Life in the Book of Acts – Part 1

Lately I have been spending a lot of time in the book of Acts, just making observations in my journal of the characteristics that marked believers and the things they experienced as they followed the Holy Spirit in this new life.

In this post I share my findings from the first half of the book of Acts. Not all the things I mention here applied to all believers, and some were not repeated again in scripture. Nevertheless, these things are recorded as part of our “family” history. This is the start of the story of the church.

As I share these characteristics this week and next week, I hope you are encouraged to trust more in Christ, to strive for a bolder obedience, and that your faith will increase to see Him move mightily. (Also, if in your own study of Acts, you find anything that I missed, please share it in the comments.)

Here we go.

In Acts 1-14, the Christians:

  • wait on God’s promises, especially for the baptism of the Holy Spirit — 1:4
  • receive power from the Holy Spirit in order to be Christ’s witnesses — 1:8
  • spread the Gospel beyond cultural and national boundaries — 1:8; 11:16-17, 19-21; 12:24; 13:4 to end of Acts
  • are unified together — 1:14; 4:32
  • are devoted to prayer — 1:14; 2:42
  • are filled with the Holy Spirit, both Jewish and gentile converts — 2:4; 10:44-45; 11:16-17
  • are given the ability by the Holy Spirit to speak in tongues — 2:4; 10:46
  • are given the ability to prophesy, dream dreams, and receive visions by the Holy Spirit — 2:17-18; 11:27-28; 13:1-2
  • come under conviction that leads to repentance — 2:37-38
  • sit under spiritual authority (apostles and church elders) — 2:42; 14:23
  • are devoted to fellowship (church community) — 2:42
  • take the Lord’s Supper together regularly — 2:42
  • are in awe of God — 2:43
  • share all their possessions to the point that no one lacks anything — 2:44-45; 4:32-37
  • healed the sick and performed miracles in the name of Jesus (this includes both apostles and non-apostles) — 3:6,16; 4:10, 30; 6:8; 14:8-10
  • were refreshed by the presence of the Lord — 3:20
  • kept getting into trouble with the Jewish religious leaders — 4:1-3
  • feared God more than men — 4:19-20; 5:21, 29; 13:51-52
  • sought God for boldness and received it — 4:29,31
  • continued to be tempted toward sin — 5:1-3
  • still struggled with fear of men — 5:13
  • healed people simply by walking by them — 5:15-16
  • were protected and delivered by angels for God’s mission – 5:19; 12:6-11
  • caused problems for the Jewish religious leaders — 5:26
  • “filled Jerusalem with their teaching” — 5:28
  • rejoiced in suffering and persecution — 5:41-42
  • were continually making more disciples — 6:1; 14:21
  • saw Jewish religious leaders converted — 6:7
  • did not separate the Old Testament from the gospel — 7:1-53
  • were persecuted, imprisoned, beaten, stoned, and killed for their faith — 8:1-3; 12:1-5; 13:50; 14:5-6, 19
  • used signs and wonders to confirm the Gospel message — 8:6; 13:12; 14:3
  • received instructions from angels — 8:26
  • received instructions from the Holy Spirit — 8:29
  • were physically “transported” from location to location by the spirit — 8:39-40
  • were known by their way of life; called people of “the way” — 9:2
  • were saved through visions of Christ — 9:5-6
  • were led through visions to lead others to Christ — 9:10-12
  • were obedient to the Lord and it was met with the miraculous — 9:10-19
  • enlightened the religiously educated by their faith in Christ — 9:22
  • were reconciled with their enemies — 9:26-28
  • used miraculous means for evangelism — 9:32-35
  • were “full of good works and charity” — 9:36; 11:29-30
  • received faith through prayer then commanded reality to follow — 9:40
  • raised the dead back to life — 9:40
  • were set up with divine appointments for evangelism by the Holy Spirit (even to the point that the lost were seeking out the Christians) — 10:1-48
  • went into trances led by the Holy Spirit — 10:10
  • saw ‘truth in action’ through visions from God — 10:10-17, 28
  • received visions that were very specific; not vague (even to the point that in some instances they confused reality for visions) — 10:30-33; (12:9)
  • always shared a “Jesus-as-the-Jewish-Messiah” apologetic — 10:34-43; 13:13-41
  • followed salvation with water baptism — 10:47-48
  • were criticized by those believers still bound to the law — 11:1-3
  • were unified through revelations of the Holy Spirit — 11:1-18
  • began to be called Christians at Antioch — 11:26
  • received miraculous answers to prayer –12:5, 12-17
  • upset the government by following God’s directions — 12:18-19
  • saw God curse and/or kill those who were against Him — 5:1-10; 12:20-23; 13:11
  • sought God through fasting alongside prayer — 13:3; 14:23
  • rebuked those who stood in the way of the Gospel — 13:9
  • were confused with gods because of God’s power in them — 14:11-13
  • refused to receive for themselves the glory due to God alone — 14:14-18
  • were followed from place to place by those antagonistic to the Gospel — 14:19

(Click here for Part 2)