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The Missiological Character of Acts

The Missiological Character of Acts

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The Missiological Character of Acts

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  1. The Missiological Character of Acts

  2. Definition • Missiology is the area of scholarly study that concerns itself with an understanding of the biblical and philosophical foundations of missions, and then seeks to apply that understanding to the actual practice of mission in the field.

  3. Definition (cont.) Missiology combines disciplines: • Theology • History • Sociology • Anthropology • Psychology

  4. Missiological Emphasis of Acts • In Acts, Luke’s theology and his historiography are both eminently missiological. • Acts is an account of the missionary advance of the first century church and a presentation of how that advance was accomplished.

  5. Missiological Emphasis of Acts • Missiological themes dominate the book. This truth is evidenced by Luke’s repeated interest in the Gentile nations, the ethne. • Luke’s missiological character of Acts offers an important clue as to Luke's primary intent in writing the book.

  6. Historical Intent of Acts • Luke obviously wrote with historical intent. He felt it important that his readers have a clear understanding of the beginning of the church (Acts 1:3-4). • Luke’s historical intent is also implied in Acts 1:1: “The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach…”

  7. Theological Intent of Acts • Luke wrote so that his readers might know the “exact truth about the things they had been taught (Luke 1:4) and to emphasize, not only the “doings,” but also the “teachings” of Jesus and the early church (Acts 1:1).

  8. Evangelistic Intent of Acts • A major theme running through Luke-Acts is the nature and importance of salvation. • Luke repeatedly emphasizes God’s offer of salvation to all humankind: Jew and Gentile, man and woman, young and old, wealthy and poor. (Luke 2:30-32; Acts 2:17-21).

  9. Pastoral Intent of Acts • Luke sought to encourage and strengthen the Christians by ensuring them that they could triumph over opposition and persecution as did the first Christians. • Through the power of the Spirit they could not only stay true to Christ, they could be powerful witnesses of His grace.

  10. Apologetic Intent of Acts • Why did Luke include the lengthy trial episodes in Acts? (Acts 22-26) • While encouraging the persecuted Christians to endure, and even triumph in the power of the Spirit, Luke is also calling on the Roman authorities to stop persecuting them.

  11. Chief Purpose • Luke’s chief purpose is set out in the words of the Risen Christ in Acts 1:8. • “You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.”

  12. Roland Allen • “St. Luke makes the revelation of the Spirit clear to us by setting before us the acts of those men in the early Church whose lives were devoted to what we, today, call ‘missionary work.’ If he had dwelt upon the labors of those others who were not engaged in this special missionary work the revelation would have been less clear…

  13. Roland Allen (cont.) • …If He had written at length of church organization we should probably have missed the revelation of the Spirit as the Spirit which labors for the salvation of the world. When by the insistence of St. Luke upon the missionary aspect, we have learnt to know the Spirit as the Spirit who inspires active zeal for the salvation of others.” As quoted by Paton and Long The Compulsion of the Spirit: A Roland Allen Reader, 92-93.

  14. First Jerusalem Outpouring Acts 2:1-4

  15. Results of Dramatic Outpouring • Immediate Spirit-empowered witness in the city (vv. 5-36) • A great harvest of souls (vv. 37-41) • The birthing of a dynamic prophetic community (vv. 42-46) • Vigorous ongoing witness (v. 47)

  16. With this episode, Luke illustrates his empowerment-witness motif introduced in Acts 1:8.

  17. The Second Jerusalem Outpouring Acts 4:31

  18. Results of Second Outpouring • Immediate and powerful witness • Second key example of Luke’s empowerment-witness motif.

  19. Samaritan Outpouring Acts 8:14-17

  20. As a result of persecution, the church in Jerusalem was scattered. • When the apostles in Jerusalem heard about these events, they sent Peter and John to pray with the new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. • As a result of these believers receiving the Spirit a new center of missionary outreach was born, and the gospel continued to spread to the region and beyond (Acts 8:40; 9:31).

  21. Damascus Outpouring Acts 9:15-17

  22. Saul of Tarsus (later to become Paul the apostle) was filled with the Spirit (9:17-18). • True to his mission-pneumatic intent in writing Acts, Luke notes that, Paul “immediately…began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues” of Damascus (vv. 20-22).

  23. Caesarean Outpouring Acts 10:44-47

  24. Bore witness to the church in Jerusalem that the door of salvation had been opened to the Gentiles. • Served to empower the newly-birthed Caesarean church for its own Spirit-empowered missional witness.

  25. Two-fold Message • Gentiles can receive the gospel and be saved • Through the empowering of the Holy Spirit, Gentiles become full participants in the mission of God to proclaim the gospel to the nations.

  26. Antiochian Outpouring Acts 13:1-4

  27. Results of the Antiochian Outpouring • This powerful move of the Spirit in the church in Antioch resulted in the launching of Paul and Barnabas into their first missionary journey • Luke includes this special move of the Holy Spirit to reemphasize the Spirit’s role in empowering and directing the missionary enterprise of the early church.

  28. Ephesian Outpouring Acts 19:1-7

  29. Result of the Ephesian Outpouring • The Ephesian church is empowered for witness, and the gospel spreads quickly to the entire province of Asia.