And he stayed there two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered. – Acts 28:30-31 NASB
As we reach the final chapter of this amazing book, you would think we had come to an end of something. Not only of the book of Acts, but of Paul's life. But that would come some five or six years later. Even while in confinement in Rome, Paul managed to write his letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and to Philemon. He would later be released and continue to his missionary journeys, write 1 Timothy and Titus, then be imprisoned a second time in Rome, where he wrote his second letter to Timothy. Some time around the year 67, Paul was executed in Rome. But rather than the end, it was just the beginning.
God had started something truly significant in Jerusalem that day of Pentecost – His church – and it continues to this day. In fact, as I write this blog entry, I am in Recife, Brazil with a mission team from our church, ministering to children in a remote fishing village. We have participated in worship with local believers who don't speak our language, but who love our God and believe in Jesus Christ. It is an amazing experience and a vivid reminder that "preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ" isn't just what Paul did, it is what we are all supposed to be doing. The "salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles and they will also listen" (Vs 28), and Paul was right – they are listening.
The God of the book of Acts is the God of our day. He is just as active and powerful as He was in Paul's day. His message of hope through His Son Jesus Christ is just as relevant and necessary as it was almost 2,000 years ago. Do you see Him? Are you experiencing His life-changing power? Have you witnessed His kingdom spreading around the world as His ambassadors take the good news of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the globe? It's happening and it is an amazing sight to see.
Father, thank You that the church didn't stop with the end of the books of Acts. And that it didn't stop with the death of Paul or any of the other apostles. Thank You that it is alive and well and growing all over the world. What a blessing to worship alongside Brazilians who love You and who love us as their brothers and sisters in Christ. Someone brought the Gospel here long before we arrived. The good news has taken root and is growing. What a privilege it is to play even a small part of spreading the message of Your Son's love to the children in a non-descript village in the middle of nowhere along the coast of Brazil. May they come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and become part of the family of God. Amen