Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The book of Acts

My favourite book of the Bible (at the moment) is the book of Acts.

The book of Acts is an amazing book. Not only is it filled with tales of the adventures of the early church, but it is filled with stories of how the Holy Spirit came to encourage, equip and enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things for God. In my opinion it is one of the most exciting books of the Bible and one that we, as Christians living in the 21st Century, can learn from, especially on the topic of evangelism. This book is the story of how a group of believers shared their faith, leading to the spread of early Christianity across the globe. If that isn’t an inspiration and an encouragement to get out there and share, I don’t know what is!

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:8

I wanted to look at several of the methods that these early Christians used to share God’s Word and His message of salvation, and then look at how we can use those same methods in today’s society. Our jobs as Christian women is to share Christ with those around us and reading this book can help us  to find new (or old!) ways to help them to see the sacrifice God gave for them and the amazing plan He has for their lives.

Firstly, we have 1-1 conversations. The book of Acts is full of examples of this, but by far my favourite is the story of Philip and his call to go and talk to the Ethiopian Eunuch.  This story, which is recorded for us in Acts 8:26-40, shows how God gave him an opportunity and instead of being afraid or making excuses he took it and was able to share God’s Word with that soul.

How many times are we given opportunities to share with those around us in a 1-1 setting? Those quiet conversations in the work canteen or over coffee or when you are standing waiting for the kids to get out of school? Times when people have questioned something in the news or something that has happened in their or your life… when it would be the perfect time to tell them about God? But how many times do we obey and take hold of these God-given opportunities and actually open our mouths? I know, for me, this doesn’t happen as often as it should and I know fear is a big thing – fear of being laughed at or rejected, fear of getting muddled or fear of getting it wrong! But God has promised to be with us whatever we do, so that’s not really an excuse any more… is it?!

And then we have the big events – like the Day of Pentecost. Found in Acts 2:1-41 we read an amazing account of the events of that day, where everyone heard the gospel in their own language, and thousands were added to the church. Now I don’t imagine many of us have opportunities to go before large groups of people and share the gospel, but maybe you are in a book club or a craft club or a sports club… you get the picture! God has promised to be with us but He has also promised to do amazing things with His Word when we make the effort to tell people. In Isaiah 55 v 11 He says (in the New Living Translation)

“It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”

What an amazing thought – any time we step out of our comfort zone and speak God’s Word into a situation, God will not only be there to help us and honour us for honouring Him, but He will also use His Word to save and restore and to produce fruit! We may not see it, but it will be done!!

So the next time you are reading through the book of Acts, take time to think how you can use their methods to share with your circle of influence and let the Holy Spirit work in your life, helping you to do extraordinary things for God.

Keep shining… J

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