HOW JESUS WORKS THROUGH ORDINARY PEOPLE
This is a brand-new study from the book of Acts. I am excited as I think about this study because Acts is one of the most exciting books in the New Testament. It’s name is appropriate because Acts is preeminently the book of action. It’s the story of how the Christian faith moved from a tiny beginning in Jerusalem with a handful of people gathered in an upper room to the most important city in the world (Rome) in just 30 years. Read this book and you’ll discover how a little band of Jewish believers in Jesus changed the course of world history.
The reason I began this study is that the Lord impressed on my heart that the Church needs to regain a lifestyle and focus that the early Church enjoyed. In the past few years I have focused on re-acquainting myself with my Father-God and I took as my motto: Soli Deo Gloria—To God Alone Be the Glory! The joy of it is that I can testify that my own spiritual life deepened as I studied our great God. But I realized, once again, that it’s never enough to be satisfied with knowing God ourselves. How can we be satisfied while we live in a world that ignores God and lives as if he doesn’t exist? As I listened to the Lord, a burden grew in my heart that the Church should focus on breaking through the stained-glass barrier and start taking the gospel outside our small gatherings of believers.
Which lead me to re-read and study again the book of Acts and how desperately we need to re-focus our lives so we can function as Christ’s ambassadors in the earth. I want this study to serve as the catalyst to reach out to our friends and family. Lately I’ve been hearing people compare the first century and the twenty-first century. Back then Christians lived in a predominately pagan culture where the vast majority of people had no knowledge of God. The earliest Christians were part of the Roman Empire with its emperor worship, its child sacrifice (we are certainly doing that with our culture), its loose morality (just look around you), and its violent opposition to anyone who claimed to possess the truth about God (we see this daily on the TV news). It’s a matter of historical record that as Christianity began to spread the Roman rulers reacted first with apathy, then with curiosity, and finally with outright hostility.
The early Christians proclaimed a message that Rome couldn’t accept: Jesus is Lord. The Christians used the Greek word kurios to describe who Jesus is. But kurios was the same word the emperors used to describe themselves. As Chuck Colson has pointed out, in the first century if a Christian stood up in a public gathering and shouted, “Jesus is God,” no one would object because everyone knew the Romans permitted you to worship whatever god you chose. However, let that same man shout, “Jesus is Lord,” and he would be arrested and put to death. To proclaim the lordship of Jesus Christ was to attack the supreme authority of Rome itself.
We live in a similar situation today. No one cares about your religion as long as you keep it to yourself. But if you dare to stand up and proclaim that certain things are right and others are wrong, you will be branded an intolerant, closed-minded, bigot—or worse. In this day—as in the first century—no one gets in trouble for being religious. But if you speak out publicly, you risk losing everything.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Book of Acts
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