The eleventh and final sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 28:17-28 (specifically Acts 28:25-28)
Audience: Jewish leaders
Preceding Events: Paul conducts a pre-meeting with the Jewish leaders, explaining his situation and confirming his commitment to his faith.
Overall Theme: Though Jews hear the message of Jesus, most do not understand; the Gentiles will understand. (Paul spoke all day telling them about the kingdom of God and showing how Jesus is revealed in the Old Testament of the Bible. However, only his concluding remarks are recorded for us to read.)
Scripture Quoted: Isaiah 6:9-10
Central Teaching: Paul’s mission is to tell the Gentiles about Jesus.
Subsequent Events: Some are convinced, but others would not believe.
Key Lesson: When we tell others about Jesus, not all will believe.
The tenth sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 25:10-Acts 26:22 (specifically Acts 26:2-29)
Setting: A hearing before Festus in Caesarea
Audience: Festus, King Agrippa, Bernice, high-ranking military officers, and prominent city leaders.
Preceding Events: Paul, in an effort to avoid being assassinated in Jerusalem, appeals his case to Caesar (whom he likely assumes will grant him a fair trial).
Overall Theme: Paul shares the story of his life, always the devote follower of God, at first opposing those who follow Jesus and later becoming one of them, with the purpose of telling the Gentiles about Jesus.
Scripture Quoted: none directly, though some of Paul’s story and the words spoken by Jesus are recorded in Acts 9:3-18 and again in Acts 22:3-21.
Central Teaching: Paul hopes and prays that everyone will follow Jesus.
Subsequent Events: Since Paul appealed his case to Caesar, he cannot be set free and instead is sent to Rome.
Key Lesson: Paul’s zealous pursuit of God is worthy of emulation, but despite having done nothing wrong or illegal, Paul remains imprisoned for his faith.
The ninth sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 24:1-27 (specifically Acts 24:10-21)
Setting: A hearing before Felix in Caesarea
Audience: Felix (the governor and judge), Jews, and Ananias and Tertullus, Paul’s accusers.
Preceding Events: Paul is sent to Felix in Caesarea to protect him from a plot of some Jews in Jerusalem who have vowed to kill him.
Overall Theme: Paul denies the charges against him and declares his core beliefs.
Scripture Quoted: none
Central Teaching: Paul believes in the resurrection from the dead.
Subsequent Events: Paul is kept in prison for two years, but is granted some freedom and has more opportunities to talk with Felix. Although Felix is moved by what Paul says, there is no record of him deciding to follow Jesus.
Key Lesson: God’s plans may not be our plans or meet our expectations of how things should happen.
The eighth sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 21:27-22:30 (specifically Acts 22:3-21)
Setting: Jerusalem, in the temple
Audience: A mob and a few Roman soldiers
Preceding Events: Some Jews from Asia tell lies about Paul and stir up a mob.
Overall Theme: Paul shares the key points of his spiritual journey.
Scripture Quoted: none directly, though some of Paul’s story and the words spoken by Jesus are recorded in Acts 9:3-18.
Central Teaching: Jesus came for all people. (God called Paul to tell the Gentiles about Jesus.)
Subsequent Events: The riotous mob erupts again. Paul is temporarily taken into custody and then released.
Key Lesson: People can respond violently if they don’t like what you are saying, perhaps more so if you challenge their religious beliefs.
The seventh sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 20:16-37 (specifically Acts 20:18-35)
Audience: Elders from the church of Ephesus
Preceding Events: Paul, compelled by the Holy Spirit, is steadfastly traveling to Jerusalem.
Overall Theme: Paul gives his personal testimony (he has worked hard for God, has no regrets, and is obeying the Holy Spirit) and offers encouragement to the elders.
Scripture Quoted: Paul quotes Jesus, but those words are not directly found in the gospel accounts of Jesus.
Central Teaching: Paul will do what God tells him, even though it will result in hardships.
Subsequent Events: Paul leaves and once in Jerusalem is thrown in prison.
Key Lesson: Doing what God tells us to do is more important than our own safety and comfort.
