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The Persecuted Church




Are we in Acts 29?

Often times we here of phrases that seem to catch on but have significance in a detrimental, not a beneficial way.

Acts 29 is a misnomer because the book of Acts is accurately called “the Acts of the Apostles,” not the acts of the church or the saints. It follows the activity of the Holy Spirit first given to the church on Pentecost. Some believe it is appropriate to call it The Acts of the Holy Spirit (The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. 

“The Spirit is mentioned nearly 60 times in the book. In His parting words, Jesus reminds the disciples of the promise of the Father (1:4-8); ten days later the power of the Spirit descends at Pentecost (2:1-4). Persons "from every nation under heaven" (2:5) are enabled by the Holy Spirit to hear "the wonderful works of God" (2:11), and so the Christian church was born. (Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

The Title is simply "Acts" Praxeis (NT:4183) in 'Aleph (Codex Sinaiticus), Origen, Tertullian, Didymus, Hilary, Eusebius, and Epiphanius. "The Acts of the Apostles " Praxeis (NT:4183) apostoloon (NT:646) is the reading of B, D, 'Aleph (Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)

It historically follows Peter who is an apostle to Israel, and then focuses on Paul after he converted as a biographical narrative of Paul’s missionary journeys to the Gentiles to being brought to Rome in chains.

Some want to make the book of Acts as if it is continuing. As good as their intentions may be, it was a specific time in history where the apostles, those who were alive with Jesus went and started churches throughout Asia. To give the impression that we are living in the time period of Acts is wrong and does open the door to many exaggerations and heresies, such as new apostles like the original and our ability to do apostolic miracles and healings.

 These trends which say we have the same abilities demean the work they did in laying the foundation of the church. To say because we have the same Holy Spirit in us we can duplicate or surpass the apostles and even Jesus in miracles ands healing is the deception Jesus warned of coming in the end of the age. The holy Spirit who is God is to be in control of us, not us in control of Him. And that living principle makes the professors of greater things liars, no different than Anianias and Sapphirra. While God does use believers who pray to heal and still does miracles, it is under His will and way that these will be accomplished. It is not for man to decide.
Heb 2:4  God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

After Paul speaks of the gifts distributed by the Spirit to the local church he asks in 1 Cor. 12:29 "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?"
Acts 5:12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. Acts 15 Paul and Barnabas are held up as being used of God to do the many miracles to Gentiles, (not the church). 2 Cor. 12:12 Paul states Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds."

“The Acts of the Apostles” is written somewhere between 60-63 AD is a history written by the physician Luke that accompanied Paul. After his the Gospel: "The former account [Gospel of Luke] I made, O Theophilus" (Acts 1:1). He supplements the epistles (His) and gospels on the office of apostle/prophet leading the church in the new revelation given by Christ through the Holy Spirit. It records apostolic miracles as they went out from Jerusalem on their missionary journeys. From the Jews (Acts 2) to the Samaritans (Acts 8) to the Gentiles (Acts 10) and records the first Council convened in Jerusalem, Acts 15:23.

It follows Peter and then Paul’s mission work to the Gentiles not mentioning the end of his life as a martyr which does endorse a later date. John is mentioned three times; James execution by Herod is recorded. It details Paul’s conversion not found in any other epistle. The Book of Acts then turns its focus to Paul's apostolic ministry to the non Jews of Asia as the gospel goes out to the world.

It shows the resistance and persecution to the spread of the gospel by the apostles. As some were delivered to councils, (Peter and John), Acts 4:5 and imprisoned, (Peter and John), Acts 4:3. Some were brought before rulers and kings, as Paul before Gallio, Acts 18:12, before Felix, Acts 24, before Festus and Agrippa, Acts 25. Stephen, approved by the apostles gave witness Acts 6:10 and were put to death, (as the first martyr Acts 7:59), and James the brother of John, Acts 12:9. Paul and Silas were beaten, Acts 16:23. Paul gave witness before Felix Acts 24:25.  A third of the book is dedicate to Paul’s imprisonment.

The “Book of Acts he mentions 95 different persons from 32 countries, 54 cities, and 9 Mediterranean islands.(Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary).

The church is built upon the "foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:20). While it continues to grow upon this foundation to compare our time period to the early gospel history among those who were alive with Jesus is a mistake and can lead to many errors. While we can draw from it and see modern application in the persecution of Christians and the gospel continuing we must keep this written record inspired of the Holy Spirit as a unique time in the the history of the Church. We are not all apostles that can duplicate or do even greater miracles than Jesus, they didn't. 


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