Acts (3)

CPRC Men’s Bible Study

Acts 1:9-14

Part 1

  1. Scriptures referring to Christ’s ascension (in Bible order)

Psalm 68:18, 110:1, Mark 16:19, Luke 9:51, 24:51, John 3:13, 6:62, 7:33,8:14, 14:2-4,16:7,28, 20:17, Acts 3:21, Rom.8:34, Eph.1:20-22, 4:8-11, Phil.2:9, I Tim.3:16, Hebrews (10): 1:3-4, 13, 2:9, 4:14-16, 6:19-20, 8:1, 9:12,24, 10:12, 12:2, 1 Pet.3:22. Total  30. Why so many in Hebrews? Because the OT ministry of the tabernacle and high priest, especially on the day of atonement, are fulfilled in Christ’s ascension into the true tabernacle above where he as sacrifice and priest brings himself.

  1. The nature of Christ’s ascension was a bodily, miraculous ascension from earth to heaven in the final stage of his exaltation (Phil. 2:9) at the end of his earthly work. It signified his successful completion of all his work and his reward in taking his throne to reign (in grace over his church, his iron rod over the nations, and his providence over all things), entering the most holy place to intercede for us.
  2. In previous resurrection appearances he had appeared suddenly and also disappeared at will but in this one which was pre-arranged, he uniquely ascended bodily without change of state.
  3. Cloud(s) in Scripture have various significance. The cloud signified God’s presence in the wilderness, it hides a clear vision of God (Ex.13:21). Clouds and chariots signify God’s angels and it would be fitting if he was escorted into glory by those beings. He will come in the same way. We also have a cloud of witnesses (glorified saints) in heaven. See Matt.17:5, Luke 21:27, Heb.12:1, I Thess. 4:17, Rev.1:7, Ps.104:3, Ps.68:17, 2 Kings 2:11).
  4. In like manner meaning similarly, bodily, miraculously Christ will return but every eye will see him.
  5. Angels appear as at other times to bring a message to disciples to grant them understanding/interpretation c.f. Daniel, Zachariah, Mary, Joseph. White apparel signify their glory and holiness.
  6. The angels perhaps ask the question to encourage them to stop staring and get on with their business of witnessing.
  7. For himself the ascension of Christ meant his vindication, his glory, coronation and reward, joy (Heb.12:2), unlimited power, the Spirit without measure to pour out, the continuation of his work of intercession, his being out of reach of Satan and his demons, in fact Satan was permanently cast out of heaven at the ascension (Rev.12:10-12) and the prelude to his return.
  8. The significance of Jesus’ ascension for the church is the absolute confirmation of the effectiveness of his atonement (Lev.16:17), our future glory as we shall ascend likewise, the outpouring of the Spirit he earned, the fact he will come again, his reigning (and us in him) over self, sin and the world, his effective intercession for us and his preservation (by all his power) of us over all the power of Satan. We are seated with him even now (Eph.2:6).

Part 2

  1. The disciples went to an upper room in Jerusalem after the ascension because Christ had instructed them to remain in Jerusalem until the Spirit was poured out (Luke 24:49, Matthew 28:16).
  2. A sabbath day’s journey was what the Jewish leaders had worked out was lawful to travel on the sabbath and about 1000 metres.
  3. The names plus the 120 in the room did not constitute the whole church at that time, but rather the closest disciples. There were other Jews and Gentiles e.g. Zacchaeus, Joseph of Arimathea, rich young ruler, Nicodemus, Bartimaeus, the man born blind, many Samaritans (John 4), the demoniac, the Syrophoenician woman and the centurion.
  4. The gathering were characterized by unity. They prayed in line with the Lord’s prayer and for the Spirit (Luke 11:13).
  5. There were ten days between the ascension and Pentecost because God works to a timetable and Pentecost, the time for the Spirit to be outpoured (in line with the wheat harvest and giving of the law) came 50 days after the waving of the sheaf of first-fruits (Resurrection) (Lev. 23:15,16) and was a time when Jerusalem was full of Jews and proselytes from all over the empire. Christ’s appearances lasted 40 days after the resurrection and then there were ten more till Pentecost. Ten is the number of completeness (10 commandments, ten plagues, ten virgins etc) and it meant they had to persevere in prayer.



