So here we are this morning back in the Book of Acts. We’ve talked about this before – but sometimes repetition is good for the soul. We call ourselves Bible Talk Church so the more we know about the Bible the better off we are. The foundation for the Website and for the way I preach both here and on twitter comes from the seven major divisions of that great book:
The Law – This consists of the first 5 books of the Old Testament.
The History – This is the next 12 books of the Old Testament.
The Poetry – This is the next 5 books of the Old Testament.
The Prophets – This is the last 17 books of the Old Testament.
Total Old Testament books = 39
The Gospels – This consists of the first 4 books of the New Testament.
The Early Church – This is the fifth book of the New Testament.
The Letters – This would be the last 22 books of the New Testament.
Total New Testament books = 27
So this one medium-sized book of Acts is unique in it is the only book that lays out the actual history or the roots of the Christian church of today. It was written by that Greek Doctor named Luke who also wrote one of the Gospels. The two main characters of this book are Peter – who was the primary apostle to the Jews – and Paul – who was the primary apostle to the Gentiles.
The Book of Acts is a continuation of Luke’s Gospel. It has been written that Luke might be the greatest of all the historians – ancient or modern. Of course our modern education system would take issue with that because it’s in the Bible. If it wasn’t for the book of Acts, there would be a huge gap between the Gospels and the first letter - to the Romans. So the Book of Acts is actually the bridge between the Gospels and the letters. One might say that Acts gives us the framework onto which all of the letters are attached in logical order.
J. Vernon McGee outlines Acts as follows:
The Promence of the Lord Jesus Christ – in Acts He is working from heaven.
The Prominence of the Holy Spirit – who today indwells all Honest-to-God Christians.
The Power of the Church – although not today what it was back then in the early days.
The Prominence of the Church – it is still today – seen everywhere.
The Prominence of Places – it begins in Jerusalem and ends in Rome.
The Prominence of Persons – Luke mentions 110 people by name.
The Prominence of the Resurrection- the very essence of Christianity.
The Prominence of Peter and Paul – almost to the exclusion of the other disciples.
In chapter 7 we see the first Christian martyr – Stephen – stoned to death. This morning, in the first half of chapter 8, we are briefly introduced to Saul – whose name was later changed to Paul. At this point he is partially responsible for the scattering of the new church. One might say he was the church’s greatest human enemy. After the introduction to Saul, we will meet with two other characters – Philip, the evangelist, and Simon, the Sorceror. With that let’s look at Chapter 8a.