Friday, January 12, 2018

Preaching and Practice

"In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach" 
(Acts 1:1)

The early church developed and circulated two collections of New Testament writings: the four Gospels and the letters of the Apostle Paul. However, with the appearance of early Christological heresies in the second century, the value of this second letter from Luke to his beloved friend Theophilus became obvious. This sequel to Luke’s Gospel reveals the content and purpose of the Apostles’ preaching and the amazing results of the gospel. This widely circulated letter originally had no title (like Luke's Gospel), but the Greek words praxeispraxis, used in titles assigned to early copies of the letter mean acts, ways, behavior, deeds, and/or practice, and reflect an ancient Mediterranean literary genre which describes the lives and actions of famous or influential people.
So, what we have here in what we call the Acts of the Apostles is a Holy Spirit inspired record of the message and action of the Apostles. Luke introduces the letter by highlighting an important principle… “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach,” (Acts 1:1). We note that Luke’s emphasis on the indispensable bond between preaching and practice reflects the pattern of our Lord Jesus Christ, who taught us to love our enemies and then demonstrated this lesson on the cross, when he prayed for those who were crucifying him… “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The message and actions of the Apostles recorded for us here in the Book of Acts challenge us to share our faith in both words and deeds and inspire us to grow up into Christ by imitating them as they imitated Christ.
As a fellow disciple of Jesus Christ, I am blessed to share this journey of growth in Christ with you. As a pastor, I pray that the truth God has revealed here through His Word will help you to be built up and equipped as part of His body, the Church. And as a schoolmaster, I pray that the truth shared here will help you come to know and become more like Jesus Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

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