The book of Acts rightly has been called, “The Acts of the Holy Spirit”. It is an exciting adventure in witnessing, evangelistic proclamation, and church growth. Acts is the story of consecrated believers, filled with the Holy Spirit, impacting the world for Christ. They were totally dependent on the Holy Spirit to accomplish miraculous results. Theirs is an example of what the Holy Spirit can accomplish through men and women that are totally consecrated to Him.
Read Acts 2:41-42; Acts 4:4, Acts 4:31; Acts 5:14, Acts 5:42; Acts 6:7; and Acts 16:5. What impresses you most about these passages? What is the message that Luke, the author of Acts, desires to share by recording such rapid growth?
Luke’s intent in writing the book of Acts is to share with each reader the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the early church.
Notice, too, that he is not hesitant to use numbers to measure the movement of the Spirit in the first century. That is, he was counting baptisms. In Acts 2:41, he highlights the fact that 3,000 were baptized in a single day at a single place. In Acts 4:4, he speaks of 5,000 men who were baptized. In Acts 5:14, multitudes come to the Lord and are baptized.
Whether it is a single individual like Lydia, the Philippian jailer, a demon-possessed slave girl, or the Ethiopian eunuch, Luke takes notice and records the moving of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of these people. The important point here is that behind each of the large numbers are individual human beings, each one a child of God for whom Jesus Christ died. Yes, we like the big numbers, but in the end, witnessing is often a one-to-one endeavor.
To facilitate the rapid growth of the New Testament church, new churches were planted. One of the reasons that the early church grew so rapidly is because the church was constantly renewed through planting new churches. What an important message for us today.
|The prime focus of the New Testament church was mission. How can we make sure that, at the core of all that we do in our local church, mission is always at the center?|