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LESSON 1 ON-GOING CHURCH - ACTS OF THE APOSTLES BIBLE STUDY

Welcome to our Mailbox Bible Study Course. We trust you will enjoy these lessons as much as we did composing them. We are glad to be able to serve the Lord and you in this way. Many are being saved and helped through these simple Bible lessons. We suggest that you try to do one lesson each week; this will keep your interest in them active. This particular course contains twenty three on The on-going Church - Acts of the Apostles Bible Studies. Read through this lesson carefully and complete the answers to the lesson by clicking on this word here "LESSON AND TEST IN MICROSOFT WORD FORMAT" and then save it to your computer. Once you have answered all the questions in the test, attach the test questions or copy and paste them into an email addressed to email.bible.lessons@gmail.com with your name and email address and send it to us. We will then evaluate and return any corrections to you with your next lesson. On completion of the full course you will receive a beautifully presented certificate. Should you have difficulty opening these files or sending the email please let us know by return email. We suggest that you print these lessons and put them in a binder for future studies.

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Your Instructor
Harold Smith

All Courses are copyright and are being used as Courses by permission I gratefully acknowledge the permission from the publisher and author for the use of this material Copyright 1979 by R.E. Harlow ISBN 0-88873-011-X Everyday Publications Inc. 421 Nugget Ave. Unit 2 Scarborough Ont. M1S 4L8


LESSON 1:- ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

CHRIST SENDS THE HOLY SPIRIT CHAPTER 1

JESUS GOES BACK TO HEAVEN
Why did Luke write the book of Acts? Acts 1:1-2. Luke had already written his Gospel which he had addressed to a man called Theophilus which means friend of God. He was probably a Gentile believer and Luke wanted him to know that the Lord Jesus did not only die for our sins but that He rose again from death and went back to heaven. Even now He continues to work with His servants, Mark 16:20; Matthew 28:20, and prays for us, Hebrews 7:25. In his gospel Luke had told about all that, the Lord Jesus had begun to do and teach when He was here on earth. In Acts he told about His continuing work through His servants after He had returned to heaven.

THE FORTY DAYS AFTER CHRIST'S RESURRECTION, 1.3-8
Verse 3: Did the Lord Jesus go to heaven right after He rose from the dead? This verse shows that after His resurrection He was seen of the apostles and many others for a period of forty days and proved in many ways that He was alive again. See also 1 Corinthians 15:4-8. It was impossible for the Lord of life and glory to remain in the grave! The followers of many religions worship men who have died. No doubt, these were great men but now they are dead. Not so the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Saviour died too when He bore God's penalty for our sins, but He rose again from death. This shows that God accepted the work He did when He died on the Cross. Our Saviour is alive again forever and ever, Revelation 1.18. We serve a risen, living Saviour! During these forty days, the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples about the kingdom of God, Verse 3. What is the kingdom of God? At the present time, it is God's rule in the hearts and lives of men who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Verse 4,5: The disciples probably wanted to go back to their fishing, John 21.3. Or perhaps they wanted to start preaching the Gospel right away to the people around them because the Lord Jesus had already commanded them to preach the Gospel to every creature, Mark 16.15. But the time for this had not yet come and the Lord Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem for a while until they received the Holy Spirit whom He had promised to send, see John 16.7,12-14. John had baptized with water those who repented, but they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit before long, Matthew 3.11: The apostles did not ask any questions about receiving the Holy Spirit, but they did wonder if Christ would set up His kingdom at that time. They were thinking about an earthly kingdom for Israel. This is what they were hoping for because then the Jewish people would no longer be ruled by the hated Romans. Also, the disciples probably expected to have important places in that new kingdom. They seemed to have forgotten that the Lord Jesus had said His kingdom is not of this earth, John 18.36. He had also said that in the world they would have outward trouble and inner peace, but not political freedom, John 16.33. For 40 days after rising from the dead, the Lord had taught about the kingdom of God, a spiritual kingdom, but somehow they had completely misunderstood His teaching. Verse 7,8: However the Old Testament shows that in the future Christ will set up His kingdom here on earth, see Daniel 7:13-14. The Lord told His disciples that it was not important for them to know when this would be. God the Father has decided on the date. The most important thing for them was that:

1. They would receive power, heavenly power, when the Holy Spirit came on them.
2. They were to be Christ's witnesses

1) In Jerusalem, then

2) In Judea and Samaria, and finally

3) To all people everywhere to the very ends of the earth.

