TITLE: The Acts of Christianity; the Origin, Purpose, and Destiny of a Christian
1st NOTE: This paper needs to be formatted in the Turabian format!! I have a template if you need one from an earlier assignment for clarity and writing style purposes.
2nd NOTE: The following outline is merely a series of thought progessions for the flow and content of the paper
3RD NOTE: I use NASB for all my scripture citing?s
4TH NOTE: THIS PAPER IS BASED ON OUR ASSIGNMENT TO READ AND STUDY THE BOOK OF ACTS
I was thinking maybe it would be a good idea to start the paper with a little imagery by saying something like:
? If you were tried in the court of Law and the prosecution was using nothing but the book of Acts as the only submittal documentation, would this be enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian or would it be worse and they find you guilty of perjury for claiming to be a Christian but you actually were not!
? Going to church doesn?t make you a Christian any more than going into a doughnut shop makes you a cop!
? If I call myself a hiker but never slip on a pair of hiking boots and never hit the hiking trail, I?m not a hiker I?m a hiker want to be! The same is true for a Christian.
c. Christianity began as a sect within Judaism.
After Christ’s resurrection His disciples continued to remain within the fold of Judaism. The small community of believers was later called a sect by the Jews (Acts 24:5, 28:22), but it was still purely Jewish. Although their teachings were highly unpopular, day after day Christians went to the Temple to worship and to preach the Gospel (Acts 2:46-47, 3:1, 5:20).
The Jews in power seem to have tolerated their teachings until Christians began to attract large numbers of converts, including priests. The Temple officers, who were Sadducees, wanted to kill the apostles not for their abrogation of Judaism but because they were stirring people up over the death of Christ.
According to Hans Conzelmann,
“The first Christians are Jews without exception. For them this is not simply a fact, but a part of their conscious conviction. For them their faith is not a new religion which leads them away from the Jewish religion” (History of Primitive Christianity, Hans Conzelmann, p. 37).
? Christian mentioned only 3 times (Acts 11:26, 26:28, and 1Peter 4:16). **write a little here on how the term Christian was usually a negative term used to describe a follower of Jesus**
? They were sometimes referred to as “The Way”, although this was also not their preferred name, but more likely a term of abuse given to them by others, for example in Acts 24:14.
? It is possible that the term “Christian” was also given to them as a term of abuse, although they gladly adopted it for themselves because they were happy to accept suffering and abuse in the name of Yeshua (Jesus).
? The two most popular names that they normally called themselves were “Disciples” and “Saints”.
? The word “Disciple” (mathetos in Greek) means one who is trained or taught, and appears 31 times in the book of Acts, starting with Acts 1:15. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples…
? The Hebrew equivalent is “talmid”, which means a student who follows a Rabbi.
? The word “Saint” (hagios in Greek) means set apart or separated, and appears 62 times in the New Testament, most commonly in the letters of Paul. The Hebrew equivalent is “kadosh” which has the same meaning. The word “Saint” has subsequently been distorted to mean a state of holiness which very few can attain, but in New Testament times it was a regular title for those who believed in Yeshua.
? The origin of the term “Christian” is given in Acts 11:25-26 as follows:
“Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch”.
What early Christians and others thought of themselves:
1. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name (Christ). And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ (Acts 5:41-42).
2. Justin Martyr explained to the Romans, ?Since our thoughts are not fixed on the present, we are not concerned when men put us to death. Death is a debt we must all pay anyway.?
Bercot, David (2011-11-06). Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up (Kindle Locations 308-310). Scroll Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition.
3. The work of an unknown author, written in the 1st century, describes Christians to the Romans as follows: ?They dwell in their own countries simply as sojourners…. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time, they surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men but are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned. They are put to death, but [will be] restored to life. They are poor, yet they make many rich. They possess few things; yet, they abound in all. They are dishonored, but in their very dishonor are glorified…. And those who hate them are unable to give any reason for their hatred.?
Bercot, David (2011-11-06). Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up (Kindle Locations 300-306). Scroll Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition.
d. Requirements: (use Acts 4:12 and 16:30-31 as a starting point)
e. The Results: the acts of the Holy Spirit through the Conversion of Peter and Paul
? Luke 22:57-62 ? Peter denies knowing Christ
? Acts 4:8-20 ? Peter being filled with the spirit can?t deny Christ
? Acts 5:40-42 ? Peter considers it an honor to be tortured!
