When a Christian reads the Book of Acts, he or she is not just reading interesting history, they are reading HIS STORY. They are reading the account of The Acts of the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished by His Spirit through His corporate body of believers. We witness how the church became the corporate living expressions of His resurrection life. The fruit of the gospel is the expression of Who He Is in the context of a new community. Every true local expression of the body of Christ is a New Life Community.
The 4 gospels answer the questions, "Who is Jesus?" and "What did He accomplish?" The early chapters (1-7) of The Book of Acts answer the questions: What is Christianity? What is the church? What is its mission and what is its message?
In Chapters 8- 12 we see how Christianity spreads beyond the one church at Jerusalem, according to Jesus' prophecy (Acts 1:8). Ordinary believers, empowered by the Holy Spirit, go everywhere 'gossiping the gospel'. (Acts 8:4)
What we see in this second section (Acts 8-12) are a series of Divine Appointments. God sovereignly prepares both the communicators and the hearers for the spread of the gospel. Philip proclaims Jesus is the Messiah to those who were considered half-Jews- the Samaritans, and they "welcome God's message" (Acts 8:14). The apostle Peter opens the door of the gospel to them and they are born again of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17).
More "divine appointments" follow. The Holy Spirit coordinates evangelistic one-on-one encounters: Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch ( Acts 8:26-40); Saul of Tarsus' encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-8; 22:6-11; 26:12-18; 1 Cor 15:8); Ananias and Saul (Acts 9:10-19; Acts 22:12-14); Peter and Aeneas (Acts 9:33-35); Cornelius and the apostle Peter (Acts 9:43-10:48; 11:
Each of these encounters involved a conversion story. The Holy Spirit disclosed the Person of Jesus, the Living Word through the spoken Word which corroborated with the written Word. The Lord instructed Cornelius that he would be saved through hearing and believing the words that Simon Peter would bring to him (Acts 11:14).
The Lord Jesus continues to bring about conversions today through "divine appointments" where sovereignly-prepared messengers share a specific Christ-centered message with sovereignly-prepared hearers. Jesus has won for us the privilege of open doors and an open heaven. Let us utilize these privileges as we see new life communities mobilized to make disciples of all kinds of people!