POPULAR POSTS

Acts…

The book of Acts is one of the most unique books of the Bible. It’s different from every other book because it is a historical documentation of what happened after Jesus went back into heaven.

Acts records how Jesus’ followers responded to everything that had happened in the gospels. The Gospels {{Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John}} all document the life and teachings of Jesus while he was on the earth.

Put yourself in the apostle’s shoes for a moment: you’ve just dedicated the past 3 years of your life following one man (whom you believe to be God, and who is God) around everywhere– witnessing him perform countless miracles, healings and teachings and more. For {three years of your life } you dropped everything to follow this Jesus everywhere he went. (Three years is a long time! That’s the majority of your college career… for some.)  Then one day he was arrested, and your life came to a screeching halt. In not even a week’s time  [[everything you were living for, the reason for existence, your Lord]] was taken, tortured, and hung on a cross to die, and he did die.

It’s funny, and terrifying, how so much can change so quickly.

BUT THEN… he came back! Just like he said he would! Can you imagine the joy and relief that must have filled the believers?!

 “He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3 

It was only for forty days, though;  before ascending into Heaven, Jesus said his parting words to his followers: 

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robest, and said, ‘men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? this Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” -Acts 1:8-9

I can only imagine what would be going through my mind after watching my Jesus disappear into Heaven via cloud… Perhaps something like, ‘Well, what do we do now?’

This is where we see the beginning of the birth of the Church. In Acts 2 we learn that the Holy Spirit, as promised, comes down and indwells the believers. The Spirit empowers he believers to start speaking of what God had done through Christ, and that Jesus is the Messiah. This message was very powerful that about 3,000 souls were added to the body of believers that day.

It was necessary that the believers, Christians, had to stick together and work together to do what Jesus had commanded them to do: be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the ends of the earth. Though Jesus was not there walking among them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. The body of believers was devoted to Christ and to one another.

“And they devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And all who believed where together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. and day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.” -Acts 2:42, 44-46

Here are two things I am challenged by as I look at the early church in Acts:

1. Devotion– Another word for devotion is loyalty: giving or showing strong and constant support. So here’s my question: What would it look like for me to be devoted to my church’s teachings?  What if I were committed to fellowshipping with members from my church regularly? Or how about prioritizing time to remember the gospel of Christ through communion and meals with members from my church? And what if I was devoted to praying for my church? I can only imagine. If I would be devoted to the church (in the ways listed above), and devoted to the church in light of my devotion to Christ, I would more focused on the Gospel, more sympathetic of the saints, and more ‘spurred on to love and good deeds’ as described in Hebrews.

2. Selflessness– The believers were selling their possessions for the purpose of pooling money and distributing it to those who were in need. The thought seems a bit wild today. Today’s culture breeds greediness. I would imagine that this sort of selflessness would extend far beyond simply selling possessions. While that is one tangible way to see selflessness, I would venture to say that that sort of giving is reflective of a much deeper mentality. I idolize my belongings. On my best day and with my best intentions, I love my junk; and have become so immune to it that I feel entitled to have it. The sad thing is that I don’t realize that I am doing it until I read something like this. Jesus addresses  this in Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

Throughout the remainder of the book of Acts we see the Church expand and extend from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria and Galatia, Asia Minor and Rome. Any guesses as to how the Church continues to grow and expand? It’s believers send out members on missionary journeys as well as preach the gospel themselves!

My favorite passage in the entire book of Acts is in chapter 4:5-20. This is the gist:

– Peter and John healed a crippled man on the Sabbath (Holy Day, not allowed to work if you’re a Jew) and this upset the Jewish big whigs.

– The Priests and the Sadducees (the Jewish big whigs) arrested Peter and John and had a little ‘intervention’ in the temple

– Peter, filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, tells the big whigs how it is! Don’t forget, this is the same scaredy cat Peter who denied Jesus three times in a row not long before this… he says this:

“Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead— by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12

Alright Peter! The big whigs respond like this:

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived (recognized) that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

The fellas tell Peter and John to shut up about the Jesus thing… they were not to speak of it again. Here’s what Peter and John Say:

“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot help but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20

This is the sort of believer I want to be. This is the sort of woman I want to be. This is the sort of daughter, friend, teacher (potentially), wife (hopefully), mother (prayerfully), member of society and of Church that I want to be:

[Bold with the truth. Ordinary. Unschooled.]

( undignified. approachable. authentic.)

{{may it be evident that I have been with Jesus}}

Because

I can not help but speak of what I have seen and heard.

All for his glory and the furtherment of his kingdom.

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *