Overview of Acts 12-20

The Book of Acts HIStory  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
0 ratings
· 1 view

In this message, we will review the highlights of Acts 12-20. We will focus on the key points from these chapters.

February 18th 2023
Series: The Book of Acts
Sermon Title: Overview of Acts 12-20
Topic: Journey through the book of Acts.
Key Passages: Various
Sermon Blurb: In this message, we will review the highlights of Acts 12-20. We will focus on the key points from these chapters.
Hello Family Church!!!!!
Family Moment
Welcome back to week #3 of our review of the book of Acts!
To make sure we are all on the same page today…
Two weeks ago we laid the groundwork for the book of Acts.
We talked about who wrote the book.
How the book started.
What was the point of the book.
And so on.
Then last week we gave you a BIG picture overview of Acts chapter 1 all the way to Acts chapter 10.
We hit the keys points from those chapters.
This week will be just like last week…
Today we will give a BIG picture overview of Acts chapter 11 through Acts 20.
Again, we are doing this because we want everyone on the same page and no one to feel like an outsider or that they are behind…..
So, we are catching everyone up to where we left off in the book of Acts back in September.
Grab your Bibles and open them up to Acts chapter 11.
New Person Bible Connection:
And if you do not have a Bible, cool!
After service as in our lobby, we will give you an AMAZING leather-bound study Bible just go to ADD YOUR CAMPUS PLACE and get one for FREE!!!
As you are getting there let me make a suggestion.
As we do a broad overview of these chapters today…..
Let me suggest that you read them completely later today.
That way next Sunday it will be far more meaningful for you.
One last point in case anyone is BRAND NEW today…..
The book of Acts is all about the 1st church EVER that started after Jesus went back to heaven….
And last week we saw the church was growing like CRAZY….
They were reaching people for Jesus left and right….
But they were also being challenged by their culture A LOT….
We ended last week saying this…..
Chapter 10 is about God working through people that the early church would never expect!
God correcting the early church leaders to not get STUCK in OLD church traditions!
Something some of us still struggle with if we are honest!
Change is hard!
It is hard in your lives.
It is hard in your places of work.
It is hard in church as well.
BUT we have to be careful not to place our traditions AHEAD of the movement of God.
So……let’s jump in because we have a LOT to cover today!!!
Acts 11 starting at verse 1 says…
Acts 11:1- 3 The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.
2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him
3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
Stop reading here church…..
Do you see it?
Look at verse 1……
The church throughout the region HEARD that the GENTILES.
AKA the people they did NOT like.
AKA the people they tried to avoid.
AKA the people they didn’t currently ALLOW to even enter their churches…
That THOSE kind of people had received the word of God.
They HEARD that….
But look at verse 2 in your Bible…..
Peter went to Jerusalem…
Peter went to the place where most of the church leaders live.
Peter went to where the GOOD circumcised Jewish people were…
And look at what they said about what they HEARD…. they did NOT like what they heard Peter was doing!
Look at verse 3….
“Peter….are you kidding me!!!!
You went into the home of an unclean person…
An uncircumcised man!
And not only that you ate with him!
Peter did you forget everything your parents taught you!
Peter did you forget everything your pastor taught you!
Church hear me in this…..
If your parents taught you prejudice is good…. sorry, they are wrong.
If your teachers taught you judging someone based on the choices of their ancestors is GOOD… sorry, they are wrong.
If your pastors taught you to look down on other races of people…. Sorry, they are wrong…
All of us need to make sure what we believe or were taught aligns with the Word of God our Bibles…
Then verse 4-16 are him explaining what he did…but he ends with this….
Verse 17
if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”
Peter says…..
He guys…God moved!
And I am NOT going to try and stop God moving!
So after hearing that they said….
18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying,
“So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
Now let me point out something here that is SUPER important about TRUE…
REAL faith….
Look at the Bibles wording…
God has granted REPENTANCE that leads to life….
Here is the point church…. Write this down….
To gain eternal life you MUST repent.
"Repentance" what does that mean?
Church this is so important to understand in our modern world.
Because there are so many people who believe in something very different.
Many today that claim all religions lead to the same place.
Many today claim all good people go to heaven.
Many today think all people who go to church go to heaven.
Many today who think because my parents were Christians I get to go to heaven.
So many who think I was baptized as a child so I go to heaven.
And so forth……
That is ALL FALSE!!!!
The only way to heaven in to repent to Jesus….
Which means to admit your life was heading the WRONG way….
And submit your life to Jesus….
That is the ONLY way to eternal life…..
Let me give you one more cool thing from chapter 11 and then we will jump into Acts 12… drop down to verse 26….
Acts 11:26 The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
Did you know up to this point there was no “Christian” or “Christianity!”
Up to this point it was all people following what was known as follower of this picture (star wars the way picture)
True story!!!!!
The early church was just a bunch of Mandalorians!
