The CommunionFire Study on the Book of Acts
The Extraordinary Acts of Jesus Manifested in the Early Church
From Bob Bonnell
The reason for his study is based on the encounters, experiences and events we have witnessed in the presence of Jesus when we simply do as He invites us to. “Do this in remembrance of Me.” There are three very important parts to what Jesus said.
One: “Do this”. The doing is indicated as something that is at the core of our faith. Jesus prepares His Table and then leads us there, inviting us to sit down. He is the host and has prepared the table for us. Our hunger is for more of Him. Who is this Jesus who loved you so much He died for you? Who is his Jesus who is giving us eternal life? Who is this Jesus who we have only just met? He loves us first even when we are not looking. He looks for us when we stumble and wander into danger. He keeps carrying us back to His place of peace, knocking on the door of our heart calling our name. So, He invites us to “do this” as often as we want to come together and spend time with Him.
Two: “In Remembrance”. What does this mean? Do you have any idea? Have you ever talked with anyone about this or had any courses on this? It’s usually reduced to one or two statements and never ever goes beyond that. We are 3 years into asking, researching and learning about this phrase. One of the most significant things about this is that only Luke and the Apostle Paul bring it up.
Three: "Of Me". Do you come to take Communion or Receive Communion. jesus never leaves. he is always waiting. Communion is about Him. When you meet with him at His Table come empty handed and ready to receive frome him. He has so much to share with you but most people "take communion" so fast they don't even recognize that He is there. he doesn't even get a chance to say hi to you. After eating the Bread of Life pause for 10-15 seconds, look for Him He is there. Look into His eyes as He opens your eyes to see what it is He wants to share with you. When you drink the Wine of His Blood of Life listen. he wants to share something with you. He is there to share His life and love and how few of us come to the table for His sake. Its not about you. He is waiting to give you everything he has. This was the key to life in the new community. Everyone had their own personal relationship with Jesus and then they all had something to share with each other. What He shares with us in the quiet and intimacy of communion multiplies and blesses others as often as we share what He shares with us. He went so far as to say, "Shout it from the housetops!" What He shares with you is nothing short of miraculous and it begins with a morsel of bread and a sip of wine that He blesses. Its what happens when He blesses it that it is infused with power from heaven. how do you think the fish and loaves multiplied? He took it, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them. Now 2 loaves and 5 fish could feed the thousands. What you hold in your hands and eat and drink is no less blessed and empowered by Him. In fact He says, it is Him when you eat and drink after the blessing.
What we will look for: Revelation of Jesus Christ manifested by the Holy Spirit in Communion-centric, personal relationships with the Lord that spills over into Communion-centric fellowship, lifestyle, dialog, messages and missions of the first believers.
Keywords: Jesus, Holy Spirit, Father, God, Mother Mary, Apostles, King, Kingdom, signs, wonders, see, hear, understand, repent, believe, baptism, tongues, bread, wine, flesh, blood, light, revelation, manifested, life, love, joy, peace, healing, miracles, discernment of spirits, angels, power, witness, fellowship, salvation, martyr, covenant and all that relates to the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven, the will of God, Heaven being revealed on earth, Daily Communion and CommunionFire and the effect this had on the early days of the church.
What CommunionFire will focus on:
Jesus said, ‘If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me. I will build my Church and I will add daily those that are being saved.’ The invitation to each believer is to spend time with Jesus at his Table each day. It is there we see and hear Him and understand what He shares. This brings about deepening conversion and transformation. As His presence changes our lives individually His light in us grows brighter, the river of life rises and overflows and the bread of blessing keeps multiplying every time we witness to others about our relationship with Jesus. It is personal, powerful, intimate, one-on-one and has credibility because it is first-hand. This is what unfolds throughout the book of Acts. The Gospel of Jesus’ Kingdom is empowered by the coming of the Holy Spirit sent from Heaven to Earth and then to every nation around the world. Acts 29 is where each believer’s story begins.
