As I explained in my December 7, 2019 post, I am reading the entire Bible out loud over a one year period and proclaiming it over the land. I'm also writing down summaries of the chapters and books as I read. Here are the summaries for Acts.
Luke wrote the book of Acts as a continuation of his gospel. After Jesus' resurrection He ascended 40 days later and told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they received the promise of the Father--the Holy Spirit--who would give them power to be His witnesses throughout the Earth. He went up and disappeared in a cloud and angels said He'd return the same way. 120 gathered in the upper room and on the Day of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit came. They had chosen, by lot, Mattias to replace Judas.
The sound of a mighty wind and tongues of fire were distributed to each who spoke in languages they didn't know. Peter preached to the crowd who thought they were all drunk. 3000 were saved that day. Peter said the promise of the Holy Spirit is for them, their children, and far off as many as the Lord calls. They grew daily and continued meeting and teaching. The lame man was healed, Peter preached and the Jews put them in jail--disturbed that they were preaching Jesus. About 5000 were saved. They couldn't deny the miracle but commanded that they stop teaching in the name of Jesus. They said they can't stop. They released them and they gathered and prayed for boldness while God heals and does signs and wonders.
They shared their belongings. Ananias and Sapphira sold some property and said they sold it for a certain amount and gave all to the apostles, but Peter knew the truth and said they didn't have to give all the money, or any of it, but they lied and said they gave it all so they both died for lying to the Holy Spirit.
They would meet on Solomon's portico and the others wouldn't associate with them, but the people came and were taught and healed. The Jews were jealous and put the apostles in jail. An angel opened the door and told them to go speak to the people so they did. They went and got them again and told them they weren't supposed to teach in His name. they said they had to obey God, not man. They wanted to kill them but Gamaliel said to let them be. If its not of God it will die out. If it is of God, you're fighting against God.
There was a complaint that the Hellenistic widows were not receiving a daily portion of food as the native Hebrew widows were. So the twelve told them to choose seven men full of good reputation, the Holy Spirit, and wisdom, to oversee it. They did and the apostles laid hands on them and prayed. Stephen was one and did many signs and wonders. They brought him to the council, made false accusations, and stoned him after he spoke to them of Israel's history and that they were resisting the Lord. He saw Jesus standing at the throne as He died. Saul agreed with Stephen's death and persecuted the church throughout Jerusalem and beyond.
On the way to Damascus, with letters authorizing the arrest of believers, Saul encountered the Lord and was converted. He went to Ananias who prayed and his sight was restored. He began to preach Jesus and had to escape. He went back to Jerusalem. He preached and the Hellenistic Jews wanted to kill him so they sent him to Caesarea and Tarsus.
The persecution caused the disciples to scatter. Phillip went to Samaria and people were converted. Peter and John came and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Phillip spoke to the Eunuch who believed and was baptized and Phillip was translated to Azotus. Peter healed a paralyzed man in Lydda. He raised Tabitha from the dead in Joppa. He was staying there when Cornelius, a Caesarean centurion who feared God and gave alms to the Jews, had a vision of an angel telling him to go to Simon (Peter) in Joppa. Peter also had a vision and God told him not to call unclean what He had cleansed. So Peter went with Cornelius' men to visit him and preached. They believed and were filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter explained in Jerusalem what happened and some of the scattered ones began speaking to the Gentiles also in Antioch.
Barnabas visited then got Saul (Paul) and brought him there. The two of them went to Jerusalem with relief for the coming famine that Agabus prophesied. King Herod put James, the brother of John, to death and arrested Peter. An angel led him out of jail. Herod died in Caesarea. Paul and Barnabas were sent out from Antioch by the Holy Spirit and took John Mark with them, but he left them and returned to Jerusalem. At Pisidian Antioch some believed, some did not and drove them out. They went to Iconium and spent a long time, but the Jews stirred up the Gentiles against them. Lystra, Derbe. They preached and many would believe.
After the disbelieving Jews would stir up a mob against them they appointed elders in every city and returned to Antioch. Some Jews came from Jerusalem and said they had to be circumcised. Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem and discussed it with the apostles. Peter told of Cornelius. They decided to give the Gentile believers a few restrictions, but not circumcision or keeping the Law. Paul and Barnabas split over an argument about John Mark, so Paul and Silas went together and came to Derbe, Lystra. They met Timothy (a half-Jew) whom Paul had circumcised because of the Jews.
The Holy Spirit led them to Macedonia. People believed, but charges were made and they were arrested. An earthquake came and the jail doors opened. The jailer believed. They left for Thessalonica. Some believed, some didn't and the mob turned to attack. They went to Berea and Athens. Paul preached a sermon on Mars Hill. He went to Corinth and met Priscilla and Aquilla from Italy. He made tents with them until Timothy and Silas caught up with him. He was there a year and a half. The Jews came against them and they went to Ephesus, Caesarea, Antioch, then back through the Galatian region and Phrygia.
