the book of Acts after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
- It is more likely that he wrote much earlier, before the first Roman imprisonment of Paul (A.D. 60-62).
- Acts 1:1…The former treatise (account) have I made, The former account was Luke’s gospel…the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and His ministry of the new church.
III. Background and Setting of Acts
A) The Background
- The reason for the writing of Acts was to give Theophilis (as mentioned in Luke 1:1) …a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,”
- “Those things” are the things that Jesus had accomplished during His earthly ministry.
- Also note in Luke 1:3…It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
- I know that this verse is in the book of Luke not Acts, but his message is the same. It lets us know the heart of the writer and the leading of the Holy Spirit to have Luke let us know that he “…had a perfect understanding of all things from the very first.”
B) The Setting
- And also to know that Luke wrote it in an “orderly account” (…to write to thee in order)
- The things that Luke wrote about were the accomplishments of Christ’s earthly ministry in which Luke wrote about it starting in Luke’s gospel and then continued writing about it in Acts.
- Acts continues the recording of accounts of the early church beginning with Jesus ascension, the birth of the church at Pentecost, and Paul’s preaching at Rome.
- Luke also writes in the book of Acts about the growing opposition to the gospel.
- Note also in verse 1, the mention of a man named Theophilus.
- The name Theophilus means “Lover of God, Friend of God” He is unknown to history books but is only mentioned in Luke and Acts.
- It is suggested that since Luke addressed him as “…most excellent Theophilus” that he might have been a Roman official of some importance.
IV. Commandments Given To Those Chosen
A) To the Apostles
- Acts 1:2…Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
- The words “…he was taken up” is talking about Christ’s ascension to the Father (God) in Luke 24:51… And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
- The Holy Spirit was the source and the power of Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry. In Acts 1:2b… “after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen.”
- We do remember “the twelve” that Christ chose. Jesus did not go to the local seminary, or synagogue to choose bible scholars to spread His Word. He went to the commonplaces, the markets, and the streets.
- In our study of the apostles we also learned that he chose a doctor, several fishermen, a couple of extortionists, the “Sons of Thunder,” His blood brothers, and several that were undesirables to others.
- They were not your average men that most pastors would pick to carry on their work in progress.
- Please note that these “commandments” were not the 10 commandments but rather an expansion of such or authoritative New Testament truths if you will.
- These “commandments” were the “mysteries” of the Old Testament revealed to the Apostles for the church age.
V. Jesus Christ Revealed Himself
A) He showed Himself
- Acts 1:3…To whom also he shewed himself alive” He was not a spirit, but rather “alive.”
- The gospel that Christ had expressed to the apostles in their training was the fact of being able to look forward to the resurrection.
- Death has always been something to be afraid of. The fear of the unknown.
- But now with Christ’s resurrection, His Father (God) resurrecting Him it gave the apostles confidence to present His message.
- Christ entered a secured room to meet with the disciples, show them His Calvary scars, pray with them, eat with them, fellowship with them. Oh what a reunion.
B) After His Passion
- Note also Acts 1:3…To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs,
- Barnes Notes said… After he suffered, referring particularly to his death, as the consummation of his sufferings.
- The word “passion,” with us, means excitement, or agitation of mind; as love, hope, fear, anger, etc.
- In the Greek rendering of this word passion it means to suffer.
- The word passion, applied to the Saviour, denotes his last sufferings.
- The Greek word “paschō” is rendered sufferings in 1 Peter 1:11, 4:13, Colossians 1:24.
C) Many infallible proofs
- Acts 1:3…To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs,
- The words “infallible proofs” means that there was no disputing the eyewitness accounts of Christ’s resurrected body.
- Some people may have tried to tell the eye witnesses “Oh, you did not see Christ resurrected body… that was a ghost.”
- With the apostles feeling His nail pierced hands, seeing his body as they remembered it, now in verse 4, he was eating and fellowship with them as before. “Proof” in fact infallible proof, that Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
- There was no doubt in any one’s mind (including doubting Thomas) that Jesus was resurrected from the dead by His Father.
- This gives validity to our resurrection from the dead too. being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
- For the apostles to be with Jesus Christ again (after His Resurrection), their Savior, their friend, their leader of three years had to be exhilarating.
- “…being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:” Some commentators have expounded this meaning to mean that the distance of time between the resurrection and his visit with the apostles was a 40 day time span.
