Praxis: A Study in Acts

Praxis - the Greek word for practice and the title for the book of Acts. This sermon series will be a close study on this historical narrative written by Paul’s friend, Luke, who also wrote the gospel of Luke. As members of a local church, it is important for us to acknowledge our origins. How did we get here? Who were the key leaders, and what exactly did they do? As they brought about a seemingly impossible transition, what can we learn from their sacrifice? Join us for Praxis starting September 17 & 18.

Acts 1:12-26

 — Dale Beaver

Message Notes

When faith starts to fade, watch the apostles.

Acts 1:12-14
12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile. 13 When they arrived, they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying. Here are the names of those who were present: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the zealot), and Judas (son of James). 14 They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.

Be constant and confident in your communion with God and others.

Acts 1:15-17
15 During this time, when about 120 believers were together in one place, Peter stood up and addressed them. 16 “Brothers,” he said, “the Scriptures had to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided those who arrested Jesus. This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David. 17 Judas was one of us and shared in the ministry with us.”

Acts 1:20
Peter continued, “This was written in the book of Psalms, where it says, ‘Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.’ It also says, ‘Let someone else take his position.’

Psalm 69:25  "Let their homes become desolate and their tents deserted."

Psalm 109:8  "Let his years be few; let someone else take his position."

Be confident in the Scriptures and constant in your study of them.

Acts 1:21
21 “So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus— 22 from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.”
23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen 25 as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven.

The faith of a believer is to be sustained with active waiting and listening.

 

Acts 1:6-8

 — Dale Beaver

Message Notes

Acts 1:1-8
1 In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.  4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:6-7
6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.

Acts 1:3
3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is political and geographical.

Luke 1:31-33 
(The angel said to Mary:)
31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

The Kingdom of God is tangible and eventual.

Luke 22:15-17
15 Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. 16 For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”

Luke 11:2
Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon.

The promise of “Kingdom come” supports the mission of Jesus now.

Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The Scope of Apostolic Mission
Jerusalem  (1:1-8:4)
Judea and Samaria (8:5-9:43)
“Ends of the earth” (10:1-28:31)

Isaiah 49:6
He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me.
    I will make you a light to the Gentiles,
    and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

Acts 1:1-5

 — Dale Beaver

Message Notes

Acts 1:1-5
1 In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God. 4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

The longer we read and study the Bible, the easier it is to assume that everyone knows or agrees with what we have come to see and understand. We can skip over "unimportant things" and lose the opportunity to experience the historical settingtheological background and apologetic nature of a book like Acts. In short, we lose a rational and reinforcing power to our faith that what we read really happened.

Acts 1:1-3a
1 In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive.

How can we know that Luke wrote a gospel and Acts?

Luke 1:1-4
1 Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. 2 They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. 3 Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write an accurate account for you, most honorable Theophilus, 4 so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.

The Gospel of Luke and Acts are two volumes, each about the length of a standard scroll and ordered in a similar way. In Luke's gospel, Jesus works among Jewish people as the Messiah, moves toward Jerusalem where he suffers, is crucified and resurrected. In Acts, the apostles work among the nations as witnesses to the Messiah as the church grows. The church moves from Jerusalem to Rome where it suffers and endures persecution but expands even as many believers die.

Luke 2:30-32
30 I have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared for all people. 32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

Evidence of Luke as Author
Papyrus 75: AD 175-200
Muratonian Fragment: AD 170-180
Irenaeus: AD 130-202
Clement: AD 150-215
"a co-worker" of Paul   Philemon 24
"the beloved doctor"    Colossians 4:14

When did Luke write these volumes?

Acts 28:30-31
30 For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him, 31 boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.

Significant Historical Events
Roman Fire/Neronian Persecution    AD 64
Jewish Temple Destruction     AD 70

In light of the tone of these final verses in Acts, Luke must have written before AD 64. Since Paul lived in this relative peace in Rome for "two years," we can estimate that Luke-Acts were written near AD 60.

Acts 1:3b-5
3b And (Jesus) talked to (the apostles) about the Kingdom of God. 4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”