In the Book of Acts, we see the Church—the organized, formal gathering of believers—begin to form. The Holy Spirit fills the apostles, doctrine is solidified, and missionary journeys begin.
As we read about the acts of the apostles, we see the Gospel in action after Jesus ascends into heaven. We see a people, not unlike ourselves, figuring out how to spread the saving message of salvation when the Savior Himself is no longer physically present. And, most important, we see God working in and through His Church to share His plan of salvation.
The Book of Acts traces the growth of the Church in the years immediately following Jesus' ascension into heaven.
We meet some important characters, especially Paul, whom we meet for the first time in Acts when he's still known as Saul.
Luke, the author of the book named after him, also wrote Acts. These two books are deeply connected, Acts being like a much-anticipated sequel to Luke. I mean, the Book of Luke ends with Jesus ascending into heaven. That's like the biggest cliffhanger of all time, so the Book of Acts picks up with a brief retelling of the ascension.
Jesus commissioned the disciples to "be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8), and the Book of Acts finds them fulfilling that calling.
We especially see the connection between the Gospel of Jesus and the work of the twelve apostles with the missionary work of the apostle Paul, who would go on to write about a quarter of the New Testament.
Peter, Paul, and the other apostles in the Book of Acts were tasked with the Great Commission, and as fellow Christians, we are also called to be Christ's witnesses to the end of the earth.
Your missionary work will most likely look drastically different than the journeys Paul went on—you might never have to leave your city!—but you can still look to these Early Church leaders as examples of how to share the Gospel with love.
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. 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.”
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.”
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
Learn more about the Book of Acts with our free study questions!