So, why Acts? Here are three big reasons we're diving into this book this summer.
First, Acts shows us Jesus at work by His Spirit.
This is the driving theme of Acts: the continued work of Jesus by His Spirit through His people, the church, to advance the Gospel worldwide despite endless obstacles. Acts 1:8 gives the framework of the Gospel movement that started with the apostles in Jerusalem, moves to Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth and continues with us, right here and now in 2015.
Answer honestly: How often do you feel like Jesus is far off, distant, and not all that active in the church, your neighborhood, or even your life? Acts reminds us that Jesus is present by His spirit in us working to do what happened then, now in our city and beyond.
Second, Acts reminds us of the Story we’re in.
Acts is like blaring siren reminding us we are in the middle of God's great story of restoring sinful people to Himself and renewing all things.
All that we do that seems ordinary -- gathering on Sunday, praying, meeting in homes, serve others, being generous -- is in fact essential pieces of the great story of God to save and redeem and advance the Gospel of Jesus.
The reminder that we are saved by grace, empowered by the Spirit, and sent on mission like the early church makes us look up from the mundane of our weeks and says to our hearts that so deeply wants purpose and significance, "you are a part of God's Story to bring his Gospel to the world!"
Acts reminds us that through the Gospel and Christ's call to mission, our lives are infused with great purpose and great joy.
Last, Acts stirs us to desire to see Jesus save people.
I want to grow in my desire to see people know Jesus because that's what God desires (1 Tim. 2:1-5). I want Redeemer as a community to be so eager to see our city and friends know Jesus that we spent hours in prayer asking for God to do what only he can do – lead people to see Jesus truly.
Acts is unique among Scripture in its vivid portrayals of conversions and the power of the Gospel to save. This book, if we sit with it, will stir our hearts for Jesus, mission, and prayer, and move our hands for gospel advance.
Let’s pray for God to give us much personal and communal gospel renewal, empowering of the Spirit, and passion for service, community, and mission as we study Acts this summer.