MacChurch: Acts 12 (Pt. 2)

Outline notes are below.


I. Review: Chapter 11.29-30.

A. A tradition of generosity is established (v. 29).

1. They were alert to the need of others.

2. They honestly assessed their ability to give.

B. Lessons from the church in Antioch.

1. Gave outside of their circle.

2. New Testament churches are identified by city, not congregation.

3. Illus: A pastor in N. California observed:

(a) Spiritual growth is the responsibility of the local congregation.

(b) Numerical growth is at the level of the city.

(c) Implication: growth “by transfer” isn’t real growth.

® Are we ready to give ourselves to the city?

C. Barnabas and Saul begin their missionary partnership (v. 30).

II. Touched by an angel (v. 6-11).

A. Angels are another race of beings.

1. Native to a timeless dimension (heaven).

2. Free to enter space-time.

3. Able to manipulate their environment.

(a) They can change the physical behavior of things.

(b) They can change minds (Elisha in 2 Kings 6.15-20).

B. Things that make you go, “hmmm.”

1. Are demons physically restricted from space-time? Little evidence for their physical presence.

2. Were human beings supposed to have access to heaven like angels do on earth? Angels may have physical presence.

III. Mary and John-Mark.

A. Mary.

1. Different from the other Marys of the New Testament.

2. Apparently a well-to-do widow.

3. The sister (or aunt) of Barnabas (Colossians 4.10).

B. Mark, also called John, ie, “John-Mark.”

1. He is the writer of the gospel that bears his name.

(a) Seems to have been written from Peter’s point of view.

(b) Close with Peter who refers to John-Mark as “my son” (1 Peter 5.13).

2. Possibly the young “streaker” at the garden (Mark 14.51).

3. Accompanies Paul and Barnabas.

(a) Goes on the first missionary journey to Pamphylia.

(b) Turns back and irritates Paul (Acts 13.13).

(c) Barnabas parts with Paul because of John-Mark (Acts 15.38-39).

4. Assists Paul in Rome (Colossians 4.10; Philemon 1.24; 1 Timothy 4.11).

IV. Rhoda! Open the door! (Vs. 11-16).

A. Peter and the Angel part Company (v. 11). Summary of verse: Whoa!

B. The house where the disciples are gathered.

1. Known “safe house.”

2. Mary, Barnabas’ sister, is the owner.

3. Barnabas and Paul may be there.

C. Rhoda was probably frightened and reluctant to open the door.

1. That she responded with joy suggests she was among the saints (v. 14-15).

2. Rhoda has an energetic dialogue with the prayer meeting (v. 16).

(a) They doubt her (remember, they doubted women at the resurrection, too!)

(b) Peter is outside and vulnerable.

(c) Jewish belief was that everyone had a guardian angel.

V. Peter comes in from the cold.

A. The people are amazed. Great faith, huh?

B. Who is this “James” that Peter is supposed to speak to?

1. Not James, the brother of John. He’s dead.

2. Probably James, one of the twelve, the son of Alphaeus.

3. There is scholarly debate about a biological brother of the Lord.

C. Herod seeks Peter and executes the guards (v. 18-19).

VI. Meanwhile, back at Antioch (v. 24-25).

A. Out of persecution comes growth (the positive outcome from negative circumstance).

B. Barnabas a Saul return with Barnabas’ nephew, Mark, as an assistant.

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