- I disagree, and it could be true. However, I believe that it means Jesus was with his people (disciples, apostles, family, 500, and etc.) for a time span of 40 days.
- During this 40 days it also allowed Him time to expound on His truths that He taught them… “speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:”
D) To Give them the command to wait
- Acts 1:4…And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. Christ’s return was like a seal of approval, like an “I told you so.”
- We can also note that Christ still had authority given to Him to make a “command.”
- What did He command? “..that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
- I don’t know about you, but I can imagine as they all sat around the table talking they were probably discussing of visits they would like to make as they did before to Corinth, Ephesus, Galilee, Judea, and etc. and Christ had to tell them “Whoa boys… lets wait a minute here and not get the cart before the horse.”
- You can’t go out there in the world armed with a sword of the word of God only among worldly satanic people armed with machine guns. You have got to receive a very important part of your armor. THE PROMISE of God.
- I mean these guys were probably like you and I right after becoming saved or fresh out of Bible College ready to charge hell with a squirt gun!
- What was this promise? Well Jesus had repeatedly (over and over again) told them the promise of the Father was His Spirit (The Holy Spirit) Note; Luke 11:13, Luke 24:49, John 7:39, John 14:16, 26, and John 15:26, and John 16:7.
- Jesus didn’t want His eager lost soul hunters to go off half cocked and shoot themselves in the foot.
- They needed the Holy Spirit of God to teach them, guide them, instruct them, empower them, and convict them.
- Going to fight Satan without being armed with the Holy Spirit would be like going to war armed with an M-16 and no bullets. Throwing the gun at them wouldn’t be good.
- Jesus Christ has over and over taught us to be patient.
- He commands His disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit. Wait for the power. Wait for direction. Wait for instruction. Wait…Because I said to wait.
E) What are they waiting for?
- Christ told the apostles to hang around Jerusalem for awhile. So, what were they waiting for?
- Verse 5 tells us…Acts 1:5 …For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
- Since the Day of Pentecost we (all believers) are baptized with the Holy Spirit at salvation.
- I Corinthians 12:13…For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
- Now we notice that Paul told the Corinthian church that they were baptized into “One body.” There is no difference between Jew or Gentile. We can all serve together.
- Note the rest of Acts 1:5… “not many days hence.” Actually the apostles waited 10 days.
- Do you know how frustrating it is to wait anxiously for something thinking maybe you will get it or it will happen the next day and then end up waiting 10 days. I’d be ready to explode by that time.
VI. The Holy Spirit Promised
A) The Apostles expecting something different
- After all Christ’s teaching, preaching, and counseling with these 12 ordinary men they still didn’t get the big picture.
- Look at Acts 1:6… When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
- I mean… REALLY guys? They still think that it is all about Israel restoring an earthly kingdom of the Messiah. I cannot believe these knobheads.
- They also knew that Ezekiel’s prophecy in chapter 36 and Joel 2 connected the coming of the Kingdom with the outpouring of the spirit whom Jesus promised.
B) Christ’s response to the apostle’s question
- The FIRST PART – Look at Acts 1:7…And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
- Notice that Christ did not say… “Look guys, there is not going to be any kingdom established for the believers here on earth. So get that out of your head right now.” Jesus did not say that.
- Jesus did not correct their thoughts. Because there will be a new heaven and a new earth. Remember that God is going to purify this earth again before He erects the New Jerusalem.
- The first time, God purified the earth with water (The flood in Noah’s day, Gen. 7:23), and the second time with a “fervent heat (II Peter 3:10).”
- The problem with their thoughts was that they were anticipating the kingdom to be established in their lifetime.
- Christ said… “is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” The “times” or the “seasons” refers to the events, era, and the features surrounding Christ’s earthly reign which will begin at the second coming.
- The SECOND PART – Acts 1:8) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:
- The apostle’s duty was to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. The Holy Spirit was to give them the power they needed to do whatever necessary to get others to believe.
- The word “power” here I believe refers to all the assistance which the Holy Spirit would give to the apostles. What are the powers?
- The power of speaking with new tongues (different languages);
- The power to preach the gospel with great effect. Preach in such a way that it convicts people to repent, and turn from their wicked ways and follow Christ.
- The power to endure great trials, and tribulations. (See Mark 16:17) And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18) They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.)
- That is power my friend! Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to swallow a glass of gasoline and light a match to burn off an attacker’s eyebrows, and you never even get sick?
