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The End of the Beginning

The book of Acts records the history of the first 30 years of the church. In Luke’s gospel, he wrote about “all Jesus began to do and teach before the day he was taken up.” Acts is the record of the continuation of the ministry of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the church to unleash the gospel into the world.

Acts ends with the Apostle Paul in Rome, waiting to be heard by Caesar. It’s like a cliffhanger. We’re left to wonder what’s next for Paul. But while the book of Acts comes to an end, the mission continues. We are the generation entrusted with taking the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth.

So as Luke concludes the book of Acts, he answers three questions we must consider for our lives now: Who is the audience for the gospel? What is the context for gospel ministry? What is the central point of the gospel message.

Scripture: Acts 28:16-31; Philemon 1, 4

Persuading Others to Believe

The Apostle Paul had a conviction – we should try to persuade everyone everywhere to believe in Jesus. Do you want everyone to become a Christian? Do you think we shouldn’t impose our beliefs on others? It’s not tolerant to try to persuade someone to convert.

But according to this text, there is much at stake. When Jesus calls Paul to share the message of salvation it’s clear that people need to be moved from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom, from condemnation to forgiveness, from pointless, futile living, to a place of belonging through faith in Him.

No one is born a Christian. Every Christian is a convert. And God has called us to try to persuade others to believe.

Scripture: Acts 25-26

Three Responses to the Gospel

The gospel message is a singular message, but it provokes different responses from different people. For some in Ephesus, they responded with repentance – and it cost them a fortune. What is your response to the gospel and are you willing to lose to gain?

Scripture: Acts 19:11-41

Making Known the Unknown God

Maybe your neighbor has this bumper sticker, “Coexist.” That was Athens when the Apostle Paul entered it on his second missionary journey. Athens was like a college town. Philosophy, art, politics, education, commerce, and religion were all part of the experience in the heart of the city, the marketplace.

As we look into this passage, we see Paul present Christ in the marketplace and learn what that might look like for us.

Scripture: Acts 17:16-34

The Message of the Church – The Gospel

What is it that the church has to say? We believe the message of the church is the Gospel. Paul refers to it as “the gospel of God,” “the gospel of His son,” and also “the word of the cross.” Christians are gospel people. We believe that the gospel is the message that saved us. And as followers of Christ, we obey His command to make disciples of all the nations by spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth.

But it’s not always clear what people mean by the word “gospel.” It’s simply “good news,” but what passes for the gospel in some churches, online, etc. is not the good news Paul or the rest of the apostles preached. The pressure is real to “adjust” the gospel to our culture, but eternity is at stake if we get it wrong.

Scripture: Romans 1:1-1

God’s Love

Christians ought to love one another because God is love. God’s love is eternal; He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Scripture: 1 John 4:7-11

Pure & Undefiled Religion

God has called His people to pick up the weapon of pure and undefiled religion in the spiritual war that Satan has declared on children. Pure and undefiled religion is care for orphans in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Scripture: James 1:27

Simeon’s Song: Declaring God’s Salvation and God’s Savior

Simeon declares that God’s salvation in Jesus is for all peoples. But he also prophesies that some will reject God’s Savior, Jesus.

Scripture: Luke 2:22-35

The King Is Born!

Christ is the great central fact of the world’s history. To him, everything looks forward or backward. All the lines of history converge upon him. All the great purposes of God culminate in him. The greatest and most momentous fact that the history of the world records is the fact of his birth.  Charles Haddeon Spurgeon

Scripture: Luke 2:1-21

Abraham and the Sacrifice of Isaac

Thankfully, God didn’t ask Abraham to go through with the sacrifice, but one dark Friday God would provide, and just as Abraham walked up that hill with his son, his wood for the burnt offering in his hand, God stayed the knife and told him to stop because through this child would come another promise and blessing that would bring rescue and salvation to the world… Jesus would walk willingly up that hill, carrying the wood on His back AND there He would be slain to save and bless the world.

Scripture: Genesis 22:1-19