Christmas Decorating Instead of Classes!

Come one, come all!

As previously announced, our Bible study classes are taking a pause during the holidays and will resume in January.

However, this Wednesday, December 1, before the routine falls away, we will be returning to church to decorate for Christmas! There being no Christmas Elves available to beautify our sanctuary, we hope you will join us from 10 am – 12 pm to trim the trees and deck the halls.

There will be nursery available for those of you with littles. Please sign up here so they are prepared to care for your precious children.

Lunch is not provided, but if you’d like to bring a sack lunch you are most welcome.

Contact Kerri Pinault, Beth Riggs, or Stefanie Bennett for more information.

 

Acts Lesson 8

Reminder: We are on break until January. 

Acts 11:1-18

Trouble is brewing in Jerusalem. If you will remember, Peter was in Joppa at the house of Simon the tanner and he had a vision-like experience that had animals and creatures, and God taught him that he was to longer call anything clean or unclean. The Jewish distinction of separating from the world is gone. Peter spends time with Cornelius and his gentile household, and a great blessing comes upon these Gentiles. We will see this as a beginning of the the church opening up to all the earth. Continue reading “Acts Lesson 8”

Acts Lesson 7

In this lesson we see some very important events. The efforts of Phillip, the conversion of Saul and the events around the gentile Cornelius and the apostle Peter will herald a change in direction of the spread of the gospel. We will see God’s plan unfolding for the gospel reaching to the ends of the earth and to all people, not just the Jews! Do not miss how radical this would be. 

Acts 8:1-4

The book of Acts is often a study in contrasts.  We have been seeing a contrast between the inner struggles of the church versus the outward struggles of the church.  This chapter continues some of those contrasts. The last chapter closes with the martyrdom of Stephen. The church has already been under some persecution, but until now there had been a boundary line beyond which the Jewish authorities had not been willing to cross. Things were very bad. Stephen had been executed. Others were being arrested and imprisoned. But we see that the persecution drove the Christians to disperse, and in doing so they were reaching others with the message of the Messiah. Another example of God using evil to bring about good!

Acts 8:5-8

This chapter gives us a transition. It is a pivotal point in the history of the Church. Up to this time, the knowledge of God had been primarily focused in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the single beacon of light which was to draw all the nations to herself. This is what happened at Pentecost. Jews from all the nations gathered together to meet the Lord. But this will now all change. Instead of the world coming to the church, now the church will go to the world.

Philip is a Greek name. It was a fairly common name among the Greeks and had been ever since the days of Philip the father of Alexander the Great. This is not the same Philip who was one of the apostles. This is a different Philip. He was first introduced to us when the first deacons were chosen. He was named immediately after Stephen (Acts 6:5). Continue reading “Acts Lesson 7”

Acts Lesson 6

Up to this point, our focus in the book of Acts has been upon the Twelve and upon Peter and John. But now there is a change. With the appointment of the first seven deacons in Acts 6:1-6, there are new leading figures within the church.

Acts 6:8-11

Stephen’s ministry to the Hellenistic (Greek) widows put him into contact with many of the Greek-speaking Jews. While there were many who believed the gospel, there were many others who did not and who viewed this new sect of Christians with suspicion. The debates between the two parties grew heated and the Jews began to cast accusations at the church and specifically at Stephen.

These antagonists came from the Synagogue of the Freedmen, literally, the Synagogue of the Libertarians. This was evidently a synagogue which had been started for Greek-speaking Jews who had once been Roman slaves but who had now been released and allowed to return to Palestine to live.  (Here is a brief article about the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament).

These men spoke the same common language as Stephen. And yet, there was a great and bitter disagreement. Stephen was accused of blasphemy and this soon led to civil proceedings. Continue reading “Acts Lesson 6”

Acts Lesson 5

Reminder: We will be off on Wednesday the 27th for the Reformation Festival.

