Acts 1:1-20: "Concerning The "Former Account" Theophilus
The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 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, 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.
The Holy Spirit Promised
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me* in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
Jesus Ascends to Heaven
(Cross reference with Mark 16:19,20; Luke 24:50-53)
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."
The Upper Room Prayer Meeting
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James.These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,* with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
(cross reference with. Psalms 109:8)
"And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples* (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, "Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry."
(Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.)
"For it is written in the Book of Psalms: "'Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it';* and, "Let* another take his office.'* "Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection."
And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, "You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place." And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Bible Study Outline: Exposition of the Book of Acts Chapter One
Introduction: What This Book is All About!
The Book of Acts is the 5th book in the New Testament part of the Bible. Acts of the Apostles was written by Luke, the “beloved” Physician, who also wrote the 3rd Gospel account that bears his name. The Book of Acts is a continuation of what Luke wrote in the Gospel of Luke concerning the ministry of Jesus Christ and the beginning of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Dispensation of Grace.
Luke wrote to reveal to us those things what Jesus "began to do and teach" in the Gospel of Luke and shows us in Acts what Jesus continued to do and teach through the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven.
The "key" verse in Chapter one is Acts 1:8: "But you shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
The Book of Acts records the ascension and promised return of the risen Lord in Acts 1. In the next chapter, (Acts 2) Luke takes us up in the upper room where 120 faithful servants await the promise and experiences the advent and baptism of the Holy Spirit historically for the 1st time. Having been baptized with the Holy Spirit and empowered to began the evangelistic work of forming the Christian church, this book progressively shows how the church became the mystical Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). It also recounts Peter's use of the keys of the kingdom of the heavens given to him by Jesus after Jesus took them from Satan when he in death went into the underworld to gather out the saints from the Paradise section making them the “first fruits” of the resurrection. Peter used those “Kingdom keys” in order to open the gospel opportunity for this age to the Jews in Acts 2, to the Samaritans in Acts 8, and to the Gentiles in Acts 10. Acts chapter 9 describes Paul's conversion and the extension of Christianity through him to the "remotest part of the earth."
The theme of the Book of Acts is “1st Century Missions.” The book is divided into three sections:
The 1st section starts with the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven to the rise of the first purely Gentile church, at Antioch, where the disciples consequently were first called CHRISTIANS at the close of Acts Chapter 11. Inclusive in the 1st section is Saul of Tarsus who persecutes the church in chapter 8 and ultimately is converted in Chapter 9 and became Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles.
The 2nd section begins with God vision to Peter concerning the conversion of Gentiles and the conversion of Cornelius, a Gentile Centurion. From there, Paul is summoned through a special night vision at Troas to carry the Gospel in to Phiippi in Macedonia to Europe in Acts Chapter 16.
The 3rd section chronicles the missionary journeys of Paul as they meander through Europe and Asia Minor until he reaches his final missionary journey in Rome.In each of the three periods the church has a distinct aspect: in the first, Jewish; in the second, Gentile with a strong Jewish admixture; in the third, after the council at Jerusalem, the church became Gentile in a preponderating degree.
This book contains 5 great important features in having its place in the New Testament Cannon.
- This book is the only inspired account of the beginning of and the early work of the church.
- This book clarifies some of the historical references found in Paul’s Epistles.
- Acts is the bridge that connects the Gospels to the Epistles in the Bible.
- Acts is the “primary textbook if you wish to study about the principles of missionary work. Those works include the defense of the Christian faith, the “Person and work” of the Holy Spirit, and the methods and themes of Christian preaching. The Book of Acts has also been called the Acts of the Holy Spirit because in this book the Holy Spirit has also been referred to as the Holy Ghost and “the Spirit” more than 50 times and in the King James Version of the Bible.
- As it opens up, all the 1st Chapter of Acts gives us a clear picture of “a church in waiting”, that is, the actual birth of the Christian church.
I. The Purpose of the writing of the Gospel of Luke: Tying it to the Book of Acts
“Christ’s 40-day Ministry” (Verses 1-7)
Luke addresses this book (and addressed the Gospel of Luke) to Theophilus.
THEOPHILUS means “friend of God” He was a Gentile, possibly a Roman having a high position of rank in the Roman government who came under the influence of Luke, or under that of Paul at Rome, and was converted to the Christian faith. According to tradition, both Luke and Theophilus were natives of Antioch in Syria.
