The Church in Preparation
ACTS 1, 2
The Words of Preparation—Acts 1
"Ye shall be witnesses"
Our Lord has two bodies—His literal body and His spiritual body the Church. In his Gospel Luke gives the history of Christ's physical presence among men. In Acts we have the beginning and early history of His spiritual body. Both have a supernatural beginning, a period of service on earth, a final translation into heaven.
1. What is "the former treatise" referred to by Luke?
Luke 1:1-4 _______________________________________
2. What did the "former treatise" record?
Acts 1:1 _________________________________________
The word infallible is literally "irresistible." The proofs of the resurrection are indeed irresistible. Delusions do not live long and have no power to lift men Godward. After two thousand years the resurrection is the greatest moral dynamic known.
3. What did Jesus tell His disciples during the forty days before the ascension?
4. What baptism did Jesus promise?
If the word baptism means a complete submersion, as most authorities agree, the baptism of the Spirit must have reference to the day of Pentecost when the very house in which the disciples were meeting was filled and where tongues of fire sat upon them. Believers were baptized into one body by the Spirit at Pentecost, and all who have since received Christ have participated in that baptism without the necessity of the signs—rushing mighty wind, tongues of fire and speaking in languages unknown to them.
5. For what distinct purpose is the power of the Spirit given to believers?
6. What is the one method by which Christianity can advance in the world?
7. What "table of contents" for the book of Acts do you find in
The important teaching of this verse is that one who participates in the power that originated at Pentecost will reveal it by his great passion to carry the message of salvation to men.
8. What did the disciples do in the upper room?
9. What woman is specially mentioned as being present?
This is the last reference to the mother of Jesus. We leave her on her knees in prayer—not being prayed to. With all the others she was baptized into the Church at Pentecost.
10. What prophecy fitted Judas' case exactly?
11. What must the successor to Judas have witnessed?
12. What method did the disciples choose to select a successor to Judas?
13. What preceded the choosing of the successor?
The Spirit of Power—Acts 2
"They were all filled"
14. What great feast was now due?
The word Pentecost means "fiftieth" (Leviticus 23:15, 16). It was observed on the fiftieth day, or seven weeks, from the Paschal feast. It was also called Feast of Weeks (II Chronicles 8:12, 13). It marked the completion of the barley harvest, which began at the time of the waving of the first ripe sheaf of first fruits. The Feast of Weeks, therefore, fell on the fiftieth day after this occurrence.
15. What advance sign came from heaven signifying the approach of the Holy Spirit?
16. What appeal was made to the eye?
17. Was it really wind, or a "sound as of wind"?
The rushing wind is a portent of the speed of the gospel; the tongues of fire suggest the burning energy which causes believers to proclaim God's wonderful plan of redemption. Tongues of fire suggest man's voice speaking in God's power. Fire throughout the Word is symbolical of the presence of God.
18. Was the baptism of the Spirit for individuals or a body of believers?
I Corinthians 12:13 ________________________________
19. When these believers were "filled," what, did they do?
Acts 2:4, 6, 11 ____________________________________
20. Of what benefit was this speaking in tongues?
Note that "Pentecostal tongues" was a miraculous endowment to enable the first Christians to declare the glad tidings to those whom they could not otherwise reach. Thus the precious seed was given out, carried to sections from whence these people had come, and a great harvest sprang up in many places.
21. Another such manifestation was given later to what group?
Acts 10:44-46 (see verse 24) ________________________
22. What signs were repeated on that occasion?
The event of Pentecost remains. The indwelling Spirit is with all believers now as much as with the early Christians, and will as readily fill us and use us if we will yield to Him. The essential fact is that believers are filled that they might witness to others.
