The Acts of the Apostles – Acts 2:42-47 – Week 3 – Rob Covell

The Acts of the Apostles

Acts 2:42-47

Week 3

Rob Covell

Introduction –
As we conclude Acts 2, we come to the most beautiful expression of Christianity modeled to us in Scripture. In this Session we will learn about the 4 expressions of the Spirit filled Church, and how these 4 expressions bear immense fruit in the lives of God’s people.

We will slow down in this study and soak in the spiritual principles found in Acts 2:42-47. We would do well to absorb them, study them and live them so that we might reclaim the dynamics of the Apostolic Church at Refuge.

Acts 2:42

a) In the text we see 4 expressions of a Holy Spirit filled local Church Community in verse 42. These are Devotion to Apostolic Teaching, Fellowship, Love Feasting, and Prayer. Understanding the Greek words associated with these 4 expressions will help us put them into context so that we can walk the same way.

b) Devotion to the Apostles teaching – Greek – PROSKARTEREŌ – to adhere to one, be his adherent, to be devoted or constant to one, to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing, to continue all the time in a place, to persevere and not to faint, to show one’s self courageous for, to be in constant readiness for one, wait on constantly – In the context of the times, the Apostles were being led by the Spirit and establishing the foundation of the Church by revelation. We see the process of God using revelatory experiences in Acts to establish orthodoxy and the expression of Christianity. During this process the Church held with devotion to their path. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1 – “Follow my example, as I follow the example Christ”. The modern day equivalent of devotion to the Apostles teaching is to follow the New Testament Scriptures in fidelity. However, it is important to follow them within the context of their times and not import them into our times. For example – Mark 17:18 “They will pick up snakes with their hands, and when they drink deadly poison, it will not harm them.” In the context of that culture this statement meant. “You will be able to handle the serpent/satan and not be harmed; you will be able to not be hurt by the poison of sin in the world.” To take this verse and import it into our times is to completely miss the Apostolic meaning of the verse. There are some in America who have done this and handle rattlesnakes! This is an extreme example, but there are many modern day examples of importing the literal meaning of the Scriptures into our times and in doing so we miss the “devotion to the apostles teaching”. At Refuge we are committed to recovering an Apostolic expression of Christianity by clinging close to the Scriptures and presenting them in their context so that they guide our Community.

c) Fellowship – Greek – KOINŌNIA – fellowship, association, community,
communion, joint participation, intercourse, the share which one has in anything, participation, intercourse, fellowship, intimacy, the right hand as a sign and pledge of fellowship (in fulfilling the apostolic office), a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship – We can see from the Greek word that it is much more than hanging out. KOINŌNIA has a cost because it involves loving each other with vulnerability, freedom, acceptance, and contribution to the Community. This is an organic process that flows from the fellowship with the Holy Spirit and translates into an expression towards others. Refuge is pursuing this with passion. That is why we have open mic, no membership, no titles, and eagerly desire the presence of God in our meetings. I believe we are growing in this and will mature in it over the years as we walk together.

d) Love Feasting – Greek – KLASIS ARTOS – Breaking Bread – In the context of the culture, this is Communion with a Communal meal following. 1 Corinthians 11:17-33 and Jude 1:12 mentions Love Feasts. We know from early church history that the Church typically would take Communion (Wedding Feast of the Lamb) and then have a Love Feast where the whole Community would eat together. This is our expression at Refuge when we celebrate Communion. e) Prayer – Greek – PROSEUCHĒ – prayer addressed to God, a place set apart or suited for the offering of prayer – This is the intentional setting aside of a sacred space so that God’s people can commune with Him in intimacy. We know from church history that the early church set aside places for seeking the Lord to pray, seek, hear and find Him in intimacy. This is why Refuge calls our sacred space a prayer room and encourages our community to seek the Lord here during the day. f) As you can see, Refuge has intentionally partnered with these 4 expressions and is committed to the pursuit of them. We have not arrived, but to get the fullness of something you need to start with authenticity and pursue it with passion. It is important to know that these 4 expressions are only achieved by pursuing Holy Spirit and these expressions flow from hosting and honoring the supernatural as we will see in verse 43.

