The greatest miracle in the entire book of Acts happens over and over again and if you’re not careful, you might just miss it. It’s more amazing than all of Jesus’ physical miracles. It’s more amazing than the great things the apostles went on to physically accomplish in the power of the Spirit. What am I talking about? The fact that God can and did turn hardened, darkened hearts toward him in repentance and change them permanently to love and serve Him is the greatest miracle human history has ever known. The most dramatic occurrences in the book of Acts are each time Christ unpacked the promise he had made in Matthew 16:18 when he proclaimed to the apostles,
“I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it[!]”
Have you ever noticed these summary statements of the Spirit’s work from the pen of Luke? –
- “…and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47
- “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:7
- “Then the church throughout Samaria, Judea and Galilee enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.” Acts 9:31
- “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” Acts 11:18
- “The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord” Acts 11:21
- [On the heels of the death of a major political and religious leader, Herod]”But the word of God continued to increase and spread” Acts 12:24
- “So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers” Acts 16:5
- “A few men became followers of Paul and believed.” Acts 17:34
- “And his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were bapitzed.” Acts 18:8
- “In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.” Acts 19:20
- [And lastly, but NOT finally] “[Paul]Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 28:31
Like the armies of Mordor, the Gospel is unstoppable and moves forward taking over town after town, city after city, country after country, nation after nation! But unlike Mordor, the Gospel moves forward not by the sword (the Crusades were not Gospel work!), but by the foolishness of preaching! The Kingdom of kingdoms spreads by the unlikely proclamation of the risen Christ and the humble serving and loving of those to whom we preach.
If you are in Christ – you are part of the greatest (yes greatest, with all it’s foibles throughout history) institution of all time and eternity! The church! It will be built, we have Christ’s word. He proved in Acts that he is quite capable of fulfilling this promise and he continues through history to prove the same. Take courage that the church will grow. The Gospel will continue to go out to the nations. We best get involved and get behind that effort with prayer and all of our time, treasures and talents to further the cause of Christ throughout the world.