The Book of Acts is to the Gospel of Luke what Home Alone 2 is to Home Alone: the sequel. Luke authors both books, and even begins Acts by saying that he’s picking up where he left off in his Gospel. Interestingly, although Luke only wrote 2 New Testament books (vs. Paul’s 13), his books make up over half of the content of the New Testament!
As I mentioned earlier, Luke was a doctor, which carried over into his writing style. He used very accurate, precise terminology when describing diseases, political figures, and even sailing terminology. It’s a great example of how God spoke through men to write His Word, but still allowed their personality and background to shine through.
Acts was the first book of the Bible I taught through on Wednesday nights when Awaken first began. It was so great to read about the growth and development of the early church as we watched Awaken grow and develop as well.
Jesus made teaching through the book a bit easier by outlining the book for us in chapter 1. In probably one of the most well-known verses in the whole book, Jesus tells His disciples, right before His ascension, that they were to be His witnesses in Jerusalem (where they were at the time), Judea (the surrounding regions), and to the end of the Earth. That functions as the book’s outline…
It’s fascinating to watch the change in these men who, at the end of John, had locked themselves in the upper room for fear of the Jews. In Acts 1 and 2, they’re also in the upper room, but when the Holy Spirit comes in Acts 2, EVERYTHING changes! Peter, empowered by the Spirit, preaches and over 3,000 people accept Christ and are baptized on the spot! That sets the scene for the explosive growth of the church that is chronicled in the rest of the book.
Long story short, as they trust in God and fulfill Jesus’ command to be His witnesses, they encounter opposition, persecution, and many trials along the way, but God uses them to turn the world upside down (or more accurately, right side up) with the Gospel!
Acts seems to end very abruptly. Most of the second half of the book chronicles the journeys of Paul (formerly Saul, a Christian-hating Pharisee) and the Gospel throughout the world, and you might expect it to tell how it all ended. In fact, it ends so abruptly in Acts 28, that you’d almost expect to turn the page and keep reading in Acts 29. Not the case, though. I believe the church today IS Acts 29 – we’re living the next chapter of this move of the Holy Spirit!