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Acts – You Will Be My Witnesses

14 January, 2018

I read recently about a visiting missionary to China who was shocked to see a group of Chinese pastors ripping a Bible to pieces. What would you think if you saw such a thing?

What would you think if you found out that the reason they were doing this was because in their home communities they had no Bible and they were divvying up a Bible so they could each take a few books of the Bible home with them! Cherish your Bible! You have the whole thing!

Let me start today with this question. If you were in a similar position to those pastors in China, and you had to share a Bible like that, but you were given first choice of any three books of the Bible you would like to take, which three books would you choose? [open question]





It’s a tough choice but I would choose John, Acts & Romans.

because it tells us all about Jesus and the work that He did.
because it tells us all about the Holy Spirit and the works of Jesus that He continued


because it explains all about God’s great plan of salvation for us in Jesus and through the workings of Holy Spirit.

Today we continue our study of the whole Bible, looking at one book a month (or so). Last time we looked at the gospel of John. Today we look at the amazing book of Acts. Hold on to your hats!

The book of Acts was written by Luke, the writer of the third gospel, who accompanied Paul on most of his early mission trips. Linguistically and historically, Acts is a superbly written book. In terms of spiritual value, it is unparalleled.

This morning, we’re going to briefly look at four purposes of the book of Acts, before looking at the overriding theme of the book and what it means for us.







  1. To present a history

One of the unique and most encouraging aspects of Christianity is its firm historical foundation. We were blessed to have such an expert historian as Luke record everything in this book. Whereas the four gospels give an historical account of God’s coming to us in the life and teachings of Jesus, Acts gives an historical account of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the founding of the church, and the spread of the gospel.
キリスト教の、ユニークであり最も奨励的な側面の1つは、その確固たる歴史的基盤です。ありがたいことに、熟練した歴史作家のようなルカが、書の中ですべてを記録しています。4つの書では神の到来とイエスの教えについて書かれており、使徒行伝では、注がれる聖霊と教会の始まりと福音がどのように広まったかに関して歴史的な記述をしています。 使徒行伝の役割は、聖霊の注ぎ、教会の始まり、福音の広がりの歴史的説明をしています。

  1. To give a defense

The book of Acts is not all about miracles. In it, you’ll find a record of Christian defences made by the apostles to Jews and Gentiles with the underlying purpose of conversion. The apostles and early disciples set an example for us in giving intelligent, knowledgeable, bold, loving, Spirit-led defences of their faith in Jesus.
使徒行伝の書はすべて奇跡について書かれたものではありません。使徒達は、改宗させる目的でユダヤ人と異邦人に向けて、キリスト教について弁護したという記録があります。使徒たちと初期の弟子たちは、知的に、知識が豊かに、大胆に、愛情にあふれて、聖霊に導かれて、イエスに対する信仰を説明することで、私たちに模範を示しています。 使途たちは賢明に、知識が豊富で、大胆に、愛にあふれて、聖霊に導かれて、イエスにある信仰の弁護の模範を示しています。

  1. To provide a guide

Throughout the ages, the book of Acts has always been one of the major guides for church growth and life. We learn principles regarding the Christian’s dependence on the Holy Spirit, regarding the handling of various specific problems which arise, and regarding the life of a Christian in the face of persecution.
いかなる時代においても、使徒行伝の書は常に、教会の成長と人生のための主要な手本でした。 私たちは使徒行伝の中で、クリスチャンは聖霊を頼りにすること、日々起こる様々な問題をどのように解決するか、迫害に直面したキリスト教徒の生き方についてなどの基本的な行動や考え方の基盤を学びます。 クリスチャンが聖霊に拠りたのむこと、いろいろな問題の対処の仕方、迫害に直面しているクリスチャンの生き方における原理を学びます。

These principles are timeless and we can turn back to them again and again.

  1. To show the triumph of Christianity in the face of bitter persecution

The success of the church in carrying the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome and in planting local churches across the whole Roman Empire in such a short time, and under such fierce opposition, demonstrated that Christianity could not merely have been a work of man. It was always a work of God. The work of the church continues to be a work of God. Whether the church operates in environments of severe physical persecution like parts of China or many Islamic countries, whether it operates in environments of strong passive-aggressive resistance like here in Japan, or whether the church struggles with vocal social opposition as in many western countries, the work of the church continues to be a work of God, and the church needs to always keep that in mind.
教会がエルサレムからローマに福音を広め、そのような短期間でローマ帝国全域で各地で教会を建てることに成功し、そしてそのような激しい反対勢力の下(もと)で、キリスト教は単なる人間の仕業(しわざ)ではないことが証明されました。それは常に神の仕業(しぎょう)でした。教会の行いは神の働きとして継続していきます。それがたとえ、深刻な肉体的な迫害のある中国の一部や多くのイスラム諸国のような環境であったとしても、日本のように、一見わかりづらいが、強い抵抗がある環境下での活動であろうと、社会的に強い発言力を持つ多くの西側諸国のように、教会の仕事は引き続き神の働きであり、教会はそれを常に心に留める必要があります。 キリスト教は常に神のはたらきでした。

So the four purposes of the book for Acts can be seen as

  • Presenting a history
  • Giving a defence of the faith
  • Providing a guide for the churches,
  • Showing the triumph of Christianity in the face of bitter persecution

The theme of the book is very neatly summed up in one verse: Acts 1:8. Can anyone tell me what that is?

