All Roads Lead To Jesus - Acts

Acts – Jesus Expands His Church

Acts is the recorded history of the early church. Luke recorded the acts of the Apostles which is how the book earned the name by which the church identifies the book. But the main actor in the history of the early church was never the disciples but rather the Spirit of Christ working in and through the Apostles to build the church. As Jesus ascended into heaven, he told the disciples that they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and even unto the ends of the earth. The story of Acts is how Jesus accomplished His work of reaching the ends of the earth through the faithful obedience and ministry of the Apostles. God used ordinary men and women to accomplish extraordinary things as He led and expanded His church.

The church began its ministry as an offshoot of the Jewish synagogue. But the Christian faith was never meant to stay within the bounds of the Jewish faith. The covenant that God made with Abraham was always meant to be a blessing to all nations. Jesus is the culmination of the covenant God made with his people. Jesus is the blessing and brought the blessing of salvation to all people. This blessing of Christ was brought to the entire world through the simplest of means – through the work and preaching of the Apostles as they remained faithful to the Gospel.

The story of Acts takes the reader through the ups and downs of the early church. There were moments of great growth and conversion and other more desperate moments when all seemed loss. The Apostles and the early church members faced great loss and persecution but Jesus was enough for them.

We learn from Acts that the church has always faced great opposition and danger. And yet, the gates of hell have never and will never prevail against the church so long as the church remains true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Today, the church continues to face many obstacles. In the Far East, many Christians face Roman-type persecution as they lay their lives down on the line for Jesus. In many Muslim-dominated nations, Christians face great threats against their lives and livelihood. In America, the church faces a more subtle threat in the watering down and loss of good theology and Christ-centeredness.

But Luke teaches us in Acts that the church will always endure as Jesus Christ will always endure. In America, there has been a constant warning and threat of slipping religious liberty as the culture attempts to put a stranglehold on pulpits that remain true to the Gospel. This threat is often used to mobilize voting blocs during election cycles and the motivation is fear. It is imperative for Christians to use all of the means afforded to them in any given context to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But we must not fear opposition as if there is any force in this world that can thwart the work of Christ in his church.

When we read the story of Acts, we can take great comfort in the fact that the church is going to endure for this one reason – Jesus Christ himself leads and expands his church. Jesus has overcome our ultimate enemy by defeating sin and death on the cross and rising from the grave.  His resurrection assures what no law or government can assure – the Gospel will endure.

Our task is to remain faithful to the Gospel no matter what dangers lie ahead. We must remain faithful to the clear and obvious teachings found in the Scriptures. We are the continuation of the book of Acts. The early church history may have come to a close in the last chapter of Acts, but that same work continues today wherever men and women remain faithful to the Gospel.

As a follower of Jesus, your legacy is the legacy of Acts. Jesus continues to lead and expand his church today through each of you who remain faithful to the Gospel. You may not be a preacher or miracle worker, but you are an ambassador of Christ and essential to the work of the Kingdom.

Throughout Luke’s account of the early church in Acts, we find that God used men and women in very different ways to reach very different groups of people. Peter was able to reach the Jews. Paul had a gift for reaching the Gentiles. There were many different types of people in the church from many different backgrounds, creeds, races, and religions that all worked under the one banner of Jesus Christ.

God has gifted each of us in the same way that he gifted the early church. We are meant to discover what resources and talents God has given us in order to use them to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the legacy of Acts. The Spirit of Christ continues to lead and expand His church through ordinary people for extraordinary purposes.

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