Yesterday, on top of celebrating the Ascension, we began a new sermon series on the book of Acts. “The Acts of the Apostles” (the book’s technical name) picks up where the gospel books left off. We rightly spend much of our time looking at the person and work of Jesus Christ. It’s often easy to be inspired by his love, teaching, and miracles, but I’m so glad that we also have the book of Acts. We have a record of what happened immediately following Jesus’ life. It’s funny to me that within the first chapter of Acts, Jesus’ followers are basically looking at each other asking, “Welp … what do we do now?”
From this rag-tag group of completely average people, God would establish his world-wide church. His good news would spread through rural communities and massive kingdoms. It would spread largely through the patient love and sincere testimonies of his followers. Birth of the Church will be our study over the next seven weeks. What were the formative events for those early Christians? And, perhaps most importantly, what do those events have to do with us?
Remember that this isn’t just an anthropological study of an old movement. It is the look at the origins of a movement of which we are still apart. The stories of the early church are our stories and the God that acted in this book is our God.
What I think we will see in this book is a connection between Jesus and his followers that is staggering. Eugene Peterson puts it this way in his intro to the book of Acts: “Luke (writer of Acts) makes it clear that these Christians he wrote about were no more spectators of Jesus than Jesus was a spectator of God – they were in on the action of God, God acting in them, God living in them. Which also means, of course, in us.”
I’m excited to look into these passages together as a community and see what God has for us in them!
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