Acts 2:43

a) The Greek text reads that all were being moved to PHOBOS – the root word for fear. This is not fear in the negative sense, but that it was the realization that the God was in their midst. Verse 43 is describing a tangible supernatural realm and church culture. Hosting the presence of God is the catalyst for miracles, signs and wonders. The word for signs in verse 43 is “signs that prove the message”. b) The expression of the church should never be devoid of the supernatural. This is the reason we have Cultural Christianity, we are losing influence in our culture and seeing a generation that is faithless. c) The remedy is to actively pursue Holy Spirit, His manifestation, and display His power in our meetings.
Acts 2:44-45 a) We see the most beautiful example of a community of believers manifesting the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

b) Keep in mind that the Church of Jerusalem was approximately 3000 people at this time. This is not church benevolence giving. This is being connected to each other in authentic and intimate relationships.

c) The Greek text gives us a clue to what this looked like – Greek – HAPAS KOINOS – quite, all, the whole, all together, all – common i.e. ordinary, belonging to generality – What is being said here is that material possessions were looked at as resource to be used to bless others. This is a real struggle in our culture. The Church in Jerusalem was distinctly Jewish, and that culture was familiar with the care of the Levites, the orphan, widow, and the needy. One only needs to a look at the Law and see that generosity, and justice was hard wired into their culture. The OT prophets like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Micah, and Jeremiah often indicted the Israelites for their neglect of these things.

d) At a heart level, we can only move in generosity as we are empowered and filled with the Spirit. As we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit comes into view, and the expression of it is love and care for each other.

e) Many theologians hold that this type of expression was lost after Ananias and Sapphira corrupted it. See Acts 5:1-10. However, we see the example of the Macedonian Churches in Acts moving in generosity in providing for the Jerusalem Church as well as Paul’s needs. Generosity has always guided the Church throughout history. The interpretation of this text through the context of our culture causes us to imagine institutional giving. The real context of this text is that a Community is caring for those who belong to it by the leading of the Holy Spirit, as giving is a grace. See Philippians 4:19, Galatians 6:19, and 2 Corinthians 8:1-9

f) Generosity is freedom in giving. It is giving that is released from the Law and models God’s generosity which flows from grace. This Community freely sold, and freely gave to those who had need.

g) Greek – Possessions – HYPARXIS – possessions, goods, wealth, property

h) Sharing/Gave – Greek – DIAMERIZŌ – to cleave asunder, cut in pieces

i) Need – CHREIA – KHRĀ’-Ä – necessity, need, duty, business

j) Communism nor Capitalism is in view here. God is not a politic or a philosophy. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 and 1 Thessalonians 3:11-12 teach us that we should work with a good work ethic to have something to be generous with and earn the respect of those around us.

Acts 2:46

a) The Church at this time was not yet divorced from Judaism. The Church in Jerusalem was meeting daily at the Temple in Solomon’s Colonnade. It was located on the east side of the Temple in the Outer Court. Josephus mentions this area in his writings.

b) The Church met every day because Jesus taught there, and because Jewish life in Jerusalem revolved around the Temple and the Temple worship expression. The Jewish times of prayer in Jesus day were 9AM (Shacharit), 3PM (Minchah- the hour of confession). The 3rd hour of prayer (Ma’ariv) at sundown was added after the destruction of the Temple in AD70. See Acts 3:11 and Acts 5:12.

c) They broke bread in their homes – Organic and authentic community is again in view here. In Jerusalem these people would eat 2 meals a day. A mid meal and a meal in the evening.

d) Glad and sincere hearts – The word for glad here means overflowing joy and celebration. The Greek word for sincerity means singleness or simplicity.

e) Thankfulness and gratefulness flow as a response to the goodness of God and our communion/intimacy with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:47

a) Praising God – Experiencing the goodness of God in our daily lives produces praise for Him. The Greek word is AINEŌ and means to praise, extol, to sing praises in honor to God. Paul said this was our spiritual sacrifice in Romans 12:12.

b) The Church had favor – Greek – CHARIS – grace, that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech, good will, loving-kindness, favor – At this point the persecutions were not present in the Christian community in Jerusalem. The persecutions came later as people’s hearts began to harden to the Gospel. Jerusalem is a unique situation because God was transitioning from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. These Covenants would eventually clash like Hagar persecuted Sarah. See Galatians 4:21-31. Eventually the New Covenant was proved to be the Covenant of God as the Old Covenant was destroyed in AD70.

c) People were daily SOZO – Last week we learned the Greek word for salvation and from the definition of that word we concluded that Jesus heals the whole person. As the Holy Spirit is present in a Community, we should expect Church growth and an abundance of souls being connected to the Lord in a very real and tangible way.

