Zoom Bible Study Outline for September 16 – October 28

ZOOM BIBLE STUDY with Pastor Derr: September 16-October 28, 2021

Why Luke and Acts? Why the Holy Spirit?
1. Luke is the Gospel that will govern the next liturgical year beginning the First Sunday in Advent, November 28, 2021.
2. In our pandemic and post-pandemic world with fewer opportunities of in-person worship and study, interest in the role of the Holy Spirit and “things of the Spirit” have increased.
3. Portions of the Book of Acts are read every year during the 50 days of Easter.
4. Luke is my personal favorite Gospel.

September 16, 2021
1. Opening Prayer
2. Who and where are we? Participant introductions.
3. Why focus on the Holy Spirit in Luke and Acts?
a. Same author
b. In Luke, the Spirit is mentioned 15 times as compared to 6 times in Mark, 12 times in Matthew
4. The Spirit is mentioned 55 times in Acts.

September 23, 2021
1. Opening Prayer
2. Questions/comments/concerns from last session.
3. The difference between Luke’s theology of the Holy Spirit and Paul’s
a. Paul speaks of the Spirit frequently in terms of intimacy with disciples. When Paul talks about the Holy Spirit, he does so frequently in terms of intimacy with the disciple. That is, the Holy Spirit brings inward, spiritual benefits such as conversion (Rom 2:29; 8:11; Gal 3:14; Titus 3:5), sanctification (Rom 15:16; 1 Cor 6:11; Gal 3:3; Eph 4:12; 2 Thess 2:13), and sealing as God’s possession (2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:13).[4] He assures us of God’s love (Rom 5:5; 15:30; Col 1:8) and confirms that we are God’s children (Rom 8:16-17; Gal 4:6) thus granting us access to God (Eph 2:18) even interceding for us when we cannot pray (Rom 8:26-27). We live our lives under the direction of the Spirit rather than the Mosaic law (Rom 7:6; 8:1-16; 2 Cor 3:3, 6, 8; Gal 3:2-3; 5:16-18; 5:25), being transformed into God’s spiritual nature (2 Cor 3:17-18). But it is not Luke’s emphasis.
b. Luke describes the Spirit’s role as empowerment for witness. In other words, Paul talks most about what the Holy Spirit does in the believer while Luke stresses what the Holy Spirit does through the believer. Therein lays a huge difference between these two theologians. A brief survey of Luke’s books bears this out:
September 30, 2021
1. Opening Prayer
2. Questions/comments/concerns from last session.
3. Luke’s use of the “Hebrew” Scriptures.
a. Always uses the Septuagint
b. In the Jewish Scriptures the Spirit is portrayed as the dynamic force of God which typically acts upon, sometimes through an individual or group. The Spirit’s purpose is not salvation or sanctification (Paul’s emphasis), but service (Luke’s emphasis) to the people of God.
c. In Luke and the Jewish Scriptures, the Spirit can be passed from one person to another by the laying on of hands. Moses empowered the 70 elders (Num 11:17, 25); and later he passed the baton of leadership to Joshua (Num 27:18- 20); likewise, Elijah gave his mantel to Elisha (2 Kgs 2:8-15); Samuel anointed Saul as king (1 Samshows the power of the Spirit being passed on through the laying on of hands (cf. Deut 34:9). Once Jesus has passed on the Spirit by pouring him out at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), the Apostles are able to bestow spiritual gifts by laying their hands-on people (Acts 6:6, 8; 8:6, 18; 9:17; 19:6).
d. In Luke and the Jewish Scriptures, the Spirit calls people to vocation. That is, the Spirit comes upon a person and enables him/her to carry out a particular ministry or task (Acts 6:3-5; 20:28)whether that is architecture (Bezalel, Exo31:3; 35:31), judgment (Num 11:17:25-29), military expertise (Joshua, Num 27:18; Deut 34:9; Othniel, Jdg 3:10; Gideon, Jdg 6:34; Jephthah, Jdg 11:29), or miracles (2 Ki 2:9). Most commonly, however, in both the Jewish Scriptures and in Luke, the Spirit empowers people to speak the word of the Lord whether that is in prophecy (Acts 11:28; 21:11), tongues (Acts 2:4, 33), or most commonly preaching/evangelism (Lk 12:12; Acts 4:8, 31; 6:10).
4. In reference to the Holy Spirit, Luke differs from the Jewish Scriptures.
a. Luke presents the Holy Spirit as a distinct entity. While Luke clearly demonstrates a Trinitarian view of the Spirit (Lk 1:35; 3:22; Acts 1:2-4; 2:33; 16:6-10), the Spirit has his own personality and identity.
b. In the Jewish Scriptures, the Spirit is given to the elites. In Luke, to all. When the church is birthed in Acts 2, suddenly the Spirit is poured out on all flesh, according to the prophecy of Joel 2:28-29 (cf. Acts 2:39). Now every member of the church is a priest (cf. 1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:6; 5:10). Male and female, slave and free, rich and poor, Jews and Gentiles have equal access to God and ministry through the reception of the Holy Spirit. This is an extraordinary change in the new covenant. This is all the more striking given the fact that contemporary Judaism, to a large degree, believed that Spirit-induced prophecy had ceased (cf. 2 Baruch 85:3; Josephus, Against Apion) and would only be rekindled when the Messiah had come. Thus, when groups such as the Maccabees or the Qumran covenanters claimed prophecy in their midst, it was an eschatological claim that the final Messianic age had dawned (cf. Isa 44:3-4; 59:20-21; Eze 36:27-28; 37:14; 39:28-29; Joel 2:28-3:1).Obviously, when the church of Acts demonstrates the power of the Spirit through tongues, prophecy, and miracles, it was evidence for the claim that Jesus was, in fact, the promised Messiah.

