Read: Acts 11-12
Marked: Acts 19:19-20, Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned [them] in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and [it] totaled fifty thousand [pieces] of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
Peter had brought the gospel to the gentile Cornelius and his household. A persecution followed the death of Stephen and believers were scattered.
At first, they brought the gospel only to Jews (V19), but among the scattered were men from Cyprus and Cyrene and they brought the gospel to the Hellenists in Antioch and eventually gentiles heard the gospel and a “great number believed and turned to the Lord” (V21b).
When the commandment to go and make disciples is obeyed we see the fruit of it. As promised in Matthew 28:20, “the hand of the Lord was with them” (V21). The Lord is always with those who do what He commands
Read: Acts 9-10
Marked: Acts 10:28, Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Peter had received a vision of various kinds of animals which God told him to eat. But Peter objected on the grounds of clean and unclean animals. God then said that what He had cleansed must not be called common (V15). Meanwhile, the Roman Centurion Cornelius, had been told by an Angel to call Peter who would tell him what to do (V1-6).
Peter understood from his vision that God wanted the gospel to go to the gentiles even though he had been incorrectly taught not to go near anyone unclean because gentiles had no restrictions in what they could eat. A pious Jew considered anyone who ate what the Law forbade to be unclean.
But the gospel is for all and since it was given to Jews first (Romans 1:16), Jews had to go to the gentiles to proclaim the gospel. Peter, knowing God’s will, set aside any reservations he had and went to Cornelius even though he knew he was going against the customs and traditions of the teachers of the Law.
Not doing what God instructs because of tradition, or an incorrect understanding of God’s Word, prevents the gospel from going out. But obedience to God, going and making disciples of all the nations produces a great harvest from every tribe and tongue. And so, not only Cornelius was saved, but his whole household, and they were baptized.
Amazing things can be done when the people of God do what He commands.
Read: Acts 7-8
Marked: Acts 7:42-43, “Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets: ‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices [during] forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch, And the star of your god Remphan, Images which you made to worship; And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’”
Not only did they follow God in the wilderness but they also followed false religious practices and god’s from other cultures.
God warns us not to add to or take away from His Word (Revelation 22:18). Neither should we add anything to our faith in God; neither the traditions of men, nor false religions.
If we do we don’t wind up with a more solid faith which is really no faith at all because it’s not a true faith. We are to hold fast to the truth. The faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).
If we add anything at all let us add to our faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love (2 Peter 1:5-7).
Read: Acts 4-6
Marked: Acts 4:18, So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
Many religious or spiritual people hold a high view of Jesus, yet only think Jesus was an exalted man, someone who had touched the divine or was imbued with power from on high.
But they reject Jesus as being unique, God in the flesh, and the only way to heaven, and hold beliefs where there is little to no evidence for. They believe the traditions of men but not the Word of God.
Blinded by the corruption in their hearts they believe what their deceived minds convince them is true and reject Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).
Read: Acts 1-3
Marked: Acts 1:8, “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.”
In Matthew 28, Jesus commissions those who follow Him, to go and make disciples of all the nations; literally all ethnicities.
Here in Acts, Jesus further instructs and empowers His disciples to fulfil the Great Commission. They, and all followers of Jesus, shall receive power to be witnesses, even to the end of the earth. Without the power of the Holy Spirit we would not be able to fulfil what Jesus has commanded us to do.
We must remember we are not alone. Jesus is always with us (Matthew 28:20) and we are empowered by the Holy Spirit who is our strength and our comforter to the end of the earth, to be witnesses and disciples who make disciples.
Read: Luke 24; John 20-21
Marked: John 20:30-31, And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
People put faith in various religious figures, but they are all dead. Only Jesus, though He was crucified and died, rose from the dead and is alive. Many eyewitnesses testify to this fact as do the disciples and their written words which are eyewitness accounts.
Jesus appeared to His disciples after His death and to many others as well. While initially afraid, after His ascension to heaven, the disciples boldly witnessed to others and the number of disciples grew even though it cost some their lives.
No other religious figure in history claimed what Jesus did, and all died. Jesus brings life, eternal life, because He is God (John 3:15, 36; John 2:25; 1 John 5:13).
Read: Matthew 28; Mark 16
Marked: Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, [even] to the end of the age.” Amen.
This is the Great Commission. Unfortunately, much of the church looks on these verses as the great suggestion. But the command from the Lord is clear, “Go”.
It is the Spirit of Jesus that puts the “Go” in gospel and the “Go” in the good news about Jesus Christ. How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they heat without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10:14-15)
God is a God of mission and His will is that we be a people on mission. And the mission of the church, of each and every follower of Jesus, is to go and make disciples and teach them to obey (observe) everything the Lord commands
Read: Luke 23; John 18-19
Marked: John 18:38, Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.
What is truth? Nowadays, people say, “Speak your truth”, or “This is my truth.” But that is subjective truth. Just because someone says it’s true doesn’t make it so.
Pilate spoke truth when he found no guilt in Jesus for the things He was accused of. He said, “I find no fault in Him.” Yet, knowing the truth did not make him act on it.
People who speak the truth, who know the truth, must act upon the truth. Truth is observable, provable, and it holds its own. But it isn’t always easy to discern. Much of what we call truth today is mere opinion.
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. We either accept this or we reject it. Rejection of this truth doesn’t make it false. Truth endures. We should always chose the way of truth by taking the time needed to uncover the truth.
Proverbs 8:7 says, “For my mouth will speak truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips.”
Read: Matthew 27; Mark 15
Marked: Matthew 27:41-42, Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.”
What a stunning admission by the chief priests, scribes and elders. They knew Jesus had performed amazing miracles, healing lepers, causing the deaf to hear and the blind to see, even raising the dead. Yet, none of these miracles caused them to believe in Him.
Now, ion the cross, mocking Him, they said they would believe Him if He came down from the cross. But, rightly, they said He saved others; Himself He cannot save.
Jesus came to save us which necessitated His sacrifice on the cross. The sacrifice He made proved He was the Messiah. The one thing He could not do was come down from the cross because without His sacrifice no one could be saved.
Read: John 14-17
Marked: John 17:5, “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
Some question the eternal nature of Jesus believing He was just a man, or, at best, a created heavenly being. Yet, Jesus Himself tells us that He existed before the world was.
John even begins his gospel with the words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2)
Paul writes in Colossians 1:15-16, “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created.”
That Jesus is both man and God is one of the mysteries of Scripture. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the Trinity of the godhead, separate, but all God. Difficult to understand, yet true. And in Him we have salvation