Dr. John Hartmann

Proclaiming the Whole Counsel of God

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Antioch-Syria and the Early Mission to the Gentiles – Part 2

June 12th, 2011 · No Comments

In this study we continue to lay a foundation for understanding Paul’s mission to the Gentiles by looking at the beginnings of the Jerusalem church in Acts 1-2.

The time line begins in the spring of 30 AD, when Jesus was crucified, raised from the dead, and exalted to the right hand of God after 40 days. 10 days after His ascension the Spirit was poured out on those gathered in the upper room. They, as promised, were baptized with the Spirit, and spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. This was a miracle of speech, as those who gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost heard the disciples speak of God’s mighty deeds in their own languages. Peter’s witness to the large crowd gathered to witness this phenomenon resulted in the conversion of 3000 souls, made up of devout Jews and proselytes.

This new community of disciples continued to be devoted to the apostle’s teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. The whole redeemed community continued to feel a sense of awe, as God granted signs and wonders to be wrought at the hands of the apostles, whom the Lord had appointed as the lead witnesses of His resurrection. Our teacher discusses the chief purpose of signs and wonders, which were granted to confirm the apostolic testimony concerning Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

Tangible acts of love were a clear mark that the disciples were walking the truth of Jesus. The disciples met the needs of those who had lack, a theme which appears in Acts 2:44-45, and is repeated with more detail in 4:32-37. They met together at the Temple and from house to house, breaking bread and sharing meals with gladness and sincerity of heart. They enjoyed favor with the people of the wider Jewish community, though, as will be seen, they were relentlessly opposed by the Sadducean priestly nobility. The Lord, however, continued to work through their testimony to bring many more to faith in Jesus the Messiah, adding to the church daily such as should be saved.

Tags: Sermons

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