Points of Power and "some things" to ponder:
Christ communicated the Holy Spirit to his disciples, after his resurrection, as he had not done before. In Luke 24:45, it is said that he opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures; and in John 20:22, that he breathed on them, and said, receive ye the Holy Spirit. Previously to this, we may suppose that the disciples were only on particular occasions made partakers of the Holy Spirit; but from this time it is probable that they had a measure of this supernatural light and power constantly resident in them. By this they were not only able to proclaim the truth, but to discern the meaning of all the Old Testament Scriptures which referred to Christ; and to appoint whatever rites or ordinances were necessary for the establishment of his church.
There were many things which the apostles said, did, and decreed, for which they had no verbal instructions from our Lord, at least, none that are recorded in the Gospels; we may therefore conclude that these were suggested to them by that Holy Spirit which now became resident in them, and that it is to this that Luke refers in this verse, After that he, through the Holy Spirit, had given commandments unto the apostles.
Luke writing to Theophilus: I wrote in my first treatise (book) about everything Jesus did and taught until the day of He ascended up into Heaven and spoke through the Holy Ghost. He showed Himself alive to the Apostles after He rose from the grave and spent 40 days with, showing them many proofs that He was alive and talking to them about the kingdom of God. (vs. 1-4)
Below is a list of several "infallible proofs" that prove that Jesus rose from the grave and many saw him after His resurrection.
1. Appearing to several different persons at different times.
2. His eating and drinking with them.
3. His meeting them in Galilee according to his own appointment.
4. His subjecting his body to be touched and handled by them.
5. His instructing them in the nature and doctrines of his kingdom.
6. His appearing to upwards of five hundred persons at once, 1 Corinthians 15:6. And,
7. Continuing these public manifestations of himself for forty days
There were several appearances of Jesus Christ, during the forty days of his sojourning with his disciples, between his resurrection and ascension,
1. The first was to Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, Matthew 28:1-9.
2. The second, to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, Luke 24:15.
3. The third, to Simon Peter, Luke 24:34.
4. The fourth, to ten of the apostles, Thomas being absent, Luke 24:36, and John 20:19. (All these four appearances took place on the day of his resurrection.)
5. The fifth was to the eleven disciples, Thomas being then with them, John 20:26.
6. The sixth, to seven of the apostles in Galilee, at the sea of Tiberius, John 21:4.
7. The seventh, to James, 1 Corinthians 15:7, most probably in Jerusalem, and when Jesus gave an order for all his apostles to assemble together, as in Acts 1:4.
8. The eighth, when they were assembled together, and when he led them unto Bethany, Luke 24:50, from whence he ascended to heaven. But see the note at John 21:14, for further particulars
Noteworthy: Acts 1:3 is the only written reference in the New Testament of how long Jesus remained on earth after the resurrection before He ascended into heaven.
Jesus gave the Apostles their final instructions: “Wait For the Promise”
Jesus to the Apostles: Don’t leave Jerusalem! Wait for the promise from God the Father that you heard me speak of to you. John (the Baptist) baptized with water (symbolic of repentance), but you shall be baptized (empowered) with the Holy Ghost. Not too many days from now.
Apostles question to Jesus: “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel again?(to prominence or as the “lead nation”)
Jesus response: “It’s not for you to know the times or the seasons which God the father hath put in His own power” (vs. 6-7)
Noteworthy: Jesus for those 40 days He spent with the Apostles taught them those things pertaining to the kingdom of God, teaching them out of the Scriptures according to Luke 24:27, vs. 32, and verses 44-45. The only thing He did not talk about was when the kingdom of Israel would be restored. But notice that He didn’t rebuke them for asking because the question was valid. However, the answer He gave them was consistent with what He had taught them on numerous occasions based on Matthew 24:36, vs. 42, &44, and Chapter 25:13 as well as what was written by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:1 that is, God has kept that day to Himself and nobody in heaven or earth knew when that day was but God.
II. Jesus Commissioned them: “Evangelize the World” (vs. 8)
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me* in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
The disciples were to be made instruments in the establishment of the kingdom of Christ; but this must be by the energy of the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven; nevertheless, this energy would be given in such times and seasons, and in such measures, as should appear best to the infinite wisdom of God.
Noteworthy: This commission was carried out city by city in the order Jesus told them to evangelize. Jerusalem was evangelized beginning in Acts 2:1. Judea and Samaria was evangelized starting at Acts 8:5 to verse 25. They evangelized the rest of the world at verse 26 and beyond.
