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2_The Inclusion of the Gentiles

2_The Inclusion of the Gentiles - The Inclusion of the...

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Unformatted text preview: The Inclusion of the Gentiles: Fulfilling God's Promise to Abraham Acts Belongs to a 2 volume work: LukeActs Narrative prefaces "In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach." (Acts 1:1) "Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account to you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." (Luke 1:34) Cf. Josephus, Against Apion 1.13 and 2.13 A succession narrative that follows the bios of a founder (i.e., Jesus) and presents the narrative of single philosophical school (i.e., Christianity). Acts' Literary Genre Succession of a way of life Succession of apostolic authority Several parallels between the career of Jesus in Luke and the mission of the disciples in Acts. (e.g., Luke 3:2122 and Acts 1:14, 24; 2:113) Christians viewed themselves as a third race: Jews, Gentiles, and Christians (e.g., Eph. 2:25 "to create one new person out of two"; Tertullian "We are the third race of humanity") A "biography" of a people. Thus, Acts is a description of the character and essence of Jesus' disciples as a distinctive people after Jesus' resurrection and ascension. Jerusalem is central and is where the Twelve oversee the expansion of the Christian mission. The apostles are like the judges of the OT who make key decisions for the Church about what is right. (cf. Luke 22:2830) A narrative of fulfillment LukeActs Luke 1:1 Acts 3:2425. "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have bee fulfilled among us." One aspect of the "fulfillment" Luke emphasizes is the extension of the blessing of Abraham to all nations through the mission of the church in Acts. Thus the expansion of the gospel and the mission of the church to all nations is unstoppable because it is an act of God. Acts 5:3839 Gamaliel's declaration Acts 8:1, 4 Persecution of Christians and spread of the gospel Acts 12 Peter's deliverance and Herod's death (esp., v. 24 "but the word of God continued to increase and spread") The New Covenant and Empowering the Mission Pentecost (Acts 2:14) In the first century, the festival had been associated with the giving of the Mosaic Covenant Echoes of the Sinai Theophany The covenant that is made is the New Covenant (Luke 22:20; cf. Jer. 31:3134) The people are all in one place together (Acts 2:1, cf. Exod 19:17) There was both sound and fire (Acts 2:23, cf. Exod 19:1619) The people heard speech in different tongues (Acts 2:4 and 8, cf. Philo, Dec. 11.46 and R. Johanan, according to Exod 20:18 (thunderings), stated that God's voice split into seventy languages so that all the nations could understand Exod. Rabbah 5.9) The people are empowered by the Spirit: To fulfill their mission (Acts 1:8) To live as a unified community glorifying God (Acts 2:4247) The Jerusalem Council Four moves toward the Gentiles in Acts Acts 10 Peter and Cornelius Acts 11:1921 men of Cyprus and Cyrene in Antioch Acts 1314 the mission of Paul and Barnabas Acts 1620 the mission of Paul and Silas Each extension is followed by an episode of Jerusalem approval Two Issues Occasion for the Council Acts 15:15 According to the Scriptures YES! Gen 17:1014, 2327 Gen 34:1317 Exod 12:4345, 48 Can Gentiles be saved? (v. 1) Must they be circumcised, i.e., become a Jew? Can Gentiles live among Jews without being proselytes? (v. 5) Must they become Jews? According to tradition YES! 1 Macc 2:46 by Mattathias and his sons Josephus, Ant. 13.257, 318 Under the Hasmoneans According to the Scriptures NO! Lev 1718 offered guidelines for sojourners living among Israelites that made social interchange possible. Argument from experience The Deliberation and The Decision of the Council Acts 15:629 Peter (vv. 7b11) and Paul & Barnabas (v. 12) God has given the Gentiles the Spirit demonstrating their inclusion into the people of God (vv. 89). The basis of Jewish and Gentile salvation the same-- not by circumcision or observance of the law but by grace (vv. 1011). Logic "If those who did not keep the Law were saved by grace, then that must the basis of his being saved, who had only with difficulty borne the Law." Argument from Scripture James (1419) Present experience confirmed by the Scriptures. The present experience of God's activity provides the hermeneutical key for understanding the Scriptures. Amos 9:1112 (LXX) Jesus' resurrection confirms God's promise to David (cf. Acts. 2:3031). What follows is the restoration of Israel and the inclusion of the Gentiles. Who are the People of God? Acts Both Jews and Gentiles Indicated by one's response to Jesus (cf. Acts 3:1923) A new Israel determined by God's election A new creation A new race Romans 9:618 Galatians 6:15 Ephesians 2:1122 Understanding Apostolic Authority In Paul's letters (50's A.D.) Apostles of the church Apostles of Christ In Acts (80's A.D.) Seen the risen Christ Had been called by him In the late first century heretics (e.g., Gnostics) claimed they had been sent, so other criteria were needed, such as being with Jesus all of his public ministry (cf. 1:2122). So in Acts the apostles of Christ are the Twelve. Also in Acts there are no successors to the Twelve, thus the need to preserve the apostolic tradition from this period of time gave impetus to the formation of the NT canon. Paul and the Twelve Three views of apostolic authority Paul is the apostle of the church par excellence. The Twelve are ignored. Pastorals The Twelve are the exclusive apostles of the church. Paul is ignored. Didache Paul is an acknowledged apostle and teacher of the church but is subordinated to the Twelve. Acts ...
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