? Paul persecutes and kills Christians –
(Use Acts 7:57-60; Acts 8:1-3, Galatians 1:13-14, Philippians 3:5-6)
? Paul has a divine encounter and excepts his calling to the ministry not from men
(Use Acts 9, Galatians 1:11-16)
***Please briefly mention there is no conflict between Acts 9:7 and 22:9 regarding Paul?s vision***
? Paul without fear and timidity shares his testimony to the Jews and to the Romans!
(Use Acts 22 and Acts 26)
***Please briefly mention here if Paul had lied about any of his testimony to the Jew or to the Roman they would have immediately called him to the carpet!***
? True vs. false Christian witness (use here the story of Phillip who was a true Christian and Siimon the Sorcerer who ?Acted? like one but was only in it for the money (Acts8)
***I want to emphasize here that baptism (Simon?s) without the witness is only wetness this is why Jesus told Nicodemus that we must be born again spiritually not physically***
a. Acts 2:42 – goals and purpose of the Christian: fellowship, nurture, and service (see Hebrews 10:19-25).
b. Acts of a Christian (mention here the healing, caring of, Agape love, and missionary journeys to save the lost)
? To share the faith to the ends of the earth – Acts 1:8 & Acts 13:47
Solve Conflicts with quick Resolutions:
? Use Acts 6 where Hebrew widows were being cared for while the Grecian widows were neglected.
? However Luke writes the apostles solve this problem by appointing seven men to new leadership positions. If you look closely you will find that these men are all Hellenized Jews. The apostles apparently realized that the minority class needed representation in the leadership of the church. (modern church could take lessons here)
? Use Acts 15:36-41 where a ?sharp contention? developed between Paul and Barnabas. They could not reach an agreement, and so they split up. As far as the sacred record indicates, these two remarkable men never saw one another again.
? However, this apparent dissension between Paul and Barnabas was not over a doctrinal issue. The rupture involved a personal dispute based upon a judgment call. To their credit, neither Paul nor Barnabas let the conflict distract them from their respective efforts of spreading the gospel. For Paul would later affectionately mention Barnabas as being worthy of financial support in his work of proclaiming the gospel (1 Cor. 9:6) and the fact that this personal conflict is openly displayed on the pages of the New Testament is evidence that the Holy Spirit guided the writer, Luke, in producing this narrative. Natural inclination would have led Paul?s friend to omit this potentially embarrassing incident!
d. Acts 1:8 is a partial fulfillment to the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32 (see Matthew 24)
? “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
? The book of Acts isn?t complete for the destiny of the Christian and of the church was yet to be fulfilled in the writings of Paul?s epistles and the Book of Revelation. Jesus prayer that He taught His disciples in Matthew 6 was an unanswered prayer for He says ?Thy kingdom come Thy will be done? this will not be fulfilled until Christ comes back and redeems His church (which are His people).
? Christian destiny is to simply be saved! See following verses:
a ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED’ (Acts 2:21)
b. “But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.” (Acts 15:11)
c. They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Possible conclusion ideas:
? God can do amazing things through ordinary people when He empowers them through His Spirit. God essentially took a group of fisherman and used them to turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6). God took a Christian-hating murderer and changed him into the greatest Christian evangelist, the author of almost half the books of the New Testament. God used persecution to cause the quickest expansion of a “new faith” in the history of the world. God can and does do the same through us?changing our hearts, empowering us by the Holy Spirit, and giving us a passion to spread the good news of salvation through Christ. If we try to accomplish these things in our own power, we will fail. Like the disciples in Acts 1:8; we are to wait for the empowering of the Spirit, then go in His power to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).
? Are the Acts of a 1st century Christian prevalent in the Acts of a modern Christian today? Within three hundred years, Christianity had become an organization with a clergy presiding over rites taken from pagan mysteries and Judaism. It had borrowed the best elements of Greek philosophy and formed a dogma appealing to human reason and emotion.
Please by all mean use whatever resources, writings or analogies you have to your creative disposable! I wrote this outline only to emphasize the idea and flow of the paper and to bring to the attention of origin, purpose, and destiny of a Christian found in the book of Acts.