I’ve been using Dennis Johnson’s commentary on the book of Acts as I preach through Luke’s second book to Theophilus. Though the layout of Johnson’s book is sometimes tough to follow (it is topical rather than verse by verse), the content is outstanding. I especially appreciate this summary Johnson gave on apostolic preaching in Acts. He said, “the preaching in Acts is truth-centered, revelation-centered, God-centered, and Christ-centered.” (Note: the following is an edited summary of pages 159-161 in Johnson’s book).
“Truth-Centered: The primary aim of the apostles’ preaching was not to contribute to people’s emotional health – not to train them how to cope with stress, to talk themselves out of despair, or to cultivate family relationships. The apostles’ message was good news, eliciting ‘great joy’ in those who believed it (Acts 8.8; 13.52), but their goal was not to make their hearers feel better. It was to tell the truth: about God and his plan, about humanity and our sin, about Christ and his victory, about the present opportunity for faith and the future certainty of judgment.”
“Revelation-Centered: The apostolic proclamation of truth was derived not from human experience or speculation, but from God’s self-disclosure. The apostles testified to the convergence of God’s prophetic promise spoken in the Scriptures, on the one hand, and his eschatological fulfillment in Jesus the Messiah, on the other.”
“God-Centered: The preaching in Acts focuses on one relationship that has gone wrong and on what God has done to set it right. …It is the broken relationship between us and our Creator that lies at the heart of the matter, and this is the relationship that apostolic preaching addresses first of all. Its aim is not to enable people to function better at work and at home while they persist in their hatred toward God; rather it is to bring us home to our Father, who will remake us in the Son’s image by the Spirit’s power, so that we reflect his love and holiness in all our relationships.”
“Christ-Centered: The pervasive, dominant theme in the sermons of Acts is Jesus – who he is and what he has done. This makes sense in view of the central relationship – our relationship to God – that apostolic preaching addresses. …The preaching that builds people toward spiritual maturity does not take them beyond Christ. Rather it takes them more deeply into Christ, so that their thoughts, attitudes, values, desires, reactions, words, and behavior are transformed by their death with Christ to sin and their resurrection with Christ to life and righteousness.”
If you want a great study of the main themes of Acts, this book must be on your shelves: The Message of Acts in the History of Redemption by Dennis Johnson.