Next study (DV) Saturday March 24th on Acts 1:15-26


Acts (study 2) 1:6-8



CPRC Men’s B.S.  Acts 1:6-8

  1. The disciples, along with almost all the Jews were seeking an earthly Messianic kingdom like David’s (Amos 9:11, Acts 14:16, Is.22:22, Jer.30:9). Pre-millenial dispensationalists e.g. Brethren, are guilty of the same error today.
  2. They conceived of a Jewish monarchy in land of Israel.
  3. After Pentecost the disciples would not have asked the same question because the Spirit with which they were endowed, revealed the truth of Christ’s eternal spiritual kingdom to them and reminded them of what he said like, “My kingdom is NOT of this world” (John 18:36). Interesting cross references worth looking up are Luke 22:18, 23:42 (the penitent thief had this truth revealed to him!), 2 Peter 1:11, James 2:5, Mark 15:43 and over 80 N.T. references.
  4. Jesus’ answer discounted the importance of knowing the time (no-one is meant to know!) but not the reality of his coming kingdom which they would see coming in power at Pentecost (note the two disciples on the Emmaus road were told same as disciples Luke 24:49).
  5. After the outpouring of the Spirit Jesus said the disciples would have authority (v 7) to know more about the times (eschatology) because as prophets they would be given more revelation e.g. Peter (2 Peter 3), John (I John 2:18 esp. re antichrists) as well as being reminded of and able to record his discourse about the end times in Matthew 24,25. The power the disciples would receive is actual power (dunamis) not just authority.
  6. “But” indicates that the more important truth that the Spirit would be given to them to enable them to fulfil their calling in life.
  7. The power to be given the disciples would be to witness (including preaching) and work miracles like tongues and healing. The result would be mass conversions and the writing of inspired Scripture.
  8. They were to tell others what they saw and knew (personally and in preaching), confront enemies and error, do miracles and live godly lives.
  9. The fourfold geographical order in verse 8 is a prophecy and a command which was, and is being, fulfilled.
  10. Naturally people start their witness where they live and progressively as led, further afield (Jer.12:5, Ezek.3:5).
  11. This is normative for mission. We start at home, we send to other parts of our country (where there are scattered sheep) and then overseas.
  12. We are in stage 4 (the ends of the earth) and our calling is to be involved. We can do this firstly by being informed (mission mags and websites e.g. PRCA), secondly by praying, thirdly by supporting financially, finally as part of a church -sending men.


Next study (DV) March 3rd 8pm Kennedys Acts 1:9-14 (pages 10,11)

Operation Mobilisation

Operation Mobilisation (Ships)


Strengths                                                                     Weaknesses
Multinational and multicultural.                               Interdenominational (LCD)
Emphasis on prayer/Bible study.                               Not Reformed
Evangelism                                                                      False gospel, lay preaching.
World Mission
Faith based (finances)

I benefited enormously from my two years on Logos, seeing some wonderful places, learned about the world, met many believers from all over, discussed doctrine, got into trouble, learned to pray, sinned grievously but had prayer answered when I met my wife. I plan to elaborate on the points above in the future.


Which house are you building?

 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:47-49. Note the foundation is true faith in Christ that leads to obedience and to heaven,  continued disobedience shows the professor is false, does not trust Christ, and ends up in hell. 


Acts (1) Acts 1:1-5.

CPRC Men’s Bible Study

Studies in Acts by Mark Hoeksema

Theme of Acts: History of the work of the Holy Spirit, sets forth doctrine of the church and is evangelistic.

Acts 1:1-5                                    Answers:

1 and 2. Theophilus we believe was an influential Greek proselyte whose name means lover of

God and it was to him that the gospel was written. The gospel was an orderly account of the life and ministry of Christ written to enable Theophilus and all who read it to believe in Jesus.

  1. “ Began” (v1) implies that Acts is the continuation of what Jesus did and taught (see John 15:26, 16:13,14)
  2. We suggested “Acts of the Holy Spirit” would be a better title.
  3. The apostles were foundational to the church. They planted the first churches, oversaw the spread of the gospel and some of them wrote inspired Scripture (Eph.2:20). To qualify as an apostle they had to have accompanied Christ for his three year ministry and seen him resurrected.
  4. The 40 days served for Christ to reveal his resurrection sufficiently and teach the apostles many things (I Cor.15:5-20).
  5. “Infallible proofs” means incontrovertible and absolutely trustworthy. He may well have appeared to others.
  6. Forty days is a significant number (Moses on Sinai, Jonah preached to Nineveh, Christ in wilderness, Israelites wanderings, period of rain for flood, maximum number of lashes, duration of normal pregnancy). Forty denotes trial/testing/temptation, judgment and also is a product of ten (completeness) and four (the world).
  7. The disciples were in an upper room and they were told to wait in Jerusalem.
  8. “The promise of the Father” was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which they had heard from Jesus in John 14-17 at the Last Supper and also prophesied in Joel 2:28.
  9. The baptism with the Holy Ghost is the normal experience of every believer at regeneration (I Cor. 12:13) but in Acts it is a special and unique outpouring and anointing for ministry conferring supernatural gifts like miracles and tongues and also signifying the church is now universal. John’s baptism was a water baptism signifying repentance and faith (John 1:33, Acts 11:16). It ought to signify the salvation of the recipient, but might not, whereas Christ’s baptism IS salvation. In the case of the disciples, some of whom had been baptised by John, they were already believers who needed this special anointing with power and the new revelation the Spirit brought. John’s baptism and the reality of O.T. salvation meant much less fulness of revelation and knowledge than the N.T. baptism by Christ’s Spirit.
  10. Jesus mentioned John’s baptism because many were familiar with it and he wanted to compare and contrast his baptism with that.
  11. It is never correct to reject water baptism. Both it and Spirit baptism are commanded thogh one may not be baptised with water and still saved.
  12. The essential difference between John’s baptism and Jesus’ baptism is one of sign verses reality although both ought to mean salvation. The Spirit in Jesus’ baptism confers a richer fulness of revelation. (listen to LRF message on Acts 19:1-6).

