The Power Behind the Revolution

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Beyond being a historical record, the book of Acts is a testimony to the works of God in the early church.  The Acts Revolution was unlike any other before because the movement continues today!  The rise and progress of the early church is due to three forces: the Holy Spirit, the word of God, and human agencies.

The presence and works of the Third Person of the Godhead is undeniable reality in birth and growth of the early church.  In the book of Acts, the person of the Holy Spirit appears some 40 times.  The Holy Spirit directed the affairs of the Gospel work by: appointing missionaries (13:2); sending and/or forbidding workers for mission (13: 4; 16:6; 20:22, 23); filling Apostles to cast out demons (13:9, 10); filling the disciples (13:52); resolving Biblical and theological differences (15:8, 28); providing the gifts of tongues and prophecy for the purpose of witnessing (19:6; 21:11); appointing church leaders (20:28); and speaking through the prophets (28:25).  Through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, the word of God spread mightily.

The second power behind Acts Revolution is the preaching and teaching of the word of God (Acts 13:5, 7, 15, 26, 42, 44, 46, 49; 14:3, 7, 25; 15:7, 35, 36; 16:6, 32; 17:2, 11, 13; 18:4, 11, 19; 19:10, 20; 20:32; 28:25).  The phrase “the word of God” and its variation occurs more than 25 times in the book of Acts.  The Word of God was the content and basis of the apostles and the disciples’ message.

Considering the backgrounds of many disciples and various challenges faced by the early church, it is unlikely the Gospel would have survived Jerusalem let alone the Roman Empire.  The success of the early church is truly a testimony to the power of the word of God—to birth the church ex nihilo—out of nothing (cf. Gen 1:1; Ps. 33:9), sustain it, and shield the church from words and customs of men (cf. Acts 15).

The third and final power behind the Acts Revolution is fallible human agencies that were willing to spend and be spent for a cause that would end all causes—the preaching and teaching of the word of God.  To these men and women, the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ was not a mere intellectual assent, it was a conviction that “turned the world upside down” (17:6).  It was a conviction that set an eternal revolution in motion.

From its obscure and humble origins, from the streets and villages of Jerusalem, Samaria and Galilee, Christianity rose over all other philosophical systems of the day and found itself in the courts of the Roman Empire in one generation.

Acts: the Revolution Continues for no other reason, but the presence of the Holy Spirit, the word of God, and men and women who willingly make the person of Jesus Christ the focus and foundation of their lives.