Acts 12 is a super cool chapter….
I want to encourage you to read it all later today…
But it starts with Peter being throw into jail in verse 3….
And I want to show you something CRAZY in this chapter…
Acts 12:6 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.
Stop there….
Did you hear what is said?
Read it again….
The NIGHT BEFORE Peter was going to die!
The NIGHT BEFORE Peter’s head was going to get chopped off.
Peter was what church?
Let me ask you a question……
How can you be calm when your life is imploding around you?
How is it possible to be calm when you get the worst news of your life.
How can you be calm when you hear the words…it’s cancer.
How can you be calm when you hear the words…your fired.
How can you be calm when you are told the only path is bankruptcy?
How can you be calm when you are told there is nothing further the doctors can do?
How can you be calm when LITERALLY you are going to die?
Peter learned he could lean into Jesus and trust Jesus!
Peter learn this after following Jesus and seeing God do amazing things….
Here is the point…
When we are following God’s plan for our life, we have NOTHING to fear!
Key words in there…
Not Adam’s plan.
Not your plan.
Not your parent’s plan.
Not your financial planner’s plan.
Not your business or strategic plan.
When we follow God’s plan…..for our lives….
We have nothing to fear church…..
I honestly think that if everyone listening to this would receive that today…..
We could live such different lives….
I mean Peter is about to die….
Peter is chained up to two other dudes!
Peter is in a tiny cell!
Peter has two other dudes who hate him watching him.
And Peter…lays down….
Peter gives up control.
And Peter rests knowing God has this.
God’s will......... will be done.
I trust God’s plan….whatever that is….
And then God springs him out of jail!
Because it wasn’t time for Peter to die yet….
Because God’s will…. will always be done…
And as you can see at the end of chapter 12…. The church keeps growing!
Then chapter 13 starts out by praying for a missions team that is about to be sent out to reach people for Jesus…
Which is the SAME thing we do with every missions team!!!!
And let me show you a map.
I show you this because it is important, we NEVER forget that we are talking about REAL human history here.
Here is a map of this part of the world.
The water you see is the Mediterranean Sea.
The bottom of this map would be Egypt.
The right side is Modern day Syria & Israel.
The north side is Asia
This whole chapter happens here…in the REAL world…
The dots are where they are stopping to lead people to Jesus….
And I want to show you something I LOVE about how they lead people toward Jesus….
Acts 13:14-15 On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down.
15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying,
“Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”
Stop there…..
Look at verse 15…..
After reading from the Old Testament….
The first ½ of our Bible…..
They then said here is how it applies to our lives!
Do you see it?????
What we do EVERY service!
We come to church.
We sit down…verse 14….
We directly read from the Bible….verse 15…..
And we say….how does this apply to us….verse 15!
I say this all the time….
Our model at Family Church is not rocket science…
We are simply trying to be a group of people who do what the early church did again…
Super simple in theory…..
But hard in reality….
And the rest of this chapter is them just reading and explaining the Bible to lead people toward Jesus!!!!
And it says in verse 49…..
Acts 13:49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.
The church is growing because people are just teaching people the Bible….
And then explaining how it applies to their lives….
Which is why in January we gave you the start to the book that Pastor Adam is writing for his doctorate to help EVERYONE at Family Church do this!!!!
And Pastor Adam would love some feedback on how that is going for all of you by the way!
Email me at adam@familychurch.app and let me know!
We just want to help you all live out the Bible…..
Let’s keep moving….
Acts chapter 14…..
You can read it….if you have your Bible that is….
Starts off the same way….
Paul & Barnabas go and try to reach more people for Jesus!!!!
And they did well…look at verse 1….
Acts 14: 1-2 There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed.
If you remember I told you when we started this series to circle every time in the book of Acts God talks about the church growing or people coming to faith.
This passage marks the 19th time so far God has felt the need to talk to us about the church growing…..
Because church growth is a GOOD thing…
But just because things are going well….it doesn’t mean everyone likes it!
Verse 2
2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.
Ah….some choose not to believe in Jesus and try to poison other people….
Anyone seen that happen before?
Anyone…or just me???
Don’t be surprised when you try to start a Bible study at school or work and you face opposition.
Don’t be surprised when you talk to your friends about Jesus and some choose to believe and some do not….
And do NOT be surprised if the friends that DON’T believe try and poison the friends who choose to listen to you!
That happened thousands of years ago and will today as well.
The KEY is to NEVER give up!
And today you will see Paul NEVER gave up!
The rest of this chapter is Paul not giving up trying to reach people for Jesus!
Let me ask you a question…..
When someone attacks your faith what do you do?
Really think about that…..
When someone at school or college says, “You cannot talk about God here.”
When you boss says, “Leave that religious crap at the door.”
When someone on Social Media attacks Christianity….
Do you just give up?
Do you say I cannot lose my job….