Next study (DV) February 10th Acts 1:6-8.




The Incarnation

The incarnation was a necessity so as to save elect mankind from sin and death.

Earthy…………..earthy becomes heavenly…..heavenly.

Earthy v heavenly (powerpoint)


The Keys of the Kingdom

In Isaiah 22:22 we hear of Eliakim being given authority in the house of David, the palace in Jerusalem (JK) but in the mystical sense, Christ is said to have this key, Revelation 3:7 where the following words are applied to him: so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open; all which is expressive of the government of the church being on his shoulders, and of his absolute and uncontrollable power over it; who opens the treasures of his word, of his grace, and of wisdom and knowledge (in the preaching-JK) and communicates them unto, and shuts or hides them from, whom he pleases; who opens and shuts the doors of his church, his house, and lets in, and keeps out, whom he thinks fit; and who also opens and shuts the door of the kingdom of heaven, and introduces into it his own people, and excludes others. (John Gill) This authority was never in the hands of Peter and is NOT in the hands of the Pope but is delegated to those truly in apostolic succession namely office bearers in his true church, who advise on the admission of new members, can excommunicate others and fence the Lord’s Supper table-JK.

Heidelberg Catechism LD 31


How does God use his word?

Sword of the Spirit

It is a precious Bible truth, that the enlightening grace of the Holy Spirit, although it be specially promised to the Gospel ministry as that by which alone their peculiar functions can be successfully exercised, is not confined to them, nor to any one class or order of men, but it is common to all believers. Every private person, — every humble man, who takes his Bible in his hand, and retires to his closet to read and meditate on it there, is privileged to ask and to expect the teaching of the Spirit of God. ‘If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.’ The direct communication of every soul with God as ‘the Father of lights,’ with Christ as ‘the light of the world,’ and with the Holy Ghost as ‘the Spirit of truth,’ shows what standing the Christian people have in the Christian Church; and that, although God has graciously provided for them ministerial helps and spiritual guides, he has not left them absolutely dependent on any order of men; still less has he subjected them to mere human authority in matters of faith: ‘their faith must stand not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.’ James Buchanan


Sanctified and bought with Christ’s blood but reprobate?

Scripture we believe is perspicuous, that is, clear in its meaning. The Reformed view is that when something is not clear it must be interpreted by what is clear elsewhere in Holy Writ. For example in John 3:16 the word “world” which  has many meanings has to be studied to show that it does not mean every person head for head who has ever lived but the world of the elect, Jew and Gentile from every background. A couple of verses that stymied me are Hebrews 10:29, “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” alongside II Peter 2:1, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” In both these cases it APPEARS that those described are true believers because sanctified and redeemed but in fact they prove to be otherwise. A key example that clears this up for me is Simon Magus (the sorcerer) in Acts 8.  Verse 13 states, “Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.” Hear what John Gill says about this, ” Then Simon himself believed also,…. With an historical and temporary faith, as that Jesus was the Messiah, &c. or at least he pretended, to believe this, and professed that he did believe, what others did, and Philip preached: and when he was baptized; upon profession of his faith, which he so artfully made, that Philip could not discover his hypocrisy: but taking him to be a sincere believer, admitted him to baptism: after which, he continued with Philip; kept close to him, and got into a familiar acquaintance with him; and constantly attended on his ministry, as if he had been a sincere disciple and follower of Christ:”


Yet he was not a true believer! Gill goes on, “he offered them money; to purchase such a power of conferring the like gifts, on whomsoever he should lay his hands: hence buying and selling spiritual things, or what relate thereunto, are commonly called “simony”: a vice which has greatly prevailed in the church of Rome, and among its popes; and who therefore may be more properly called the successors of Simon Magus, than of Simon Peter. Furthermore to quote Gill again, “for thy heart is not right in the sight of God; he had not a clean heart, nor a right spirit created in him; he had not true principles of grace wrought in him; his heart was full of covetousness, ambition, and hypocrisy; he had no good designs, ends, and aims, in what he said and did; in his profession of faith, in his baptism,  and in his request for the above power, of conferring the Holy Ghost: his view was not the spread and confirmation of the Gospel, or the enlargement of the kingdom and interest of Christ, and the glory of God, but his own applause and worldly interest..” Peter adjured him to pray and seek true repentance and salvation. So sometimes Scripture cannot just be taken at face value!


Are you a member of a true church?

Churches are distinguishable. Some are true, some are false, some are departing from the truth. Every Christian should be a member of a true church.

What are the marks?

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They are:

  1. Faithful Biblical Preaching.
  2. Sacraments properly administered.
  3. Biblical church discipline.

Preaching , the chief means of grace must be faithful exposition of Scripture and according to the creeds.

The sacraments are signs and seals of the message and consist the Lord’s Supper for believing members and the baptism of believers and their children, both overseen by the elders.

Discipline, again the function of the elders, consists the exercise of oversight of the congregation, admonishing of sin and for the impenitent, excommunication.

Churches and denominations must be tested.

The following ought to be disciplined: