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The Gospel Message as Found in the Acts of the Apostles

Mar. 28, 2012By: Ben StaffordAuthor Bio

Here are a smattering of times in Acts of the Gospel presentation.  It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to see the points of emphasis and commonalities. 

1.     Pentecost; Acts 2             

a.      Pentecostal event explained by Prophesy (Acts 2:17-21)

b.     Jesus was both man and God (Acts 2:22)

c.      He performed Mighty Miracles to confirm his deity (Acts 2: 22)

d.     Crucified according to divine sovereignty (Acts 2: 23)

e.      Resurrection and in accordance to prophesy (Acts 2:24-28)

f.       Ascension and in accordance to prophesy (Acts 2:33-35)

g.      Jesus is Lord which demands our allegiance (Acts 2:36)

h.     Jesus is the Christ which means God’s anointed one (Acts 2:36)

i.       Call to Repent & be baptized (Acts 2:38-41)

2.     Peter & John before the Sanhedrin Council 1st Time (Acts 4)          

a.      Resurrection (Acts 4:2,10)

b.     Salvation in Christ alone (no other name) (Acts 2:14) 

3.     The Apostles before the Sanhedrin Council 2nd Time (Acts 5)

a.      Resurrection & Exaltation of Christ (Acts 5:30, 31)

b.     Repentance & Forgiveness (Acts 5:31)

c.      Preached Jesus as the Christ (Acts 5:43)

4.     Philip in Samaria (Acts 8:4-25)   

a.      Preaching the good news of Christ and the kingdom (Acts 8:12)

b.     Preaching the Word of the Lord & the Gospel (Acts 8:25) 

5.     Peter in the House of Cornelius (Acts 10)                

a.      Christ is Lord of all (Acts 10:36)

b.     Death & Resurrection (Acts 10:39, 40)

c.      Christ as Judge of the Living & Dead (Acts 10:42)

d.     Faith in Christ alone brings forgiveness (Acts 10:43)

e.      Baptism follows (Acts 10:44-48) 

6.     Paul at Antioch of Pisidea (Acts 13)           

a.      History of Israel (Acts 13:18-25)

b.     Christ’s death & resurrection (Acts 13:26-37)

c.      Forgiveness proclaimed in Christ alone (Acts 13:38-41) 

7.     Paul in Athens in the Market Place (Acts 17:17-26)            

a.      He declared the one and true God (Acts 17:22-29)

b.     Call to repentance (Acts 17:30)

c.      Proclaims the resurrection & ultimate judgment by Jesus Christ (Acts 17:31)

8.     Paul’s witness before Felix (Acts 24)        

a.      He preached faith in Christ (Acts 24:24)

b.     He reasoned in righteous, self-control and judgment (Acts 24:25) 

9.     Paul in Rome under House Arrest (Acts 28)          

a.      Testifying of the Kingdom (Acts 28:23)

b.     Convincing them that Jesus was spoken by the Law and Prophets (Acts 28:23)

c.      Proclaiming the kingdom & teaching the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 28:30)

 

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Dour and Devoid of Joy - Not the Apostles

Feb. 29, 2012By: Ben StaffordAuthor Bio

So far in this series on the motives and driving force of evangelism in the book of Acts we have discussed:

1. A profound sense of the love of Christ in one’s life

2. Love and compassion for others: sensing the desperate need of others

3. A strong sense of duty and obedience to the Great Commission

4. A strong sense that it is the right thing to do.

We have three more to go.  Perhaps no collection of motives for spreading the good news would be complete without joy. In fact, it is simply remarkable to look at the apostle’s lives: They had abundant joy.  One can hardly concoct a picture of them as dour, serious people day in and day out.  

        …and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus (Acts 5:40- 42 ESV).

        About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, (Acts 16:25 ESV)

And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:48-52 ESV).

One hardly needs to add commentary to these passages.  There is joy in one’s salvation; joy in leading others to Christ; joy in the service of evangelism even in the face of persecution.

When we find darkness all around us, when we are persecuted, when all factors seem to be against us or the cause of God, what songs if any are we singing?  Can we say with the Psalmist:

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” 

If our joy is in God alone, then our joy cannot be lost or stolen no matter how many other things in our lives are lost or stolen. More than that, if our joy is in God alone, it will be a driving force in our lives for evangelism, no matter the costs. This joy cannot be manufactured. It is a fruit of the Spirit. If we abide in Him, He gives it to us.  

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They sensed the desperate need of others

Feb. 8, 2012By: Ben StaffordAuthor Bio

Two weeks ago, in this series on the motives for evangelism we looked at the apostles and saw that their primary motive was a profound sense of the love of Christ in their life.

When I think of Jesus I often think of his compassion; largely because it's a quality I need a lot of work on. This is an area the apostles modeled so well.  Like Jesus, they would look at people and love them. They would look at them and have compassion on them.  This love and compassion only happens if we sense the desperate need of others. 

As Jesus did, we ought to see and be moved by the needs of others, both physical needs, and eternal needs. 

We could boil down the apostle's message to what is summarized in Acts 4:10 -

let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.  11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation bin no one else, for there is no other dname under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

There are many examples in Acts: The examples in Acts of compassion on others are plentiful:
     -Those with physical handicaps were healed
     -Compassion on those in poverty
     -Compassion for those trapped in idolatry
     -Compassion on those who were demon possessed
     -And Compassion for those with intellectual and religious pride.
     -The list could go on.

Examining your motives for evangelism and aiding others, how much is it because you truly have compassion on the other person, seeking to see them well?

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