The sixth sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 17:16-34 (specifically Acts 17:22-31)
Setting: In Athens, a meeting at the Areopagus
Audience: The people of Athens (non-Jews)
Preceding Events: The Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, who were debating with Paul about his teaching, took him to a meeting at the Areopagus.
Overall Theme: We are offspring of the creator-God.
Scripture Quoted: Paul did not quote from the Old Testament, but did reference philosophers with whom the audience would be familiar.
Central Teaching: God wants everyone to repent (that is, to turn from their current ways of doing things and follow him).
Subsequent Events: Some sneered at his teaching, while others wanted to hear more, and some believed.
Key Lesson: The message of Jesus can be offensive to some (see Jeremiah 6:10).
The fifth sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 13:13-52 (specifically, Acts 13:16-41 & 46-47)
Setting: The synagogue in Antioch
Audience: Jews and God-fearing Gentiles (likely converts to Judaism)
Preceding Events: Paul is merely present at the Sabbath service and invited to speak
Overall Theme: Paul connects the life of Jesus with the Old Testament teaching and prophecies.
Scripture Quoted: Psalm 2:7, Isaiah 55:3, Psalm 16:10, Habakkuk 1:5, Isaiah 49:6
Central Teaching: The news about Jesus is for all people (both Jews and Gentiles).
Subsequent Events: Paul and his companions are invited back, but opposition is mounted against them and they are driven away. Nevertheless, their message spread throughout the region.
Key Lesson: Be ready to speak of Jesus when the opportunity is presented – and ready to leave when it is withdrawn.
The fourth sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 10:23-48 (specifically Acts 10:34-43)
Audience: Cornelius, his family, and close friends – all Gentiles (that is, non-Jews)
Preceding Events: Through a dream, God tells Peter to go to Cornelius’s house.
Overall Theme: God makes no distinction between people; traditional barriers have been broken, everyone can come to Jesus.
Scripture Quoted: none (as a non-Jewish audience, citing the Bible would not likely have been helpful to those listening)
Central Teaching: God shows no favoritism.
Subsequent Events: When Paul says “everyone who believes in him…,” his message is interrupted by the Holy Spirit, who comes upon the Gentiles who have just believed.
Key Lesson: Don’t allow our past or perceptions to dictate who we interact with; Jesus is for everyone.
Peter had to set aside his traditions and the law of Moses to do what God told him.
Would you being willing to do the same?
The third sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 6:8-7:60 (specifically Acts 7:1-53)
Setting: Jerusalem, before the Sanhedrin (the ruling Jewish council)
Audience: Jewish leaders (members of the Sanhedrin)
Preceding Events: Stephen supernaturally does many miracles and amazing things. The opposition stirs up trouble, has him arrested, and persuades others to lie about him.
Overall Theme: Stephen gives a concise historical overview from Abraham up to Jesus. Throughout this history, God is at work.
Scripture Quoted: Exodus 2:14, Exodus 3:6, Exodus 3:5,7-8,10, Deuteronomy 18:15, Exodus 32:1, Amos 5:25-27, Isaiah 66:1-2
Central Teaching: The Jewish people miss seeing God at work, resist the Holy Spirit, and reject Jesus, just as they did the prophets before him.
Subsequent Events: Stephen is brutally killed by a mob.
Key Lesson: Being bold for Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit does not always guarantee safety or a happy outcome.
If Stephen had known what would happen, do you think he would have acted differently?
The second sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 3:1-4:4 (specifically, Acts 3:12-26).
Setting: Jerusalem, in the temple
Preceding Events: Peter, through the power of Jesus, heals a man who was crippled from birth.
Overall Theme: Jesus, God’s servant, was foretold in the Old Testament. His execution at the hands of ignorant people was part of God’s plan, as was his rising from the dead.
Scripture Quoted: Deuteronomy 18:15, 18, 19, Genesis 22:18; 26:4
Central Teaching: Jesus’ name has the power to heal.
Subsequent Events: Peter is interrupted by the temple guards and he and John are thrown in prison, yet thousands more believe in Jesus.
Key Lesson: A miraculous healing provides an opportunity for truth about Jesus to be shared, which results in mass conversions.
If, at church, you saw a wheelchair-bound man get up and walk, what would you think?