In the study of the book of Acts you can see that the early Church grew, and continued to grow. It grew not because of the men who had given their lives to following Jesus Christ; but it grew due to the power of God in the Person of the Holy Spirit within and upon them.
One of the chief apostles named in the book of Acts is first introduced in the Acts of the Holy Spirit book. It is God who increases His Church. It is God who regenerates those who come to Him. It is God who keeps the Church growing even in 2017.
After Paul had arrived in Rome many Jews (at Paul’s invitation) came to him to question him concerning the charges against him from Jerusalem. They wanted to hear what he preached and taught…
“And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.” Acts 28:23-24 (KJV)
The apostle spoke clearly of the place of Jesus as the Messiah of Israel from the Law and the Prophets all day long.
Paul believed the gospel. He lived the gospel, He proclaimed the gospel and God blessed, and gave results.
Sadly, today’s Church is much weaker in stature, faith, and power with God; yet God is still redeeming souls, regenerating them, and bringing us into His kingdom.
The Church today needs the Spirit of God at work; not entertainment, or showmanship from its pastor, music director, or any other director. That is fire under the altar (1 Kings 17). Let us call on the fire of God to come down on us.
We must have the power of God for perseverance. We need to be servants of God first; then willing to serve others as well. When we are in the will of God through His Spirit, His word, and in prayer then we will have peace.
The Church today needs to understand that all provisions will come from God for His work and ministry to progress. In the early Church every member was provided for due to persecution (Christians were losing their employment, their homes, etc.), and those who were able made donations for the cause of helping those who suffered. God provided the need for the apostle Paul to get to Rome. He also provided encouragement for Paul by giving him friends.
Too many times the Church today, and their preachers do not challenge the opposition of the gospel. Paul did. He called them to come and hear what he had to say, and they came. Some of them “Believed” and some of them did not. Are we too afraid of being turned down? When we present the gospel, and it is rejected it is not us who is being rejected; it is in fact Jesus being resisted.
Now, Church, is not the time to stop preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is time to preach it clearly, with the power of the Spirit unlike any other time. It is time for Christians to rise up and say in public places “I believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God, and God the Living Son”, then live like we are children of the King of kings.
The preaching of the gospel must continue, be unending until that day when we see Jesus face to face. Paul could have said, “I am a prisoner. What can I do”, but he did not he preached the gospel. His heart was set on Jesus, because Jesus was his treasure (Matthew 6:21). He preached with confidence; not in his own abilities, but with confidence that God fulfilled every word He has ever spoken, and will continue to do so. Though in prison Paul was free.
Although the book of Acts is a book of history we can also get the way the Lord would have us operated His Church. To operate any other way would not be a New Testament Church.
The Lord’s way is 1) Jesus is the Head; 2) The Body submits to His Lordship; 3) We are to operate as one even as Jesus and the Father are One; 4) We are to walk in the Spirit of Christ Jesus.