October 7, 2021
1. Opening Prayer
2. Questions/comments/concerns from last session
3. The Spirit’s role in Luke/Acts. When we talk about the role of the Holy Spirit – the kinds of things we might expect the Spirit to do – the cardinal rule is this: The Holy Spirit does what she wants, where she wants, when she wants, and how she wants, with or without your permission. She is infinitely creative and innately unpredictable. So, by talking about his role, we are not predicting (or constricting) what she will do, but tracing what she has done.
4. The Holy Spirit empowers God’s People for service.
a. Both Luke and Acts begin with a birth narrative heavily infused with the Holy Spirit. Luke 1-2 tells the story of the birth of Jesus; Acts 1-2 tells the story of the birth of the church. Acts 1:8 is the first mention of the Holy Spirit in Acts and sets the stage for the rest of his appearances, “But 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.” This stands squarely on the shoulders of the paradigm already established in Luke 1:35 says, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Notice the two terms in bold. “Come upon,” used eight times in Luke/Acts and only twice elsewhere, is a particularly Lucan term and is connected with “power” in both verses. Truly we have a pattern being established here. From the very beginning of both books, we are prepared to view the Holy Spirit in relation to power (cf. Lk 4:36; 5:17; 24:49).
b. Jesus, of course, becomes the model in Luke after which the disciples of Acts are patterned. Interestingly, Luke is the only Gospel writer to note that Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit to do might works (cf. 4:1, 14, 18; 10:21; 24:19; Acts 1:2; 2:22; 10:38), especially prominent in his baptism, temptation, and first sermon in Nazareth.
c. In the structure of Luke-Acts, the Pentecost narrative stands in the same relationship to Acts as the infancy-inauguration narratives do to the Gospel. In the Gospel of Luke these narratives not only introduce the motifs which define the mission of Jesus, but they also show that Jesus will execute His mission in the power of the Holy Spirit. In a similar manner, the Pentecost narrative introduces both the future mission of the disciples and the complementary empowering of the Spirit.
d. Hence, for both Jesus and the disciples in Acts, to have the Holy Spirit meant to have power. The early church was not interested in a theology of the Holy Spirit (creedal statements) but in his concrete acts.
e. The question becomes, then, “Power for what?” What did the Holy Spirit enable the disciples to do? The short answer is simply, “Whatever necessary to promote Jesus.” Obviously that included miracles, such as healing (Acts 2:43; 3:6-7; 5:12, 15-16; 6:8; 8:6-8; 9:18, 34, 40; 10:38; 14:3, 8; 19:11-12; 20:10; 28:8-9), exorcism (Acts 5:16; 16:18), divine escapes (Acts 5:19; 12:7; 27:23-26), even punishment (Acts 5:5, 9; 8:20; 13:11). But far and away the most common response to Spirit empowerment is speaking. As chart one shows, when the Holy Spirit comes upon a person, s/he speaks in some way 76% of the time. Luke-Acts refers to the Spirit frequently, but in most cases focuses solely on the Spirit of prophecy or inspired speech (e.g., Luke 1:15-17, 41-42, 67; 2:26; 12:12; Acts 1:2, 8; 2:4, 17; 4:31; 5:32; 6:10; 7:51; 11:28; 13:2, 4, 9; 20:23; 21:4, 11) . . . Luke 3:16 may represent the one clear exception.” Now, this speech may take several forms:
1. Tongues (Acts 2:1-4; 10:45-46; 19:6);
2. Prophecy (Lk 21:20-24; Acts 11:28; 21:11);
3. bold preaching (Lk 4:18; 6:10; 12:12; Acts 4:8;13:9);
4. joyous declarations (Lk 2:25-27; 10:21);
5. doctrinal letters (Acts 15:23-29);
6. poetic/musical utterances (Lk 1:46-55, 67-79).

