The Book of Acts and the Word of God

If you’re reading along in The Crossing’s Bible Reading Plan, then you’re reading, or soon to be reading, in the Book of Acts. For me, I just finished reading chapter 7 this morning (OK. I’m a day behind, so what?!). So far several interesting themes jump out from Acts. I’ll mention just two here:

1) The message the apostles keep preaching is the death and resurrection of Christ—with the resurrection being the culmination of the “good news” for us. We read how Christ’s resurrection changed everything about how the earliest Christians in Acts saw their possessions, their sufferings, and their ministry to one another and to those outside the community of believers. The death of Christ is an essential and wonderful truth for us as believers—the atoning sacrifice for the complete forgiveness of all our sin as believers—but sometimes we too often forget that the ultimate good news is the resurrection of Christ. That’s the only reality that guarantees us Life renewed by Christ and restored with Christ in the eternal kingdom of God. The more we really believe THAT, the more we’ll also hold loosely the “treasures” of this world. That’s one thing we repeatedly see in Acts. I’m going to share much more about this theme in Acts in my sermon on Easter. Interesting stuff, at least to me.

2) The necessity of “the word of God” in the growth of the church.

It’s interesting to me to see that it was primarily by the Holy Spirit using the word of God that caused the number of believers/disciples to increase. Acts 6:7 states, “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly.” I believe these two realities go hand-in-hand. A church that faithfully preaches and teaches the word of God in fresh and relevant ways will, usually, God-willing, Spirit-working, also be a church were the number of the disciples multiplies greatly. Can’t ever have the latter without the former. For if the teaching and reading of the word of God is neglected, the number of church people may increase, but not really the number of “disciples.” When God’s word increases in our church and in our lives, then so too does the number of disciples.

And when the word of God increases in our personal lives, that’s when we become growing disciples. That’s why, as a church, we want to emphasize our own personal reading the word of God this year. If you are not currently reading (or listening to) your Bible on a personal and daily(ish) basis in some way, then you’re not growing as a disciple. I don’t even have to know you to know that that’s true. But you can decide today to devote yourself to the increase of the word of God in your life! It IS one of your greatest needs in your life, if not THE greatest.

Perhaps you should get on board with The Crossing’s Bible Reading Plan. Start now with the March readings, which means you’ll simply pick up by starting Proverbs and Acts and reading along each day from there. I also read the commentary notes at the bottom of the pages in my ESV Study Bible, which I highly recommend (see my past blog on it here). It will help you much better understand what you’re reading in the Bible.

And related to this—it’s also interesting to me to see how the apostles saw their role primarily this way—“we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Of course, I believe the Bible teaches that this is also, in our day, a great primary job description for any pastor! This should always be a church’s top priority for its pastors—that they be able to devote their time to prayer and the ministry of the word (in all the various ways that means: personal prayer, group prayer, personal Bible study, reading, preaching, teaching, counseling, writing, leading small groups, etc.). That’s one big reason I love The Crossing and the way we’ve structured pastoral ministry as a team of pastors. The Crossing allows and enables and frees up us pastors to primarily do these things. That way the word of God can truly increase so that the number of disciples increases as well.

Thanks for reading.

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