The words of Jesus:

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8

使徒行伝 1:8

Two things happen here. The first is that God moves. The second is that we then move. God comes upon us with power. We then become His witnesses.
ここでは2つのことが起っています。第一に、神が行動します。 第二に、次に私たちが行動します。 神は、私たちに力で働きかけます。私たちは神の証人になります。 神が行動します。 私たちが行動します。

This, in a nutshell, describes the life of the Christian, and the life of the church. We receive power from God, we then become His witnesses.
一言で言えば、これはキリスト教徒の人生と教会の人生を表しています。 私たちは神から力を受け、そして神の証人、受け伝える人となります。

We see this pattern demonstrated throughout the book of Acts.
In chapter 2, the Spirit is poured out in extraordinary ways at Pentecost and the disciples witness to all those in Jerusalem, and then Judea. [image (1)]
In chapter 8, Philip goes to Samaria where the gospel is preached and demonstrated, and once again, the Holy Spirit is given to the new believers, who become witnesses. [image (1)]
In chapter 10, Peter goes to Caesarea, where the Holy Spirit leads him to meet with Cornelius, a gentile. We see the same pattern. The gospel is preached, Christ is believed, the Holy Spirit comes upon the believers, and they become witnesses. [image (1)]
In chapter 11, there is similar work of the Spirit in Antioch. [image (2)]
In chapter 19, we see the gospel preached in Ephesus, where people believed the Word, were baptised into Christ, received the Holy Spirit, and became witnesses. [image (3)]

第2章では、ペンテコステ、降臨節で霊が特別な方法で注がれ、弟子たちはエルサレム、ユダヤのすべての人たちにそのことを伝えます。 [画像(1)]
第8章では、フィリップはサマリアに行き、そこで福音が宣べ伝えられ、また実証されます。そして新しい信者に聖霊が与えられます。 [画像(1)]
第10章では、ペテロはカエサレアに行きます。そこでは、聖霊が、ペテロに異邦人であるコルネリウスと会うように導いています。我々はここでも、同じパターンを見ることができます。まず、福音が伝えられ、キリストが信じられ、聖霊が信者にやってきて彼らは受け伝える人となるというパターンです。 [画像(1)]
第11章では、アンティオキアにおける霊の同様の働きがあります。 [画像(2)]
第19章では、エフェソスの地で宣教が広まり、人々が御言葉を信じてキリストに誓いバプテスマを受け、聖霊を受け、受け伝える人となりました。 [画像(3)]

You can see how the Word Jesus spoke back in Acts 1:8 was being fulfilled: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
私たちは、使徒1章8節で語られたイエス様の言葉がどのように成就しているのかを見ることができます: 聖霊があなたがたにくだる時、あなたがたは力を受けて、エルサレム、ユダヤとサマリヤの全土、さらに地のはてまで、わたしの証人となるであろう。

Whenever there is a great work of God – an outpouring of His Spirit – there is great witnessing. It’s been rightly said that this sort of outpouring of the Holy Spirit, this sort of work of God, is not a result of prayer. It is a result of extraordinary prayer.
神の素晴らしい働き、神の御霊の恵みがあるときはいつでも、それは大きな証、福音を伝えることになります。 神のこのような働きは、ただの祈りの結果ではなく、とても特別な祈りがこのような神の働きを呼ぶのです。 神のすばらしいはたらき、つまり聖霊の注ぎがあるときはいつでも、そこにすばらしい証人がいます。

So today, I would like us to do three things.

  1. Be thankful for the work of Jesus and the gift of His Holy Spirit to all believers.
  2. Be ready to share our faith.
    次に、 信仰を分かち合えるようにする。

That means increasing our knowledge of what we believe. It means increasing our boldness to share our faith, gently and in love. That is, anytime someone asks us about our faith, whether we feel it’s a good time for us or not, we give a clear and loving defense of what we believe. It also means drawing near to God and walking with Him in obedience so that we are not just sharing a head knowledge but we are sharing a relationship.
そのためには、私たちの知識を増やすことが大切です。 そうすることで、私たちが信仰を大いに分かち合うことができ、穏やかに、愛をもって分かち合う勇気をもっと持つことができます。つまり、私たちの信仰について尋ねられても、それがいつ何時であっても、私たちは信じていることを、愛をもってはっきりと説明することができます。 それはまた、神に近づくことを意味し、神に従って歩むことを意味するので、私たちは頭の知識を分かち合うだけでなく、神との関係を分かち合うことができます。

  1. I would like us to pray extraordinarily.

I would like us to pray now in small groups, with desperate, zealous, hungry hearts, for a fresh outpouring of His Spirit, for a great work of God, for a filling, so that we would be powerful and effective witnesses, and this community – Minoh – would be pierced with the light of Christ and with the power of the gospel.
今から数人で集まって、私たちが力強い立派な証人、他の人々に福音を伝えられる人になれるように、渇望して、熱心に、飢えた心で、神の偉大な働きのために、御霊が注がれるように、祈りを捧げたいと思います。この箕面という地域が キリストの光と福音で照らされますように。