This week I am preaching the last sermon in the book of Acts and it feels like I am saying goodbye to an old friend. My first sermon on launch Sunday for ReCAST on September 13, 2009 was Acts 1. It has been in the background all along the way, even though I have also preached through ten chapters of Matthew, Jonah, and Joshua.
But there is something about the ending of Acts that is powerful. Simply put, the book doesn’t end. It doesn’t sew up the story of Paul, it doesn’t end with a massive outpouring of the Spirit. It doesn’t even end with the gospel reaching a new unreached area of the globe. It end with Paul under house arrest proclaiming the gospel to anyone who will come this house to listen.
Now I am not the first to recognize the power in this ending. Acts 29 is a church planting network based in Seattle through Mars Hill church and they are so named because of the concept that the book of Acts is still going forward.
And I agree with them. Acts is a biography of the church and as such it doesn’t have an ending, because it still exists. There really is no good place to stop the story, so Luke just somehow, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit determined he had written enough.
But the beauty in all of this is the way that we as part of the ongoing church in our day and age are ultimately carrying on the same message proclaiming the same good news that they were back then. We tap into an historical heritage that spans centuries of time. There have been many twists and turns in the plot, but the story remains the same. Jesus is saving for himself a people from every tribe, tongue, people and nation. And he openly declared that the gates of hell will not prevail against his church. Here we are in 2012 as fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus 2,000 years ago.
So as I think about this awesome reality, I find myself asking the question: what is my role in the ongoing story of Acts?