podcast

#756 – Just the Beginning (Acts 1:1)

Pray The Word
Acts
1
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“In the first book, Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach.”
(Acts 1:1)

I love that phrase. Think about this. This is Luke writing, he wrote the Gospel of Luke, and so now he’s writing Part 2, the sequel, the Book of Acts and he says to Theophilus, who he wrote the first book to, in that first book I dealt with all that Jesus began, that He started to do and teach. Now what’s interesting about that, just think about that language, so I’ve written about what Jesus started to do, that whole gospel, which was basically a picture of His life from birth to the end, His death, His resurrection from the dead. Like Luke has told that whole story and then you get to Acts and Luke says that’s the start. It’s like okay, well so this is a continuation? That’s just the beginning? There’s much more to come? And then in the verses that follow, by Verse 9, Jesus is gone.

Jesus rose from the grave and sent His Spirit to be with His people. The gospel continues to go forward in the world. Acts shows us that the work of Jesus cannot be stopped.

Just eight verses after he said that was just the beginning, eight verses later he says Jesus ascended into heaven and nobody saw Him anymore. So you start to think if you’re Theophilus, wait, if that was just the beginning, like His life, His death, His resurrection of what Jesus did, and now eight verses later Jesus is totally gone off the scene physically, then how is that just the beginning? That seems like the end. But that is the beauty of the Book of Acts because yes, Jesus is physically off the scene but He said right before he left, “You will receive power when my Holy Spirit comes upon you.” Which is exactly what we read happen in the next chapter, in Acts Chapter 2, the spirit of Jesus comes upon every single person who has faith in Jesus.

That’s what happens in Acts Chapter 2 and as the rest of the book unfolds we see Jesus working. Indeed, He has just begun. Now He’s working, not physically on the earth in His body but through every single follower of His. Standing up proclaiming the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. Peter standing up, proclaiming the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of Jesus, and 3,000 people are saved and the story is just getting started of the work of Jesus as the gospel goes into the world. You know what? The story is still continuing today.

The Book of Acts ends with this picture of the gospel continuing to go forward. The last verse, last word in the Book of Acts is without hindrance, unhindered. The work of Jesus cannot be stopped. He’s just beginning, Luke says, because now He’s going to dwell in His people and He’s going to work for the spread of His love and His glory all over the world, and that story is continuing with your life today, my life today. Is that not awesome to think about? Jesus is in you. His spirit resides in you. If you have trusted in Jesus as your life, His spirit resides in you and Jesus is working today through you. He’s working in the world through you, through me.

Oh, let this just lift your life today to a whole other plane and live on it. Live like the presence of Jesus is inside of you. Let that change the way you walk. Let that change the way you interact with your family, your friends, your co-workers, all the people around you. Let that change the way you interact with people who don’t know Christ. You have supernatural power in you to spread the gospel of Christ. Jesus desires to work in their lives through you. Oh, Jesus, we praise you for this truth, for this reality, for this glorious reality that your presence in inside of us right now. Your spirit dwells in us.

I am freshly in awe of that reality, even as I’m praying right now. I pray that others would feel that awe and that you would. Jesus, we pray that you would work in and through us today. That that which you have begun to do you would continue to do in us. Cause the gospel to spread through us, cause the fruit of your spirit to abound in us, cause your glory to be made known to others through us. That people would see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. Exalt yourself through your work in us. Cause your kingdom to come in through us, your will to be done in and through our lives. Oh God, oh God, we pray. Jesus, we pray. Do your work today in and through our lives. In your name, we ask this. Amen.

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David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and president of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, and Counter Culture.
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