I’ve studied the book of Acts many times. But I am forgetful. I never remember all the history of Paul’s travels, who the Roman and Jewish rulers were at his trials, and how all the other books of Paul are related in the timeline of Paul’s travels. So I am studying it again.

In Acts 1, I picked up 5 principles that seem to be the foundation for the rest of the book as well as for our Christian life.

1. Proof of Jesus’ works and resurrection. Luke specifically said that Jesus hung around for 40 days after his resurrection and gave convincing proofs that he was alive.

Without proof of the resurrection, Jesus would’ve been just another good man. He would not be the Son of God who died for us. Our faith would be useless, as Paul said in I Corinthian 15.

Later on in the book of Acts when the disciples faced severe persecution, I believe that it was the convincing proofs that kept them from denying their faith. After all, if they weren’t all that convinced that Jesus was God, why should they suffer for his sake?

Christians cannot sustain on “blind faith.” Our faith is based on convincing proofs that Jesus is God. I am not all that smart to be able to answer all the questions of  skeptics. But there are many smart scientists and philosophers who have studied all this and come to the conclusion that Christianity is intellectually honest. I like the way Greg Koukl explain these things. You can find him on YouTube, along with smart people like Lee Strobel and Hugh Ross.

2. Everything is in God’s timing; our part is to focus on the job he’s given us to do, which is to be his witnesses.

The disciples wanted to know when everything will be right with the world. When will God end all the suffering in the world? When will justice be finally delivered? Jesus bluntly told them that it’s on a need to know basis, and they don’t need to know.

Later on in Acts, the disciples were persecuted and dispersed. That was certainly not what they thought would happen now that the Messiah was suppose to be in charge. But they just did their part. Wherever they went, they faithfully spread the gospel. That’s what Jesus told them to do.

So it is with us. We don’t know how the history of the world will play out. I don’t need to know. I just need to do my part.

3. We have the Holy Spirit to empower us. We don’t have to wait anymore as the disciples waited.

I’ve heard it said that courage is being afraid but doing it anyway. We see the Holy Spirit at work when we take on challenges bigger than us. After all, if we can do it with our own power, what’s the point of sending us the Holy Spirit?

The disciples in Acts took all kinds of risks, some they chose to do, some were forced on them. When I read biographies of heroes of faith like Hudson Taylor, George Muller, Gladys Aylward, they had guts. And in turn, the Holy Spirit gave them power. What a good reminder for me.

4. When things get hard, remember, it’s not going to be forever. The angels told the disciples that Jesus will come back in the same way they had seen him go into heaven.

I am sure they thought Jesus would be back in a few weeks, or at least within their lifetime. But I am sure they did not forget that moment at the ascension and what the 2 angels told them. That was their hope that continues to be our hope today.

My dream house is to have an open view of the sky and ocean. Maybe I can afford a beachside condo in Mexico. I love looking at the sky, especially on a cloudy day. I imagine Jesus ascending into heaven, and what it would be like when he comes back in the same way. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. That is our hope.

A bigger perspective of life gives us the right perspective for today.

5. Gather together often and pray. Actually, Jesus did not give the disciples any mandate about what to do while they waited for the Holy Spirit. He just told them to wait in Jerusalem. The disciples know that there’s strength in numbers, and that prayer together is a good thing. This continued to be a pattern in the book of Acts.

In our society of individualism and convenience, we settle for pseudo “community” like Facebook. I personally like Facebook, but it’s not a group gathered to pray.

It does take some initiative to call together a group, or a friend to say, “hey, can we get together to pray?” I recently started meeting weekly with a friend to walk, talk and pray. We’ve been friends for a long time, but we had never done that before. I decided to ask her to meet with me.

Five principles seem to be a good number to stop here.

One Response to “Acts 1 – the basis of our Christian life”

  1. Acts 2 - true repentance Says:

    […] I am writing down what I am studying and learning in Acts. […]

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