The Book of Action – Acts 1:1,2
September 18, 1975
Biblically, the number 7 is always perfection. The week finishes on the 7th day. When God originally
instituted the law, He said the 7th day was the sabbath and He gave some specific orders because that
was the perfection of the week. It’s over with. It’s finished. The number 8 in the bible is always a
new beginning. The first day of the week is the 8th day and that’s always a new beginning.
Numerically the number for Jesus Christ is 8-8-8. He was the new beginning. What other 8’s can you
think about in the bible? The 8th manifestation listed in Corinthians is speaking in tongues.
Circumcision is on the 8th day. Allot of things come to your mind when you start thinking these
things. Look for these when you’re studying the Word. This is not always true in translations because
sometimes it won’t fit. A Russian by the name of Panyon did a complete translation of the New
Testament and he did it primarily from a mathematical point of view. It’s a fine piece of work. It has
some error in it because the problem is text. If we had the original Word – remember that in the
foundational class? If we really had the original Word there would be absolutely no error in it.
Sometimes to get back to that is a little difficult.
The book of Acts has 8 major divisions in it. That of course speaks loudly to my heart because as
I’ve taught you, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are Old Testament. It’s the book of Acts that begins
the newness of the whole thing. I’m going to set these divisions before you tonight.
The 8 divisions of Acts
1. Acts1:1 – 2:46 summary Acts 2:47
2. Acts 3:1 – 6:6 summary Acts 6:7
3. Acts 6:8 – 9:30 summary Acts 9:31
4. Acts 9:32 – 11:20 summary Acts 11:21
5. Acts 11:22 – 12:23 summary Acts 12:24
6. Acts 12:25 – 16:4 summary Acts16:5
7. Acts 16:6 – 19:19 summary Acts 19:20
8. Acts 19:21 – 28:30 summary Acts 28:31
There are three great geographical points or divisions also.
If you’d like to approach it another way, you could build it around two men.
Peter first 12 chapters
Paul chapters 13 through 28
Now there are a few men that enter in on the scene just briefly but the whole book basically revolves
around those two central figures, Peter and Paul.
“treatise” – A treatise is not an epistle. An epistle is a letter. A treatise is a more formidable,
generally a more extensive piece of work than an epistle. It would be a pretty thorough over-all
“the former treatise” – is the Gospel of Luke
“O Theophilus” – beloved of God
The book of Acts is God’s record to us of the rise and the expansion of the Christian church, the
church of the believers who were first called followers of the way. Jesus Christ is The Way and as
people followed him because he had said “I am the way”, they were called followers of the way. It’s
the oldest name for believers in extent – followers of the way. Later on because they were
manifesting the love of God and the greatness of the new birth, the Christ in them the hope of glory,
they were called Christians – Christ-in. Because they saw Christ in them, therefore they called them
Christians – Christ-in. So a Christian was to be one who was a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and
in their walk you could see the Christ. That’s Christian. They were called Christians first in Antioch
of Syria which we’ll read in the book of Acts but long before they were called Christians they were
called followers of the way because Jesus Christ is The Way, the truth and the life. This book that
we’re studying is the action book and all action is contingent upon believing because without
believing there is no action. That’s why it’s called Acts, A-C-T-S. It’s acts, acts, acts not talk about,
not sit around and mope about it, it’s acts, acts, acts, acts. Action, action, action. It’s the book of
action. One of the old manuscripts, that’s all it has for the title is Acts, A-c-t-s. Ours say here in King
James The Acts Of The Apostles. That is not quite true because all the Apostles are not even
mentioned in the book. It is acts of apostles. That’s right. I think that’s a great record but it’s also
more than that. It’s acts of men like Aquila, women like Priscilla – acts, acts, acts – took him home
and instructed him in the Word of God more perfectly – acts, acts – see it? I suppose we’re not going
to change a lot of this stuff. I don’t care if we never change it as long as you change your mind and
you understand it in your head. That’s all that’s important. This is the book of ACTS, got it?
Generally if you’re going to define it, you know cut it like I did, Peter – yes, Paul – yes. That’s the
major but sandwiched-in – John, Ananias (remember Ananias going over and doing a little trip for
God on Paul?) – acts, acts, acts, acts – and that one word will keep hitting you all through the year –
acts, acts, action, action because all believing is action. We’re going to see this church to which you
and I belong, moving out like the world has never seen it all because men and women dared to act.
Same God today! Then you see why Christianity has gone down the drain, why is it the laughing
stock of the whole world? Because there are no acts – just talk about it – you know. People know
how to shake cocktails but they don’t know how to rightly divide the Word. Without the knowledge
of the accuracy of that Word, you cannot have right believing and when you can’t have right
believing you can’t act. You just sit around and talk about it. It’s just a head session. It’s just a rap
session. You know – argue, “Well, I think one religion is just as good as another”, “We all want to go
to the same place don’t we?” You see why that book has to sit right between John and Romans? It
couldn’t be at any other place. It just wouldn’t work. You put this at the end of Revelation – it’s too
late to act then. Today is the day of salvation. Now is the acceptable time. That new first, it’s the 8th, a
new first. Never in the history of the world had anybody been born again till this time. Man that’s got
to be fantastic when that hits you. It’s just got to electrify you on the inside. Acts, acts, acts. Former
is only a what? A treatise, this one acts; addressed to us, the body. That’s why the word Theophilus
means beloved of God.
“O Theophilus” - The Bible scholars basically all say it’s addressed to the man, Theophilus. I don’t
believe this. If it is, it’s ok with me but the word Theophilus means beloved of God. I would like to
think, and I do, because there’s a lot more involved in the background of my mind than I’m going to
tell you now but, you see the whole book of Acts is addressed to the beloved of God, not just one
man, but that man born again of God’s spirit who wants to do God’s Word according to God’s will is
beloved of God, therefore act, Theophilus. That’s the meaning.
“Of all that Jesus began both to do and teach” - Not ‘all’ without exception but ‘all’ without any
distinction as he presented the systematic progression in the life of Jesus. The reason I have to go
with this ‘all’ in that definition is because in John 21:25, it says, “And there are also many other
things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world
itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” It’s a figure of speech which means
the writings would be voluminous, tremendous volumes. That’s why that ‘all’ in chapter one has to
be not all without exception otherwise that would contradict what we just read in John, right? If it’s
God’s Word it cannot contradict itself. You see how simple this thing becomes? “Do and teach”
“Until the day in which he was taken up” - You and I know that’s the day of the ascension. Luke
24:50-51 – That is the day of the ascension. The ‘until’ is the including of, not up to, but the
including of the ascension.
NOTE: (Following is the teaching part on Pentecost being 8 days after the day of the ascension. Only
scripture references and brief notes are included)
Acts 2:1 – there are four names for Pentecost in the Bible. It occurred in what we call our early part
of June, at the time of the ripening of the first grains of wheat and barley, the first grains.
1. The feast of Pentecost
2. The Feast of Harvest - Exodus 23:16
3. The Feast of Weeks - Exodus 34:22 & Deuteronomy 16:9-10
4. The Day of the Firstfruits - Numbers 28:26
The first day of the feast is always a sabbath day. The sabbath does not always mean it has to be a
Acts 1:2-3 – After his death he was seen of the Apostles forty days.
John 19:30-31 – That sabbath day was the first day of the feast of unleavened bread.
Leviticus 23:4-21 - The first month is called Nisan in the Bible. It was called Abib before the
Babylonian captivity. After they returned from the Babylonian captivity they called the first month