- The Lord ascends into heaven. Matthias is called to be an Apostle.
- On the day of Pentecost the Apostles are filled with the Holy Ghost.
- Peter and John heal a lame man by the power of Jesus Christ.
- The Apostles continue to preach and heal with great power.
A study of this lesson will remind us of our responsibility to be witnesses of
Jesus Christ and help us see how the gift of the Holy Ghost helps us do so.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 28 Handout (PDF
Introduction to the Book of Acts
WHAT IS THE BOOK OF ACTS? WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
- Acts is an account of important events in the Church during the thirty
years or so following Jesus' mortal life.
- Two principle divisions in the book of Acts:
- Acts 1-12: Activities of the church centered in and near Jerusalem.
Peter, the president of the church, is the principal figure.
- Acts 13-28: The main focus of these chapters is on Paul and his missionary journeys.
- According to Bruce R. McConkie, the book of Acts is foremost
telling how the Church and kingdom of God on earth operates when Jesus
the King is not personally resident on planet earth." (DNTC, 2:19)
WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF ACTS?
- It is generally agreed that the book of Acts was written by Luke, the
same who wrote the third gospel.
- WHO WAS LUKE?
- He was a physician and missionary companion to Paul.
- He was of Gentile origin and joined Paul on his second missionary journey.
- He may have been a freed slave. Antioch was his native city.
- It is believed that he was martyred sometime between 75 and 100 A.D.
The Book of Acts records the Lord's ministry following the resurrection,
whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible
proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining
to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3).
- What a marvelous time this must have been for the Apostles, to sit
at the feet of the resurrected Savior and to once again be taught by him.
The Lord's final commission to his apostles before his ascension.
- "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost
is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem,
and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
- This became the pattern for the spreading of the gospel after the ascension
of Jesus. The apostles remained in Jerusalem, then spread into Judea. Philip
then carried the gospel into Samaria. And Paul initiated the preaching of the gospel into
ACTS 1:9-11. The Lord's ascension and his
A new apostle.
- After the ascension, the disciples returned to Jerusalem and met in
an upper room where they "continued in prayer and supplication"
ACTS 1:21-26. The selection of Matthias.
- WHY DO YOU THINK IT WAS IMPORTANT TO FILL THIS VACANCY IN THE QUORUM?
- The Lord had chosen a quorum of twelve.
- The keys of the kingdom reside in the Twelve. If all members of the Twelve die, then those keys would be lost.
- WHAT WERE THE REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS FOR THIS NEW APOSTLE?
- One who had accompanied them during the Lord's earthly ministry.
- One who was a witness of the Lord's resurrection.
- One who was selected by the Lord.
- "We believe that a man must be called of
God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority,
to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof."
(Article of Faith 5)
- President Joseph Fielding Smith: "There is no set rule in regard to the
choosing of apostles. For instance: The first Twelve chosen in this dispensation
were selected by the Three Witnesses. Others, both in the day of the Prophet
and since his day, have been chosen by direct revelation through the President
of the Church. Others have been chosen as was Matthias in the days of the
ancient apostles. At other times, the members of the Presidency and the
Twelve present names which are considered by the First Presidency and one
chosen by 'lot' much as Matthias was." (Doctrines Of Salvation,
- President Wilford Woodruff on the calling of three new apostles:
here to say, and I want it understood, that neither myself, President George
Q. Cannon, nor President Joseph F. Smith, who are my counselors, presented
any of these names. We left it with the quorum of the apostles. I became
thoroughly satisfied that they had upon that list such names as would be
acceptable unto the Lord. We took those names and made it a matter of prayer,
and the spirit of the Lord manifested unto me those whom we should appoint.
They have all been accepted by the quorum of the apostles as well as the
Presidency of the Church." (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p.99)
- HOW SHOULD THE ABOVE KNOWLEDGE AFFECT OUR RESPONSE TO THE LEADERSHIP OF THE
- Knowing that their selection has been made and sanctioned by the Lord,
we should accept their counsel as the word and will of the Lord.
- "And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy
Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind
of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord,
and the power of God unto salvation." (D&C 68:4)
ACTS 2:1-13. The day of Pentecost.
- WHAT IS THE DAY OF PENTECOST?
- It is celebrated fifty days after the Passover feast.
- Also known as the day of first fruits or feast of harvest.
Consider the words of Peter. Has he changed since his denial of the
- "But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up
his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell
at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as
ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by
the prophet Joel." (v14-16)
- "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth,
a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which
God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the
determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked
hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having
loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be
holden of it." (v22-24)
- "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are
witnesses. Therefore being by the right
hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the
Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear."
- "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly,
that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and
Christ. Now when they heard this, they were
pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles,
Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent,
and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission
of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you,
and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the
Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did
he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation."
- WHAT CAUSED THIS MIGHTY CHANGE IN PETER?
Consider the effects of this mighty change:
- HOW CAN WE CAUSE OR RENEW THIS MIGHTY CHANGE IN OURSELVES?
- The fundamentals were stated by Peter.
- Be baptized (continue to renew our covenant of baptism).
- As we do so, we shall receive the Holy Ghost. This is the power that
makes for mighty change.
WHAT PENTECOSTAL OUTPOURINGS OF THE SPIRIT HAVE OCCURRED IN OUR DISPENSATION?
