Devotion

Changing the World in Thirty Years

by Greg Laurie on Jul 10, 2024
Peter replied, ‘Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’
—Acts 2:38
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The Book of Acts is the original template for the church, the blueprint that Jesus Himself laid down for all of us. And we stray from it at our own peril. This is the church that changed the world through prayer and preaching.

But it seems the opposite is happening in the church today. We have double standards, moral compromise, and little to no power. It was said of the early church that they “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6 NKJV). And that, by the way, was a criticism, not a compliment.

The Book of Acts is the story of a handful of men and women who, by the power of the Holy Spirit, didn’t leave their world the same way they found it. They were ordinary people who, empowered by the Holy Spirit, were able to do extraordinary things. It records the beginning of a movement that continues to this very day.

The Book of Acts is an unfinished book in a sense, because it’s the story of the life-transforming movement of the Spirit of God, changing the lives of those who encounter Him. That is not to suggest that we need to add new chapters to the Book of Acts. But we shouldn’t put a period where God has put a comma. God is still working, and in a sense, these acts of the Holy Spirit are still being recorded in our day.

Acts covers a period of church history spanning about thirty years. As we read it, we encounter nonstop action as one chapter ends with a miracle and another begins with something supernatural taking place. Thus, we might falsely conclude that these first-century believers experienced multiple miracles every day.

But most likely, they, like us, had many days of simply walking by faith and applying biblical principles as they sought to obey God. Even so, Acts is a record of the intervention of the Holy Spirit as He did amazing things, when and where He chose to do them.

In Acts, we see the Spirit of God working through the Word of God in the hearts and lives of the people of God.

Think about this simple fact: In a relatively short period of time, thirty years or so, this original group of 120 Christians and their converts were able to turn their world around. And the world of the first century was a hard place to share the gospel.

Everywhere the believers brought the gospel, people harassed them, ridiculed them, persecuted them, physically assaulted them, and, in some cases, even put them to death. Yet the gospel prevailed.

How were the first-century Christians able to do it? They understood that every man and woman had a job to do. They recognized that ministry was not just for those select few called apostles. Ministry was for everyone. Everyone was to go and bring this message to their generation and to their sphere of influence.

And if we want to change our world, then we need to do the same.


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