The Acts of the Apostles… Continued! Acts 28:25-31
“25) And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, 26) saying, ‘Go to this people and say, “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; 27) For the heart of this people has become dull, And with their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes; Otherwise they might see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I would heal them.” ’ 28) Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.” 29) [When he had spoken these words, the Jews departed, having a great dispute among themselves.] 29) And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, 30) preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.” Acts‬ ‭28‬:‭25‬-‭31
The book of Acts ends as it began. Let me sight three comparisons. First, in Acts 1:3, Jesus spent His post resurrection days “… speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” In Acts 28:31, Paul spent two years “preaching the kingdom of God.”
Second, in Acts 1:8, the final words of Jesus sent His disciples beyond the Jewish people to the uttermost parts of the world. Notice, in the same way, Paul’s final words at the end of the book of Acts were; “28) Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”
Finally, both Jesus and Paul pointed to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus talked about the promise of the Father. (Vs Acts 1:4-5) Paul pointed to Him as the author of Scripture. (Acts 28:25) There is no question that the ministry of the Holy Spirit would accompany the church age.
Then the book of Acts abruptly ends. It is almost anti-climatical. The reader is left searching for answers. “How did Paul’s trial in Rome end?” “What happened to Luke?” “Why did he abruptly put down his historian pen?” “Did the gospel spread around the world?” “What was happening through the other Apostles?” “Was God doing similar signs and wonders through them?” “When would the end of the age come?”
I personally believe “The Acts of the Apostles” are still being recorded in heaven today through His anointed followers. Hebrews 2:1-4 applies as much to Gods people today as it did to the early church. The book of Acts is ongoing because the story of the spread of the gospel will be ongoing until Jesus returns.
I recently returned from Ethiopia where one Spirit filled denomination is growing by over 400,000 new believers a year. Every new believer is being discipled and sent out to share the gospel at home and abroad across North Africa. They tell of many Muslims turning to Jesus because of dreams, healings and signs and wonders accompanying the preaching of the gospel in the Name of Jesus Christ.
I am hearing similar stories coming from China, India, Indonesia, Central and South America, and many other places. The gospel is spreading in extraordinary ways around the world today just as recorded in the book of Acts.
So why is the western church being bypassed? Granted, there are amazing things happening in some regions and pockets, but as a whole things are very dry. “Why?”
I do not have the full answer, but I suspect many western denominations have become the end time apostate church. They hold to a form of godliness but have denied its power. (Read 2 Timothy 3:1-9)
The western church has become both humanistic and naturalistic. Its focus is on man, it embraces worldly and sinful values and it denies the supernatural power of God. This battle is ripping through many western denominations. Much of the western church has become the new Judaism that rejected both Jesus and the gospel.
Today, Jesus is sending His gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit to those who have an ear to hear, the faith to believe and the heart to obey. Living in the dynamics of the book of Acts are for the sons of the Kingdom and not for those who are merely religious.
I am coming to realize that the “Acts of the Apostles” are for the entire Church Age! The book of Acts closed, but the signs and wonders continued… and are happening today in the church Jesus Christ is building around the world.
I am a work in progress. This study of the book of Acts has had a major impact on me. By God’s amazing grace, He often takes me to the front lines around the world where amazing things are happening. I am overwhelmed by the goodness and power of God. He is setting me free from the religious inhibitions of my past and inviting me to walk in the power and reality of His Spirit as revealed in His Word. From glory to glory He is changing me! (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global