Monday, September 19, 2016

This Is the Beginning of Missionary Movement and Our Faith-History (Acts 0)

The Book of Acts is a very important book because it tells how the church started and grew. It all began from the life and death of Jesus Christ, and that, when He arose again, He told His disciples to go everywhere and preach the gospel (see Matthew 28). Acts tells us how the disciples obeyed the Lord in spreading the gospel and how all other early churches were started. Many people have called it the Acts of the Apostles, but to me it’s not so much about the actions of the apostles but Christ, the Acts of Christ. And beyond that, since there are about 70 times reference of the Holy Spirit in this book, I suggests it should be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit. After all, He is the One who acting in and through the apostles. Christ promised that the Father would send the Holy Spirit (1:8) and this promise was fulfilled a few days later (2:4). What God promises He will empowers.

By the way, who wrote the book? #1 God. It was God who lead and inspired the writer what to put down when he wrote it (2 Timothy 4:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21). #2 Luke. He was a doctor by profession (Colossians 4:14) and a missionary by calling. He always travelled with the Apostle Paul on some of his long journeys. If you noticed, Luke like to use words such as “he”, “they” and “we.” He is a first-hand witness! So who wrote the book? #3 God through Luke.

Why this book were written? First of all, Acts is part two of the Gospel of Luke. It was clearly written to an important man called Theophilus (because the name means “loved by God” or “friend of God” some scholars suggest that it was written to a group of Christians). It told the story of “Jesus’ life and teachings and how he returned to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions from the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:1). It told the story of what Jesus continued to do and teach, after His resurrection and ascension. I heard many people speak of Jesus’ finished work on the cross – it’s true in term of appropriation of the blood of Christ – but we must never forget that Jesus is still working the “unfinished” work today in heaven, praying for us, leading and guiding, and working with and in us. Luke wanted to tell us about this part of Jesus’ “unfinished” work.

Jesus told the disciples in Acts 1:8 that “[When] the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power to testify about me with great effect, to the people in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, about my death and resurrection.” This is one of the keys verses in the Book of Acts. Jesus told the disciples to witness for Him first right where they are (Jerusalem), then in their home land (Judea). Then they must go to their near neighbours (such as Samaria) even though they did not like them. But then they were to spread out all over the whole world and tell people about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This was how we – Malaysians and other part of the nations – get to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour. This is the beginning of a worldwide missionary movement. To understand the Acts is to understand the joy and risk of spreading the Good News and to understand our own faith-history. Even though the Book of Acts is finished written long time ago, but the impact and influence of it is continue until this very day!

Are You Ready to Explore the Book of Acts?
Come with me and discover it together.

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