They are made by both women and men, young and old, Jewish and Greeks, Apostles, deacons, priests, prophets, preachers, and laity. Truly the Holy Spirit uses his greatest creativity and variety for announcing the good news of Jesus. See Joel 2:28 has come to pass, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” The Holy Spirit is clearly zealous for the proclamation of the Gospel.

October 14, 2021
1. Opening Prayer
2. Questions/comments/concerns from last session
3. The Holy Spirit orchestrates Evangelism
a. In light of what has just been said, it comes as no surprise that Spirit takes charge of the mission of the church. Acts 5:32 becomes the banner before the marching kingdom of God: “We are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit.” Every initiative in evangelism recorded in Acts is the initiative of the Holy Spirit.” Not only does the Spirit empower his people to speak but he choreographs their movements. Simeon, among some 19,000 other priests goes to just the right spot in the courtyard of the temple, roughly the size of 16 football fields (Lk 2:25-27) and Anna joins him (Lk 2:38). Jesus was taken by the Spirit into the wilderness (Lk 4:1). Philip was led to the exact spot on a deserted road at just the right time to meet the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:29), and was “snatched” away to Azotus (Act 8:39); Ananias was given the street address of where to meet Saul (Acts 9:11); Peter, at exactly the right time was told to go with the three messengers from Cornelius (Acts 10:17-20; 11:12); Paul and Barnabas were sent out on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:2); and later Paul was specifically led to Macedonia (Acts 16:6-10) and Jerusalem (Acts 20:22). Evangelism is our commission, but it is clearly the Spirit’s mission.
b. The Spirit does not merely set up the meeting, however, the Spirit seals the deal (cf. 2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:13). Granted, it is Paul who speaks most about the Spirit’s role in conversion (Rom 2:29; 8:9; Gal 3:14; Titus 3:5). Although Luke is not averse to associating the Holy Spirit with conversion, this is not the main thrust. Nonetheless, the Spirit is still connected with conversion in Acts. In particular, the Spirit is associated with water baptism (Acts 2:38-39; 9:17-22; 19:2-5, with the exception of 8:15-18)

