It is always surprising to note how the book of Acts came to an abrupt pen. For something that was supposed to be a letter; and for something that was supposed to have been done by an intellectual who is used to giving an orderly account of things, this appears to be a little bit strange. In fact, looking at all the other New Testament books of the Bible (from King James Version), Acts appears to be the only book (apart from James and 3 John) that does not end with an ‘Amen’. Since it is James’ only writing in scriptures, we may not be able to tell if it was his normal way of ending letters. As for John, he ended 3 John in such a way that he could not say “Amen”, though he greeted his audience. For Luke, though, it is strange since he had ended his first writing (the Gospel of Luke) with an Amen. Though many reasons have been given by theologians for this, but we have quite much to learn from the ending of Acts of the Apostles.
- God is still writing. The story of salvation has been finished (that was why the Gospel stories ended with AMEN), but the story of our witness to the world is still going on! We are called to be a witness to this world, and God is writing a story through us- a story that will be read through all eternity. It is not just about what we did in this life. It is good to be missed when you die. It is good to be remembered for what you have done on this earth; but that is not the goal of our lives. The essence of life is in that story which God Himself is writing- a story that will be read throughout all of eternity. If only we will submit and allow God to write His story- that will be our weapon and our victory in this wicked world. (I recommend that you re-read my article titled “LORD WRITE”.
- The real stories are yet to be told. Imagine a scenario in the ancient Roman Empire as Paul the Apostle (with his team of disciples) was held as a prisoner under the Roman Empire. Imagine the Newspapers and the Media of that time, and wonder what they would be reporting every day? Definitely, the newsmen will follow the emperor wherever he went. They will be telling their story, their speech, their current moves, their power plays, etc. The whole media world would have been filled with pictures of the Emperor. However, we have an important question to ask: where are those newspaper articles today? Where are those headlines today? Where are those political ministers and governors with all their powerplay? Time, like an ever flowing stream had borne them away. However, through all generations, as long as the earth remains, different generations of people in different parts of this world will always meet Paul in his little rented apartment, preaching the Gospel to men. O, how I pray that our eyes be opened that we would understand how important we are, and not ever feel we are inconsequential simply because we are not making the present headlines. We have forgotten the Emperor, we have forgotten the governors of those days, but we still remember the little inconsequential prisoner who stayed in his rented apartment and taught men Jesus. O, what a privilege it is to serve the Lord.
- This was not the end of Paul’s ministry on earth. It is believed (and rightly so) that the book of Acts did not mark the end of Paul’s on the earth. It is believed that he was let go, and he still journeyed to other cities and made more disciples for the Lord before another re-arrest which was then going to be his last, and from when he wrote the 2nd letter to Timothy (his last known writing on earth). So, even though the writing stopped, the labour did not stop; Paul kept on pushing till he was poured out like a drink offering.
- This was what Acts of the Apostles was about-THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Not politics, not causes, not agitations, but the kingdom of God. Paul held no sympathies to any particular inclination or clique of leadership in Rome. All his suffering, all his bondage was because of the Gospel of Jesus. This was what he clearly told the Jews who gathered to see him at Rome. This is not to say that we cannot be sympathetic to a particular political party or inclination or cause; but we must be sensitive to our primary calling as witnesses of Jesus, and not allow anything to alienate us from those who we are supposed to bring to the LORD. We must exalt the Lord and His kingdom above all else; and be prepared to stand aloof from earthly issues (where God’s Kingdom and your convictions are not in question) if that is the price to pay to reach all men for Christ.
FINALLY, in it all, we have to ask ourselves, Lord, what about us? Would you do in our time what you did in the early church? We have seen pockets of men with the apostolic power; but can we come back to how it was in the early church when ordinary members of the Church walked in Kingdom Authority? I have no better way to conclude than to direct you to listen to this audio teaching by one of my mentors on this issue. I pray that having gone through this journey, God will cause us to arise and be witnesses for Him. May He grant that we will hear the ROAR FROM HEAVEN, and in hearing it, we will arise without fear and speak truth to our generation; and may His Kingdom come, and may His will be done. AMEN.
P/S: Have this series been of any blessing to you in any form or manner? Are there new things you learnt or came to know? Are there decisions you took as a result of any of the topics in the #ROARfromHEAVEN series? We would love to hear from you. You can send us a mail, or drop a comment on our Facebook page.