Advertisements

The Acts of the Apostles – Week 2 – Acts 2:1-41

The Acts of the Apostles Acts 2:1-41

Week 2

Rob Covell

Introduction – As we continue in Acts 2, we will look at the most exciting invasion of heaven to earth as Holy Spirit is poured out at Pentecost. The world has never been the same since this one event. The dynamic Church of Jesus Christ is birthed and an all-out heavenly assault against the dominion of the devil has been bearing fruit in every generation since Pentecost.

The Father giving the promise of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is steeped in symbolism that communicates much deeper truths about God, the Church, and our mission. In Matthew 28 and Mark 16 Jesus describes the mission of the Church in enforcing and expanding the kingdom in terms of invincibility and power. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit that is the Source, but as Holy Spirit is a gift, it is also completely by grace that we accomplish the reward of Jesus’ suffering.

Acts never presents to us a weak, anemic, and powerless Church of Jesus Christ. Instead Acts presents to us a Church that has dominion over all powers and principalities. The Bride may be persecuted, but She is never defeated, She is always dynamic, and will accomplish Her call and mandate as the perfect companion to Jesus.

Acts 2:1

a) Feast of Weeks – Pentecost – This feast is one of 3 annual feasts that were to be kept by the Israelites. The Feast of weeks comes 7 weeks after or 50 days after Passover. We find this feast in Scripture in Exodus 34:22, Deuteronomy 16:10, 2 Chronicles 8:13, and this feast is the feast of First Fruits and is a time celebration for God being faithful to bring crops to harvest. According to Leviticus 23 the priests would wave 2 large loafs of bread before the Lord as a wave offering to celebrate His goodness. At the end of Pentecost there was a community wide meal where all would eat with the poor, the stranger and the Levites to celebrate that God is a good provider, and faithful Covenant partner.

b) The people would offer 7 types of offerings to the Lord at the Temple in Jerusalem. Wheat (bread of life), barley (staff of life), grapes (joy of life), figs (sweetness of God’s goodness), pomegranates (adorning temple – presence), olives (oil of healing) and dates (palm tree – everlasting life).

c) We can see from the symbolism that the Lord was very strategic in sending the gift of Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We see the following symbols fulfilled. A – As the Spirit is poured out, God reaps a Frist Fruits from His people who believe in Messiah. B – God is faithful to fulfill His promises and provided a New Covenant that will bring a harvest starting in Jerusalem to ends of the earth. C – We see the 7 number symbolism indicating that salvation is a finished work and the New Covenant is an age of the Church reaping of earth.

d) The disciples were all together. This speaks of their commitment to each other
and their obedience to wait for the gift of Spirit. This body of approximately 120 believers is about to become a 3000-member body in a moment and experience the fullness of Holy Spirit. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom, growth and life.

Acts 2:2-4

a) The original Greek text describes the wind like a violent/rushing/bearing down, wind/breath of life from heaven. As Holy Spirit invaded, the expression of His power began displacing the inferior reality of fallen world, and bring in the superior reality of Life from heaven becoming manifest in the world.

b) The tongues of fire symbolize that to each one us a portion of Holy Spirit is given to us. Fire speaks of the burning passion of the fire that is now lit on the altars of our hearts. Holy Spirit has rested on us. Are we a resting place for the presence of God? c) All of them were filled – Greek – PIMPLĒMI – to be filled – This is nothing less than being invaded and overcome with the Spirit of God to overflow.

d) The Holy Spirit enabled them to speak with other tongues. This a manifestation of tongues of known languages. In 1 Corinthians 13:1 makes a distinction between tongues of men and angels. This manifestation becomes a sign to those in Jerusalem worshiping and celebrating God’s goodness at Pentecost.
Acts 2:5-13

a) Notice that there are people from all over the known Roman world worshiping and celebrating the Feast of Weeks. Again we the wisdom and strategy of the Lord in reaping the first fruits of believers from around the civilized earth and from among His people. It is important to recognize that the Lord is strategic and is interested in maximum Kingdom effect.