In this study we will be looking to see and hear Jesus:
As Revealed anywhere and everywhere the Gospel is shared
As Revealed by the Holy Spirit in the Light and Glory of Communion
As Revealed by the Holy Spirit in the Lifestyle of the New Community
As Revealed by the Holy Spirit in the Testimony by the personal witness of each believer
As Revealed in the light and glory of the image of Jesus reaching the world through the Communion-centric, Holy Spirit led Mission-based life of the New Covenant Community
Definition “Seeing Jesus”:
1) Physically the Bread of His flesh and the Wine of His Blood by virtue of His Blessing of the bread and the wine. Jesus calls this His flesh and blood. John 6
2) As manifested by the power of the Holy Spirit in His ‘glory’. According to 2 Corinthians 3:18 (also reference 4:18) Truth is defined as “reality” and there is only one source of truth. The reality of Jesus presence is manifested when we eat what He has blessed and drink what He has blessed. We see Him in His (glory) element and He does this where we are. The Kingdom of Heaven co-exists in the temporal but hidden from the world. He shares His reality with us at His Table. One day this mortality will put on immortality and this world will go away when He makes a new heaven and a new earth.
The ACTS of JESUS
As shared by Paul’s companion Dr. Luke.
Introduction to the CommunionFire Study
of the Book of the Acts of Jesus
This is the big kick off preparing for the Birth of the New Community, the Church. Luke begins with the first hand Witness of The Ascension. We observe that there were many things extraordinary things Jesus did to verify His resurrection to His followers and disciples during the 40 days following the resurrection.
We mentioned in an earlier study that Jesus himself was appearing and disappearing. He was in fact acting like the Holy Spirit only in His resurrected body. He kept on doing exactly the same things He did during His lifetime but now was doing it in His glorified body. He demonstrated how He would ‘be seen and heard’ when we meet Him at His Table. He was letting us know that what could not be seen by others we will be able to see and recognize. He would speak and He would give us ears to be able to hear Him. At His Table the invisible would be visible to us. What could not be seen in the temporal world could be seen in the eternal. The natural world would fade in the reality of His super natural presence. We could encounter Him in His glory as often as we would sit down with Him and we would be transformed quietly and without fanfare from one degree of glory to another.
The Book of The Acts of Jesus is here to show us how the early church encountered Jesus on a day-to-day basis through breaking of bread (having Communion) from house to house. It was that vital reality that determined how they saw, how they spoke, how they lived and how Jesus continued his ministry through them by the life they shared with Him when they ingested the bread and wine that He blessed. Communion provided heaven a place where the King could share His love and Kingdom with His friends. Jesus shows us in the book of Acts how the reality of His presence in their lives transformed the world one person at a time. Look for Jesus on every page of the Book of what we call “The Acts of Jesus Christ” within and through those who knew He loved them.
Throughout the Study I will employ the following key specifically applied to Scripture but also occasionally in the Commentary.
Early Church Notes and Resources
The Basis of Common Ground in the Days of the Early Church
The Beginnings of Statements, Liturgy, Councils and Governance
The Apostles Creed
This is was the earliest known way or ‘first teaching’ (catechism) given to new believers into “The Way” eventually known as Christianity beginning in Antioch. “The Way is short for The Way of Eternal Life or The promise of the Gospel to all who believe. It was a way to fight off very early false teachings that sought to confuse new believers. Those baptized according to this confession were considered to be a part of the true way of the new humanity or early Church Community. It was also a bridge into the “praxis” or lifestyle of those who were Christ followers. The primary designation was having constant Communion (four time per week to daily). Jesus ministry, mission and message continued through personal Communion with each believer. His was the foundation for apostolic teaching, prayers and fellowship or living a life that reflected the ongoing, daily and personal relationship each believer had with Jesus.
Evolving from the Early Church were two primary documents from the 1st Century. The Apostle’s Creed and “The Didache” (pronounced did’ i-kay). Both were to prepare new believers for water baptism as a way to give them a point of reference and common ground of other believers. Both are founded on the direct teachings of the Apostles as they understood what should be taught*. (*Acts 5:20 “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.”)
The Didache (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didache) – (Note: (Note: Published for the first time in the modern era 1883 when discovered by Metropolitan Philotheus Bryennios* along with many other early church documents that had for almost 1800 years gone unnoticed – lost in the archives of Constantinople.) *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philotheos_Bryennios
The Complete Text
1 There Are Two Ways 1:1 There are two ways, one of life and one of death! and there is a great difference between the two ways.
1:2 The way of life is this: First, you shall love God who made you. And second, love your neighbor as yourself, and do not do to another what you would not want done to you.
