The Book of Acts is probably the most telling in the bible about how “the church” should behave. We have the four accounts of the Gospel before Acts which detail Jesus’ ministry on earth and after Acts we have the doctrinal books that detail how we should behave as a result of our conversion to belief in Christ. Acts, however (sometimes called the acts of the apostles), details what happened once Christ left this earth. Acts is the fulfillment of what Jesus revealed to His disciples in John 16:
4 "But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you. 5 "But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' 6 "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. 12 "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 "All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.
The other thing that Acts encapsulates is what Jesus said a little earlier in John 14:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.
This verse has been boring a hole in my heart lately. Why are we not fulfilling this? Is it because Jesus was wrong or because we are not being obedient to God’s calling in our lives? A lot of study bibles have some sort of introduction to each book of the bible and mine is no different. As I was reading it this morning before starting the study of Acts, it mentioned that sometimes this account written by Luke is referred to as, “The Acts of the Holy Spirit.”
I think this is the very key to understanding what happened and why it happened the way Luke recorded it. On a related note, I think it is also a good explanation as to why lately we haven’t seen the fulfillment of what Jesus said about us accomplishing things far greater in this world. We have lost touch with the Holy Spirit. He has become an entity that we recognize only because it is written in the bible. We recognize His presence in “biblical times” but then ignore His presence in these times. How can we recognize God the Father, believe in Christ the son and what He did for us, and neglect the voice of the Holy Spirit whom He sent to show us the way?
There are very many conceptions and ideas in regards to how we should apply the Book of Acts to our current church philosophy. I have heard some say we have to “go back to the first church” referring to the logistical management we read about in the beginning chapters. Some say it is no longer applicable 2,000 years later and this book is only useful as a historical record. I like the term “Acts of the Holy Spirit” because I think it accurately describes the lives of these men in relation to the Holy Spirit.
To quote a teacher I once had, “we have neglected developing our relationship with the Holy Spirit.” If we are to get anything out of studying this book of the bible, it should be how we can live our daily lives in communion with the Holy Spirit. Jesus talked about the purpose of the Spirit to His disciples in John but in Acts they actually lived it out (pun intended). They experienced the power of God flowing through them by means of the Spirit. They wholly surrendered their lives to God’s Spirit in order to be led and guided to conform to His will and accomplish those “greater works” that Jesus said they would. As recipients of God’s grace and subsequently the Holy Spirit, we should pay attention to how He works through us and the potential we have to reveal and experience the power of God in our own lives.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not talking about those moments in our lives where God is our explanation because we feel loved and cared for and that is how we have defined God. I’m not talking about those little “God moments” where everything comes together perfectly and we refuse to recognize them as consequence. I’m not even talking about those unexplainable events such as miraculous healing or other scientific wonders. I’m talking about moments where there is absolutely no doubt in your mind or those around you that God is present, God is alive, and God is a supernatural force in our lives. What the Book of Acts accomplishes for us is it reveals to us how God wants to use us to reveal His glory to the world by being intimately involved with the Spirit He has given us.