A Global Gospel
Daily Reading: Today’s bible reading is Acts 28. We wrap up Acts today, tomorrow we start Romans!
I have really enjoyed walking through Luke and Acts. If you’ve been following along, I hope it has been a blessing for you. Luke and Acts take us from the birth of Jesus to the global expanse of Christianity. What a story! God’s faithfulness to the early church, through all their trials and struggles, is incredible. Not only that, the fruit he produced through the lives of his people is still being enjoyed today.
I’m going to leave you to read and consider Acts 28 as we close up our study. I want to just point out two small things as we close.
First, Acts ends with an unfinished mission that is still unfinished. At the end of the book, it says that Paul was “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.” (Acts 28:31 ESV) What a great legacy to have those be the last words said of you! There are still people who have not heard, so let’s stay busy with the work of proclaiming God’s kingdom with all boldness!
Finally, maybe you are wondering, “Well what ends up happening to Paul?” Maybe the point of Luke’s closing is that “what ends up happening to Paul” isn’t really the point. His story is one many stories that God has used to advance his kingdom and tell the one big story of redemption in Christ.
James Montgomery Boice says this about the end of Acts. I’ll let him close us out.
“The tradition in the church is that Paul returned to Rome after the great fire of a.d. 64. There was such an outcry from the people because of this fire that Nero blamed it on the Christians. Eusebius says that Paul came back shortly after that, in a time of hostility toward Christians, was arrested, and eventually was martyred.
But from God’s perspective and from the perspective of the Book of Acts, there is a sense in which it does not really matter. What happens to his servants does matter to God, of course. The Bible says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Ps. 116:15). What happens to you matters to him. But there is a sense also in which what happens to us is incidental to the greater story, which is the expansion of the gospel. At one period of history there may be a great moving of God’s Spirit, and everything will seem to be going well. At other times, times more like our own, the response to spiritual things will be superficial or people will be hostile. But, in a sense, it does not matter.
What does matter is whether we are faithful in the calling to which God has called us. The Lord Jesus Christ told his disciples, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14). That end has not yet come. So you and I still have the task of preaching it.
Will we? Will we be found faithful?
That is the final question for us from Acts. The Word is not hindered. We are its messengers. Will we take the gospel to the ends of the earth beginning with our Jerusalem, as we have been instructed to do? If we will, God will bless it to the praise of the glory of his great grace.”
Grace & Peace.