1:3 The meaning of these sayings is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For what reward is there for loving those who love you? Do not the heathens do the same? But you should love those who hate you, and then you shall have no enemies.
1:4 Abstain from fleshly and bodily lusts: If someone strikes your right cheek, turn the other also, and be perfect. If someone forces you to go one mile, go two. If someone takes your cloak, give also your coat. If someone takes from you what is yours, don't ask for it back. You really cannot.
1:5 Give to everyone who asks you, and don't ask for it back. The Father wants his blessings shared. Happy is the giver who lives according to this rule, for that one is guiltless. But the receiver must beware; for if one receives who has need, he is guiltless, but if one receives not having need, he shall stand trial, answering why he received and for what use. If he is found guilty he shall not escape until he pays back the last penny.
1:6 However, concerning this, there is a saying: "Let your alms sweat in your hands until you know to whom to give them."
2 The Second Commandment
2:1 The second commandment of the teaching is this:
2:2 Do not commit murder; do not commit adultery; do not corrupt boys; do not have illicit sex; do not steal; do not practice magic; do not practice witchcraft; you shall not murder a child, whether it be born or unborn. Do not covet the things of your neighbor.
2:3 Do not swear or bear false witness. Do not speak evil of others; do not bear grudges.
2:4 You should not be double-minded or double-tongued, for a double-tongue is a deadly snare.
2:5 Your speech should not be false nor empty, but fulfilled by action.
2:6 Do not be covetous, or greedy, or hypocritical, or malicious, or arrogant. Do not have designs against your neighbor.
2:7 Hate no one; correct some, pray for others, and some you should love more than your own life.
3 My Child, Flee Evil
3:1 My child, flee evil of all kinds, and everything like it.
3:2 Don't be prone to anger, for anger leads to murder. Don't be jealous or quarrelsome or hot-tempered, for all these things lead to murder.
3:3 My child, don't be lustful, for lust leads to illicit sex. Don't be a filthy talker or allow your eyes a free reign, for these lead to adultery.
3:4 My child, don't observe omens, since it leads to idolatry. Don't be an enchanter, or an astrologer, or a purifier, or be willing to see or hear about these things, for these all lead to idolatry.
3:5 My child, don't be a liar, since a lie leads to theft. Don't love money or seek glory, for these things lead to thievery.
3:6 My child, don't grumble, since it leads to blasphemy, and don't be self-willed or evil-minded, for all these things lead to blasphemy.
3:7 On the contrary, be gentle, since the gentle will inherit the earth.
3:8 Be long-suffering and pitiful and guileless and gentle and good, and with trembling, treasure the words you have received.
3:9 Don't exalt yourself or open your heart to overconfidence. Don't be on intimate terms with mighty people, but with just and lowly ones.
3:10 Accept whatever happens to you as a blessing, knowing that nothing comes to pass apart from God.
4 My Child, Remember
[4:1 My child, remember day and night him who speaks the word of God to you, and honor him as the Lord. For wherever his lordship is spoken of, there he is.]
4:2 Seek each day the faces of the saints, in order that you may be refreshed by their words.
4:3 Do not initiate divisions, but rather bring peace to those who contend against one another. Judge righteously, and do not take social status into account when reproving for transgressions.
4:4 Do not waver in your decisions.
4:5 Do not be one who opens his hands to receive, or closes them when it is time to give.
4:6 If you have anything, by your hands you should give ransom for your sins.
4:7 Do not hesitate to give, and do not complain about it. You will know in time who is the good Rewarder.
4:8 Do not turn away from one who is in want; rather, share all things with your brother, and do not say that they are your own. For if you are sharers in what is imperishable, how much more in things which perish!
4:9 Do not remove your hand from your son or daughter; teach them the fear of God from their youth.
4:10 Do not give orders to your servants when you are angry, for they hope in the same God, and they may lose the fear of God, who is over both of you. God is surely not coming to call on us according to our outward appearance or station in life, but to them whom the Spirit has prepared.
4:11 And you, servants, be subject to your masters as to God's image, in modesty and fear.
4:12 You should hate all hypocrisy and everything which is not pleasing to the Lord.
4:13 Do not in any way neglect the commandments of the Lord, but keep what you have received, neither adding nor taking away anything.
