Risen Act 1:1-3

Risen Act 1:1-3

In Depth Study of Acts

Life altering unforgettable events. Kids being born. Weddings, deaths. Resurrection. Do you remember when you met him? When did He became an undeniable reality to you? Its why we’re here.

Now – there is so much out there about the book of Acts. So many things that can take us away. In it, we really come to know what a believer, looks like. What being the church, looks like. The fallout of resurrection. We see a real Christianity that explains the world trying to explain it away. Dismisses those that say they “tried” Christianity and it didn’t work for them. Christianity isn’t a workout system, or set of rules to enance your karmic output. It’s a change of self. Christianity is free and easy, and cost everything and is hard. (ACT01) Chesterton said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.

This is not a story. This is reality. This is his-story.

i. There was a time when many scholars thought that Acts was sort of a romance novel of the early church, written at least 100 years after the events supposedly happened.  But William Ramsay, a noted archaeologist and Bible scholar, proved that the historical record of Acts is remarkably accurate regarding the specific practices, laws and customs of the period it claims to record.  It is definitely the work of contemporary eyewitnesses.
ii. In the mid-1960’s, A.N. Sherwin-White, an expert in Graeco-Roman history from Oxford, wrote about Acts: “The historical framework is exact.  In terms of time and place the details are precise and correct … As documents these narratives belong to the same historical series as the record of provincial and imperial trials in epigraphical and literary sources of the first and early second centuries A.D. … For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming … Any attempt to reject its basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd.  Roman historians have long taken it for granted.”
B.  (Ac 1:1–3)“ The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
i.         As you turn to the gospel of luke, lets take a look real quick at Luke. the transliteration of the Greek Loukas, probably an affectionate form of the Latin name Lucius, means “man from loucania”.
1.   He is only mentioned a few times by name in the, in (Col 4:14)“ Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.” Paul also mentions him in Phm. 24, 2Ti. 4:11. Luke and Acts were initially considered part of the same book and read together. Until the 2nd half of the 19th century, there was never any doubt that Luke was written by Luke, as well as Acts.
2.   Internal evidence is In Luke and Acts. Which before a certain time were included almost as one book. Luke shows that an intelligent, educated non Jew, was writing a researched literary document. In acts when Luke comes into the picture, it goes from they, to we when referencing events and actions.
3.   Volumes of church tradition, from earliest writings attribute this work to Luke. About ca. 185 Irenaeus (AgainstHeresies 3.1.1; 3.14.1) referred to Luke, the companion of Paul, as the author. The so-called Anti-Marcionite Prologue also refers to Luke as a physician and a Syrian from Antioch. And there are many more.
4.   And even though some might contest whether it was written by him, the accuracy of the Gospel of Luke and acts had to have been witnessed by those knowing these areas in the 1/early 2 century. Which makes the writings of Mark and matthew probably date earlier. Some textual critics use some crazy speculation and “logic” and theory to the point of making everything useless. Thanks but no thanks. I can go with what God said through Luke, or some crazy german dude. But lets move on.
ii.         So Luke is writing these books to O Theophilus. In Luke look, he says,
1.   (Lk 1:1–4)“ Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.”
2.   Some think that name Theophilus which means lover of God is a pseudonym for the church. But the fact that he uses an honorific title of roman rule/position in Luke, really seems to me to dismiss this idea. I don’t want to examine every idea or tradition or supposition about Acts but I don’t want to just glaze over this.
a.    From scripture: we have no idea who Theophilus is.
b.    From tradition we have some clues and ideas. A popular one is that Theo became a Christian and wanted to know more. And that Luke was his slave that the sent to investigate. Most rich folk would purchase doctors to tend to their homes and often friends. To be considered a physician in Rome you had to attend an recognized school in Rome.
c.    Whatever the reason, glad he did it!
iii.         (Ac 1:1)“ The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,”
1.   Jesus began to do/teach. Luke was the beginning, this is a continuation of the work and word of Jesus Christ. This is the fruition of His teaching. And its not done yet.
iv.         (Ac 1:2)“ until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,”
1.   What does he lead with? Not a particular doctrine, simply, Jesus. His life/death/resurrection.
2.   This is a core thought that you and I need to truly hold onto. The life and teaching of Jesus, inherently and entirely Jewish in thought, in teaching, in every way. God has used these people since the beginning of creation, because they really are “us”. We see in a micro the macro. We see in the success and failures of the Hebrews God interacting with us, humanity, and our celebration, obedience and rejection of Him.
a.    In this rejection even he comes. And saves us!
b.    (Is 53:3–5)“ He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”
3.   Which is why, the commands are mentioned. Because they are a part of being a believer. (Jn 14:15)“ “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” – this isn’t just a saying. Again, the commandment springs from a heart filled by the Holy. Not from slavish devotion looking to get to heaven! Its real not manufactured! Its another moment for self examination. But this comes from believing in the core of your being; you aren’t a Christian because you do the teachings of Christ. You do the teachings of Christ because you are a Christian. Its Him. Our very truth, life, way. Jesus.
v.         (Ac 1:3)“ to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
1.   Look-it detail. Presented alive after suffering.
2.   Many infallible proofs. Tekmarion. Unmistakable, convincing, beyond argument. Demonstrative.
3.   40 days. Dude. 40 days. This is our testimony! (ACT02)
4.   Taught them what he had been teaching. The kingdom of God. The reality of the promise, the fulfillment of the OT. The salvation of the whole world!
vi.         Even in this, as he rose up, some struggled still. For when we refuse to believe, will not believe, there is no amount of convincing. Looking right at him, (Mt 28:16–17)“ Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.”
1.   Christopher Hitchens, deceased now, an “evangelist” for atheism, said if you heard he converted on his death bed, don’t believe it. And all who were there at the end said no talk of God every even came up. His refusal to believe was complete. Reminding us of of God giving us up to the lie we exchange for the Truth. (Ro. 1:24,25)
vii.         Kingdom of God? This phrase is used 5 more times in acts in (8:12; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31), and though doesn’t appear very often is very central to theme. The book begins and “ends” with the term.
1.    (Ac 28:28–31)“ “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” 29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves. 30 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.”
2.   This rule, reign, and return is not just the establishing of His kingdom on earth in us, but the restoration of the nation of Israel and the second coming! Please don’t get caught up in replacement theology! Its about the reality of God, the gospel, etc. How we live how we go about our daily lives. It matters.
a.    Paul said: (Ro 14:17)“ for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
b.    John said to see it, (Jn 3:3)“ Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.””
c.    Don’t ignore this. Even after his resurrection, it is still about being, doing, living. This life matters.

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