The book of Acts is a history of the early church.
It was written by Luke (LUKE 1:1-4; ACTS 1:1). The gospel of Luke and the book of Acts go together; sometimes referred to as Luke-Acts (Because both were written by Luke to an official named Theophilus. The name Theophilus means "Lover of God.")
The book of Acts is a historical book; telling the story of the first century church. It tells what the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and ministers were preaching and teaching. It shows how the message of Jesus Christ and His church spread all over the known world. The book covers a span of around 30+ years. Although the times have changed, the message has not!
What is NOT FOUND in this historical record is fascinating! There are no Catholic teachings such as popes, nuns, cardinals, purgatory, indulgences, rosary beads, praying for the dead, Mary worship, idol worship, etc. These false teachings did not appear until hundreds of years later; after Paul had warned of a coming apostasy (1st TIMOTHY 4:1-5). There is zero mention of a 'Catholic Church' anywhere in the Bible!
WHAT DID THEY PREACH?
Jesus had already told His apostles that repentance and forgiveness of sins would be preached IN HIS NAME to all nations beginning at Jerusalem (LUKE 24:46-47). "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that THROUGH THIS MAN IS PREACHED TO YOU THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS; and BY HIM everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses" (ACTS 13:38-39). (Forgiveness of sin is in His name; not her name! Forgiveness is preached through this Man; not this woman!)
The Holy Spirit (or Spirit of truth), called the Helper (JOHN 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7) or Advocate (One called along side to help), would be sent onto the Apostles (LUKE 24:49; JOHN 16:7). They would preach exactly what the Holy Spirit led them to preach; nothing more, nothing less.
WHAT WOULD THE HOLY SPIRIT DO FOR THE APOSTLES? (This is important because it tells us exactly what the apostles taught. Teaching, or doctrine, is important. Study 1st and 2nd Timothy and note how many times teaching/doctrine is utilized. John said, "Whoever runs ahead and DOES NOT ABIDE in the doctrine of Christ DOES NOT HAVE GOD. He who ABIDES IN the doctrine HAS BOTH THE FATHER AND THE SON" 2nd JOHN 9).
(1). The Holy Spirit would abide with them forever, dwell with them, and be in them (JOHN 14:16-17).
(2). He would teach them all things and bring to their remembrance all things that Jesus had said to them (JOHN 14:26).
(3). He would testify about Jesus (JOHN 15:26).
(4). He would convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (JOHN 16:8).
(5). He would guide the apostles into all truth and tell them things to come (JOHN 16:13).
(6). The Helper would glorify Jesus; by taking what was the Lord's and declaring it to the apostles (JOHN 16:14-15).
The Spirit of truth (Advocate, Comforter, Counselor, Holy Spirit) would abide with and dwell among the apostles. He would bring to their remembrance all things, teach them all things, testify, convict, guide them into all truth, tell things to come, glorify Jesus, and take what was His and declare it to them. The message they delivered was truth!
This assures all men that God's word (HOLY BIBLE) contains the complete and perfect will of God (2nd TIMOTHY 3:16-17); as "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue" (2nd PETER 1:3). The word is truth (JOHN 17:17).
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF PREACHING/TEACHING IN THE BOOK OF ACTS.
The religious leaders threatened and commanded Peter and John (apostles) not to SPEAK or TEACH IN THE NAME OF JESUS (ACTS 4:17-18). But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard" (ACTS 4:19-20). They only spoke what the Holy Spirit led them to speak!
Again, the apostles were PREACHING and TEACHING as the Holy Spirit led them. The religious leaders were filled with wrath and indignation. They threw the apostles into prison! But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life" (ACTS 5:19-20). They only taught what the Holy Spirit guided them to teach!
Once again, the religious leaders took the apostles and questioned them before the council. "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men" (ACTS 5:28-29). These men obeyed God by teaching and preaching exactly what God's Spirit led them teach!
And some say that the Bible is outdated, antiquated, and not relevant for today's time? That is a lie of the devil. His greatest lie is to get man to believe him instead of God! And he wants man to preach ANYTHING except Jesus!
Religions all over the world teach and preach many different things (all claiming to be correct; or they are under the impression 'all roads lead to heaven.') For example, Mohammedism preaches Mohammed; Buddhism preaches Buddha; Catholicism preaches Mary; Hinduism preaches many gods; Denominationalism preaches numerous doctrines and creeds, etc.
But when you look into God's word; the apostles, prophets, evangelists and ministers PREACHED JESUS CHRIST and CHRIST JESUS ONLY!
(1). They preached the gospel of Jesus Christ (ACTS 2:1-47).
(2). Daily in the temple and in every house they did not cease preaching and teaching Jesus as the Christ (ACTS 5:42).
(3). They went everywhere preaching the word (ACTS 8:4) and Christ (ACTS 8:5).
(4). They preached things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ (ACTS 8:12).
(5). They testified and preached the word of the Lord (ACTS 8:25).
(6). They preached Jesus (ACTS 8:35-36, 9:20, 9:27).
(7). The apostles were commanded to preach to the people (ACTS 10:42-43).
(8). They preached the word and the Lord Jesus (ACTS 11:19-21).
(9). They taught many people and the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch (ACTS 11:26).
(10). They preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews (ACTS 13:5).
(11). They were preaching the gospel (ACTS 14:7, 21).
(12). They were teaching and preaching the word of the Lord (ACTS 15:35-36).
(13). They spoke about Jesus to a group of women by a river (ACTS 16:13-14).
(14). They proclaimed the way of salvation (ACTS 16:17).
(15). They spoke the word of the Lord (ACTS 16:32).
(16). Paul reasoned from the Scriptures and preached Jesus as the Christ (ACTS 17:1-4).
(17). They taught that God was not an idol and preached that men should repent of idolatry (ACTS 17:24-32).
(18). The word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed (ACTS 19:20).
(19). Paul proclaimed, taught, and testified repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus (ACTS 20:19-21).
(20). Paul testified to the gospel of the grace of God, preached the kingdom of God, and declared the whole counsel of God (ACTS 20:24-27).
(21). Paul preached that all should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance (ACTS 26:19-20).
(22). Paul preached the kingdom of God and taught things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ (ACTS 28:30-31).
The message has not changed; man has tried to change the message! People don't know the Bible! When one looks into the book of Acts (the bridge that connects the gospels with the rest of the New Testament), it's easy to see what those men taught. They did not teach Mary, Buddha, Mohammed, the Dalai Lama, etc. They taught salvation through Christ Jesus.
Today, we are commanded to preach the word (2nd TIMOTHY 4:1-4); not the commandments of men (MATTHEW 15:8-9)! Peter said, "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (1st PETER 4:11).
The messages and ideologies of our world (humanism, materialism, religious pluralism, Marxism, Catholicism, communism, socialism, and numerous other philosophies and teachings) cannot save! The only message that man needs is found in the word of God! It is the message of the cross (1st CORINTHIANS 1:18), and the message of the One who died for our sins (1st CORINTHIANS 15:1-4)!
PREACH JESUS (not His mother); for this is what they did in the book of Acts! Jesus is the only way (JOHN 14:6).
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