83. Acts and the Movement of God #2

This is our second episode talking with Steve Addison about his new book, ‘Acts and the Movement of God’. You are in for a treat as Steve takes us on a journey through the book of Acts. 

Themes and structure of Acts

Steve explains how the God movement started in Jerusalem but how the living God was always going to expand out as Jesus said it would. Right at the beginning of Acts, we see the core elements of a God movement:

  • the living presence of God through the Holy Spirit to bear witness to Jesus
  • the living Word of God being proclaimed by all of God’s people
  • the core missionary task of seeing communities of disciples gather everywhere

In fact, the way Luke describes how the early church first gathered in Jerusalem (Acts 2) was what Steve calls the ‘gold standard’. Disciples in community like this keep popping up for the rest of Acts.

Steve also gives us insight into who is leading the Church. He refers to major leaders like Peter. Someone who we think should have it all together. But God shakes him and turns him upside down and drags him to Cornelius’ (a Gentiles) house. So who leads the Church? The living God who is hands on. He is the one who is fulfilling his vision.

So Luke wants us to see how the mission of God keeps advancing despite human weakness. For example, Paul and Barnabas have a big fight but the living Word keeps going out in the power of the Spirit. And churches, as Luke calls them, keep on forming.

But what do we do with the final chapters of Acts?

In Acts 21-28, Paul is facing hardships and imprisonment. We see how Luke wants us to not just have a history lesson of the early church but to see how God is working in the world. Especially in the weaknesses and limitations of the messengers. We are confronted with Paul’s weakness in these chapters. Luke is wanting us to focus on the limitations of Paul, the messenger, but to also focus on the glory of God. God was disrupting Paul’s world showing him how He was still at work despite Paul’s weaknesses. This ought to encourage us as disciple makers as we face many troubles and obstacles along the way. 

“What if Luke is not just saying, “This is how it was”? What if he’s saying, “This is how it can be”?” 

Apart from going out and buying Steve’s book, Steve points us to his website where there is a great Discovery Worksheet on Acts. He encourages us to go through Acts bit by bit with others and ask some discovery questions. This will help us apply what God is teaching us as we read Acts.

Steve leaves us with a word of encouragement. To keep praying for the needs of others. Engaging people in spiritual conversations. And discerning if they are ready for the next steps of discipleship.  

“Take God’s Word in the book of Acts and let it instruct and strengthen your resolve. To do what Jesus commanded. The Spirit comes upon you with power so that we would be disciple makers to the ends of the earth. Every place and every people group.”