Monday, November 3, 2008

Acts: Summary/ Thesis (1:8)

“…but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” –Acts 1:8

Forty four entries and ten months later, the book of Acts has been read and reflected on. It hasn’t yielded all it has to offer, just what one brief 300 word glance per week will allow; and yet enough has been revealed to demonstrate the importance of this book to Christians, churches, and the missionary effort in the world. The foundational ideas upon which the church should be based are found in its early history as reported in the book of Acts. Important principles are here to be found.

Early on we skipped Acts 1:8. It was not an oversight. It has been left until now. The verse contains a summary and a thesis for the rest of the book. Acts is the story of the advance of the Gospel from Judea to Samaria and on out into the rest of the world. This would be a good guideline for churches everywhere. How is your ministry impacting your direct surroundings? How are you having an affect on your region? Finally, what are you as a church doing to impact the world? God has a global vision—so should His church.

The other key aspect of this verse that carries over into the whole book and applies to churches today is the part where it reveals the power for ministry. The power comes not from what we can accomplish but from God, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is referred to more than 40 times in the book of Acts. He is influential in every case where the Gospel enters a new context or community. That is no coincidence. Churches need to remember the help they have in accomplishing their commission, and that they could accomplish nothing without it.

Where do we go from here? Reading the epistles in the context of the history told in Acts seems like the natural thing to do…

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