b) The manifestation in verse 13 indicates that the disciples seemed to be drunk. The Feast of Weeks was indeed a celebration and so it would logically make sense that the observers would have made this accusation. One thing we can be sure, that every time Holy Spirit pours out, there is a recognizable effect that proves His presence. Manifestations help us know He is ministering and are the proof of a supernatural experience. If Holy Spirit is a Spirit, then He is naturally supernatural, and our expectation should be that un-natural things would happen.

c) Wisdom always asks, “what is the deeper meaning of the sign?”. See verse 12

Acts 2:14-21

a) Peter stood up and preached the first Spirit filled proclamation of the Gospel.

b) Joel 2:28-32 was being fulfilled. This was an amazing prophecy, as it prophesied that every person would be anointed by Holy Spirit.

c) The First Century understanding of Peter quoting Joel 2:28-32 would not have the eschatological connotations like these verses do today. To understand this from the hearer’s perspective, these verses would imply something much different. d) All God’s people would prophesy and have spiritual encounters through God’s Spirit.

e) The mention of the signs in the heavens and on the earth speak of the displacement of powers, authorities, governments and judgment. The OT writers consistently used poetic prose and symbolism to communicate a greater truth. See Isaiah 24:21-23, Isaiah 13:10, Ezekiel 32:7, and Judges 5:20. All of these verses are in the context of God’s judgment and change in political power, etc.

f) The First Century hearer would not think of an end times event but a change in religious/political power. The coming of the Lord would have meant that God would visit them with judgment and the appeal to call on the name of the Lord would have been a call to repentance so that God would not “come” and judge them. We see this as the context for Peter’s plea for them to repent for crucifying Jesus and denying Him as Messiah. Those who did not repent and clung to the Old Covenant were indeed judged in AD70.

Acts 2:22-24

a) Peter pointed their attention to the miraculous works of Jesus as proof of His identity as the Son of God and the Lamb.

b) Peter clearly preached their crime of crucifying Jesus, and Peter tells us that the death and resurrection of Jesus were fore-ordained. This is a vast subject to contemplate. What is being implied here is that the whole of creation/salvation narrative was being worked through Israel, and even the fact that God’s people would sin and fail, His love, grace and mercy would triumph. Sin and the effects of sin did not prevent the Lord from continuing in creation and bringing forth mankind. This teaches us that the Lord regards love and relationship over all things.

Acts 2:25-36

a) Peter quotes Psalm 16 and Psalm 110 and points to the prophecies of Jesus resurrection, and ascension.

b) Again we see Trinitarian language being used in these verses. Jesus being exalted at the right hand of God speaks of Jesus being co-equal to God in essence and authority. Jesus claimed divinity in John 8:58, John 10:30, and John 14:6-14.

c) Peter clearly preaches that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah as prophesied by Scripture and stops here to allow the Holy Spirit to bring revelation and minister to the hearts of the people.

Acts 2:37-41

a) Jesus said that one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit was to convict the world of sin and guilt (John 16:8-11). This is one of the most powerful ministries that Holy Spirit does, as this is the ministry that bring eternal life and refreshing to the soul.

b) The salvation experience is forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Peter tells the people that the gift of salvation and the Spirit are for all who were present and for all throughout the ages. We should never have a doctrine that teaches us the gift of the Holy Spirit has ceased from the Church.

c) Holy Spirit woos hearts and calls people to the Lord. This what Jesus meant as He dialogued with Nicodemas in John 3, when He said we must be born again.

d) Peter tells them to be saved – Greek – SŌZŌ – to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction, to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health, to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment. Jesus heals the whole person. e) Acts 2:41 tells us that approximately 3000 were added to the 120 and we see the First Fruits of the Gospel become the birth of the Church. Today there are 78 million Bibles being distributed every year and 2.18 billion believers in the world today and growing!

The Acts of the Apostles – Week 1 – Acts 1:1-26 – Rob Covell

The Acts of the Apostles

Introduction to Acts – Acts 1:1-26

Week 1

Rob Covell
Introduction – In this Session we will look at the authorship of the book of Acts, the authenticity of the book of Acts, the historical context and the approach we will take in understanding and interpreting Acts. To properly understand any book of the Bible it is important to understand who the author is, why and who is he writing to, the historical and cultural contexts, and finally how does the spiritual truth in the Scripture we are studying apply to our walk with Jesus Christ today. The approach we will take in this study will be from a historical and cultural perspective, with an emphasis on how the supernatural expression of the Church is valid today, so that we might recover an apostolic gospel and expression of Christianity.