October 21, 2021
1. Opening Prayer
2. Questions/comments/concerns from last session
3. The Holy Spirit sustains the Church
a. The Spirit is a lover of humanity whose purpose is not merely to bring us into a right relationship with God, but to build us, sustain us, and encourage us through the body of Christ. This manifest itself in at least two specific ways:
1. Joy. Luke mentions joy frequently (Lk 1:14, 28, 44, 47, 58; 2:10; 6:23; 10:17-21; 15:7-10; 19:6, 37-40; 24:41, 52; Act 3:8-9; 5:41; 8:8, 39; 14:17; 16:34). On several occasion joy is specifically tied to the Spirit (Lk 1:41, 46, 67; 10:21; Acts 11:23-24; 13:52), most notably, Luke 10:21, “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said . . .” and Acts 13:52, “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
2. Luke also emphasizes the Spirit’s connection to prayer. Most significant about Luke’s presentation of the Holy Spirit during the ministry is its close relation to the prayers of Jesus. Luke makes this even more explicit by incorporating the Holy Spirit into Luke 11:13 to read, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Paul’s statement about the Spirit interceding for us (Rom 8:26) is wonderful. Luke’s, however, is even better. Through prayer, we can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 3:21; Acts 1:14; 4:31; 8:15).

October 28, 2021
1. Opening Prayer
2. Questions/comments/concerns from last session
3. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
a. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was originally prophesied by John the Baptist (Lk 3:16-17; Jn 1:33; Acts 1:5). Jesus somehow inundates believers in the Spirit (as opposed to baptizing unbelievers with fire). Now what exactly is this baptism? Here’s what we know for sure. It is identified twice in the book of Acts (2:1-4; 10:44-46; 11:16). Here we find the Apostles’ (cf. Acts 1:26; 2:1, 5, 7, 14, 37) and Cornelius’ household speaking in tongues as evidence of God’s approval. At Pentecost, God was validating the Apostles as spokesmen and witnesses of the resurrection. At Cornelius’ house, God was validating the first Gentiles as bona fide prospects for conversion. In neither case was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit equivalent to nor necessary for salvation. The Apostles were already saved and Cornelius commenced to be baptized in water according to the normal 1st century practice of Christian conversion. Bottom line: The only two times the N.T. identifies the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, it was not for salvation but validation.
b. This is likewise true of the Spiritual gifts exercised by the Samaritans (Acts 8:15-18) and the Ephesian converts (Acts 19:6-7). So we can say with assurance that the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts was for validation either of spokesmen for the gospel or new converts.
c. Is it, therefore, a phenomenon reserved for a select few? Certainly not. When John prophesies about this baptism (Mt 3:11), he offers it as an experience the whole crowd could receive by accepting Jesus. Furthermore, Peter’s citation of Joel 2:28-32 suggests that all people will receive this outpouring of the Spirit, not just the Apostles or a few idiosyncratic converts who need extra validation.
d. Luke’s interest, not to mention the Holy Spirit’s, is not in the manifestation of the gifts, except in so far as they are necessary for carrying out the great commission of Christ. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is for every believer (which Paul agrees with, although he articulates it in relation to conversion, 1 Cor 12:13). Those who want to make it equivalent to miraculous gifts (particularly glossolalia) run afoul since the gifts are distributed diversely by the Spirit for the edification of the body. In other words, not everyone gets the same gift. On the other hand, those who want to make the Baptism of the Holy Spirit equivalent to conversion (via Paul), run up against Luke’s emphasis of power as opposed to conversion in his pneumatology (not to mention the fact that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not identified with conversion in Acts). So what is it? Any “either/or” answer will fail, but a “both/and” answer works quite nicely. Simply put, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, according to Luke is the power of the Holy Spirit inundating every Christian’s life empowering him/her to carry out their ministry. Sometimes it manifests itself at the point of water baptism (Acts 19:4-6), sometimes before (Acts 10:44-48), sometimes after (Acts 8:15-18).
4. Questions for Discussion:
a. Summarize Luke’s view of the Holy Spirit and how does this differ with the John and Paul?
b. What kinds of power did the Holy Spirit make available to Christians in Acts?
c. How can we access the power of the Holy Spirit for ministry in our own lives?
d. How does Luke’s view of the Holy Spirit challenge you to be a better disciple?
5. What shall we study next?