- The most significant were the events surrounding the dedication of the
- Joseph Smith wrote: "Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy,
when a noise as heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled
the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved
upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy;
others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple was filled with angels,
which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood
came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright
light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple), and were astonished
at what was taking place." (HC, 2:428)
We can each have Pentecostal experiences, experiences where the Holy
Ghost is manifest in great power within our own lives.
ACTS 3:1-7. Peter heals the lame man.
- HOW CAN WE FOLLOW PETER'S EXAMPLE?
- Sometimes we may think that we don't have much to give, but we have
the opportunity of sharing the gospel which can bring eternal riches and
salvation to men. What greater thing can we give?
"And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John,
all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's,
- Rather than shy away from confrontation over his relationship with
Jesus Christ, Peter once again preached of the resurrected Savior.
ACTS 3:19-21. Peter preaches of the times
- WHAT IS SIGNIFICANT OR IMPORTANT ABOUT THESE VERSES?
- The Lord will not return for his second coming until the "times
- An important missionary scripture. These verses should raise questions in
the minds of honest seekers of truth. What does Peter mean by the
restitution of all things?
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "Thus, Christ came once and ministered among
men, climaxing his ministry with his atoning sacrifice and ascension to
his Father. He is to come again, a second time, in a day of refreshing
and renewal, to reign personally upon the earth. But he cannot come this
second time until an age in the earth's history commences which has the
name the times of restitution, or in other words he cannot come until the
age or period of restoration; and in that age or period all essential things
that God ever gave in any age of the earth for salvation, betterment, blessing,
and edification of his children will be restored again." (CR,
As they were teaching, Peter and John were arrested by Jewish leaders.
The following day they were brought before Annas, Caiphas, John, and Alexander
and asked, "By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?"
- Observe the boldness of Peter in this situation as he responds to the
same men who had Jesus crucified.
ACTS 4:8-12. Peter testifies of the power
that healed the lame man.
These men then met in private council to determine what do do.
- They knew that many had seen the healing of the lame man and could
not deny it.
"But that it spread no further among the people, let
us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this
name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor
teach in the name of Jesus." (v17-18)
- HOW DID PETER & JOHN RESPOND?
Peter and John were released and returned to their followers where
- "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant
unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching
forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the
name of thy holy child Jesus." (v29-30)
- DO WE HAVE THE COURAGE TO STAND BEFORE OUR ADVERSARIES AND DO WHAT
WE KNOW IS RIGHT?
- Consider the results of the their faithfulness and boldness.
- "The place was shaken where they were assembled together;
and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost" (v31)
- "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart
and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which
he possessed was his own; but they had all things common." (v32)
ACTS 5:1-11. Ananias and Sapphira.
- WHAT LESSON CAN BE LEARNED FROM THE DEATHS OF ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA?
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "In effect the lesson to learn from Ananias
is that unrepentant liars will be damned. What, then, of the part tithepayer
who tells his bishop the sum given the Church is a full tithing? Or of
the immoral couple who, conspiring together, assert their purity in order
to get a temple recommend? Or of Church members who deny sins of any sort
which would keep them from receiving temple blessings, priesthood ordinances,
or positions of leadership?" (DNTC, 2:58-59)
The Work Goes Forth:
- "And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and
wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in
Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst no man
join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more
added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth
the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the
least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude
out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and
them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every
- When the high priest and Jewish leaders heard of this they arrested the
apostles and put them in prison.
- "But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison
doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple
to the people all the words of this life." (v19-20)
- The following day the Jewish council met to consider the matter and
found that the apostles were not there. It was reported that they were
teaching in the temple.
- The apostles were brought before the council and asked,
not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold,
ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's
blood upon us"
- Peter and the apostles responded, "We ought to obey God rather
than man" (v29).
- "They took counsel to slay them" (v33).
- One member of the Sanhedrin, Gamaliel, said: "And now I say
unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel
or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye
cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God"
- He then cited the cases of Theudas and Judas, two who had gathered
followers and their work had fallen apart because it was not of God.
- The argument of Gamaliel won the day and the apostles were released
after having been beaten and commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus.
- "And they departed from the presence of the council,
rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And
daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach
Jesus Christ." (v41-42)
WHAT THOUGHTS AND IMPRESSIONS DO YOU HAVE AFTER READING THE FIRST FIVE
CHAPTERS OF ACTS?
- It is interesting to observe the incredible change in the Twelve,
particularly Peter. The apostles, after having been empowered by the Holy Ghost, went forth boldly on their mission of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Following the Ascension and the day of Pentecost, the Twelve Apostles
went from quiet followers of the Master to bold testifiers of the gospel
and mission of Jesus Christ. This remarkable change was wrought by the
Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost may have a similar effect upon us as we are
obedient to our baptismal covenants. We, too, should follow the promptings
of the spirit and declare our testimonies when the time is appropriate.
As we do so, we can bring the riches of eternity to those with whom we
come in contact.
Record your thoughts on the changes that came over Peter after the
resurrection. How can you better serve as a witness for Jesus Christ?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Conference Reports (CR).
Discourses of Wilford Woodruff.
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary by Bruce R. McConkie (DNTC).
Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Fielding Smith.
History of the Church by Joseph Smith.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
26 May 2015