- The THIRD PART – The third and final part of Christ’s response to the apostles question is very important… Note Acts 1:8b) …and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
- The word “witnesses” is “martys” in the Greek. It means to die or willing to die, for what you believe in.
- It was common in those days for people to be put to death if they strongly believed in anything other than what the Jerusalem church taught.
- I also believe that the word “witnesses” means that they are witnesses to Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and His teachings, His power and all of that.
- Then Christ expounds on where they are to be witnesses at. Not only in the local area near family and friends (Jerusalem), but in all their province (Judea), and in areas where they were forbidden to go (Samaria), and the rest of the world that was unexplored (the uttermost parts).
- Let me tell you something else… It wasn’t just the apostle’s duty my friends…it is our duty as children of God to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to ALL THE WORLD.
C) A cloud association
- Acts 1:9…And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
- The word “cloud” is mentioned 107 times in our KJV Bible and it usually has something to do with God.
- Several times we see Jesus associated with a cloud, or God and clouds.
- A cloud displays God’s promises – Genesis 9:13…I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant (promise) between me and the earth.
- A cloud embraces God as He leads – Exodus 13:21…And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
- God appears in a cloud – Leviticus 16:2… for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.
- God speaks from a cloud – Matthew 17:5…While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. Also on the mount of transfiguration God spoke to the apostles from a cloud…Luke 9:34…While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 35) And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
- At the Second Coming of God’s Son Jesus Christ – Luke 21:25…And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26) Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 27) And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
- You know what? I can’t stop at verse 27 in Luke 21 because the promise that we have all been waiting for is mentioned in the next verse (28) that gives us hope in Jesus Christ and the God we serve who displays His power, His glory, and himself “in a cloud. What is God’s promise? Luke 21:28…And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
- I love that old hymn that I remember singing as a young man… “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly trust in Jesus name.”
- Now back into our study of Acts 1, look into verse 10) And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
- As Jesus disappeared into the cloud they stood there waiting to see an encore performance. “Is Jesus coming back soon?” they may have inquired.
- You know their little minds were in wonderment. They had no idea when He would return. He had popped in and out of their lives for the past 40 days, so when is the next time?
- Now then… “two men stood by them in white apparel;” These were angels in the form of man such as referenced in Genesis 18:2, Joshua 5:13-15, and Mark 16:5.
- Here is what the angels said to the apostles…Acts 1, note verse 11) Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
- Who were the “men of Galilee?” The apostles. All of them were from Galilee.
- Note; Eleven of the apostles were from the Galilee area. Judas was not from Galilee, but he was dead at the time these angels appeared unto the apostles here in Acts 1.
- The rest of the verse 11 tells us the promise of God given to the Gentile nation… “…this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
- The sad part is that the apostles had no idea when this was going to happen, just as we do not know when it will happen.
- We can suspect the time of Jesus return by the events mentioned in Luke 21:25-28… 1) Sun, Moon, and stars will have different actions than normal (?) 2) Every nation on this earth will be distressed and in continual unrest. 3) sea and waves will be roaring (many hurricanes) 4) Many people’s hearts will fail them out of fear for God’s judgment upon them.
- I believe these times are NOW. I remember the times as a young man (1970’s) when my parents thought Jesus was coming anytime now.
- Folks, I believe that that the time of Jesus our Lord’s returning in a cloud is very soon. And when he comes there will be no gazing up into the clouds as the apostles did. For my Bible says it will happen “…in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” (I Cor. 15:52)
VII. Getting Your Heart Ready To Receive
A) Place of prayer
- Right before Jesus had left the earth in a cloud, He told the apostles to hang around Jerusalem and wait for the promise of God. (Back up in verse 4)
- Now let us continue our study in Acts 1:12…Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.
- We must FIRST note first that they “returned.” Where did they return from? Luke writes “the mount Olivet.” It is also known as “The Mount of Olives.”
- The Mt. of Olives is a notable place. Why?
- This was a place where Jesus had chosen to meet with His disciples. (Matt. 21:1; 24:3, Mark 14:26, Luke 19:37, Luke 22:39)
- Jesus practically lived in the Mount of Olives at certain times. Luke 21:37…And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.
- Christ will return to the earth (On the Mount of Olives) to set up His Kingdom. (Daniel 7:13, Zechariah 14:4, Matthew 24:30; 26:64, and Rev. 1:7; Rev. 14:14)
- SECONDLY note that in verse 12 Luke writes the location of the Mount Olivet. He noted that it was “a Sabbath Day’s journey.” Why did he say that? I mean, why not write “It was about a half mile or 2,000 cubits.”