23. How do you account for the great change in Peter?
Acts 2:14; compare JOHN 18:27 _______________________
24. From whose prophecy did Peter quote?
Acts 2:16 _______________________________________
25. Does this prophecy have further fulfillment?
Joel 2:30, 31 _____________________________________
Some teach that the phenomenon of Pentecost was identified with Joel's prophecy (JOEL 2:28, 29) as the same in kind, but not the same in degree, since the prophecy declares that the Spirit should be poured out upon all flesh. Thus, it is said, Pentecost was an anticipation of what will take place at the second coming of Christ.
On the other hand, we know of no Scripture which teaches that every individual in the Kingdom Age will prophesy, etc., even to daughters and old men. The present age would seem to be the logical time for prophesying (lit. "forth-telling"). The words all flesh suggest to some students the thought that all classes, without distinction of age, sex, nation, or standing, will be used by the Holy Spirit.
26. What great truths did Peter expound in this sermon?
Acts 2:22, 23 ____________________________________
27. Why was Jesus raised from the dead?
28. What did David foresee would happen to the Messiah before He should sit on a throne?
2:27, 30 _________________________________________
29. What happened when the people heard Peter's sermon?
30. What must a person do to be saved?
31. To whom is the promise of the Holy Ghost given?
32. What did the believers do in order to grow in their Christian lives?
33. What ordinance was practiced by the early church?
34. What was the general atmosphere of the church?
35. Who makes the real additions to the church?
Check-Up Time No. 1
You have just studied some important truths about Acts 1, 2. Review your study by rereading the questions and your written answers. If you aren't sure of an answer, reread the Scripture portion given to see if you con find the answer. Then take this test to see how well you understand important truths you have studied.
In the right-hand margin write "True" or "False" after each of the following statements.
1. The book of Acts was written by the apostle Paul. __________________ 2. Jesus commanded the disciples to leave Jerusalem after the ascension. __________________ 3. Jesus promised them the baptism of the Holy Ghost. __________________ 4. The disciples were to witness first in Jerusalem. __________________ 5. Matthias was appointed to take the place of Judas. __________________ 6. The Holy Spirit came on the Day of Atonement. __________________ 7. Men from many countries heard the gospel proclaimed in their own language. __________________ 8. Peter said that the prophecy of Isaiah was being fulfilled. __________________ 9. David prophesied concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. __________________ 10. Very few were converted by Peter's first sermon. __________________
Turn to page 96 and check your answers.CHAPTER 2
The Church in Action
The Apostles' Preaching—Acts 3
1. After Pentecost Peter and John joined with the Jewish church in what hour?
2. What did the lame man receive instead of alms?
3. What possession is worth more than money?
4. What did Peter do besides praying for this man?
Prayer and effort is the combination for saving men. The hand of compassion, however, is powerless unless extended in the name of Jesus Christ.
5. How complete was the cure?
6. What fivefold result of the miracle can you find in verses 8 and 9?
The crowning evidence of a real conversion is when enemies are compelled to admit its reality.
We now have Peter's second sermon, giving a threefold testimony to Christ:
a. Christ as the Substance of all genuine miracles (verses 12-17)
b. Christ as the Redeemer of all souls (verses 18-21)
c. Christ as the Accomplisher of all prophecies (verses 22-26)
7. To whom does the credit belong for this miracle?
3:12, 13 ___________________________________________
8. Whom does Peter charge with the guilt of the death of Christ?
3:14, 15 ___________________________________________
9. What three titles does Peter here give to Christ?
3:14, 15 __________________________________________
There are three paradoxes in these verses:
a. Man's perverted and fatal choice.
b. Man's hate, bringing death to the Lord of life.
c. God's love, causing life to come by death.
10. What was the connecting link between the risen Christ and the healed man?
11. Who can find salvation through Jesus Christ?
It has often been taught that Peter was calling upon Israel for national repentance, in which case Jesus would have immediately returned to set up His kingdom upon earth. There is nothing in verse 19, however, about Israel as a nation. The words were to a group of individuals and the promise was "to all that are afar off." Verse 21 declares plainly that Jesus must remain in heaven until the times of restitution.
