Dear Fellow Students of the Scriptures,
Greetings in the name of Jesus! I hope all is well with you on today.
I trust you are still progressing on with your reading. If you started on Jan 7th, you are on day 29 today, almost half way. We have read through the gospels and 1/2 of the book of Acts. I wanted to say a couple things about Acts.
As you may know, the Book of Acts is the second of a two part work of Luke's gospel. It is on the history of the birth and formation of the church. Some have called this the book of Acts of the Apostles. Others have called it Acts of The Holy Spirit since the Spirit is a central character in this whole book. The videos below can give you more detail but I want to hit the highlights.
Acts 1:8 - This verse outlines the formation of the book and it is also very practical for a philosophy of missions. Jesus before he left told his followers that they would receive power to be witnesses. In Jerusalem (Home), Judea (regionally), Samaria (in hard places), and to the ends of the earth. The key word in this sentence is the word AND. Jesus followers' ministry was to be in all places at the same time. Therefore you start at home and go to the ends of the earth. This really is possible even more now in the world we live. You don't even have to travel.
When I was 19, I took my first step at this, I sponsored a child with Compassion International. For $20 a month (at that time), it helped provide education, food, and teaching for a child in another country. Here name was Kelly and she grew up in Brazil. It is amazing how think sponsorship relationship changed me. It gave me a heart for the world. That is one simple example of how we can be witnesses.
Acts 4 - We see the boldness of the early church. In spite of persecution, they prayed for boldness and they were thankful they were worthy to suffer for Jesus. They also were generous with one another and sacrificed for the good of the community.
Acts 6 - We see that as the church grew, they strategized and made shifts to continue to reach people for Jesus.
Acts 8 - The gospel goes out from Jerusalem to reach people regionally.
Acts 9 - Saul has a radical conversion.
Acts 10 - 15 - The church debates do you need to become Jewish to be a christian? Short Answer - No!
Acts 16 + - We see Paul's missionary journeys. As you read this, you will notice Paul collecting money for the poor in Jerusalem. He wanted the Gentiles to bless and care for the poor of the Jews. This was done not only because of need but to bring the Jews and Gentiles together.
Acts 21+ - Paul is on trial. Paul suffered for his faith. Interesting enough, while he was in prison, he had the opportunity to write letters. Our Bible is filled with them. God's larger purpose was being accomplished through Paul's letter-writing. This is so instructive for us. Too many times we don't have the larger perspective of what God is up to with our lives. Paul being in prison is a great example.
Acts 28:30-31 - Notice how the book ends. Paul kept pressing on preaching and teaching about Jesus. in other words, he finished well. What an inspiration for those of us in life and in the life of faith.
Check out the videos below for more information. I will take on Romans next week. Keep pressing on.
Yours in Christ,
Videos to Check out from The Bible Project
The Book of Acts - Part 1
The Book of Acts - Part 2