As we look for ways to tell the world around us about the God we serve and His marvelous word we will find no better “instruction manual” than the very word we hope to teach. Specifically, the book of Acts shows us many examples of the truth being spread throughout the world. There are a number of circumstances in that book that are unique to the time that we cannot duplicate. For instance, we cannot do signs and wonders to show we are from God. We cannot deliver the gospel for the first time in history. These peculiarities of the first century, however, should not hinder us from learning from the examples written there for our learning. While there are some things we cannot do, there are a number of things that we most certainly can do.
We can find individuals who are interested in truth. The day of Pentecost was a grand response to the first gospel sermon but we cannot expect to always have such an audience before us. Philip had a eunuch so he preached to him. Peter had Cornelius and his household, Paul had Lydia or Felix, Festus, and Agrippa. The point is that the teachers of the first century didn’t wait until a great multitude had gathered to teach God’s word. It was ever in their conversation and on their mind whether they had one or 3000 to speak to. The world is not brought to God one multitude at a time but one soul at a time.
We can teach God’s word. Peter and the other preachers of the first century enjoyed the blessing of having God’s word directly revealed to them. That must have been wondrous. But equally wondrous is having the complete revelation laid out before us. We are at no disadvantage today for not having direct revelation, for the same truths that were being revealed then can now be read and repeated by anyone who would pick up that marvelous book. It was not the method of delivery that converted souls but the message.
Finally, we can depend on God for everything as they did. These men had great powers and knowledge yet they also knew from whom all these blessings flowed. Paul makes it clear that he knew exactly what his role in the process was (I Cor. 3:6). His role was to deliver the truth and let God’s power work in the hearts of men. We too must make our goal to the delivery of the message. It is God who saves and we are simply the messengers of that salvation.
We are preaching to the same kinds of people. People of different religions and people of no religion. People who are seeking to know God and people who have been ignoring God. We receive the same types of reactions to the message. Some believe while many reject. In these respects we are no different than those Christians in the book of Acts. We should then be no different in our zeal and boldness to proclaim the good news that has lost no luster in these 2000 years since that day.