Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him. (Acts 28:30-31, NKJV)
I have heard some say that the Book of Acts does not end with chapter 28. We, the church today, carry on this apostolic heritage by continuing to preach, teach, and evangelize with the boldness of the apostles. We are living Acts 29, continuing the work begun over 2,000 years ago.
The Book of Acts covers approximately a thirty-year period following the resurrection. During that time, the apostolic message spread from an upper room in Jerusalem to the far reaches of the then-known world. This happened because of the zeal of those filled with the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
If I were to choose one word to describe the early church, that word might be boldness. They faced every challenge, every difficulty, with a bold spirit. Many of us have never truly faced persecution for the name of Jesus, so it may be difficult for us to imagine what the first-century church endured to reach its world. Do we have the same commitment today? Are we bold in proclaiming the message of Jesus to our world?
We live in a much different time and culture than the apostles, yet we still hold fast to the same truths they embraced. If they were here today, they might not understand our modern sound systems, praise teams, or Bible lessons enhanced with computer graphics. Yet they should recognize the same spirit of worship, depth of prayer, and power of the preached Word. We must never allow those things to change.
What were some of the key characteristics of the early church? When we read through Acts, we notice its many strengths.
- It was a praying church. It was birthed in prayer and continued to be strong in prayer.
- It was an evangelistic church. It was never content to stay within its own walls and was always pressing farther and farther.
- It was a teaching church. They worked to establish converts in Truth.
- It was a sacrificial church. They willingly sent offerings to help their brothers in need.
- It was a persecuted but committed church. They endured much but never gave in to outside pressure.
- It was an imperfect church (with imperfect leaders). Yes, they experienced difficulties and misunderstandings at times, but they strived for unity while working to correct any problems that arose.
We sometimes say how wonderful it would be to have a church like the early church. We can. We serve the same God. We are filled with the same Spirit. We are striving for the same goal—to bring souls into the kingdom of God.
In this week’s devotions, we touched on a few of the highlights of the Book of Acts. Hopefully, this has sparked a burning desire in each of us to carry on the mission of the early church. As the last few words of chapter 28 say, let’s keep “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence.”
Really enjoyed and appreciated this series.
I learned some new things and had some ideas confirmed.