We have a treat these next two podcasts. Movements author and teacher, Steve Addison is sharing with us about the Book of Acts from his latest book. You can purchase ‘Acts and the movement of God’ here.
In this episode, Steve shares how he has learnt that the Book of Acts isn’t just about the Apostles or the Spirit. It is the acts of God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Steve teaches us about the importance of the Word of God in movement. In Acts, we see how the spread, multiplication and growth of the Word was central.
But what is the Word? We learn how the Word of God, through the Holy Spirit, does the work in movement. Jesus is the Word (see John 1). But Jesus shows us in the Gospels that the Scriptures (the written Word) is also God’s Word. Acts highlights how many, including Luke (the author of Acts), are learning Jesus’ message and pass it on. Except for one time in Acts (Acts 20:35), the Word was for unbelievers not the church. Therefore the Word is living. It spreads virally as people learn the stories of Jesus and pass them on.
Finally, the Word also has authority. How we view and obey God’s Word will result in the rise and fall of movements, even today.
Steve describes how the Spirit was for absolutely everybody in Acts. It’s purpose was not just to change us into Christ’s likeness and assure our salvation. For Luke, it was all about Jesus’ mission. The Spirit’s purpose was to empower everyone to be witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). We are all called to be Jesus’ messengers to every people group on earth. Not just the Apostles in Acts. In fact, Steve tells us how we don’t even know the names of many ordinary messengers in Acts. However they were the ones who spread the Word to new places like Antioch and Rome.
We all get to play. We are all given God’s Spirit. Making disciples is not just for the qualified. In fact, Steve points out how the qualified are either bi-paced or unravelled in Acts. The highly qualified Paul is a great example of someone who faced many hardships.
Hardship and Persecution
Steve reminds us that Jesus promises to be with us as we join him on mission (Matthew 28:20). It was Jesus who brought Steven, Paul, Silas and others through persecution and hardship in Acts. It wasn’t their own resolve that got them through, it was Jesus. Stephen endured his stoning because he saw Jesus (Acts 7:55-56). Jesus was with Paul and Silas in jail as they worshipped (Acts 16). We follow the crucified Messiah. And we share in both his death and resurrection. Reflecting on Paul’s shipwreck, Steve speaks about how Paul was able to say “I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). It is through our weaknesses that God is able to reveal his glory.
In movement, we often find ourselves not being in control. Steve shares a story of ordinary believers he knows who are sharing God’s Word today in Ukraine. Because of the suffering of war around them, they are ministering the Word amongst an increasing number of hungry Ukrainians. God is being glorified as they help people discover Jesus.
Steve shares this word of encouragement to finish this episode:
“When God is ready, he can drop you into a fruitful situation. Even if it feels like things are slow going…be ready to do what Jesus has given you to do. And trust the results to Him. Because he is sovereign and Lord over history. We don’t know how the next years are going to unfold. I think we are heading for some troubling and turbulent times. So let’s be ready. Let’s be about the Master’s work as we wait for him to return.”