The church is the community of people who follow Jesus. In the book of Acts, the purpose is to make crystal clear that the life and work of Jesus continues in the life and work of the church. Luke, as a companion of Paul had the privilege to be chosen by the Holy Spirit to record the early history of the believers. He is the best source about the first apostles’ life and travels because he was a personal witness of what happened.
In both his account in the gospel of Luke and in the Acts of the apostles, Luke covers a timespan of about seventy years, from the birth of Christ to the birth of the church and its early years of expansion. The church is God’s design like the temple of Solomon to host the presence of God. We are the living stones that host His presence and His kingdom cannot be shaken.
In Acts 4:12 the message of the church is set: “For there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved”. The church of Jesus Christ is a distinct community, with a heavenly message, no wonder the early church was fruitful. The authenticity of Luke’s reporting is striking because the keen reader notices some sections are written in the third person narrative and then this suddenly gives way to the “we” sections in chapters 16, 27, and 28. (It appears that Luke was an eyewitness on the second missionary journey).
"we need to seize the new opportunities..."
Luke emphasises and underlines the work of the Holy Spirit and repeats Paul’s conversion three times, the story of Cornelius twice, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in power many times, at Pentecost, at a prayer meeting, at the gathering at Cornelius, at Ephesus, making the Spirit’s work a benchmark of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Luke reports on the church in Jerusalem, and that it was shaken from a sense of comfort and ease and had to be scattered to fulfil its destiny. The path to Rome was the direction towards which the whole of Acts is proceeding. The commission is clear, to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth, is the goal. Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the church is unstoppable.
Complacency is the success disease of the church, according to John Maxwell. It is the time to close the door to yesterday’s success, we need to seize the new opportunities that come our way. At His ascension, Jesus says the church’s mandate is only accomplished when He returns.
We, like Luke, are eyewitnesses of the grace of God and we are called to give testimony of Jesus. We have to get rid of our own complacency. By the time we exit this lockdown, we need to be ready to begin a new chapter, filled with the Holy Spirit, to be living stones that host the presence of Jesus and fulfil His mission to the world.