Saturday, 3 May 2014

Learning to share the Good News from Luke's Acts of the Apostles

Recently I have been looking at the Acts of the Apostles and learning more about evangelism in the early Christian community. I have seen in a fresh way principles and methods that I need to learn from and apply in my walk with God, my fellowship with Christians and my contact with non-believers.

When I read Acts 1 it struck me that writing and sharing the Gospel message through the written word should never be underestimated.  Luke wrote his Gospel and The Acts of the Apostles to Theophilus.

He wrote "of all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day in which He was taken up, after He had given through the Holy Spirit commandments to the apostles who He had chosen, to whom He also had shown Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen during forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God."

We are, of course, indebted to Luke and all the writers of the New Testament documents for their effort, time and energy in communicating their beliefs, memories, testimonies and insights, wonderfully inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. We thank the Lord for the light of His word and for the truth that is revealed concerning the Word, Jesus our Lord and Saviour, in the Scriptures.

Through the Gospels, the Epistles and all the New Testament documents God  helps us to learn what He wants us to understand concerning salvation and godly living. God has spoken, speaks and will continue to speak to all people through the Scriptures.

Men may mock. Scoffers may scorn. Secularists may deride and ridicule. Philosophers may doubt. Theologians may split hairs. Critics may discuss and despise. Clergy may complicate with clever words. But the Scriptures will stand steadfast and sure, even in darkest times and desperate days.  The Word of the Lord will endure for ever.  Every word spoken by Jesus will prove true, and the gates of hell shall never prevail.

There were times when the Bible was banned, burned, belittled and chained.  Through the providence of God we now have access to so many biblical documents, translations and codices.

Today we can communicate so freely and write messages concerning the Good News that travel throughout the world.  These words can reach across nations and countries in a remarkable way.  There are so many opportunities to share our faith, testimony and Gospel message through the written word via the world wide web.

We are embracing the available technology, though we seem to have been slow to use film, video and multi media methods.  So many churches that I attend seem to mess up internet links and web videos, but I look forward to the day, not distant, when I will be able preach with confidence in the ability of church technicians who manage to access the web links and internet sites competently.

From the Acts of the Apostles we see that the early Christians were clear about the Gospel message and what needed to be communicated once they received power from on high, power from the Holy Spirit.
They were a people of prayer.  It is worth looking at all references to prayer throughout Acts.  Prayer was a priority, not an optional extra or something occasional and vague. When they prayed things happened. They had great boldness, great power, and great grace was upon them. Some may dismiss their miracles, signs and wonders as co-incidences and exaggerated claims.  But more co-incidences occur when people pray!

The early Christians were people who went where things happened. They were not shy about their faith and making contact with the crowds.  They were prepared to suffer, to travel extensively, to experience hardship and to make sacrifices to see the Gospel and the kingdom of God spread.  They were generous with their time, money and resources.

They sowed diligently, not sparingly, and consequently reaped remarkably.  They produced fruit that still bears fruit today, eternal fruit.

Are we producing spiritual fruit of eternal value, content and taste?

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