12. What two different "times" are specified here?
The "time of refreshing" would be the immediate result of repentance and faith. This undoubtedly refers to fullness of blessing to be possessed under the dispensation of the Holy Spirit.
13. What did Moses foresee for those who would reject Christ?
Verses 20-23 simply enforce the exhortation to repentance by an appeal to the second coming of Christ. The early church lived and labored in expectation of this event. Note also that the Greek word for times in verse 19 is not the same as that used in verse 21. The first means seasons of refreshing as an immediate prospect. The second means a time of rest as a more remote prospect.
14. What was the message of the risen Christ to the Jews?
Peter here tells us plainly, what the Jews as a people had overlooked, that the main blessing of their Abrahamic covenant was turning men away from their sins, not restored temporal power.
The Apostles Persecuted—Acts 4
"Behold their threatenings"
15. What happened when the Word seemed to be entering hearts?
4:1, 2 ____________________________________________
16. What part of Peter's message particularly bothered the Sadducees?
God moves in mysterious ways. One would think He would have stayed the hand of the adversary until Peter was through preaching. However, He knows how to make the wrath of man to praise Him.
17. What was the response to Peter's second sermon?
18. What help did Peter receive in his answer to the council?
19. Who was really behind the miracle that had been performed?
Peter by himself had proved to be a straw blown by the wind, but Peter "filled with the Holy Ghost" was a mighty man of war, eloquent with heaven's thunder.
20. Who had previously told these leaders about the stone rejected by the builders?
Matthew 21:42 _____________________________________
21. What is the only name by which a man can be saved?
Acts 4:12 _________________________________________
22. What was the only possible explanation for Peter's and John's conduct?
Companionship with Jesus has made many an ordinary man extraordinary. Many a modern critic has "marveled" at the spiritual power of supposedly ignorant men. The word rendered ignorant means "private persons"—that is, holding no office, laymen.
23. What was the argument these critics could not get around?
24. What was commendable in the man who had been healed?
Christianity rests upon facts, not opinions. Put up a redeemed man and the mob cannot explain him. It is well when a preacher can carry his samples along with him. The church needs "Johnnie-on-the-spot" men—men who will be on hand when their testimony is worth something.
25. What besides the apostles' miracle working bothered the authorities?
It is a big service to the devil when a preacher can be silenced. Men are ever seeking to silence the Word that convicts them. Work miracles by whatever power you please, men will say, but keep quiet about the saving name of Jesus Christ.
26. Whom did Peter propose to obey?
27. What was the only thing that could be done with Peter and John?
The church needs men who will stand by the colors, and not by their silence deny their Master, stealing away from the fight like cowards.
28. What did the Christians do about this persecution?
29. How did the prayer meeting culminate?
30. What was the fruit of their being "filled with the Holy Spirit"?
Having all things in common was a spiritual movement, and was the expression of a high spiritual state. Such a plan could work only under these peculiar conditions. The plan lasted but a short time and evidently was not tried elsewhere. Hypocrites and self-seekers spoiled the plan.
Ananias and Sapphira—Acts 5
"Ye have agreed ... to tempt the Spirit of the Lord"
The division of the book of Acts into chapters hinders the casual reader from noticing at this point that the action of Ananias and Sapphira is in contrast with that of Barnabas.
31. Who put the evil idea into the heart of Ananias?
32. Who made a traitor out of one of the twelve?
33. What did Peter see cropping out in the early church?
II Peter 2:3 _______________________________________
34. In what way did Eve manifest covetousness in Eden?
Genesis 3:6 ________________________________________
35. What was the first sin in the promised land?
Joshua 7:21 ________________________________________
Peter had spiritual insight to discover immediately that this was a Satanic attempt to injure the testimony of the church.
36. What was the sin of Ananias?
Acts 5:4 ___________________________________________
37. Against whom was the sin of Ananias?