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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

Acts 8-10

The Kingdom breaks out of Jerusalem.

The Heart of God: The Covenant People (4)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27

Read and meditate on Acts 8-10.
Having become established in Jerusalem, it was now time for the covenant people to launch out into new areas. Once again, God used an unlikely means to begin scattering the seed of the Gospel to Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth.

For reflection
1.  The martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7) emboldened the religious leaders of Jerusalem to a more systematic and violent attempt to stop the preaching of the Gospel (Acts 8.1-3). Jesus had promised that such persecution was to be expected (cf. Jn. 15.18-25; 16.33). Why? What is it about the Gospel and the people of God that provokes people to oppose them?

2.  Why did Peter reject Simon’s request (Acts 8.14-25)? Is there a danger still today of wanting to serve the Lord for selfish gain? Explain.

3.  Briefly summarize the process whereby Saul of Tarsus came to believe in Jesus. How should his conversion encourage us as witnesses for Christ today?

4.  Meditate on Peter’s vision in Acts 10.9-16. This vision had a direct connection to the Law of God. Its purpose seems to have been twofold: First, to override all elements of the Law of God that related to Israel’s special status as an ethnic people set apart to the Lord. This had been from the beginning a temporary stage in the unfolding of God’s covenant, so whichever of the Old Testament laws pertained uniquely to Israel as an ethnic people were abolished, especially those laws that related to diet, sacrifices, priests, and the like (cf. Heb. 7-9). Second, this vision opened the door for Peter to go among the Gentiles with the Good News of Jesus. Why do you suppose God chose this means of revelation to prepare Peter for his mission to Cornelius? Should we look to such revelations as normative for us? Why or why not?

5.  Summarize Peter’s message to Cornelius. What did his proclamation of the Good News of Jesus include?

By various means, God opened the door for the covenant community to spread beyond Jerusalem into Judea, Samaria, and the Gentile world in Caesarea. Can you see any parallels here with the book of Joshua? We remember that Joshua (whose Hebrew name is the equivalent of the Greek, Jesus) delivered the people of Israel into the promised land. Now we see Jesus delivering God’s covenant people into the promises of the New Covenant (Acts 1.8). Why should we expect to discover some similarities between these two epochs?

Closing Prayer
The LORD reigns;
Let the earth rejoice;
Let the multitude of isles be glad!
Clouds and darkness surround Him;
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
A fire goes before Him,
And burns up His enemies round about.
His lightnings light the world;
The earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD,
At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declare His righteousness,
And all the peoples see His glory.
Let all be put to shame who serve carved images,
Who boast of idols.
Worship Him, all you gods.
Zion hears and is glad,
And the daughters of Judah rejoice
Because of Your judgments, O LORD.
For You, LORD, are most high above all the earth;
You are exalted far above all gods.

Psalm 97.1-9

T. M. Moore

Two books can help you gain a fuller understanding of the terrain we will be covering in this series. Kingdom Documentsprovides a concise overview of the primary teaching of the Old and New Testaments, and shows, through early Church creeds, how our forebears understood the primary teachings of God’s Word. (click here to order). I Will Be Your Goddevelops more fully the idea of God’s covenant and leads us to consider the practical implications of our covenant relationship with God (click here).

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course,
Introduction to Biblical Theology, offers a parallel study of our theme in this series, using brief video presentations and the workbook God’s Covenant: An Introduction. All courses at The Ailbe Seminary are available without charge.

We are happy to be able to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in this series by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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