4:14 In your gatherings, confess your transgressions, and do not come for prayer with a guilty conscience.
This is the way of life!
5 The Way of Death
5:1 The way of death, on the other hand, is this: It is evil and accursed—murders, adulteries, lust, illicit sex, thefts, idolatries, magical arts, sorceries, robberies, false testimonies, hypocrisy,double-heartedness,deceit, haughtiness, depravity, self-will, greediness, filthy talking, jealousy, over-confidence, loftiness, boastfulness—those who do not fear God.
5:2 The way of death is the way of those who persecute the good, hate the truth, love lies, and do not understand the reward for righteousness. They do not cleave to good or righteous judgment; they do not watch for what is good, but for what is evil. They are strangers to meekness and patience, loving vanities, pursuing revenge, without pity for the needy and oppressed. They do not know their Creator; they are murderers of children, destroyers of God's image. They turn away from those who are in need, making matters worse for those who are distressed. They are advocates for the rich, unjust judges of the poor. In a word, the way of death is full of those who are steeped in sin. Be delivered, children, from all of this!
6 See That No One Leads You Astray
6:1 See that no one leads you astray from the way of this teaching, since all other teachings train you without God.
6:2 For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able, then at least do what you can.
6:3 Concerning food, do what you are able to do and be on guard against meat offered to idols, for that is to worship dead gods.
7 Concerning Baptism
7:1 Concerning baptism, you should baptize this way: After first explaining all things, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in flowing water.
7:2 But if you have no running water, baptize in other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, then in warm.
7:3 If you have very little, pour water three times on the head in the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit.
7:4 Before the baptism, both the baptizer and the candidate for baptism, plus any others who can, should fast. The candidate should fast for one or two days beforehand.
8 Your Fasts and prayers
8:1 Your fasts should not be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays. You should fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.
8:2 And do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Lord commanded in the gospel: Our Father in heaven, holy be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us enough bread day-by-day. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.
8:3 Pray this three times each day.
9 Concerning the Eucharist
9:1 Concerning the Eucharist, give thanks this way.
9:2 First, concerning the cup: We thank you, our Father, for the holy vine of David your servant, which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be the glory forever.
9:3 Next, concerning the broken bread: We thank you, our Father, for the life and knowledge which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be the glory forever.
9:4 Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let your church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. To you is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever.
9:5 Allow no one to eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized in the name of the Lord. For concerning this, the Lord has said, "Do not give what is holy to dogs."
10 After the Eucharist
10:1 After the Eucharist when you are filled, give thanks this way:
10:2 We thank you, holy Father, for your holy name which you enshrined in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality that you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be the glory forever.
10:3 You, Master Almighty, have created all things for your name's sake. You gave food and drink to all people for enjoyment that they might give thanks to you; but to us you freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Jesus, your servant.
10:4 Before all things we thank you because you are mighty. To you be the glory forever.
10:5 Remember, Lord, your church. Deliver it from all evil and make it perfect in your love, and gather it from the four winds sanctified for your kingdom which you have prepared for it. For Yours is the power and the glory forever.
10:6 Let grace come, and let this world pass away!
Hosanna to the Son of David! If anyone is holy, let him come; if anyone is not holy, let him repent. Maranatha! Amen.
[10:7 But permit the prophets to make thanksgiving as much as they desire.]
11 Welcome the Teacher
11:1 Welcome the teacher when he comes to instruct you in all that has been said.
11:2 But if he turns and trains you in another tradition to the destruction of this teaching, do not listen. If he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.
11:3 Act according to the precepts of the gospel concerning all apostles and prophets:
11:4 Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord.
11:5 But he must not remain more than one day, or two, if there's a need. If he stays three days, he is a false prophet.
11:6 And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread to last him until his next night of lodging. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet.
11:7 In addition, if any prophet speaks in the Spirit, you shall not try or judge him; for every sin will be forgiven, but this sin cannot be forgiven.
11:8 But not everyone who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; only he is a prophet who has the ways of the Lord about him. By their ways will the false prophet and the prophet be known.
11:9 Any prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it; if he does, he is indeed a false prophet.
11:10 And any prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet.
11:11 When a prophet, proved true, works for the mystery of the church in the world but does not teach others to do what he himself does, he will not be judged among you, for his judgment is already before God. The ancient prophets acted in this way, also.
