The Hub of the Bible (Acts 1:1-2:47)

The Events related in the first and especially the second chapters of Acts are events that it took the death of God's Son to bring about. This time has been prophesied and looked forward to for thousands of years. The end of the Old and the beginning of the New. God's Kingdom is here!
Acts 1:1-26
  1. A Time Of Waiting - We can look at the first chapter of Acts as a time of waiting. From the time of Christ's death on Passover to the establishment of His Kingdom on Pentecost was 50 days. During this time we find a calm. This waiting period was not just a time to sit around; there was much to do. It was a time for "last minute" instructions and the setting of final details - a time of final preparation for what was to come. Christ did not ascend until every detail was in place. In this chapter we find five events: An introduction to the book, Christ's final charge, Christ's Ascension, a prayer meeting, and the selection of Matthias.
  2. The First 40 Days:
    1. Introduction of Book - (Vs 1-5) For forty days Christ showed Himself to the Apostles. The context suggests he did this in a variety of ways that would supply the apostles with many infallible proofs of his resurrection. This is very directly related to the task he gave them - be witnesses to me (vs. 8). Christ also continued to teach the disciples. During this time it appears that the teachings centered around two items: the coming kingdom and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
    2. Christ's Final Charge - (Vs 6-8) The question that is asked here, at first glance, would appear that the disciples were still not getting the point of Christ's teaching. However, recall that Christ has been teaching about only two things: the coming kingdom and the coming of the Spirit. If the Spirit was about to come, then so was the kingdom - in this much the disciples were on track. However, they still didn't completely grasp the nature of the kingdom and Christ's response focuses on that.
      1. His kingdom would be spiritual. Their receiving of the Spirit would mark the time when they receive power. It is then that the kingdom is established.
      2. His kingdom would be international. Opposed to their belief of in Israel, Christ tells them they will go to all the world.
    3. Christ's Ascension - (Vs 9-11) The significance of this event is that it finalized Christ's work while on earth. As long as Christ was here, the Spirit would not come. No Spirit, No kingdom. Christ's ascension marks a "shift" in work. No longer is Christ on earth directing their steps, now. They are working as lead by Christ through the Spirit. The angels question obviously wasn't meant for response. Instead it was meant to cause action. Christ is gone, now get to work!
  3. The Last Ten Days:
    1. A Prayer Meeting - (Vs 12-14) Upon returning from the Mount of Olives, the disciples gathered themselves together and prayed. Lk 24:53 shows that they also engaged in worship to God. What they prayed about can only be speculated. However, we do see two important elements of their prayer: First, it was unified. All were together and were with one accord in their prayer. Second, it was continual or lasting. The context suggests that this was not a one time event, but rather a general statement of how they were spending the final days before Pentecost.
    2. The Selection of Matthias - (Vs 15-26) The other event we have record of in the last ten days before Pentecost is the selection of Matthias to replace Judas. Here we see the disciples, especially Peter, showing a deeper understanding of what is to come. He begins to apply Jewish Scripture (Ps 69:25; 109:8) to the events now happening. In the selection process, we see but one requirement: the individual must have been with the group from John's baptism to the day Christ ascended. The whole decision process is as follows:
      1. Scripture
      2. Common Sense
      3. Prayer
      4. Casting Lots
Acts 2:1-47
Dan 2:44. After the nation of Israel was ripped in two, after both nations were conquered by rival nations and carried away we find the mention of a kingdom that was yet to come. This kingdom was to be no ordinary kingdom for it was the kingdom of God - a kingdom that would never be destroyed, a kingdom that would consume all kingdoms. Mt 16:13-20. After making a confession of Christ's true identity, a promise was give to Peter - he would receive the keys of the Kingdom. It isn't until Acts 2 that Peter uses these keys. As he does, we see the kingdom of God being opened up for entrance.
  1. Setting Of The Event - Acts 2:1-13
    1. Pentecost - (Vs 1) This was the middle of the three annual Jewish feast (Deut. 16:16), it was known by several names (First Fruits, Harvest Festival, Feast of Weeks, and Pentecost). The feast was held 7 weeks or 50 days after the Passover. All good and devout Jews would be gathered together for this feast.
      1. Acts 1:4-8; Mk 15:42-47. The events in Acts 2 did not happen "right after" the crucifixion of Christ. Instead we see that seven weeks had passed.
      2. Some commentators note that Pentecost also became a celebration of remembrance for the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai.
