Summary: the begining of a series on the book Acts and the Spirit-filled life.
The Book of Acts
The book of Acts is the most powerful book ever written concerning the Church of Jesus Christ. In it we read of the acts of Christ or the continuing acts of Christ, the continuing acts of the Holy Spirit, the continuing acts of the Apostles, indeed, the continuing acts of the church throughout the first century. It is an amazing book that reveals the birth, the plan, and the purpose of the church.
When we read it we are amazed to see the apostles and the church continuing to do all that Christ did in the gospels. The question I want to ask is “how did the apostles and the early church continue to do all that Christ did while He was here?” For me, the answer is “They Believed”. They honestly believed in all that Christ said and did. They believed Christ was who He said He was and they believed that they could do all that Christ said they could do. They believed and then simply ACTED on that belief or better God acted through them because of their belief.
The words believe, belief, believed, believing are prominent throughout the New Testament. In one form or another we find this word over 250 times. What does it mean to believe? Paul said in Romans 10:9-10; “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
Believe is to have faith in, to put trust in, or to have the utmost confidence in. In the matter of Christianity is to have faith, trust, and the utmost confidence in all that Jesus said and did. It is heart belief or to believe with one’s entire being that Jesus suffered, died, and rose from the grave. If I can believe this way then I can truly do all thing in Christ Jesus my Lord.
The Apostles and the early church were able to do all they did because they believed in the resurrection of Christ, they believed in the kingdom of heaven, the believed in Holy Spirit, they believed in second coming of Christ, they believed in prayer, they believed in each other, they believed in God’s leadership, they believed evangelistic, spirit-filled preaching, they believed in discipleship, they believed in fellowship, and they believed in worship. They weren’t just carrying out some mundane religious exercise once a week, they were day by day continuing in one accord with a belief of everything that Jesus began to do and teach.
They were believing it, walking it, talking it, breathing it, everyday of their lives. They honestly believed they could do all things in Christ who strengthened them. They believed they were more than conquerors, they believed they had been indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God to continue on in everything Jesus said and taught. They believed that all things are possible for them that love God, they honestly, truly, with all confidence believed that nothing was impossible for God.
We read The Book of Acts and we ask and wonder why God doesn’t do today in our churches what He did in that first church. Maybe, just maybe, the answer is that we don’t believe, at least we don’t’ believe in the way that first church believed.
They believed God wanted to save souls and souls were saved, they believed God wanted to heal the sick and the sick were healed, they believed God wanted to mend the broken hearted and God mended the broken hearted, they believed God wanted to set the captive free and God set the captive free, they believed that God wanted to answer their prayer and God answered their prayer, they believed His grace was sufficient and His grace was sufficient. Before one can ACT he must believe, until one can believes he will never ACT.
The “Book of Acts” is not really the acts of the apostles or the acts of the church, it is the acts of God or the acts of Jesus Christ, or the acts of the Holy Spirit; manifested through a bunch of people that simply believed God would act in them and through them.
The first church was ostracized, they were ridiculed, they were disowned by family and friends, the religious hated them, they were cursed, beaten, scourged, crucified, and cast out of society. The Jews hated them, the Romans hated them, the pagans hated them. They were hunted down, they were jailed, and they were killed because of their belief. Yet, the church grew in numbers by leaps and bounds, God continued to do great and awesome acts through them in the midst of horrible persecution. Why? Because the believed that Jesus was who He said He was, they believed Jesus would do all He said He would do.