Christians In The Early Church
The book of Acts details the promised Holy Spirit and Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:4-11). Warren Wiersbe calls this the “Faith of the First Christians,” while many refer to it as the “birth of the Church.” Others have titled this book “Acts of the Holy Spirit.” Additionally, John MacArthur says that “the book of Acts could be properly called, ‘The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles,’ since His sovereign, superintending work was far more significant than that of any human being.” Regardless of the title, the book of Acts explains God’s sending the Holy Spirit and His work among believers. Consequently, many miraculous things happened, namely, “the spread of the gospel (the good news of Jesus) and the growth of the church. It also records the mounting opposition to the gospel” (MacArthur).
The believers in Acts held some strong beliefs. Some of them relate to biblical authorship, whereas others are identified with Jesus. Many scholars believe that Luke wrote Acts. There are several reasons why this is believed. First, Acts 1:1 is addressed to Theophilus, to whom Luke’s Gospel was also addressed (Luke 1:3). Because of that, it seems fitting that he is the author of this important book. Other reasons for this belief include early church fathers; for example, Clement, Eusebius, and Jerome affirm Luke’s authorship (MacArthur).
Next, and a critical point, Luke was a physician and traveling companion to Paul. He was also a very close friend. Because of these reasons, many believe strongly that Luke is the author. Moreover, Luke also had access to Peter and John, including others in the early Church. Meaning he had access to a wealth of knowledge and experience, not to mention his travels with Paul. Therefore, it is the consensus of many scholars that Luke is the author of Acts.
Belief In The Resurrection, Kingdom, Prayer, And Each Other
After Jesus’ resurrection, He remained on the earth for forty days. During this time, he ministered to the disciples and taught them things they needed. As for any doubters, Jesus made clear He was alive and well. For them to see Him, touch Him, and communicate with Him was very important, not to mention “the message of the gospel involves the truth of the resurrection (Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 15:1-8)” (Wiersbe). Secondly, Jesus taught them about the coming of His kingdom (Acts 1:3b). The disciples were anxious to know when His kingdom would come. Regarding the kingdom of God, John MacArthur writes, “Here, this expression refers to the sphere of salvation, the gracious domain of divine rule over believers’ hearts…This was the dominant theme during Christ’s earthly ministry.”
The early believers also believed in each other. For instance, Acts 1:12-14 states that John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, etc.…were, with one accord, devoting themselves to prayer. They knew each other very closely, and they shared the same faith in Jesus Christ. Further, they made it a priority to pray and encourage each other. Warren Wiersbe says, “It was a time for praying together and standing together in the Lord.” Early believers were foundational to the spread of the gospel and the birth of the Church.
“In Acts, there is always a close connection between the activity of God’s Spirit and the proclamation of the gospel. Time and again, those who experience the baptism or filling of the Spirit begin immediately speaking with others the truth about God and His Son, Jesus Christ” (MacArthur). Early believers set forth a great example of what it means to “act” or “be on mission” with God. The question is, “Are we setting forth a good example to those who are in our lives?”
How are you living out the purposes of God’s Will in your life?
How are you telling others about God’s salvation through Christ?