Author: Luke, the travelling companion of the Apostle Paul. Luke is mentioned by name 3x by Paul in Scripture (Colossians 4:14, 2 Timothy 4:11, and Philemon 1:24). Church history confirms that the books of Luke and Acts were 1 Volume and were split up later per our current arrangement. Church history holds that Luke is indeed the author of both of these books. Luke is mentioned as being a physician in Col 4:14. Luke is the only Gentile author in the New Testament, and Church History tells us that Luke was a Greek from Antioch in Syria. From the internal evidence found in Acts 20:7, Luke begins travelling with Paul, starting at Troas.

It is worth mentioning some other unique facts about Luke. Early Church Tradition mentions that Luke was also an artist, who painted Mary the Virgin, Paul and Peter. His remains were purchased by George the Serbian from the Muslim Caliph Murad II, sometime between 1421 and 1451 for 30,000 gold coins. Today his skull is in the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, Czech Republic, his ribs are in Thebes, Greece, and the rest of the body is in the Abbey of Santa Guistina in Padua, Italy. Recent carbon 14 dating confirmed the authenticity of his remains. It is held by Church Tradition that Luke never married, lived in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit and passed away at age 84, in Boeotia, Greece, in AD 84.

Book: Luke and Acts were written approximately AD 63. Luke compiled his gospel and the first 20 chapters of Acts from interviewing eyewitnesses, and Luke wrote the last half of Acts as an eyewitness. Luke and Acts were written in beautiful Classical Greek and are considered by scholars as being one the finest ancient literary works in Western Culture. The backstory of Luke’s composition can be found by paying attention to his narrative. One can imagine that as Luke traveled with Paul to Jerusalem that he began to interview James, John, Mary and others about the life of Jesus. It is fascinating to pay attention to the story and history and see the internal evidence of Luke’s work.

The book is written to Theophilus (Lover of God). Theophilus is mentioned in both Luke and Acts, and is not mentioned anywhere else in Scripture. It is probable that Theophilus is not actually a person but a term of endearment to the reader. Only a lover of God would be reading Luke and Acts and Luke directly addresses his writing as an apologetic that believers could trust.

Narrative of Acts: Luke’s purpose in writing Acts was to give the Church an accurate narrative of the establishment of the Church, the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles and the Church, the persecutions of the Church by Jews and Romans, and to build confidence in the hearts of First Century believers and believers of all ages that the message we believed is true and trustworthy. We can say confidently that from reading Acts that the Holy Spirit is the Person of the Trinity that is most present with us today, and that we should expect to walk in the same type of expression that the First Century Church walked in.

Acts 1:1-3

a) The former book is Luke. See Luke 1:1-4. As mentioned before Theophilus is probably a term of endearment towards the reader and not an actual person. The New Testament does not mention Theophilus by name in any other book and Church History does not give us the identity of Theophilus either.

b) Luke verifies the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is primary to our faith. If Jesus is not the resurrected Messiah, then our faith is misguided and a false teaching. At the time Luke wrote Luke and Acts, there were many eyewitnesses of the resurrection. Luke could have easily investigated the truth of the resurrection. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:6 mentions that Jesus appeared to more than 500 people and comments that most of them were alive to ask them about the truth of Paul’s message of the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus proves He is Messiah, that He conquered the sin and death that came from Adam, and finally proves our message is endued with power.

c) Jesus taught them about the kingdom of God. We can reference Luke 24:13-35 for the type of things that Jesus taught His disciples after His resurrection.

d) 40 Day Symbolism – testing, proving, preparation

Acts 1:4-5

a) Jesus reminded the Disciples of the promise of the Holy Spirit. John details this intimate conversation in John 16:5-16.

b) Being baptized in the Holy Spirit. This is a work and ministry of Holy Spirit. The way to receive it is to posture ourselves in a position to receive it. Holy Spirit is a gift. How remarkable that God would join Himself with us and live in us. This truth carries all of the promise of the truth that we can abide with God in a way that expects Him to communicate with us, work with us, and accomplish the impossible.

c) Baptize – Greek – BAPTIZŌ – to immerse to overwhelm – The promise that Jesus gave them was none other than the promise that His disciples would walk in the same dynamic relationship that He had with the Father, through Holy Spirit.
This is a tremendous promise!

d) Even though the Disciples were witnesses of the truth of Messiah in the death and resurrection of Jesus, they lacked the power of the Spirit. The message of Jesus can never be divorced from power. If it is, it becomes religious philosophy and will bear little fruit. See Acts 17:16-34. The word for power here is DYNAMIS – strength power, ability, inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth, power for performing miracles, moral power and excellence of soul, the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth, power and resources arising from numbers, and power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts.

