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Summary: The Christian faith is beyond all other religions in its divine origin, its distinct nature, its deliberate thrust and its definite objective. It is worthy of each person’s consideration.

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THE GENESIS OF CHRISTIANITY.

Acts 1:1-3

Int. Thank God for the book we know as The Acts of the Apostles! Without this book the New Testament would be greatly weakened. We are given four accounts of the Life of our Lord Jesus, but only one which has to do with the Genesis or the beginning of Christianity. So the Book of Acts holds a place of great importance in the New Testament. It has been called the action book of the New Testament. Certainly it constitutes therefore one of the most exciting books of the Bible.

We could never understand the New Testament if we did not have the book of Acts, for it fills the gap that would exist between the Gospels and the book of Romans, which follows. At the end of the Gospels we find a handful of Jews gathered in Jerusalem talking about a kingdom to come to Israel. In the book of Romans we find an apostle who is not even mentioned in the Gospels, and who was not one of the twelve, writing to a band of Christians in the capital city of Rome, talking about going to the ends of the earth. The book of Acts tells us how this happened, and why this change occurred.

There is intense conflict throughout the book, but a conflict met by a ringing confidence that is wonderful to see. It is a record of power exercised in the midst of persecution; an account of life and health pouring from a living Christ into a sick society through the channel of ordinary men and women, very much like you and me. Most Christians seem to suffer from a terrible inferiority complex when we confront the world around us. We have bought the idea of many around that the church is quite unrelated to the present world, a segment of society that is not at all important. That view is absolutely false. The church is the most important body in the world today -- far and away beyond every other body -- because whatever happens in the world happens as a result of something that is, or is not, happening in the church. We see this clearly in this book of Acts. In this scripture, we find the essential strategy by which Jesus Christ proposes to change the world, a strategy which is the secret of the revolutionary character of the church when it operates as it was intended to operate.

I. THE CREATIVE FORCES THAT GAVE RISE TO CHRISTIANITY.

The Gospel of Luke is the record of the incarnation of the Son of God. In John’s word, he was "the Word made flesh, who came and dwelt among us," {John 1:14 KJV}. Jesus, the man, came to begin something, "to do and to teach," and the record of that beginning is in the Gospels. But, by clear implication, this second book is the continuation of what Jesus began to do. In a very real sense, Acts is not the acts of Christians, but the continuing acts of Jesus. It is an account of what Jesus continues to do and to teach. In the Gospels he did it in his physical body of flesh. In the book of Acts he is doing it through the bodies of men and women who are indwelt by his life. In the Gospels and in the Book of Acts, incarnation is the secret strategy by which God changes the world.


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