Apollos was in Ephesus preaching John's baptism. Priscilla and Aquilla taught him the way of Jesus and he went to Corinth. Paul went to Ephesus and found twelve men and they received the Holy Spirit. He stayed for two years. All of Asia heard the Word--Jews and Greeks. A great uproar occurred in Ephesus in the streets and the theater. Paul went to Macedonia, Greece, then sailed back and told the Ephesus elders goodbye. He was working his way to Jerusalem and people kept warning him prophetically, but he knew he had to go.
In Jerusalem, he heard of all the Jewish believers who were still keeping the Law. Asian Jews stirred up the mob and Paul was arrested. They thought he was the Egyptian leader of the Assassins. Paul gave his testimony to the people while under arrest. The people fussed and Paul was sent to Caesarea to Felix the governor. He was there for two years, then the new governor, Festus, wanted to send him to Jerusalem for trial, but Paul appealed to Caesar being a roman citizen.
Paul set sail for Italy and a great storm shipwrecked them. They landed at Malta. Paul had warned them. An angel told him they'd lose no people, only the ship because he had to stand before Caesar. In Rome he was allowed his own quarters with his his soldier and spoke the word freely, welcoming all who came to him for two years.
- The sound of the mighty, rushing wind brought the fire of the Holy Spirit igniting the people of God all over the world.
- Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus and receive His promise--the Holy Spirit--which is for you, your children, and generations to come, for times of refreshing, the return of Jesus, and the restoration of all things.
- When God's authority shifts from one to another, jealousy, fear, and threats abound.
- A separated group--the called out ones--are given authority to speak the Word of God, to teach and preach in the name of Jesus. It can't be stopped.
- He confirms His Word with healings, signs, and wonders.
- Pray for the boldness and confidence to speak His Word, and the Holy Spirit will fill you with the power to do so.
- When truth is presented to you from the Word of God, how will you respond? Will you fight it, resist it, argue with it, try to destroy it? Or will you accept it, believe it, and change your life to agree with it?
- The Word of God, the Word of Truth, can never be changed to fit you. You must adapt your life, thoughts, and beliefs to it, or you are fighting against God.
- If you blow wind on the fire it will spread.
- Be filled with the inner wind of the Holy Spirit and the Word, and the outer wind of persecution will not be able to stop you. It will instead assist you.
- The Spirit will guide, whether through visions, trances, inner nudgings, or prophetic insight. He will reveal. Respond to His revelations. Accept and act upon them.
- Judge accordingly.
- Do what seems appropriate.
- Learn to share His heart. Think like He does. Do as He does.
- There are those who reject the Word of the Lord, and there are those who believe, but have trouble accepting the hard stuff. Then there are those who are eager for it, thinking they couldn't have it, but once they know they can, they rejoice and believe.
- Receive the Word with joy. Believe and accept it all, even the hard parts, and be continually filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
- They stir up the crowds to bring mobs against those speaking the Word of Truth.
- They try to bring legalism and preach a gospel other than salvation through Jesus alone.
- Discussion, experience, and the witness of the Spirit brought clarity to understand the mind and heart of God.
- Don't let the mobs stop you. Don't let legalism and works get you off track. Look at the works of God.
- Debate and discuss with mature believers and follow the witness of the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit guides and sends you where it is your mission to go.
- Light confronts darkness and there is conflict, opposition, but new lights are lit. Encourage and strengthen the new lights.
- There is a time and a call to confront directly, and there's a time to step aside and take another path. One is a time to confront the opposition, the other is a time to teach and build up the brethren. Know the difference and what you are called to do in each situation.
- When a prophecy comes to warn, discern whether you are to avoid or prepare for a situation. But in either case, don't compromise.
- Don't try to appease those who appear righteous but are arrogant bullies with deceived or weak followers.
- When its time to stand up for truth, do so courageously.
- Listen to the testimony of those who have encountered the Lord. They testify of the Lord. They are a witness for Him. Will you put them on trial, under accusation, finding fault? Or will you listen and discuss in an attempt to find the truth?
- Our testimony is a formal record, documented in places of higher authority than even Earth itself. It is sober truth. It testifies of the truth and power of the Lord Himself, who gives life to those who believe in Him.
- Our words testify that His Word is truth.
- When you know your destination is the Lord's will, nothing will be able to stop you.
- When your faith is in Him, not man, or your own effort, all obstacles will be overcome.
- Though the journey may be rough at times, take advantage of the opportunities to both give and receive ministry, healing, strength, and encouragement.