Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Book of Acts

The Life Project: Acts
Candice Roberts

When my oldest Jaden was baptized we bought him the

book, Jesus Freaks, which is a compilation of stories about

real martyrs, ancient and modern-day, who have been

persecuted and often killed for the cause of Christ. We

wanted Jaden to understand that following Jesus does not

mean following Him to a church service on Sunday

mornings at 11. Following Jesus sometimes means

following Him to the cross. A faith this radical is what true

Christianity is about, and there is no book in the Bible that

exemplifies true Christianity more than the book of Acts.

The Christians in the book of Acts and the Christians

referenced in Jesus Freaks, have more than a few things in

common. The most striking trait about both of these

groups is their boldness. And in 21st Century America, I see

boldness as one trait that Christians are lacking. We are not

a bold people. And I believe God would like to see that



I think there are three keys that the church in Acts had that

gave them great boldness. First they knew the Truth.

Secondly, they had a sense of urgency. And finally, they

knew their Source of power.


First century Christians knew the Truth. Many of them had

walked with Jesus. They saw Him perform miracles. They

heard Him teach. They heard Jesus proclaim that He was

the way, the TRUTH, and the life and that NO ONE could

come to the Father except through Him. Many of these

early believers saw Jesus crucified. Some of them even got

to witness the empty tomb. In the first century world,

Christians KNEW the truth and so they could proclaim it

boldly. I fear today that we are anti-truth. Our society says

that there is no true way, just the way that is right for you.

Sadly many in the church have bought into this lie. When I

discard absolute truth, I also have to discard boldness. Why

would I tell you about Jesus, about the salvation available

through Him, if we both believe you can get your salvation

another way? If we do not believe in absolute truth, we will

certainly not have the boldness to proclaim our Savior as

the only way. But just because we don’t believe in absolute

truth, does not make it less true. Just because you believe

the moon will save you, or the stars, or being good, or

attending church; doesn’t mean it is true. The only thing

that saves is Jesus Christ. Until we are convinced of this

truth, we will never have boldness.


Once we know the truth, we must also have an urgency to

proclaim it. The early church used to greet each other by

saying, “Maranatha”, which means the Lord is coming. First

century Christians lived with the idea that Christ would

return any moment. They knew their time was short. The

longest anyone had to spread the Gospel of Christ was their

life span. They might even have less time than that. They

had the real hope that Christ would return at any moment

and they wanted to be ready. The Christian martyrs in the

Jesus Freak book had a sense of urgency to their faith as

well. They lived in a time and/or place that was hostile to

Christians. They understood the ramifications of being a

Christian. They understood they were in a Spiritual war and

the enemy was gaining ground. Living and dying for Christ

is not something that can be put off. The enemy won’t wait.

The time is now.

But in America.......we are, in a word, complacent. We have

been lulled to sleep by a very crafty enemy. In the famous

Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, we find this poignant quote.

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one- the

gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings,

without milestones, without signposts.” And the Church for

too long, has been happy to help people down this gentle slope to Hell. We don’t want to be too bold. We don’t really think Christ could come back any day. We have lost the urgency of the Gospel. No urgency = no boldness.


If we can regain our sense of urgency, and realize that the

Bible tells us we are living in the last days; If we can arm

ourselves the truth that Jesus is the only way to heaven;

then we are closer than ever to obtaining the boldness of

our ancient Christian brothers and sisters. The final key to

boldness, is to know the Source of power. This Source of

course, is the Holy Spirit. Acts chapter 1 tells us that the

Holy Spirit was given so that the Christians could be

witnesses to the ends of the earth. This implies that

witnessing is not something that can be done in our own



“Renounce your Jesus, or we will kill you!” they threatened.

Roy was terribly frightened. Though trembling, he

answered, “I am a soldier of Christ!”


At this, one of the Muslim attackers swung a sword at his

stomach. The sword hit the Bible Roy held, and ripped into

it, knocking it out of his hand. The man’s next swing sliced

open Roy’s stomach. His last word was “Jesus.” From Jesus

Freaks, by DC Talk


This is the story of a 15 year old boy in Indonesia who was

murdered for his faith. It happened in 1999. Roy knew the

Source of his power. Roy knew Jesus. He had been filled

with the Holy Spirit. Like the Christians in the book of Acts,

Roy has now heard, “Well done, my good and faithful

servant.” As a Christian, these are the greatest words we

can ever hope to hear- to hear our Lord telling us well



Our mission is clear. Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore, and

make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of

the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Have we

done this with boldness? My prayer for our church this

week is that we would understand boldness, that we would

adopt it as a character trait that defines us. I pray that we

will be armed with the truth, with a sense of urgency and

with the Spirit’s power to be witnesses for our Savior.

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