Acts 1:6-8

a) Jesus corrected the Disciples understanding and expectation of what would be the nature of the Kingdom of God. To restore the Kingdom to Israel, was to throw off Roman Occupation, cleanse the Priesthood, overthrow the Herods, reestablish the Law, re-establish the borders of Israel under Solomon, and have Jesus sit as the Davidic King in Jerusalem. These expectations were completely out of line with what Jesus was teaching them. These denied the wider vision and mission of Jesus Christ as Savior of the world and the re-establishment of Eden.

b) See Romans 9 through 11 regarding how all Israel is saved by the Gospel and not a military confrontation against those in Israel who do not believe the Gospel. For the Disciples to be asking for Jesus to restore the Kingdom to Israel would mean the destruction of all who denied the Lord Jesus. This request denies the mercy, patience and love that Jesus extends to everyone. John and James were rebuked for this dominionist attitude in Luke 9:54-56. To re-establish the Kingdom to Israel would have meant wide scale death and destruction of those who denied Jesus.

c) Jesus called them to be witnesses in order to offer the forgiveness and redemption He accomplished on the cross to those who crucified Him, and those who denied and mocked Him. We can see this to be true as we examine Peter’s preaching at Pentecost in Acts 2.

Acts 1:9-12

a) We have the promise of Jesus Christ’s return in bodily form and the location may be implied here. The descriptive account of Jesus’ return is given to us by these 2 angels who appear to the Disciples as they are looking up at Jesus ascending to heaven. For more on the Return of Jesus, see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

b) The angelic questioning of the Disciples almost carries an air of humor. “Why are you waiting around, get busy!”. This interaction is included so that we would be focused on our mission and mandate for Jesus Christ as His Church.

c) The Mount of Olives was a familiar meeting place and the place where Jesus intimately taught His Disciples, was betrayed, arrested, and ascended.

Acts 1:13-14

a) The Disciples began to obey the command and wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit. We are told that they were in constant prayer. One can only wonder what that prayer might have looked like. They all would have been longing for Jesus as the Bride longed for the Bridegroom in Song of Songs 3:1-3.

b) Mary is mentioned and so are Jesus brothers. These brothers would have included Jude and James. There is evidence in the Gospels, Acts 15, Galatians 2, and the Letters of Jude and James, that Mary had other sons and daughters besides Jesus. It is a Papal error to hold the perpetual virginity of Mary.

Acts 1:15-26

a) The first movement we see is Peter suggesting that the group replace Judas Iscariot. It is important to note that it was Peter and not the Holy Spirit who prompted Peter to suggest replacing Judas.

b) Peter refers to Judas’ suicide, and the Sanhedrin buying the Field of Blood. See Matthew 27:1-10.

c) It is important to note that the Holy Spirit is not interacting with Peter and the others and the Holy Spirit is not directing their choice. They use lots to determine the choice between Matthias and Barsabbas. See Proverbs 16:33 and Proverbs 18:18.

d) Scripture is unbiased and reveals the triumphs and failures of God’s people. Just as the Lord always relates to us based on our destiny and identity, His word mentions the failures of His people to illustrate His mercy, and grace as well as show us a better way.

e) From the giving of the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we see an intimate knowledge, and leading of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Peter and the others. Scripture reports this to us so that we would in the same faith expectation and interaction with God that they walked in.

f) Barsabbas and Mathias show us 2 truths. 1 – There were many others who were Disciples of Jesus who followed Him besides the 12. 2 – Neither of these men are ever mentioned in Scripture or in Early Church references illustrating that Peter’s decision to use lots and not relationship in choosing a successor to Judas was error.

g) Today many decisions in churches and ministries are made without the leading of Holy Spirit. The condition of Western Christianity is a testament to that fact. The direction and leading of any church or ministry should be born supernaturally and not by the mind of man.