Friday, 20 May 2016
by Pastor Al Robbins
The first four books in the New Testament detail the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. These books are important to read to see what Jesus taught His disciples. Many versions of the Bible show the words of Jesus in red to emphasize them. However, although His words are very important, the Bible contains much more than just His words. They serve as the introduction to the rest of the New Testament.
After the four Gospels, the next book in the New Testament is The Acts of the Apostles, more commonly referred to just as Acts. As was mentioned before, this is the continuation of the Gospel of Luke, written to the same person-Theophilus.
Luke starts the book by talking about how Jesus appeared to His disciples. This passage connects the previous book (the Gospel of Luke) to the current book and gives the starting point for Luke's narration.
Acts 1:1-8 (NIV)
The book of Acts is the story of the beginning of the church. After the Ascension of Christ, the disciples and the other followers of Jesus were unsure of what to do and where to go, but they knew that God had not abandoned them. They "continued with one accord in prayer and supplication" (Acts 1:14) and waited for direction.
That direction came when the Holy Spirit filled the prayer meeting with His power. The power of God fell on this group of fishermen, tax collectors and others that were not used to being leaders and allowed God to turn them into world-changers.
Acts 2:1-8 (NIV)
Filled with the power and the boldness that only God can give, the disciples became the Apostles, and began to teach and preach of the Good News of the salvation of God, showing with signs and wonders the power of God.
Acts 2:38-39 (NIV)
Acts 5:12 (NIV)
Up to this time, the followers of Jesus were centered in Jerusalem. They met together frequently in prayer and to learn more about Him. The number of believers were increasing, so the disciples selected "seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom" (Acts 6:3) to oversee the waiting on tables. One of these seven men was Stephen, who became the first martyr, stoned because of his faith in Jesus (Acts 6:8 - 7:60).
The large number of people who were coming to faith in Jesus Christ was distressing to the leaders of the time, and persecution arose.
Acts 8:1 (NIV)
God also showed His sovereignty and power by changing the heart of a man known as Saul, a man who was "giving approval" to the persecution. Saul was zealous in his intent to eliminate this threat.
Acts 9:1-2 (NIV)
God, however, had very different plans and appeared to Saul on his journey to Damascus and allowed him to see the truth of who Jesus truly was, and called him to be "a chosen vessel" (Acts 9:15).
The rest of the book of Acts details how the church grew throughout the region. It also explains how Saul became Paul, an important messenger of the grace of God. We see how God used men and women, flawed and imperfect, to cause His Kingdom to grow. We see how events that seemed to be disastrous became victories for God.
Reading the book of Acts, we see the power of God in the lives of ordinary people make them extraordinary warriors on His behalf. As you read this book, may God encourage you to trust Him to make you a world-changer.
Posted on 05/20/2016 10:38 PM by Al Robbins
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