After this….while the Apostles were looking at Him, Jesus was taken up and a cloud received him out of their sight (vs. 9)
III. Divine Conformation: The Promise of Jesus’ Return (to the earth) (verses 10-11)
While the Apostles were looking steadfast toward heaven as Jesus went up 2 men (angels) stood by them in white apparel.
They said: “Why stand you looking up into heaven? This same Jesus that was taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven”.
Noteworthy: It was important for them to remember that Jesus had to depart into heaven for 3 reasons:
First to go and prepare a place for them (all believers)
Jesus told them that if He didn’t go, the Holy Spirit could not come and it was to their advantage that He left so God the Father could fulfill His promise to send the Holy Spirit to complete the evangelism work assigned through the Apostles and every future witness to help gather a people who would accept God through Jesus Christ regardless of race (Jews and Gentiles) as well as guide and enlighten to Christ like living based on the Scriptures. He assured them in John 14:3 He was coming back to get them.
The second reason was for Jesus to now take his second position as our Great High Priest and our intercessor until the Holy Spirit completed His evangelism and teaching and guidance work in the believer who has a evangelism commission to work. (Matthew 28:19-20)
As Jesus ascended up to heaven right before their eyes, they were both in awe and perplexed, remembering according to the Gospel of John the fact that He told them that He was to return to the Father in heaven and the Holy Spirit would be sent to them in a very few days. And wondering how soon would Jesus be returning. The angels reminded them in a way to refocus and get prepared to be empowered for the evangelism work ahead.
The 3rd reason Jesus ascended back to God the Father at this time was to close the door on the 1st part of His Advent and assure the world that He would return a second time but in 2 ways separated by at least 7 years.
Isaiah 53, Psalms 22 gives us in a summary the view the 1st Advent. The 1st Advent ended with a crucified, resurrected and rejected and suffering Messiah and Servant. Remember to Israel as a nation Jesus departed as the rejected Messiah. In his 2nd advent in the future, Jesus makes 2 appearances:
The first appearance will be in the air to gather out and judge the church according to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16, and to execute judgment on Israel because of their rejection of Him as Messiah. Both will be simultaneous
For the church, it’s called the Rapture. The Judgment of the Church is called “The Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-12) (2 Corinthians 5:10)
For Israel, it’s called “The Day of The Lord”, “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble”, “The Time of Great Tribulation” and The Great Day of The Lord”. Israel’s punishment will last 7-years. (Daniel 9:27 and Revelation 11:2)
Revelation Chapters 6 through Chapter 19 describes in detail everything that will take place during this time of Great tribulation.
The 2nd Advent starts in Revelation Chapter 19 through Chapter 22. Christ comes back with the saints, judges the Gentile nations based on how they treat Israel during the Great Tribulation period. Those nations that opposed Israel in any way will be destroyed. Those that support Israel will be spared and given a chance to be saved and became part of the Millennial Kingdom.
IV. Waiting for the Promised Holy Spirit (verses 12-14)
The 11 returned from Mount Olivet about ½ mile (Sabbath day journey according to the Jewish leaders, not the Mosaic Law) to Jerusalem to the Upper Room where they ate the Last Old Testament Passover and met up with Mary, Jesus mother, the other women, (Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary, the mother of James) along with Jesus brothers. (12-13)
They continued with one accord: praying and making supplication. (vs. 14)
V. The Choosing of Matthias (Replacing Judas) (verses 15-26)
Peter addresses the need to fulfill a Scriptural Prophecy concerning Judas Iscariot. (vs. 15-20)
The main purpose was to stay in constant devotion. Acts 6:4, "We will give ourselves continually to the ministry of the word." Rom 12:12, "Continuing instant in prayer"; Romans 13:6, "
VI. Criteria for being Chosen (vs. 21-26)
- They had to have been with Jesus and the Disciples when Jesus was alive physically on earth since Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
- They has 2 set aside for consideration: Joseph Barsabas, surnamed Justus and Matthias
- They prayed and asked God to show them which one is to be chosen.
- They chose Matthias……In Acts Chapter 9, Jesus chose Saul of Tarsus
The common mode of casting lots was to write the names of the persons on pieces of stone, wood, etc., and put them in one urn, and the name of the office, portion, etc., on others. These were then placed in an urn with other pieces of stone, etc., which were blank. The names were then drawn at random, and also the other pieces, and this settled the case. The casting of a lot is determined by laws of nature as regularly as anything else. After they chose Matthias, you will notice that from that point you never hear of him or read of him in the Bible
Dr. William Edward Boddie