Acts 1:1 - The former treatise speaking of Jesus doing and teaching has to be the gospel of Luke since that gospel is the only other writing of Luke in the New Testament. Further, when examining the opening verses of the gospel of Luke we read in verse 3; "It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order most excellent Theophilus." Acts 1:1 is addressed to Theophilus.
I have a little personal joke that I made up one day and it goes as follows: "Does anyone know why his mother called her child Theophilus? The answer is simple. When he was born she took one look at him and said; 'that's the awfulest looking kid I ever saw.'" On with the lesson!
Just who is Theophilus. Theophilus means "lover or friend of God." He was a distinquished individual probably of Greece or Rome to whom, as his particular friend, or patron Luke addressed both his gospel and his history of the Acts of the Apostles. Luke 1:3 - the title most excellent probably denotes official dignity. Remember that Luke was a physician, and as such might have traveled in the company of higher level clients. Of course that is speculation on my part but quite possible because of his station in life. He was obviously a Christian as his name implies.
Acts 1:2 - "Until the day in which he was taken up (his ascension), after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen." To the best of my knowledge this is the first mention of the leading of the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit) in regard to instructing Christian disciples (followers of Christ). The ministry of the Holy Spirit began after the Lord ascended up to Heaven and has continued to this day. That ministry not only leads Christians but convicts sinners and points them to Jesus Christ as Savior. In some places in the book of Acts we would see that this guidance from our Lord through the Holy Spirit is spoken of especially by Paul who was even forbidden to go certain places by the Holy Spirit. This is fulfillment of the scripture found in John 16:13-14.
Acts 1:3 - "To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." The passion spoken of in this verse obviously is his crucifixion for the sins of mankind. His resurrection is also reinforced in the statement "he shewed himself ALIVE." The words "infallible proofs" used here is speaking of certainty that cannot be challenged or refuted in any manner. The fact that he was seen of them for 40 days cements the authenticity of his resurrection along with other things mentioned in scripture such as his sudden appearances and disappearances and how he was not immediately recognized until he opened the eyes of those he spoke with. I believe that Jesus telling them of the things of the Kingdom of God was to instruct them and encourage them at the same time. It was hope in a turbulent time.
Acts 1:4 - "And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which saith he, ye have heard of me." Now here Jesus is assembled with the disciples (no mention of where) and he then commands them to stay in Jerusalem to receive the 'promise of the Father' which they had heard of Jesus. We know as this history continues that Jesus was speaking of the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would fall on the disciples and give them power to speak boldly the things of God. There are those who would tell us that this baptism was a one time anointing that was never to be repeated after early church history was fulfilled. I personally believe that statement to be ludicrous since we need that power ourselves every day of our lives in order to battle the forces of spiritual wickedness in high places Paul mentioned in Ephesians 6:12. Do those who subscribe to the end of the baptism in the Holy Spirit honestly think we need less anointing and power in our generation than these great men needed in theirs? With evil abounding on every side I believe we need it now as much as ever in the history of the Christian church. The lack of that power is obvious everywhere in our nation.
On a personal note: I have experienced this power in several different ways on various occasions. To be brief; I am living evidence of the baptism because I have done battle with demons in the name of Jesus Christ and won due to this power in the name of Jesus. I have been graced by God to cast demons out of a house and out of individuals in Jesus' name as well. I have further been blessed with the gift of tongues. Unlike many who claim this gift, I reject the notion that tongues is exclusive as the evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, Paul speaks of tongues as the least of all gifts and says he would rather speak one word with the understanding than many words in tongues if it doesn't edify the body of Christ. He also speaks of the confusion unbelievers would face coming among a body of believers and hearing a language they could not understand. Further he encourages those who seek tongues to "rather seek to interpret tongues. I believe the greatest evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is "power" (see Acts 1:8 ). I have also been blessed to see and experience that power in preaching with an anointing that is overwhelming and precious to me. Whatever we believe about this issue, I heartily recommend that we seek to glorify God alone in all things. If that is our hearts desire then God will most certainly make it clear to us what his intentions are in all things.
Acts 1:5 - "For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. Here is the promise emphasized and clarified. John the Baptist baptized with water but John also had forseen the baptism of the Holy Ghost because he said of Jesus; "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." (See Matthew 3:11). As can be seen on the day of Pentecost this prophesy of our Lord was fulfilled, and even the timid disciple Peter was empowered and emboldened to preach with authority. We are desperately in need today of this baptism as we face a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to Christianity and, by extension, Jesus Christ.
C R Lord © 11/13/2017