Abbotsford – February 3, 2013 – Acts 6-13
Are you ready to plunge into an amazing journey?
Welcome to the book of Acts. The rich content unfolds like an amazing adventure one would read in a gripping novel. The difference is, this is the “real deal.” The events in this book actually took place. The account of Acts shows the astounding movement of the early church after Jesus’ ministry on earth was complete, and the coming of the Holy Spirit began. We get incredible narratives of how the gospel spread throughout the Roman Empire over three decades worth of time span: A church that expanded from a small group of Jewish believers gathered in Jerusalem to the thousands in dozens of congregations throughout the Roman world. This is God fulfilling His promise to tear down the wall between Jews and Gentiles, and embrace people from every tribe, language, nation and social position; from those on the very margins of society to to the household of Caesar himself.
Acts starts off where the Gospel of Luke ends – with Jesus’ ascension into heaven after his resurrection. In fact, most scholars believe that the same author of the gospel of Luke wrote Acts as well. Acts is the only New Testament book that tells about the ministry of the apostles, and therefore the traditional name of the book of Acts is called “The Acts of the Apostles.” It is also the only sequel to the four gospels. Acts, too, forms a background and setting for most of Paul’s writings. It is essentially the first historical account of church history.
We have studied the life and ministry of Jesus when he was on earth. Now we study Acts, which fulfills Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit. We see the power of the Holy Spirit using the lives of the apostles to spread the gospel. We learn doctrinal truths concerning salvation and the Holy Spirit.
The book of Acts has two main characters: Peter and Paul. We see how God transformed these two individuals. We learn about Peter in the gospels and we see the transformation of Paul unfold in the account of Acts. Through their examples, as well as others that surround them and assist them, we learn principles for discipling believers, building the church, unity in prayer and evangelizing the world. These same principles apply to the local church today.
As you embark on this series, both in the sermons and in the devotionals, it is our hope that you will gain new insight into the beginnings of the church and the power of the Holy Spirit. May it be your prayer that the Holy Spirit teach you and use you to show the world what life and community under the reign of Jesus is like, and walk with people in discovering God’s plan for their lives.