Add a story like this for you or someone you know…
And I know….some of you are thinking….
That is easy for you to say…because you’re a Pastor….
Let me remind you all…..
I worked in the REAL world just like all of you for years.
I had plenty of bosses tell me to check my “four letter word Christian morals at the door and do what they said or they would fire me.”
I have had my faith challenged in college.
I have had friends, and family, challenge my faith.
We ALL have to make a choice….
Do we cave…
Do we give up…
Or do we keep living for God to the best of our ability?
And understand that living for God does NOT mean we win EVERYONE to Jesus!
Here we see Paul and Barnabas FAIL at getting everyone to believe!
They could NOT win everyone over.
Just like Jesus did NOT win everyone over.
Just like you and I will NOT win everyone over.
Our job is not to covert everyone to faith…that is God’s job.
Our job is to do what God leads us to do….
That is what Paul did thousands of years ago…
That is what I am doing today….
That is what God wants all of you to do in your lives as well….
You can read it later….
But Paul takes this SO seriously….
That at the end of this chapter some people really HATE Paul for teaching about Jesus that they try and kill Paul….
And after they think Paul is dead…
They drag him out of town and leave him for the wild animals to finish….
But when Paul comes to….he goes right back into town….
This is one of the things that amazes me so much about the early church.
We have seen TIME after TIME.
The culture trying to stop the church.
Other religions trying to stop the church.
People in the early church were killed.
People in the early church were beaten.
People in the early church were thrown into jail.
BUT…. they kept sharing the Good News of Jesus!
It sure sounds like didn’t care about anything as much winning as many people for Jesus as possible…. And it sure looks like their actions proved that!
Acts 15 is all about dealing with disagreements…
When you read it later you will see the early church disagreeing about stuff.
At the end you will see Paul and Barnabas disagreeing about stuff as well….
Here is a reality of life….
Disagreements are part of all relationships.
Sadly, family splits happen.
Friends will fight.
Husband and wives will disagree.
You will have people cause conflict at work.
The reality is, we don’t always align with those we are closest to.
And I love that God’s Word records this reality of life so we can learn…
Then in Acts 16 we meet this young man named Timothy for the first time….
And he starts following Paul to become more like Jesus….
Let me show you this map of Paul’s Journey.
Never forget the Bible is a story about REAL people and REAL places.
Look at the bottom left corner….
Blue represents Paul’s prior missionary journey….
Then orange represents Paul’s return trip home…
But let me point something out here…..Look at verse 6&7 in your Bible...
6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.
7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
Does anyone notice something interesting here?
Come on work with me….anything????
God stopped them!
The Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, kept them from preaching in Asia Minor….
Why you might ask…..
We are not sure….but He did for some reason…..
So, they head to Bith-theeen-ah but again Jesus stops them!
Why would God STOP someone from preaching?
Why would God inhibit someone from hearing about Jesus?
Why would God not allow Paul to do something he was called to do?
We do not know why God stopped them….
We do not know why God closed those doors.
But God did….
Has that ever happened to you?
Have you ever though you were following God and God slammed a door in your face….
And you had NO idea why!!!!
Maybe you even got mad at God for that….
Here is the point we see in the Bible and I had to learn in my life…
Sometimes God will re-direct my life and I will NOT know why.
And you might NEVER know why God did not allow you to do what you thought God was calling you to do.
But we need to trust that God knows things we do not….
And we need to trust that God’s plan is better than ours….
And we need to accept that we do NOT want to walk through a door that God has closed….
Paul had to learn that.
And some of us need to learn that.
That might be why you have not gotten the promotion at work.
God might have a different plan for you.
That might be why you did not make the team.
That might be why you did not get the house you wanted to buy.
That might be why you did not get into the college you wanted to.
That might be why you did not get the job you wanted.
That might be why any number of things…..
Sometimes God has to re-direct our lives…..
And we need to trust God….even when it does NOT make sense….
Put Paul’s journey mapback on the screens…and leave that up as I recap Acts 18-20…..
Acts 18 starts where the purple arrow stops…
They go to Corinth to reach people for Jesus….
For those who know their Bible well..
This is where Paul meets Priscilla and Aquilla…
Acts 19 they take off to Ephesus….
Goes good and bad there….
Acts 20 they though Macedonia and Greece…
But I want to close with this…..
Listen to what Paul says to a group of people he will never see again…
Acts 20: 18-24 “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia.
19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents.
20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.
21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
Pause there…
Remember where we started today????
The key for the Jews…
The Greeks…
For us today!
Is that we MUST turn to God in repentance…..
We MUST have faith in Jesus….
He continues…..
22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.
23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.
24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me;
my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—
the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
So let me close with a question….and it is in your life application today….
Life Application: What is the focus of your life? What is the work of your life? God wants it to be sharing about Jesus wherever you go. How could you shift your life to take one step in that direction? I will _____________________________.
Let’s Pray…..
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more