Acts is the history of the development of the first churches and the spread of Christianity. For about the first decade after the death of Jesus, Christianity existed almost exclusively among the Jews. The first part of Acts portrays the meaning of Christianity, how it was shared, and how it was lived out in a closed community of Jews whose common culture was based on the Old Testament.
After about the first decade, Christianity started growing in other people groups and cultures having beliefs and understandings quite different from the Jews. Much of Acts deals with keeping a consistent and complete Gospel message, how it is shared, and how it is lived out in different people groups and cultures. The lessons learned from Acts are applicable to modern Christians and churches, and are also essential when trying to understand Paul’s letters (which comprise much of the New Testament).
A purpose of the Acts Series is to tell some of the information of the book of Acts from different vantage points. Luke said that he made a careful investigation of the facts before writing Luke and Acts. His three primary sources of information probably were: his own experiences, written sources, and talking to people who were personally involved. Acts Series illustrates the stories that he might have heard from a dozen of the characters featured in his book of Acts.
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Upon the death of Stephen, most of the believers in Jerusalem were scattered throughout Samaria and Judea, except the apostles who stayed in Jerusalem. Severe persecution was begun by the Jewish leaders. Further, the believers lost support from the Jewish social structure, so they needed to replicate many of its benefits and protections. They needed to do this while making disciples.
Philip was one of seven Greek men chosen by the Church to help meet the needs of widows and other needy Christians. After the death of Stephen, Philip went to Samaria to avoid further persecution from the Jewish leaders. He was so effective in Samaria that Peter and John were sent to see his results. While there, Peter and John imparted the Holy Spirit to the new believers.
The Holy Spirit led Philip south of Jerusalem, where he had the privilege to evangelize the Ethiopian eunuch, who was in charge of the treasury of Ethiopia. Since he was an important government official and would very likely be traveling with a big retinue. Try to imagine a string of chariots, with the eunuch reading the Bible in his chariot while his driver minds the horses. Then, a strange man comes running up. How would the soldiers react?
After baptizing the eunuch, the Holy Spirit took Philip to the coast where he evangelized further, until he ended in Caesarea, his new home. That detail gets bypassed by many, but is a key factor in the future of Christianity.
Luke – Troy Powell
Peter – Francis Fuselier
Stephen – Jonny Gallegos
Philip – David Smith
Barnabas – Bob Hess
John Mark – Matthew Oakley
Holy Spirit – Garrett Schenck
Paul – Brian Shoop
James – Andy Axewell
Silas – Tony Schneider
Timothy – Paul Christian
Tabitha – Allyn Carrell
Lydia – Gayla Gower
Priscilla – La’Netia D. Taylor
Theophilus – Michael Page