2020 Faith Challenge
Week #50 (12/7-12/13) Goal: Acts 13-28
- Daily Readings: 12/7, Acts 13-16. 12/8, Acts 17-19. 12/9, Acts 20-22. 12/10, Acts 23-25. 12/11, Acts 26-28. 12/12, Catch-up day. 12/13, The Lord's Day.
- Introduction: Acts 1:8 gives the outline for the whole book: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
- Chapters 1-7 show how the gospel is witnessed to "in Jerusalem." The church is established.
- Chapters 8-13 show how the gospel is witnessed to "in all Judea and Samaria." The church, despite persecution, spreads and strengthens.
- Chapters 14-28 show how the gospel is witnessed to "to the end of the earth." The church becomes a non-stop global effort to advance the kingdom of Christ--a kingdom of deliverance from sin and death--all over the world. This is a picture of Christ building his church, and all the forces of evil cannot stop him. Within chapters 14-28, there is another easy way to outline things: These are the journeys of Paul. There are 3 missionary journeys, a journey to Jerusalem, and a journey to Rome (as a prisoner). Saul was an early persecutor in the church (see chapter 7). But he was converted by God's grace and called to be an Apostle to the gentile nations (see chapter 9). In chapter 13, he is set apart by the Holy Spirit for mission work. Paul does not minister alone! He ministers in relationship with the church and alongside other missionaries (e.g., Barnabas, Silas, John-Mark). But he is God's chosen Apostle to the Gentile nations. Here is the outlines of chapters 14-18:
- Chapters 13-15:35: Paul's First Missionary Journey. Begins in Antioch. And includes a visit to Jerusalem and return to Antioch in chapter 15.
- Chapters 15:36-18:22: Paul's Second Missionary Journey. Again, begins and ends in Antioch.
- Chapters 18:23-20:38: Paul's Third Missionary Journey. Begins in Antioch and ends in Miletus with Paul setting sail to journey to Jerusalem.
- Chapters 20:39-26:32: Journey to Jerusalem; and also Paul's arrest, imprisonment, and various trials.
- Chapter 27-28: Journey to Rome; and imprisonment there.
- After all that happened, Paul did not lose focus. Here is how Acts ends: "He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him,  proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.  Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen." (Acts 28:28-31)
Week #49 (11/30-12/6) G0al: Acts 1-12
Daily Readings: 11/30, Acts 1-3. 12/1, Acts 4-6. 12/2, Acts 7-9. 12/3, Acts 10-12, 12/4-5, Catch-up day. 12/6, The Lord's Day.
Introduction: The Acts of the Apostles is Luke's sequel to the Gospel According to Luke. It is part 2. In the Gospel of Luke, he records all that Jesus did on earth in fulfillment of God's promises of salvation. In the Acts of the Apostles, he records all that Jesus does from heaven, still present and powerfully working on earth, in fulfillment of God's promises. Through his church -- who consistently devotes itself to prayer, preaching, fellowship, missions, good deeds, etc. -- Jesus brings the gospel to the nations and establishes local churches. The church: the body of Christ. In Acts, you will see the work of Christ centrally, not exclusively, but centrally, through his chosen apostles. It is all about the kingdom of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is all about God's glory through the salvation of the lost. You will see quite clearly that the experience of the church in Acts mirrors, or parallels the experience of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke: suffering and persecution, but also powerful teaching and wonderful miracles; resistance and hatred from outside, but also true conversions and spiritual joy on the inside. Praise God for his work in the church!