How long has it been since you read the Book of Acts?
This important book is often overlooked by many Christians who prefer to read the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus or the doctrinal sound-bites of the New Testament epistles (letters).
But the Book of Acts is an invaluable commentary on the message and work of the early New Testament Church. For this reason it serves as a resource for our personal and corporate evangelism.
During the 2010 Epiphany season our congregation considered sections from the Book of Acts as well as the implications for us today. (Dear reader, we have only scratched the surface. Dig into it on your own!)
Here are a few things to look for as you read the book of Acts:
• The focus of the Book of Acts is on the Holy Spirit’s proclamation of the gospel through many different individuals. While the Book of Acts focuses much attention on the work of the apostles Peter and Paul, it also mentions many others in supporting roles—such as the apostle John, the deacons Stephen and Philip, Barnabas, James (not the apostle) and Apollos.
• Many others who played a smaller role are mentioned as well, such as Mark, Silas, Timothy, Aquila and Priscilla, Aristarchus and others, showing how the Holy Spirit was working through each of them.
• Thus we are assured that the Holy Spirit can and does work through each of us – whatever our role – to bring the knowledge of God’s truth to others!
• We also notice that the Book of Acts is full of examples of preaching and teaching, which present the message of the New Testament Church from the its very beginning.
• In all there are twenty such addresses or parts of addresses recorded in the book of Acts! In these addresses we find being proclaimed the doctrines which form the foundation of the Christian Church: sin and grace (law and gospel), the death and resurrection of Jesus, Jesus’ atonement for our sin, repentance, forgiveness, Jesus is the only way to heaven, and much more. Look for other doctrines as well.
• Reading carefully in the Book of Acts, we will also see how the Holy Spirit was at work using His people to bring the message of the Savior to Jew and Gentile alike!
• Such mission work was carried out in many ways and by many different people, some of whom were “unlikely” candidates for the gospel ministry. Let us be encouraged that the Holy Spirit is able to use each of us for His holy purposes no matter how unsuited we think we might be.
We pray that through our on-going study of God’s Word the Holy Spirit would increase our knowledge and zeal to “proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9)!