Following the preaching of Christ by the Apostles
The Gospel through the book of Acts
Once the promise of the Spirit came to empower the disciples, the apostles, what did the apostles preach?
Paul immediately after he was saved preached Christ, that he is the Son of God to the Jewish people gathered in the synagogues (Acts 9:20). Even the Jewish people did not fully understand that this was Saul’s main contention with Jesus’ claims. It was all settled on the road to Damascus when he was confronted with Gods glory and Jesus identified himself to Saul. Then he knew the resurrection was true and so was everything else.
Through the book of Acts they preached (the apostles) the crucifixion or the resurrection as the emphasis, but they would not speak of either without the other as the gospel
We find no one quoting Jn.3:16 in the book of Acts as the gospel message, it’s not because it will not be written until 40 more years but because it is not the completed gospel. It is later Paul tells the Corinthian church what he delivered as the gospel 1 Cor.15:1-4, the death burial and resurrection.
It is this message that is given preeminence throughout the book on Acts of the Apostles.
Peter stood up among his brethren at their celebration of the Feast of Pentecost saying, “you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death” (Acts 2:23-24).
Acts 2:30-32 “Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses”
Notice the emphasis on the resurrection: Whom Paul explains is God’s approval of who Jesus is Rom. 1:4-5 “and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”
Acts 3:14-15 “But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead.”
Acts 4:1-2 “Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.”
Acts 4:10 “that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.”
Acts 4:33 “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.”
Acts 5:30-31 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.”
Peter also used the tree as one of his points. This is because Deut. 21:22 "If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree. Paul write in Gal 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree").
And to the Gentiles Peter spoke:
Acts 10:39-42 “And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.”
Acts 13:29-30 “they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead.”
Notice the Pattern of the tree (the cross was made of wood from a tree)
“whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly.”
Acts 13:28-32 “And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. And we declare to you glad tidings--that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus.
'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.' "And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, Meaning he will not ever die again, he lives forever
Acts 17:2-3: “he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.”
Acts 17:18 to the Philosophers at Mars hill. Paul preached to them Jesus and the resurrection v.32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, "We will hear you again on this matter.
Why, because the Gentiles did not have a concept of the dead coming back to life as the Jews did.
The preaching of Christ had two themes, who He is and what He has done.
The Apostles: Acts 5, “They did not cease preaching and teaching that Jesus is the Christ”
Acts 8:5 “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.”
Acts 9:20: Immediately after Paul’s conversion he “Preached Christ in the synagogues that he is the SON OF GOD.” vs. 22 proving Jesus is the Christ. V.42 many believed on the Lord (Jesus).
Acts 10:36: Peter preached peace through Jesus Christ- “he is LORD OF ALL.”
Acts 10:43: “Through his name whoever believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins.”
Acts 11:20: Barnabas and Paul Preached Jesus. Continually we find their message centers on His work and His personhood.
Acts 13:33-39: The death and resurrection are preached v.38 “through this man is preached the forgiveness of sins.” Not through any ceremony or ritual, but the person and his work.
Acts 14:1-3: “It was by the word of grace that many believed.”
Acts 15:7 “that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.”
In nearly every sermon his death (and resurrection) is given prominence (the death of Jesus is mentioned 175 times in the New Testament). Of the 1,000 days plus of his ministry the good news centers on the person and work of Jesus (Rom. 4:16; 5:2)
To receive salvation, the message that the apostles preached one must believe whom Jesus is, the Son sent from heaven. They must also believe in a physical resurrection, his body raised from the dead (Jn.2:29). If the person claims to be a believer and denies these two core teachings that are coupled together than they are not recipients of the gospel of grace.