“Be to the world a sign that while we as Christians do not have all the answers, we do know and care about the questions” (Billy Graham).
You won’t find Acts Chapter 29 in the Bible. Chapter 28 might be the end of the Book but it is not the end of the task before all Christians. The chapter ends: “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Vs. 30,31 NIV). Chapter 29 is yet to be written by all who love the Lord and want to see His kingdom extended.
The Book of Acts covers a period of some 30 years, from the birth of the church on the Day of Pentecost that we mark today to the close of Paul’s imprisonment. It describes the spread of Christianity around the northern Mediterranean to the heart of the Roman Empire. Christianity spread rapidly during the first century because all Christians saw themselves as responsible for disseminating the gospel. The ‘acts’ related are mainly those of the apostles Peter and Paul though the book might well be called ‘the acts of the Holy Spirit’. It is under that direction that the new-born church bursts through the national frontiers of Israel to become an international world-wide movement.
When you consider the task facing those early Christians, they did a pretty good job. How do we measure up? Do we see ourselves as responsible to spread the gospel? Mass communication such as email and the internet can aid in personal evangelism and the development of Christians, but it cannot be a substitute for the world seeing the truth lived through us. What will really help to write Acts 29 is the example we set. Of all commentaries on the Scriptures, good examples are the best. If you try to build up one person by being a good example, you’re building up two. If you try to convert someone without being a good example, you won’t convert anybody. If you want your neighbour to see what Christ will do for him, let him see what Christ has done for you.
If we are honest we must admit to split spiritual personalities. We swear allegiance to one set of principles and live by another. The world is always looking for an excuse not to listen to the gospel message, and the inconsistencies of Christians is often the excuse. As Billy Sunday once said: “Hypocrites in the church? Yes, and in the (workplace), and at home. Don’t hunt through the church for a hypocrite. Go home and look in the glass. Hypocrites? Yes. See that you make the number one less.”
That sort of self-criticism is hard to take. I once resigned from an organisation because I was offended by bad language and blaspheme. Yet am I innocent? What do I listen to; what do I watch; what do I read? What example do I set in the community? What contribution am I making to the writing of Acts 29?
“Well done is better than well said.” (Benjamin Franklin)
Have a good and introspective week, Pastor Ron.Optional Bible Reading: Matthew 9:35-38.
This is one of a series of weekly messages of encouragement, now in its twenty-sixth year, originating from Gympie, Fraser Coast, Queensland, Australia. A companion Bible study page is available each week. To subscribe via email by clicking here with the words ‘Subscribe Word (or) Subscribe Word & Study’. Our ministry is free and emailing lists are confidential. Tell a friend or why not put a note in your church newsletter or pew sheet about this ministry – we welcome new subscriptions.Pastor Ron Clarke OAMWord for the WeekMbl.: +61 488 424 321