Friday, February 3, 2012

ACTS: The Sequel to the Gospels

This week we had the pleasure of having Mitch Maher speak to the class on the book of Acts.  Up until the last few years, I had never read the book in its entirety. It’s incredible and if you have not read or studied it, I challenge you to do so.  The entire Bible is about the Father’s redemptive plan, the gospel and because Jesus is God incarnate, it’s all about Him.   The Old Testament anticipates Christ, the Gospels manifest Christ, Acts proclaims Christ, the Epistles (letters) explain Christ, and Revelation consummates Christ. 
While Christ was on earth, he told his disciples, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.” (John 14:16)  Before Christ ascended into heaven, he challenged his disciples with “the Great Commission” to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:19)  The disciples knew the Holy Spirit would come but they did not know when and had never experienced the indwelling of the Spirit.  Jesus had also told “them not to depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father...” (Acts 1:4) That promised Holy Spirit came upon them as recorded in Acts 2 as the Day of Pentacost. The Spirit of God came and in dwelt believers.  “And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:2)  What an act of God! The promised Spirit of God arrived and the followers of Christ were overjoyed!  It was refreshing to hear this week about the power of the Holy Spirit and that the same Spirit it alive and working and indwelling me.  Everyday, I’m trying to consciously make myself aware of the Spirit that lives inside of me and confessing my weakness and His power that helps me overcome sin in my life.  He empowers me to make decisions that on my own I would not be able to make.  The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, lives in me (Romans 8:11) and is alive in me for God’s glory.  I am not a slave to sin or a slave to the law anymore because of Christ’s work on the cross and the Spirits work in me.  What freedom and joy that brings! 
Another thing in Acts that really speaks volumes is the church, the first group of believers that met together to worship our God.  They had true community; they “had all things in common” (Acts 2:44b) not because they had the same hobbies or jobs but because they kept the main thing the main thing; that Christ died once for all.  They were an incredibly selfless group of people! “And they were selling their possessions and belonging and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:45) and “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet and it was distributed to each as any had need.” (Acts 4:34)  Do you see this happening in the church today?  What an example of what the body of Christ should look like.  This challenges me to be more generous and giving on a daily basis. 
There is so much I could share with you about Acts and the power and work of the Holy Spirit throughout the entire book.  It is filled with God’s faithfulness, His gospel being proclaimed, and people coming to salvation by the thousands.  I am so encouraged after studying this book.  All that God did then, He can still do and I trust Him to use me to bring people to know Him.  

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