April 24 – (Acts 1:1-5) (Acts 1) Let’s get an overview of Acts before we dig in.  Believe it or not, Acts is a sequel to the Gospel of Luke.  Both were written by Luke, a physician who traveled with the apostle Paul.  Both books were written to Theopphilus. Acts ends with Paul under house arrest, awaiting trial before Caesar, c. A.D. 62.  Many scholars assume Acts was written then because it does not record Paul’s defense, release, and further gospel preaching. The purpose for Luke to write this book seems to be the same as for writing Luke (Luke 1:3-4) which was to give an “orderly” account of the early church after Christ’s resurrection.

                The theme of this book: The Holy Spirit empowers believers to declare the gospel among both Jews and Gentiles.  In doing so they establish the church.  The church is the fulfillment of God’s promises from the beginning of time.

                What was the one thing Jesus instructed the disciples to wait for?  Who “waited” with the disciples? Do we need to “wait” today? In a few weeks, we will be urging a time of prayer and fasting.  As we engage in this season, I pray the Holy Spirit will be heard in a might way.  How can a study of the book of Acts help prepare us? 

April 25 – (Acts 1:6-11) Verse 8 states the key theme of Acts.  It begins with the Spirit’s empowering of the witness to Jesus.  Then It provides a rough outline of the book:  Jerusalem (chs. 17), Judea and Samaria (chs. 8-12), and the end of the earth (chs. 13-28).  The Holy Spirit will bring effectiveness in witness and ministry (1:8; Matt. 28:19), victory over sin (Acts 2:42-46; 16:16-18; 2 Cor. 10:3-4; Eph. 6:10-18; 1 John 4:4), and gifts for ministry (Acts 2:16-18; 1 Cor. 12:11; 1 Pet. 4:10).  The word “power” occurs at least seven other times in Acts to describe the working of miracles alongside gospel proclamation (see Act 2:22; 3:12; 6:8; 8:10.

                In verse 9, it says a cloud took Jesus out of sight.  A cloud is often associated with God’s presence.  Think of the times you have read that a cloud was mentioned in the OT.  Which one stands out?  Of course, I thought of the journey to the promised land (Canaan).  Then I thought of the drought where Elijah prayed that it would end and that rain would come (I Kgs. 18). As Elijah prayed, he periodically kept sending the servant to look for a cloud.  It took a while but finally there was a wisp of a cloud…. then downpour.  Are we in a spiritual famine/drought?  Will continued prayer and seeking Him bring (after a time) a small wisp of God’s Presence, but if we keep fervently seeking Him eventually receive a downpour?   Selah

April 26 – (Acts 1:12-26) One of the prerequisites of picking a replacement disciple was the man needed to have been part of Jesus’ followers from the baptism of John to the current day.  I never thought of anyone except the 12 would have been with Jesus throughout His ministry.  Hmm.

April 27 – (Acts 2:1-13) Get a map and see how far the people were from who heard their own language spoken by the Galileans who received the Holy Spirit.  Why do you think they were all in Jerusalem to begin with? God disperses and draws people together for His Good Purpose!

                DID YOU KNOW? Nations at Pentecost. The list of nations in 2:9-11 covers most of the first-century Roman world.  Many Jews who lived outside Palestine traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost, an annual feast.  The Holy Spirit enabled them to hear the disciples speak in their own languages (2:6).

April 28 – (Acts 2:14-28) In Old Testament times, God’s Spirit did not permanently remain in people who trusted him.  Instead, God usually sent his Spirit to inspire specific people at specific times.  Though Jesus had talked with his disciples about the new role of the Spirit, The Jews were amazed at the outpouring of God’s Spirit on the day of Pentecost and the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy.  What did they hear from Peter to explain some of these things?

April 29 – (Acts 2:29-41) There are many differing opinions surrounding Jesus’ ascension and the Holy Spirit descending.  Oswald Chambers’ description gave me some “ponderables”.  Tell me what you think. 

 THE LIFE TO KNOW HIM   By Oswald Chambers

                The disciples had to tarry, staying in Jerusalem until the day of Pentecost, not only for their own preparation but because they had to wait until the Lord was actually glorified.  And as soon as He was glorified, what happened? “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear” (Acts. 2:33).  The statement in John 7:39- “…for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified”-does not pertain to us.  The Holy Spirit has been given; the Lord is glorified-our waiting is not dependent on the providence of God, but on our own spiritual fitness.

                The Holy Spirit’s influence and power were at work before Pentecost, but He was not here.  Once our Lord was glorified in His ascension, the Holy Spirit came into the world, and He has been here ever since.  We must receive the revealed truth that He is here.  The attitude of receiving and welcoming the Holy Spirit into our lives is to be the continual attitude of a believer.  When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive reviving life from our ascended Lord.

                It is not the baptism of the Holy Spirit that changes people, but the power of the ascended Christ coming into their lives through the Holy Spirit.  We all too often separate things that the New Testament never separates.  The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not an experience apart from Jesus Christ- it is the evidence of the ascended Christ. The baptism of the Holy Spirit does not make you think of time or eternity-it is one amazing glorious now.  “This is eternal life, that they may know You…” (John 17:3).  Begin to know Him now, and never finish.

April 30 – (Acts 2:42-47) It says “They continued steadfastly in the apostle’ doctrine and fellowship, in breaking of bread, and prayers”.  What do you think the apostles’ doctrine was?  Do we do all those things as a church today as well?