Over the next few months we will be preaching from the book of Acts. As we will see, Acts is Luke’s second volume. In his first volume Luke shares with us what Jesus did and said while He was on earth.
Luke continues this theme into Acts, but this time we learn what Jesus did and said as the ascended risen Lord from heaven.
In order to do this, Jesus sends His Spirit to empower His people, the church to be His ambassadors and ministers on earth. In other words, the unstoppable advance of the gospel of Jesus through the words of His people, by the power of the Holy Spirit to the ends of the earth.
We see that despite attempts by the authorities to stop the gospel, even persecution and internal conflicts within the church, the gospel prospered.
Why Acts? An encouragement for today
You might ask: “What relevance has Acts for us today?”
In Acts, we see that the gospel advanced in an environment of pluralism and adversity, not too dissimilar to what we see in Auckland and New Zealand. The early church was accused of intolerance, it was misunderstood and characterised in all sorts of ways and yet the gospel continued to prosper seeing lives changed and even whole communities transformed.
Acts then becomes an encouragement to us in Auckland, that despite the difficulties, if we are faithful at proclaiming Jesus, we too will see the unstoppable advance of the gospel.
To quote from David Cook:
“Luke’s purpose is to show the gospel reaching out, carried by the Spirit-empowered messengers under God’s superintendence, to Jew, Samaritan and Gentile – this is the melody of Acts – the fulfilment of God’s plan to gather in His people from the far reaches of the earth. Christ is ascended but He continues to direct His church and empower them through His Spirit…”
Preparing for God to speak to us
Please read through Acts over the next few weeks, and note how many times the gospel is mentioned and how Jesus is proclaimed.
Please note the enthusiasm with which people embraced Jesus and how they devoted themselves to the study of the Word and to fellowship and to loving and caring for one another.
And please pray for the series that God would use it in the life of the church for the advance of the gospel.
Photo credit: tableatny