- In fact, that is exactly the location of the Mount of Olives. East of Jerusalem near a village called Bethany about a half of a mile.
- The reason for Luke to write that it was a “Sabbath day’s journey” was because …If you were a faithful Jew then you could not travel more than a half mile on the Sabbath Day. That was the Law of the Jews mentioned in Exodus 16:29 “…let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” This measurement was derived from tradition based on Israel’s encampments in the wilderness. The tents that were farthest out were approximately 2000 cubits (1/2 mile) from the center tabernacle- the longest anyone could walk to reach the tabernacle on the Sabbath (Joshua 3:4, Numbers 35:5).
- THE PLACE OF PRAYER – should be established when we want to commune with God. Now don’t get me wrong. I do not mean that you must find the right place to pray (as in God’s house/the House of Prayer). I believe that it is important to establish your own private place of prayer and “one on one” conversation with God. I personally believe that there should be a “private place” or “specific place” for everything and everyone.
EXAMPLE; Private place for husband and wife=bedroom, Specific place to work on your car =Garage, Personal place for children to play = outside. Peaceful place to rest = at the lake. Special place of worship to God = God’s house (Church building).
- YOUR PLACE OF PRAYER – can be a closet, the garage, a particular place in a city park, your car, or under a bridge. It can be any place you choose as long as you can be where no one else can interrupt you and your conversation with the Lord.
- We see here that the apostle’s personal place was where Christ led them…the Mount of Olives. But now they are getting ready to receive what God had promised…
B) One accord in prayer
- Now let us look at our text book of Acts 1:13) And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
- When Luke in this verse 13 tells us “They were come in” that means they had come into Jerusalem and then to a building which had an upper room (loft).
- This is also the place where many believe that the “Last Supper” took place (Mark 14:15).
- It is also believed that this may have also been the place where Jesus appeared unto the apostles shortly after His resurrection.
- Also note that the apostles present were noted by Luke. Also note that the last one mentioned was “Judas.” This is not Judas Iscariot because he had hung himself after betraying our Lord. This apostle (Judas) was also called Thaddaeus.
- Also note who else was there in the room with them praying in verse 14) These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, Many believe that this is where the pattern of praying in the name of Jesus started.
- “…with the women,” Te women are believed to be Mary Magdalene, Mary the wife of Lopas, the two sisters Mary and Martha, and Salome. It is also thought that the wives of some of the apostles were there too.
- “…and Mary the mother of Jesus,” This is also the last time you will see Mary (The mother of Jesus)
- “… and with his brethren.” This is talking about the brethren (Blood brothers) of Jesus Christ. (Mark 6:3…James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon)
- The “Key” factor here with their prayer meeting in the upper room was that in verse 14 it says “…These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,” One accord meaning they were of the same mind, heart, body (of Christ) and soul in their prayer. They were completely focused and knew what God wanted them to do.
- There are times when I believe that a church should pray together as a group for a specific reason, a specific purpose, and a specific need. God is especially tuned in to those prayers and supplications.
- When everyone in the church or in the membership is of one accord I believe that they will be more ready to receive the blessings of God, the spirit of God and the wisdom of God to do whatever God has asked you to do.
VIII. Taking Care of Business First
A) Peter takes charge
- Look at Acts 1:15… And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
- FIRST- Note the term… “in those days.” Those days are referring to some unspecified time during the believer’s 10 days of prayer and fellowship between the ascension and Pentecost.
- Peter was the acknowledged leader who usually was the one who called a meeting together or in order. (If you remember correctly the apostles names always appear with Peter’s name being first. Being the eldest and their leader.
- Here is what Peter said…Acts 1:16) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
- Peter was addressing the 120 men that were there in the upper room (not a small room by the way) and brings to the forefront of his speech the fact that prophecy must be fulfilled. What prophecy was Peter talking about?
- The prophecy of David was Psalm 69:25…Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. 26) For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded. 27) Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. 28) Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.
- The other prophecy of David was in Psalm 109:8 …Let his days be few; and let another take his office.
- Now in Acts 1:16, when Peter says… “concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.” I believe he is saying… “The matter for which is up for discussion and must be voted on is the fact that Judas was the guy that led the soldiers to Jesus to be crucified. (Matthew 26:47) It’s been over a month now and Peter felt it was time to move o with business.”
