We are part of a movement that Jesus began around A.D. 30 in Palestine. When Jesus ascended to heaven, He left behind a small group of followers. Through these followers, and those who came after them, God has spread the good news of His Son Jesus throughout the world.
The progress of this movement is nothing short of amazing! As author Rodney Stark asks, “How did an obscure messianic movement on the fringe of the Roman Empire dislodge classical paganism and become the dominant faith of Western civilization?” (The Rise of Christianity) The New Testament book of Acts gives the answer. It shows how the followers of Jesus in obedience to Christ carried the Word of God to others in the power of the Holy Spirit. Simple. Powerful.
This world-changing movement did not flow from the cleverness and resources of Jesus’s followers. Steve Addison observes, “The disciples only had Jesus’ example, his teaching, the message of his death and resurrection, his authority, and the power of the Holy Spirit.” (What Jesus Started) But that was enough!
Here we stand 20 centuries later, part of that same movement. Now it is our turn. It is our privilege and responsibility to carry God’s message to others in the power of the Holy Spirit so they too can receive God’s gift of salvation through Christ.
The book of Acts can help us fulfill our part in Jesus’s movement. Among other things, it reveals what the message is that we are to carry to others: “the gospel of the kingdom as we find it in Acts is the announcement of forgiveness and the gift of the Spirit that flow necessarily from the throne of the crucified and risen Savior-King” (Chris Green, God’s Power to Save). Our Lord Jesus is indeed the crucified, buried, risen, and ascended Lord of all. He has charged us to continue His movement to the ends of the earth.
Later this month we will begin a series of sermons from the book of Acts. Pray. May God impel us forward in the movement of the Gospel of Jesus through the power of His Holy Spirit.