    2. Wonders - (Vs 2-4) Suddenly they received what they were waiting for - the Holy Spirit. The coming of the Spirit was accompanied by 3 supernatural wonders - a sound like wind, divided tongues like fire, and speaking in tongues. It is apparent in the following verses what speaking in tongues was for, but what is the purpose of the sound like wind and divided tongues like fire? Two possible meanings 1) given to call the Jews together (Vs 6) or it could be that they are suggestive of the Holy Spirit:
      1. Wind - it is gentle, powerful, invisible (Jn 3:8), and it is the breath of life.
      2. Fire - it gives light, provides warmth, it purifies, and it is an emblem of God himself (Heb 12:29)
    3. The Audience - (Vs 5-13) Because of the Pentecost, the devout Jew was in Jerusalem. They were not all in one place, but rather came together at the sound. The wonders, especially the speaking in tongues, caused great confusion. After all, these men who were speaking were nothing more that simple Galileans. The only possible explanation - they are drunk!
Peter's Sermon - Acts 2:14-41
  1. Full Sermon? - We see from Vs 40 that what we have is not the complete sermon as taught by Peter. Rather what we do have is the meat - or the very heart of his teachings.
  2. Spoken by Joel - (Vs 14-21) To begin, Peter dismisses the idea of being drunk and instead relates the events to the Jewish prophet Joel. By quoting Joel 2:28-32, Peter grabs the attention of the devout Jews who would know their scripture. This quote also serves to introduce the theme of his message: Salvation.
  3. Hear these words - (15-24) Peter now turns his attention to a development of his theme. Not only is the purpose salvation, but salvation and Christ. Note that what Peter is preaching here is what we refer to as the gospel: the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
  4. David Says - (25-36) After establishing the theme of his message, Peter returns to proof that would be familiar to the listener - Jewish scripture. Instead of just quoting the scripture, Peter give the explanation in light of his theme - Christ and Salvation. He uses the scripture to convict the Jew of killing Christ.
  5. Conclusion - (37-40) Once convicted, the audience seeks a way out of their situation. "How do we call?" is the question they ask. And, in his call to action Peter tells them what they must do - repent and be baptized for the remission of sins.
Result Of Pentecost - Acts 2:42-47
  1. Growth - (Vs 42-43) Those that were baptized indicates that there were some who, unfortunately, walked away from the offer of salvation. But those who were baptized were together not just to enjoy the company of one another, but the context seems to indicate it was a time of strengthening for the new converts.
  2. Unity - (44-47) The second result of Pentecost was unity among the believers. Note the things they did to bring about unity. These are indicators of a real change in those that were converted.
    1. together
    2. all things in common
    3. sold possessions and divided according to need
    4. daily in temple and house to house
    5. praising God.
  1. Church Unity - At the very beginning of the Church, we see what it means to really have unity. Instead of just "agreeing to disagree" we find that these people developed a concern for one another - to the point of selling personal possessions to meet the needs of another. What they did can be basically divided into three areas:
    1. Together daily - The believers were not just together 2-3 times a week, but rather every day! This daily interaction severed as a basis for the other things they did to bring about unity.
    2. All things in common - this does not mean the set up a commune, but rather made sure that the needs of each person was met. They did not sell everything they had else how could they be in their own house? The point is to meet all the needs of one another.
    3. Praising God - their time together was not just to socialize, but rather focused on give praise to the one who made all of this possible - GOD. With this focus, there was no time to bicker and backbite!
  2. Principle of Discipleship - another lesson we can learn from the believers here is the principle of Discipleship. Just because a person is converted does not mean the work is over. What we see at the end of Acts 2 is a summary of a some time together. While together, the apostles sought to strengthen the believers. If we are going to be active in the field, we need to be active in discipleship also.
  3. Sermons - We can also learn from this chapter the basic components of a sermon. Using Peter's sermon as an example we find at least five basic parts:
    1. Set-up - this part of the sermon brings together the occasion and briefly introduces the theme of the sermon
      1. Purpose - Instead of just rambling, a sermon should have a distinct purpose. Why are you speaking? What is purpose of this sermon? What do you want to teach?
      2. Text & Explanation - instead of just reading text, we need to take the time to explain it in light of the purpose of the sermon. Giving the sense of the text helps to convict and teach the listener
      3. Conclusion - obviously each sermon has to end. However, our conclusion should tie everything together and point the listener in a direction - edification, conviction, etc. . .
      4. Call to action - as part of the conclusion, a sermon should leave the listener with a choice to make - follow or reject this teaching.
    2. Focus of Teaching - Peter preached Christ. There can be no other focus in teaching than to teach Christ. Peter used the background of the audience to help them understand Christ. We need to find a ways to use what the audience already knows to help them