B) Luke explains Judas’ tenure as an apostle
- Acts 1:17…For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
- He was one of the twelve.
- He was part of the ministry of Christ. We might wonder why Christ chose Judas to be a disciple when he knew that satan was Judas’ lord. Judas did not choose Jesus. In fact Judas was called “satan, the son of perdition.” The word “perdition” means…complete and irreparable loss; ruin, loss of the soul, damnation.
- Judas was not good with financing…18) Now this man (Judas) purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
- I find it interesting that Luke says that Judas purchased the field with the “reward” (reward being 30 pieces of silver to betray Christ Jesus).
- We remember that Judas threw the money down in the temple at the priest’s feet. One of the priests took the money and purchased the field, not Judas. No priest would lay claim to the money being theirs, so they pin it on Judas.
- “…and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. Judas according to this account and others in Jewish tradition, say that Judas either tied his rope to a weak limb or his rope was old and broke off a tree that overlooked a cliff with rock below it. So when Judas went to hang himself he was alive until he suddenly hit the rocks. Poor guy, can’t even hang himself the right way. Must have been having a really bad day, huh.
- Describing the field to the church to make sure they knew which field it was that Judas’s money was used to purchase. Acts 1, verse 19) And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, the field of blood.
- Aceldama is the Aramaic name given to the field bought by the Jewish leaders/priests. Traditionally, the field is located south of Jerusalem in the Hinnom Valley that crosses the Kidron Valley. The soil in the valley was good for making pottery and so you will see Matthew referring to it as “The potter’s field in Matthew 27:7, 10.
C) It is written
- Acts 1:20) For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.
- The verse Peter was referring to was in Psalm 69:25.
- I believe that it is important to know when making decisions especially those concerning the church, back it up with scripture as to the reason for your decision, or the purpose for your actions.
- Peter used this scripture to reassure the believers that Judas’ defection and the choice of his replacement were both in God’s purpose.
D) Judas’ successor must be qualified
- Luke explains in the following verse that whoever fills the office of treasurer and apostle must fit these qualifications…
- 21) Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, FIRST – They must have been involved with Christ’s earthly ministry
- SECOND – 22) Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. The second qualification was that he must be a witness to the resurrected Christ. (Not see Jesus actually resurrected, but rather witness seeing Jesus after His resurrection.)
E) Two men nominated
- Now Luke tells us of the two men considered for the office. Acts 1: 23) And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
The two men picked was Joseph (commonly known as Barsabas by most, and Justus a nickname given to him by his family), and Matthias.
F) Prayer for their decision to be made
- When church members vote on something that is vitally important such as filling an office, always ask the Father for guidance 24) And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25) That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
- I want us to notice the last part of the verse 25… “…from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”
- Judas chose his own fate (Hell) by the decisions he made in life. None of them were “for Christ” but rather “against Christ.”
- We all make our own choices. If Christ chooses us, we should live for Him.
G) The actual voting and filling the office
- When the church goes to their knees in prayer concerning the work of the Lord, it is very much noticed of God the hearts for which request His attention.
- When we pray before our decision making, God will give us what we deserve.
- Note the last verse in chapter 1 of Acts… 26) And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
- Question is… Was Matthias the most popular, or was he God’s choice through the hearts of these men?
- Like I said previously… When prayer before voting is performed, the result will be of God.
- “casting lots” This was a very common way of making important decisions…
- David divided the priests by lot…I Chronicles 24:5.
- The land of Canaan was divided by lot in Numbers 26:55, and Joshua 15: 1-17.
- Jonathan (the son of Saul) was detected as having violated his father’s command, and as bringing calamity on the Israelites, by casting lots in I Samuel 14:41, 42.
- Achan was detected by lot in Joshua 7:16-18.
- In these cases the use of the lot was regarded as a solemn appeal to God, for his direct interference in cases which they could not themselves decide.
- This is the last biblical mention of casting lots. WHY? The coming of the Holy Spirit made them unnecessary.
- What we learned
- In studying this first chapter of Luke we learned…
- Who the author of Acts is (Luke)
- There are always commandments given by God to those who are chosen of Him.
- Waiting of the Lord is very important, especially when He tells us to wait.
- The Holy Spirit is given to us by God to help us, to convict us, and to teach us.
- Prepare our hearts with prayer and supplication when we are waiting to receive and answer from God.
- The members of the church are always to be in “one accord.” (unity in everything)
- Use the Bible as our final authority in all transactions and behaviors.