What a challenging verse this is! The Lord gave similar commands in the four Gospels after His resurrection: He told His disciples to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation, Mark 16.15. Repentance and forgiveness of sins were to be preached to all nations and the disciples were to be witnesses of these things, Luke 24:45-49. They were to teach all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all that the Lord had commanded them, Matthew 28:16-20. The Lord Jesus Himself was sending them forth as God the Father had sent Him, John 20.21-23. Jerusalem Judea and Samaria to the ends of the earth . . . The rest of Acts shows how the Gospel reached these various areas and the book can be divided accordingly:

Jerusalem Acts 1.1-7.60

Judea and Samaria 8:1-11.18

The ends of the earth 11:19-28.31


Most of us do not live in the land of Israel, but that does not excuse us from applying to ourselves the command in verse 8 and those in the Gospels. Our "Jerusalem" is the town or village where we live and where people know us well. We must witness to them first and tell them about Christ. Our own families and the people of our hometown are our first responsibility. But they are only part of our responsibility. We are to be witnesses also in "Judea and Samaria", that is, our own territory and the rest of our country. And that is not all. In addition to all these people, the Lord commands us to preach the Gospel to all people everywhere! Of course, no one person can himself preach the Gospel to all people. The Lord chooses and sends His servants to different lands with the Gospel and we should be ready to go wherever He sends us. In addition, we should have a burden for the people in all other countries. We should share in the witness of God's servants in those lands by praying for them and helping with our gifts to make it possible for them to live there. Yes, you must start in your hometown, your Jerusalem, but do not spend all your strength for the rest of your life witnessing only to the people of your own neighbourhood. Christ commands you to share in the work of spreading the Gospel in the whole world. How will you be able to do this? Not in your own strength and wisdom. The disciples would soon receive power when the Holy Spirit would come on them. You and I have already received that power. We received it when the Holy Spirit came to live in us at the very moment we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as our own Saviour. Only in the power of the Holy Spirit will you be able to obey the very important command in verse 8.

THE LORD JESUS RETURNS TO HEAVEN, 1.9-11
Verse 9 Read these verses together with Luke 24:50-51. Verses 7 and 8 seem to have been the Lord's last words to His disciples before He returned to heaven. How surprised they must have been when they saw Him being taken up right before their eyes! Was that cloud an ordinary cloud? We do not know. It makes us think of the cloud in the book of Exodus, which was a sign of God s glory and presence with His people. See Exodus 33:9-11;40:34; Mark 9.7. And so the Lord Jesus went from them into heaven to pray for us, Hebrews 9.24;7.25. He will remain there until all His enemies have been made a footstool for His feet, Psalm 110.1. Verse 10-11: The disciples were longingly looking up into heaven when suddenly two men stood with them. No doubt they were angels and they remind us of those whom the women saw at the Lord's grave after He rose from death. See Luke 24.1-5 and John 20.12. What amazing words the angels told them! Their Lord would come back again the way they had seen Him go up to heaven! No doubt, they remembered the beautiful words of the Lord Jesus in John 14.3 and His prayer in John 17.24. They knew the Old Testament prophecy, which says that in the future the Lord Jesus would return and stand again on the Mount of Olives, Zechariah 14.4. Read also the Lord s own words in Matthew 10.23 and 16.27. The disciples must have wondered how all these verses fitted together. At this time, they did not yet know that the Lord would come to the air to take all true believers to be with Himself before He would return to this earth. This truth was revealed later to Paul and through him to us in 1 Thessalonians 4.13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15.51-58. Even so, the words of the two men must have been a great comfort to the disciples. Their beloved Lord WOULD COME BACK!

Those of us who love the Lord Jesus are looking forward with great joy to the day when He comes again. But those who do not know Him yet as their Saviour will have no more opportunity to be saved. Now is a good time to ask the Lord Jesus to become your Saviour.

