Sunday, January 2, 2011

Introduction to Acts

Over the next couple of months The Mission will be working its way through the Book of Acts. To help follow along, I would like to provide a summary of each lesson. Please join us if you can as I'm sure this will be a significant time in the life of our church.

Intro to Acts

The Book of Acts is crucial for us as a bridge to the epistles. Acts serves as a perfect middle ground for us to consider a more FULL understanding of Jesus, His Kingdom, and His Body. Acts challenges us to bring The Kingdom of Heaven to a focal point now. Not just some far off, distant scenario that will only be accomplished when Jesus returns. The Kingdom is very much alive today, and will be fully realized upon Christ’s return. Our job is to continue the presence of Christ on earth today, passionately living to restore justice, serve the poor and needy, and love one another completely. Jesus will bring all this to it’s ultimate consummation by physically returning to earth, bringing with him a completely restored social and political system. At some point in time, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. But, that hasn’t happened yet. With each second that passes by is one more second that we should be doing our job, while anxiously anticipating the Return of Jesus.

Acts was written by Luke, a devoted co-worker of Paul, nearly 30 years after the ascension of Christ. It’s interesting to note that the Book of Acts chronologically covers about a 30 year span. So, as Luke traveled with Paul and Timothy for around 30 years, he meticulously kept records of not only the goings on of the earthly ministry of Jesus, but also of the post ascension ministry of Christ. He had access to James, Peter, Mark, John, Barnabas, Apollos, Priscilla and Aquilla, and the list goes on. He very well could be the one person in the best position to write an objective history of both the life of Jesus, and the actions of Jesus through His followers after His ascension. In my opinion, Luke has to be mentioned as one of the most important writers in the New Testament. Luke stands in the gap for us that long to merge Jesus’ Kingdom of Heaven, radical social, political, and religious living, and our present apologetical, fact driven, highly cerebral, knowledge based Christianity. If we are to become both knowledgeable and active followers of Christ, Acts is an important place to start.

The Book of Acts is about balance. Balance between knowing and doing, between faith and deeds. It’s the best parts of liberal and conservative Christianity all rolled into one great story. You have incredibly clear and knowledgeable sermons delivered by significant and foundational figures. And, you have amazingly passionate and sacrificial acts of service. Simply, it's church the way it was meant to be.

So, Acts will be our Bridge. It will help us to define ourselves as a church, and define what to do as a church. It will spur us on to become the 29th chapter of Acts - the continuation of this great story of both incredible knowledge, and miraculous action. It will challenge us to be people of faith, and to do, through faith, what Jesus did. We will learn that we need to be people that know how to clearly communicate Jesus, his life, and the religious tradition that He came from. And, we will see how important it is to be ambassadors of Jesus to those that need us, those that are hurting, to those that can’t help themselves. We will also be challenged to let go of all of our prejudices as Acts provides us with a biblical mandate for building a diverse, multi-ethnic, multi-economic, and multi-political body of Christ.

Acts is just as much about Jesus as the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. His physical presence is gone, but His spirit-indwelt body of followers is alive and kicking. The next few months will be a journey of discovery for sure. It is my prayer that our study of Acts will become a catalyst to propel The Mission forward as a vibrant, knowledgeable, sacrificial, and balanced group of followers.

1 comment:

  1. good stuff - would love to catch up some time soon.