We are currently going through the book Acts for our sermon series. Already we have learned that the book was a record of how, what was to become the global Church, was founded.
The book was supposed to be read following the book of Luke (who is the author of both books) with the gospel of Luke being an account of the coming and then death and resurrection of Jesus. Acts is an account of how everything changed after Jesus’ victory with the coming of the Holy Spirit, filling humanity with the resurrection power of Jesus. As we go through Acts we will discover the victories, the changing practices, the persecution of the church. A story which continues after Acts 28 through church history and onto us, a story which will continue until Jesus returns.
The story in Acts unfolds and develops, with the practices at the beginning changing over time. Throughout there are some keys which don’t change, things like the church meeting together, praying, preaching, eating, sharing, loving, communion, giving, baptism, growing, being filled with the Spirit. Other things like discovering who was to be included and how to engage with the society, culture, and authorities develops throughout the book.
I would love to ask Luke questions, I would love to know whether he would recognise the church he was writing about in us today. Are we as passionate, and as hungry for God as they were? Do we love each other like they did? Is there anything that the Spirit is doing in this generation that is different? Are we compromising in any way?
Luke may not be here to answer these questions but they are still questions we can ask ourselves as we progress through the book and fortunately the same Holy Spirit who first came to the disciples to guide them in ‘all truth’ and wisdom is here with us today. The same Spirit who so obviously empowered the first believers to live their lives for Christ is still with us. The same Spirit who empowered Jesus to come with the good news to the poor, the broken hearted, the excluded, the sick and vulnerable is with us today. As we go through Luke’s account, let’s learn the fundamentals of what church is about but let’s also keep asking the Spirit to guide us as we seek to bring the wonderful news of the gospel to the community we serve!