Acts of the Holy Spirit
Individual lessons & Bible Study Guide
Acts 1:1-26. Jesus commanded His disciples in Acts 1 to wait for the promised infilling of the Holy Spirit to empower them to become His witnesses to the ends of the earth. One of the most amazing and uplifting observations about the early church is that a small band of ordinary people, who likely had never travelled outside of Judea before, somehow evangelized the whole world in the power of the Holy Spirit!
Acts 2:1-47. As Acts 2 opens Christ’s followers waited to be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus had instructed them. Luke records the miraculous events of Pentecost and how the believers’ effectiveness changed so radically as a result!
Acts 3:1-4:22. God uses Peter and John to heal a man who had been lame since birth. What a remarkable miracle that was! It was extraordinary because the man was given the ability to do something he had never done before! The crowd marveled at what they saw, but surprisingly the religious leaders could not find it in their hearts to praise God for what had occurred!
Acts 4:23-5:42. The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem became jealous of the church’s growing popularity. They resented the fact that God’s power was at work through the followers of Jesus rather than through them and so they threw the Apostles into prison and eventually had them publicly beaten in an attempt to put them off their work. However, the Christ-followers rejoiced in the fact “that they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace” for Christ's sake!
Acts 6:1-8:3. Stephen boldly preached the word of God to the Sanhedrin. Though he had the 'face of an angel' all they could think to do was silence his message. He was the first martyr of the early church and his death led to a great persecution of the believers in Jerusalem. As a result many were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria, but what was meant for evil, God used for great good!
Acts 8:1-40. No matter where they went the disciples shared the Gospel with everyone they met and the church began to grow. However, in Acts 8 we become keenly aware that it was the Holy Spirit who guided the spread of the Gospel and who opened hearts to the truth about Jesus Christ!
Acts 9:1-31. Saul's life was transformed when Christ met him on the road to Damascus. This man who had been such an enemy of Christ became His follower and the greatest Apostle and teacher of the New Testament church. God used different people at different moments in Paul’s life as His agents of grace. We need to remember that we are agents of God’s grace too as we interact with those around us in our day-to-day lives.
Acts 9:32-10:48. Peter was used in exceptional ways by God; and in our lesson this week we see how he was also used to bring the Gentiles in to God's Kingdom. Without showing any discrimination, Peter took the risk of accompanying Cornelius' servants to Caesarea where he preached the good news of Jesus Christ to the Roman official's friends and family.
Acts 11:1-12:24. As the church grew to include the Gentiles, despite the hesitant response of some, they went into a time of persecution. At the beginning of Acts 12 Herod had been in command, James had been killed, Peter arrested, and it seemed as if the Church was “on the run”; but verse 24 of that same chapter told a different tale! Herod was dead but however “the word of God continued to increase and spread”. God's purposes had prevailed — not man’s — and the work of God continued!
Acts 13:1-14:8. The Holy Spirit dispatched Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey traveling via Cyprus to the Roman provinces of Lycia and Galatia. There is much we can learn from their example. Relying heavily on prayer and upon the Holy Spirit, we are to lovingly spread the Good News of Jesus, even when it comes at great cost to ourselves!
Acts 14:8—15:35. After Paul and Barnabas returned from a very eventful first missionary journey, it was not long before false teachers began to disrupt the church in Antioch with their doctrine of circumcision teaching that salvation was only for the Jews. This caused such distress Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem to speak with the Apostles. The Council of Jerusalem as it came to be known, issued a firm decree confirming that salvation is for both Jew and Gentile alike and that it is given by grace, not by the Law.
Acts 15:36-16:40. After several unsuccessful attempts at journeying into Asia, Paul and Silas ended up traveling to Philippi to take the gospel to the Macedonians. Their ministry there probably looked very different to what they had expected, as after delivering a slave girl from demonic possession they ended up beaten and thrown into prison!
Acts 17:1-18:11. Paul was never ashamed of the gospel of Christ and nothing deterred him from fulfilling the call of God on his life. Though he faced hardships frequently, God urged Paul to continue to speak and to not be silent, for He promised to be with him no matter what. You and I would do well to remember that He has promised to be with us as well!
Acts 18:12-19:41. Paul faced opposition wherever he went. Whether in Corinth or in Ephesus. The silversmiths of Ephesus were angry because of his preaching. For as people turned to Christ, they lost their fascination with the goddess Artemis and the silversmiths' business suffered because of it! Yet even when they rioted Paul, courageous as always, was willing to speak to the crowd about Jesus!.
Acts 21:31-23:30. Just as the Prophet Agabus had predicted, upon arriving in Jerusalem Paul was seized by the Jewish authorities and handed over to the Romans. Things did not appear to be going well for Paul and it would have been easy for him to give in to discouragement; but in the middle of the night "... the Lord stood near Paul". He told him to “take courage" and promised that just as he had testified in Jerusalem, so he would also testify in Rome! God's plan for His Apostle was not yet complete!
Acts 23:30-25:27. Having entrusted himself to God, Paul spent two years in Roman custody at Caesarea, rather than pay Governor Felix the bribe he was hoping for. When a more honorable man by the name of Festus was appointed as Governor of Judea, the Jews tried to take advantage of his lack of local knowledge by insisting he return Paul to Jerusalem. Festus tried to placate them; but when Paul appealed to Caesar, the Governor could do nothing more but send him to Rome for trial.
Acts 26:1-27:12. Fetus realized that he had little understanding of the Jewish religion and culture, so he brought Paul before Herod Agrippa in the hope that he would help him formulate charges against Paul that would interest the Emperor. After hearing his defense, the bewildered leaders lamented the fact that Paul had appealed to Caesar, as they deemed him innocent of the charges. However, Paul had made no error for now he was on his way to Rome to share the Gospel with even the Emperor himself!
Acts 27:13-28:16. As the storm raged, Paul kept his focus on the promise of God that he "must" see Rome and testify to Christ in that city. Certainly there were times when that seemed an impossible promise. After enduring the tempest and the shipwreck, when gathering wood for their much-needed fire, Paul was bitten by a viper! Even that did not discourage him! Rather he shook off the serpent and continued to serve - which is a wonderful testimony of how actions can, at times, speak louder than our words!
Acts 28:17-31. This book has been focused on the acts the Holy Spirit! Jesus promised His people would “receive power” to make them witnesses for Him and the Holy Spirit did work through the early believers in amazing ways. In a sense though, the book of Acts is still being written through us as we continue to serve the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit even today!