We picked up at Acts 4:36-37 at the first mention of a man who would become a familiar figure in the early church. His Hebrew name was Joseph, a cousin of John Mark, and a Levite. We know him as Barnabas. The next chapter, begins with the word “but”. We see in Acts 5:1-2 there is a contrast with the preceding passage. The contrast is between Ananias and Sapphira over against Barnabas. In Acts 5:3-11, Peter confronts Ananias with his sin. Notice what Peter says is the motivating force behind the sin of Ananias. He is called “Satan.” The scene of three hours earlier is repeated. Peter asks her about the gift they had given. He is giving her the opportunity to repent. But she does not. She repeats the lie that her husband had told earlier. And suddenly she falls to the floor. Why did God kill these two people? It is because God takes His church and the vows made within His church very seriously, even if we don’t. Continue reading “Acts Lesson 5”

Acts update

Last week we had some tech difficulties and cut our lesson short. This week I will have a post that will cover last and this week’s lessons together. Thank you for your patience. As we are coming up to Reformation day, I thought you would enjoy and benefit by reading this short article from Ligonier, What Is Reformation Day All About?

Just a reminder: we will be meeting as usual this Wednesday Oct 20, but we will be off the 27th for our Reformation Day celebration at the church.

Acts Lesson 3

Acts 3:1- 4:5-22

 

The healing of the lame man—3:1-10

The proclamation of the gospel—3:11-26

The results of Peter’s preaching—4:1-4

The trial of Peter and John—4:5-22

 

Setting, 

Herod’s Temple

Originally, Israel did not have a temple. Instead, they had a tent (called the tabernacle in some versions of the Bible) which was the centre of their worship and the place where God was said to dwell (Exodus 25:8). King David wanted to build a temple but God said that his son Solomon would build it instead (1 Chronicles 17:4).

When the Jews returned from captivity, they built a new temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Jeshua (Ezra 3:8-11starting in 536 BC and finishing in 520 BC (Ezra 6:15). This temple was on the same site as Solomon’s temple and was in use until about 20 BC. Continue reading “Acts Lesson 3”

Acts Lesson 2

The sovereignty of God in all that took place in Acts is a major theme running through the book. Nothing takes place that God has not ordained. As we move forward we will see how the church developed, how God used all kinds of flawed people to bring about his plan. Please pray each week for our study!

THE PENTECOST INCIDENT

Acts 2:1-41

Something special and spectacular took place in the 2nd chapter of Acts. It was an event, the like of which had never before taken place. These Christians are living at the very time when the Holy Sprit is being sent down from heaven. Luke wants us to see as he uses various terms that receiving the Holy Spirit and being baptized with the Holy Spirit is the same thing. And Luke says they were all filled with the Holy Spirit—not just some.

Acts 2:1-4

Pentecost was not a new concept to Jews. It was something from antiquity, going back over a thousand years. Pentecost was one of the festivals which was established by the Lord in Leviticus 23. It took place 50 days after the Passover. The Jews had come to associate the Feast of Pentecost with the giving of the Law.

God is setting into motion events that He planned from the foundation of the world. This tells us something about the church. The church is a part of a plan that started a long time before the first century.

Those in attendance at Pentecost saw what appeared to be tongues of fire. These tongues distributed themselves over each of the believers. Notice that the passage does not say that they FELT anything. The experience on that day was not based on feelings.

When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they were led in their travels by a cloud of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night (Ex.13:21).   When they were not traveling, this smoke and fire would position itself over the Tabernacle. This was the place where God manifested His presence. It was the Tent of Meeting. It served as the dwelling place of God. The smoke and the fire were a sign that God was there.

Now it is happening again. But this time there is a difference. This time the manifestation of the flaming presence of God is not positioned over a tent. This time it is over PEOPLE. Why? Because they (we) are the new tabernacle and the temple of God. From now on, the spirit of God would come and reside in His LIVING temple – the church.

Acts 2:5-13

We see in Mark 16:17 that Christ told them they would speak with new tongues. Isaiah 28:11 predicted this would occur during the times of the Messiah. This would have enabled the apostles in their work to go forth to preach to all nations. Note in verse 8 that it says that they each heard in his own language. This was one of the miracles that was promised in John 14:12.