11:12 But whoever says in the Spirit, "Give me money,"or something else like this, you must not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for the sake of others who are in need, let no one judge him.
12 Welcome Anyone Coming in the Name of the Lord
12:1 Welcome anyone coming in the name of the Lord. Receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, but then, test them and use your discretion.
12:2 If he who comes is a transient, assist him as far as you are able; but he should not remain with you more than two or three days, if need be.
12:3 If he wants to stay with you, and is a craftsman, let him work for his living.
12:4 But if he has no trade, use your judgment in providing for him; for a Christian should not live idle in your midst.
12:5 If he is dissatisfied with this sort of an arrangement, he is a Christ peddler. Watch that you keep away from such people.
13 Every Genuine prophet
13:1 Every genuine prophet who wants to live among you is worthy of support.
13:2 So also, every true teacher is, like a workman, entitled to his support.
13:3 Every first fruit, therefore, of the products of vintage and harvest, of cattle and of sheep, should be given as first fruits to the prophets, for they are your high priests.
13:4 But if you have no prophet, give it all to the poor.
13:5 If you bake bread, take the first loaf and give it according to the commandment.
13:6 If you open a new jar of wine or of oil, take the first fruit and give it to the prophets.
13:7 If you acquire money or cloth or any other possession, set aside a portion first, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment.
14 On the Lord's Day
14:1 On the Lord's day, gather yourselves together and break bread, give thanks, but first confess your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure.
14:2 However, let no one who is at odds with his brother come together with you, until he has reconciled, so that your sacrifice may not be profaned.
14:3 For this is what the Lord has said: "For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the of hosts. . . . For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name is reverenced among the nations."
15 Appoint Bishops for Yourselves
15:1 Appoint bishops for yourselves, as well as deacons, worthy of the Lord, of meek disposition, unattached to money, truthful and proven; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers.
15:2 Do not despise them, after all, for they are your honored ones, together with the prophets and teachers.
15:3 And reprove one another, not in anger, but in peace, as you have it in the gospel. But to anyone who acts amiss against another, let no one speak to him, nor let him hear anything from you until he repents. But your prayers and alms and all your deeds so do, as you have it in the gospel of our Lord.
16 Watch Over Your Life
16:1 Watch over your life, that your lamps are never quenched, and that your loins are never unloosed. Be ready, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
16:2 Come together often, seeking the things that are good for your souls. A life of faith will not profit you if you are not made perfect at the end of time.
16:3 For in the last days false prophets and corrupters will be plenty, and the sheep will be turned into wolves, and love will be turned into hate.
16:4 When lawlessness increases, they will hate and persecute and betray one another, and then the world-deceiver will appear claiming to be the Son of God, and he will do signs and wonders, and the earth will be delivered into his hands, and he will do iniquitous things that have not been seen since the beginning of the world.
16:5 Then humankind will enter into the fire of trial, and many will be made to stumble and many will perish; but those who endure in their faith will be saved from under the curse itself.
16:6 And then the signs of the truth will appear: the first sign, an opening of the heavens; the second sign, the sounding of the trumpet; and the third sign, the resurrection of the dead—
16:7 not of every one, but as it is said: "Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him."
16:8 Finally, "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven' with power and great glory."
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, "If the word trinity isn’t in Scripture, why is it such an important part of our faith? And if the Bible can be interpreted in many ways, how do we know what to make of it? And who decided what should be in the Bible anyway?
The Church Fathers provide the answers. These brilliant, embattled, and
sometimes eccentric men defined the biblical canon, hammered out the Creed,
and gave us our understanding of sacraments and salvation. It is they who
preserved for us the rich legacy of the early Church.
D’Ambrosio dusts off the dry theology and brings you the exciting stories and
great heroes such as Ambrose, Augustine, Basil, Athanasius, Chrysostom, and
Jerome. This page-turner will inspire and challenge you with the lives and
insights of these seminal teachers from when the Church was young.
Great Resource: http://www.antiochian.org/links
Online Radio Messages (wonderful station):
Roman Catholic Study: http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/Acts_Of_Apostles/Acts_Of_Apostles_Menu.php
Online Radio Messages and Forums:
Non-Catholic Study (Protetstant, Evanelical, Charismatic, Independent):