In Part 1 of this series, we discussed that in the opening verses of Acts, Luke sets the stage for the rest of his story. He does this by drawing our attention to three things that the disciples experienced that continue as themes throughout the book and continue to be important for the Church today.
These three things set the stage for the ways in which the resurrected King Jesus would establish and grow his Church as recorded by Luke and they give us great encouragement for how King Jesus continues to grow his Church today. Previous articles have discussed the presence of Jesus and the power of the Spirit. This installment will discuss the gospel’s proclamation.
Called to Proclaim
In Acts 1:8, we read of the call to proclaim the gospel:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Here, Jesus shows that the reason for the Holy Spirit’s power coming upon the disciples is so that they will be witnesses to Jesus in Jerusalem, the area of the former united kingdom of Israel, and the ends of the earth. This command wasn’t merely a direction to go spread the good news. It also had many implications regarding Old Testament promises—the reigning son of David, uniting the northern and southern Kingdoms of Israel, spreading the Lord’s reign across the earth. And the people of God, both then and now, are the means by which Jesus was saying this would happen.
Throughout the remainder of the book of Acts, the apostles carry out this mission through the power of the Spirit. They do it through preaching, teaching, signs, and wonders. In the same way, today’s Church carries out the mission of witnessing to the good news of the Messiah—empowered to do so only by the promised Holy Spirit that lives within each person who has truly trusted in God. See, when we are “saved,” we are not just saved from the guilt of sin and the wrath of God, but to a new task and a new purpose: spreading this good news of the kingdom wherever we are called to go.
How to Proclaim the Gospel in Everyday Life
In order to proclaim the name of Jesus though, we must understand the power of his substitutionary atonement. With that as a starting point, we can begin to understand more of Christ’s faith and life. Yet, we aren’t called to just understand. One of Jesus’s main concerns is that his followers proclaim the message of hope of the Kingdom to others. The gospel not only a solution to our sin problem. It also gives us a calling: we are saved to be his witnesses. We are to be storytellers, inviting others into our joy. The peace and relief of pardoned sin that we feel is a gift to be shared.
This means that wherever you are, as a believer, you now have a mission, and it should be a driving force in your Christian life. It should influence your familial, professional, and neighborly networks. Doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, cashiers, stay-at-home parents— everyone—should think about the force that the gospel bears upon their vocation and place.
Have you thought about the fact that your identity as a Christian is not just as one redeemed but one sent? How does that impact your relationships? How might it impact the way you spend your time, your money, and your long-term decisions? If we are to embrace the mission Jesus gives us, it has implications for all of these things and more.