MATTHIAS IS CHOSEN TO TAKE JUDAS' PLACE, 1.12-26
Verse 12-13: So the apostles returned to Jerusalem to the upper room where they were staying. Was it the same room where the Lord Jesus had taught them to break the bread and drink from the cup to remember Him? See Luke 22.12. We do not know, but all the disciples were there except Judas Iscariot, see Luke 6.13-16. Judas had hanged himself when he saw that Jesus was condemned to die because he knew He was innocent, Matthew 27.3-5. Verse 14: There were others with the apostles in that upper room. Mary the mother of Jesus was there together with other women. We do not know who these women were but no doubt, those who had gone to Jesus' grave early that Sunday morning were among them, see Luke 23.55-24.10. And Jesus' brothers were there! They had not believed in Him when He was among them, John 7.5, but now, after His resurrection, we see them also among the believers! What were all these people doing? They joined together continuously in prayer, no doubt, waiting and looking forward to the time when the Holy Spirit would come on them as the Lord had said in verse 8. Verse 15: Peter seems to have been the leader of the group of believers. It is true that he had denied his Lord, but he had repented and the Lord had given him the privilege of serving Him again, see Luke 22.54-62; John 21.15-17. Verse 16-17; The disciples must have all been very upset when Judas betrayed the Lord Jesus, but Peter understood that this had been foretold in the Old Testament, Psalm 41.9, and was therefore part of God's purposes. Verse 18,19: Here we read that Judas had bought a field with the money, which the chief priests and elders had, given him, Matthew 26.14,15. He died in this very field perhaps because he did not know how to hang himself successfully. Actually, Judas had returned the money to the chief priests and elders, and it seems that they had bought this field in his name because it was really his money, Matthew 27.3-8. Verse 20: Peter used two more verses from the book of Psalms 69:25 and 109:8, to show that they should choose someone to take Judas' place as a leader of God s people. Verse 21,22: What kind of person would be able to take Judas' place? It had to be someone who:

 

1.         Had been with the Lord Jesus the whole time He was here on earth;

2.         Had seen Him after He rose from death and so would be a witness to His resurrection.

 

Verse 23: Two men were suggested of whom these things were true, but we know nothing about them except their names.

Verse 24,25: Which man should the disciples choose? They did not know and so they wisely asked the Lord to show them His choice. Yes, God knows everyone s heart, yours and mine also. He also knows our sins but is ready to forgive us if we ask Him to do so, 1 John 1.9.

Verse 26 In the Old Testament people drew lots frequently to find out the Lord's will, see Joshua 18.10; 1 Samuel 14.41; Proverbs 16.33; Matthew 27.35. Acts 1.26 is the last time we read about drawing lots in the New Testament. Now we have the whole Word of God in our hands to show us His will and the Holy Spirit in our hearts to guide us, so we no longer need to draw lots. So Matthias became the twelfth apostle in Judas' place, but we do not read anything else about him in the New Testament. Later Paul became an apostle and others also were called apostles: Barnabas, 14.14; James, the Lord's brother, Galatians 1.19.


TEST 1: LESSON 1: ACTS

PLEASE DELETE THE WRONG ANSWER (TRUE OR FALSE)

1. Luke was likely a Jewish doctor. True: ..................... False: ....................

2. Jesus was seen of the ten days after His resurrection. True: ..................... False: ....................

3. He told them they were to witness about the kingdom to come. True: ..................... False: ....................

4. The angels said "this same Jesus" would come again. True: ..................... False: ....................

5. God only knows our hearts when we speak out of it. True: ..................... False: ....................


FILL IN THE MSSING WORD

6. Ye shall be .................... unto ...................., both in Jerusalem, Judea Samaria.

7. Judas .................... himself, when He .................... the Lord

8. Peter seemed to be the .................... of the group

9. .................... was chosen to take .................... place

10. The follower of religious .................... are following .................... men


PLEASE FILL IN YOUR DETAILS  FOR YOUR CERTIFICATE

Your name: .......................................................................................................................................
Email Address: .......................................................................................................................................
Country: .......................................................................................................................................
Birthday: .......................................................................................................................................

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Created by Harold Smith
Updated May 2013 by Shelly Allen