 

Peter’s Sermon

Acts 2:14-39

Half the book of Acts is about the exploits of Peter, his preaching and the power that God bestowed on this flawed man. God can restore, and God can forgive, and God can take a broken vessel like Peter and remake him, and refashion him. When Peter stands and speaks, he goes to scripture and shows the listeners that Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:28-32) has been fulfilled. Peter is interpreting the words of Joel. He tells us what Joel’s words mean. He says that these are the last days. The Jews took the “last days” to refer to the Messianic Age.

Peter wants the listeners to understand how God was sovereign in Christ’s crucifixion as well as his resurrection.  The cross was planned by God. As was the betrayal by Judas, the complicity of the high priest and the role played by the Roman government. These things did not happen by chance. God both FOREKNEW and he also PREDETERMINED this plan. This means that God’s plan includes the sinful acts of men. God IS in control of all things. This includes all things that come into your life.

Act 2:25-37

Having stated the fact of the resurrection, Peter now shows that this event was one which had been promised in the Old Testament Scriptures. He quotes from one of the Psalms of David, Psalm 16:10. It is a Psalm of prayer in which David prays for deliverance. In the midst of that Psalm, he thanks the Lord and announces the source of his confidence. Peter is not preaching the teachings of Jesus. He is preaching the PERSON of Jesus and the fact of His death, burial and resurrection.

Up to this point he has been giving them information. He has been telling them the facts of the gospel. Now he calls for a response on their behalf (Acts 2:38-39). The gospel demands a response on my part. That response is seen in repentance and baptism. Peter notes baptism to be the outward sign of an inward heart of repentance.

We see in Acts 2:40-41 a tremendous response. Luke reports that 3000 were called that day, those that the Lord called to himself. The church became their life. This was not merely a one-day-a-week activity. This was a whole new way of living. Acts 2:42-47.

Next week we see the apostles step out in their new role as witnesses of the Gospel, preaching and performing miracles. This will not be without a cost and we will be encouraged by their willingness to follow the Messiah no matter what!

 

As we read though Acts and learn about the beginning days of the church, we need to understand the relationship of Israel and the church in the New Testament. Keith Mathison of Ligonier ministries has a great article that will answer most questions and give us a very clear understanding of this subject. You can access it here:

The Church and Israel in the New Testament
by Keith Mathison

 

Acts Lesson 1

 

A Summary of Acts Lesson 1

If the Book of Acts underscores any truth, it is that of the sovereignty of God, who works all things in accordance with His will, whether or not men believe or obey. Much of what the Spirit of God accomplished in the Book of Acts was in spite of men. God can just as easily use the “wrath of man” to accomplish His will as He can the obedience of man. The Gentiles will hear the gospel, and many will come to faith on account of the Jews. First, we shall see the sovereignty of God in the spreading of the gospel to the Gentiles and not just to the Jews alone. Second, we shall see the sovereignty of God in the salvation of Paul and in God’s use of him as a chosen vessel.

According to early church tradition, the book of Acts was written by Luke the physician, a companion of Paul on his second and third missionary journeys and on the voyage to Rome. It covers a timespan of approximately 32 years –from the ascension of Jesus Christ (ca. AD 30) to Paul’s imprisonment in Rome (ca. AD 68). Certainly it has an historical form and its historical information is accurate, but its real purpose was theological.

Continue reading “Acts Lesson 1”

Welcome to our Acts Study!

Dear Sisters, Wednesday 10 a m we begin our WOP studies. We are meeting upstairs in the E B. Bring your bibles and a pen or pencil, and we will have a folder for you with your first lessons.

After each study, I will have a brief summary on our blog of the lesson along with any class handouts. Each week you will receive an email alerting you to updates, and can easily access the materials to keep up when you are absent. I will also include articles for those of you who would like to read and dig deeper. Feel free to bring visitors anytime. See you on Wednesday.

He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.  Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Psa 24:5-6

 

Kathy