Pentecost: Acts 2

1.  The lesson for this morning is Acts 2 and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It’s difficult to understand the meaning of Pentecost (Greek for 50th day) unless we look first at the chapter that precedes it. What is the context of the 50th day? While there were a number of feasts and festivals in the life of Jews, there were three main solemn feasts in Jewish life for which every adult ...[Read More]

The Rent House in Rome: Acts 28

Nicky Gumbel, the Rector of Holy Trinity Brompton Anglican church in London says, “Movements grow from the intersection of a personal story and circumstances.” It’s true, isn’t it? Movements cannot be explained in any other way. They do not begin without an extraordinary individual but that person must come at just the right time and under the right set of circumstances tha ...[Read More]

Three Harbors: Acts 27

1.  Nothing ever seems to be easy in Paul’s life. Every journey is punctuated by hardship, opposition, riots, persecution, and obstacles of all kinds. I have a friend who reminds me of Paul. None of us will travel with her because the unimaginable always happens. One year she planned a trip to China to attend a conference and somehow instead of taking a plane that was going in that direction ...[Read More]

Paul Under Arrest: Acts 23-26

You remember where we left Paul last week? He was standing on the steps of the Roman barracks and had received permission from the commander to speak to the angry mob. He raised his hand and there was, as Luke says, “a great silence” as they wait for Paul to speak. What does he say? “I am a Jew” and then he tells his story. Nothing happens until he says, “Then the Lor ...[Read More]

Paul Arrested in Jerusalem: Acts 21:27-22:2

Last week we looked at Paul’s accommodation to the Council in Jerusalem – James, Peter and the other apostles and elders. Rather than confront them he agrees to take four men to the Temple for the rites of purification. As the elders say, “Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.” Paul t ...[Read More]

Acts 21: On to Jerusalem

Two of the most powerful rivers in the world – the Thompson and the Fraser – meet and join in British Columbia. The train from Vancouver to Banff runs along the ridge high above the exact spot where they merge and you can look down and watch them join. The actual term is “confluence” when two bodies of water meet – like the tip of South America or Africa. What’s ...[Read More]

The Seven Sons of Sceva: Acts 19:11-20

Last week we looked at the new believers in Ephesus and the differences between the baptism of John and being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. The results of that baptism must have spread around the city of Ephesus – not just the Christian community but the Jewish community as well. “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touc ...[Read More]

Apollos and Paul: Acts 18

1.  The first several chapters of Acts are about the earliest disciples – especially Peter, Stephen and Phillip. After that, the focus is on Peter and then in chapter 13 the emphasis shifts almost completely to Paul and the expansion of the early church. As we’ve seen before, it is the church that adapts which thrives and the church at Jerusalem that begins to shrink and grow in on its ...[Read More]

John Mark: Acts 15:36-41

Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement th ...[Read More]

Acts 1:1-12

1. I’m not sure why we have so little recorded about the forty days Jesus had with the disciples between his resurrection and the beginning of Acts.  I cannot imagine what the questions must have been or what it meant to have time with a man who had been dead but was now alive again.  It looks like he would come and go periodically and while he was with them he would speak about the kingdom ...[Read More]