Here’s what we’ll be reading as we study through the book of Acts:
Chapters 1-12 (First Ten Years)
Major Emphasis: The Jerusalem Church
Major Topics Covered: Church, Gospel, Holy Spirit
Chapters 13-28 (Next 20 Years)
Major Emphasis: Churches Spread Throughout the world
Major Topics Covered: Missionary, Paul, Local Churches
First Ten Years:
First Five Years: Pentecost, Healing, Preaching, Arrests, Ananias & Sapphira, Choosing leaders, Stephen martyred, Persecution begins, Scattering
Second Five Years: Philip & the Ethiopian Eunuch, Saul is converted = Paul, Peter sees vision in a sheet, many Gentiles hear the good news, Jerusalem leaders accept that the Gospel is for the Gentiles, church established in Antioch, James martyred, Peter arrested & set free.
Next 20 Years:
Paul’s Three Missionary journeys and trip to Rome.
Countries Mentioned at Pentecost: Rome, Crete, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Pontus, Cappadocia, Mesopotamia, Parthian Empire, Media, Elam, Arabia, Egypt, Cyrene.
Why are these important? Because all these people from all these countries took the Gospel back home with them from the Day of Pentecost. Some of them believed in Jesus right then, some simply carried the story back home as a curiosity. in Acts we’re going to see the Lord reach those same people in the years that followed with help to form churches so the Gospel could continue to spread.
Over twenty years ago my husband, Ken, had a business acquaintance ask him: “What difference would it have made if Jesus had never risen from the dead?”
Jack and Ken had worked together on many projects, and been friends over the years. When he asked Ken this question it was because he knew he didn’t know God at all, and was a little stumped about how to go about it.
Ken was only too glad to sit down with Jack that day, answer his question, and also tell him what it meant to put his faith in Jesus. When Jack realized all that Jesus had done for him, and that Jesus was without a doubt God Himself, that He had been murdered, but then raised from the dead two thousand years ago, and was alive today, Jack gave his heart and life to Jesus Christ. Two years later Jack died…but didn’t. His body is in the grave, but Jack went to be with His Lord. He’s living with Jesus today, and will for eternity.
A few weeks ago I was sitting outside a nursing home with a friend of mine. It was a beautiful day, and she was loving getting out into the fresh air after many days not even seeing the outside. I read the first five verses of John’s Gospel to her: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1-5 She started singing, “Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made…” I joined in, and together, traffic noise and all, we sat out in front of her nursing home and sang all the verses we knew of “How Great Thou Art”. This 9-lesson Bible Study of the first four chapters of John is all about the One we were singing to. – Kathleen
This 10-lesson Bible Study in Galatiansshows us that, as Christians, our own sinful nature plays a little trick on us. Our pride starts us to thinking, “Well, yes, I need a Savior…yes, I’m a sinner…but I’d rather not feel like such a loser. I’d rather feel like my Savior loved me because I’m so lovable. I will do better in this area, or in that area…or I will do this extra good deed, or that one….and that will make me better in His eyes…I’ll be more worthy to be saved.” And in so thinking we slide away from the side of the One Who died so that we could be worthy. We begin to listen to another Gospel – the Gospel of works. We begin to love another savior – the one we’ve made up in our minds. Paul writes to them from a heart of love – reminding them that they are not slaves to works – they are…..Free!!!
From Kathleen:“Our memory verse for this 5-Lesson Bible study is Psalm 18:29. “….By my God I have leaped over a wall.” When Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy, Paul’s time on earth was nearly over and he knew it. He had “fought the good fight”, “finished the race”, and “kept the faith.” He had been given a job to do by His Savior, Jesus, and somehow, by the miraculous strength of God, he had done it! He had “leaped” over that wall! He is passing this incredible job of spreading the Gospel by planting and nourishing churches, to Timothy. He wants Timothy to know that someday he, too, will look back and be very sure that “…by my God I have leaped over a wall!”.” – Kathleen