Finding Myself in the Book of Acts

I genuinely, undeniably, indescribably love the Book of Acts. Surprising since I do not enjoy history! Arnold Cook probably had me in mind when he advised, “Those who live in the past are blind in one eye. Those who never consult the past are blind in both eyes.” I am an enjoy-the-present, don’t-mess-me-up-with-reality, let-me-help-make-a-better-future kind of guy. I find it ironic that the Book of Acts, the history of the first century church, is my favorite New Testament book. I am fascinated with its twenty-eight chapters that provide thirty-three years of history. I find myself striving to walk as the early church walked—in the power of the Spirit. I struggle to preach with boldness and desire to see God at work in my ministry. Yet, I am convinced that Acts’ then and there, in the first century, has much to say to the here and now, twenty-first century church.


Acts compels me to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. I cannot get away from its message. It calls me to be an effective Christian witness, to walk in holiness, looking for the Lord’s soon return, and desiring to turn the world upside down with truth that changes lives.

I want to be victorious, to overcome obstacles, and run the race that is set before me. Like the men and women in the early church, I will not retreat into compromise or be lulled to sleep by a world calling me into tolerance. I will not conform to this world but seek to be transformed into the image of God.

I must admit, I come short of my expectations and occasionally fall flat on my face. Acts encourages me to get up, brush myself off, and try again. The ninety-five people introduced in Acts encourage me to press on. They provide role models of what I ought to, and can, be. Sixty-two of my friends are never mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament. The twenty-four missionary messages of Acts correct me, convince me, convict me, challenge me, and change me. Collectively, they teach me that God has a team consumed with a passion for reaching the world. Individually, they caution me not to be afraid of standing alone and that I can make a difference. Acts has spoken hundreds of lessons to my soul, and I have felt the tug of the Spirit to write so that others may learn.

I will consult the past, but will skip living in it, choosing to face the challenges and opportunities God has given us today. As much as I love Acts, I really would not want to exchange places with Stephen, or be let down in a basket like Paul, or even knocked down on the road to Damascus. I prefer to write lessons from my corner at home, instead of a prison cell, or nestled in the belly of a ship destined for shipwreck. I will skip walking miles delivering a letter to the new Christians, and stick with the convenience of sending e-mail. I will pass when it comes to messy, time-consuming inkwells and stick with the modern convenience of my trusty laptop.

I will learn from history (even if I do not like the subject), but I am thrilled to live in the finest hour ever. We cannot live in yesteryear and have no promise of tomorrow. God continues to move all over our world, and miracles are happening that cast a shadow on the events of Acts.

A Look at the Back of the Book

“Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him” (Acts 28:31).

Many times when reading an exciting book we are tempted to look at the back of the book to see what happens. The Book of Acts is God’s Training Manual for Today’s Church. It is an exciting story in the most thrilling book in the world, the Bible.

The Bible is the story of the battle between good and evil. When you look at the last book of the Bible you see good wins and evil loses. The devil, Satan is bound for a thousand years and thrown into the bottomless pit where he can no longer deceive the nations of the world. Eventually he will be thrown into the lake of fire forever (Revelation 20:2,10).


The Book of Acts is the triumphant story of the birth and growth of the Church. In the midst of a battle between good and evil, and persecution, the Church grew and became a powerful force in society.

“Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:20).

The first thing to be noticed about this verse is that Jesus wanted His followers to teach what He had commanded.

In the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) we see Jesus performing “on the job training” with His followers. He also promised He would be with us until the end of the world. Our being alive today proves the world has not ended. Through being filled with the Holy Spirit, we have the promise Jesus is still with us.

The Book of Matthew closes with the word “Amen.” This word means “let it be so!” It expresses our willingness to be obedient, and proves we are in agreement with the speaker. It also implies something is finished. Nothing can be added to the Word of God.

John in the Book of the Revelation warns us that if we add to the Word of God or take away from it, “God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city” (Revelation 22:18-19).

At the end of the Gospel According to Mark you find the powerful promises of the Word of God for the believer (Mark 16:15-18). The book closes with these words, “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:20).

What a thrill to realize Jesus is working with us, and confirms the Word preached with signs following. He said, “these signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) and, “greater works than these shall he do!” (John 14:12).

At the close of the book of Mark we find the word “Amen,” letting us know the writing is finished and we should “let it be so.”

The Gospel According to Luke ends with, “And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:53).

Again the word “Amen” lets us know the book is completed.

“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen” (John 21:25).

The Lord Jesus Christ has done many great things in the past and continues to work in the church today. The book of John is complete.

However, when we look at the end of the Book of Acts we do not find the word “Amen.”

The Book of Acts is the only unfinished book in the Bible. 

It is a book that closes quickly. In this book we see the Lord at work through the Holy Spirit. We see the growth of the Church. The Lord is still at work, and the Church continues. God intends for the acts of His disciples, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the preaching of the Gospel to continue on until the end of the world.

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The Question Hasn’t Changed Why Should The Answer?

The Question Asked:

“Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).

The Answer Given:

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).

If someone in your church were to ask this same question, would he receive the same answer?

If the question hasn’t changed why should the answer?