By the grace of God, Saul – who was a violent opponent of the Church – came to believe in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. In this passage, we see that conversion not only results in God awakening our spiritually dead hearts to believe in Jesus, but that all those who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus are enabled to preach about Jesus and to endure suffering for His name.
Throughout the book of Acts, Luke includes several accounts of sinners being converted to the risen Lord Jesus. The most famous conversion is that of Saul of Tarsus. In this passage, we look at how God can turn a persecutor of Jesus into a follower of Jesus, and how there is no one beyond the sovereign grace of God.
Under the Old Covenant, eunuchs were separated from God and from God’s people, not because eunuchs were evil, but because God is holy. In this passage of Scripture, Philip had the opportunity to share the good news that Jesus came to reconcile sinners to God. And we discover that sometimes God puts us in places we do not plan to further His work.
The persecuted church has been scattered throughout Judea and Samaria, preaching the Word as they went. Some will respond with true, saving faith, but some will respond with a counterfeit faith. In this sermon, we look at the faith of a Samaritan magician who reveals to us that anyone can claim to be a Christian, but true, saving faith involves a transformed heart.
As we consider the death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, we see that there are two difficult realities for the follower of Jesus: We will have enemies, and we must love those enemies. The good news is that the risen Lord Jesus enables His followers to embrace these realities.
In Acts 7, we find Stephen's response to the false accusations brought against him - that he had spoken against God and Moses and the law and the temple. But Stephen's defense is a defense of the gospel - that a right relationship with God depends on faith in Jesus Christ.
In the character and confession and countenance of Stephen, we see the kind of exemplary disciple of Jesus that we would do well to imitate. What kind of example are we setting for those around us?
What had once been a thriving benevolent ministry in the early church had become a threat to the unity that Christ died to achieve. In this passage, we look at the response of the church to appoint men of good repute, full of the spirit and of wisdom, to oversee this ministry, which allowed for the preaching of the Word of God to continue.
We may experience setbacks in life and find that our progress is hindered, but the risen Lord Jesus is Lord over setbacks.
When the women brought the message of the angels that Jesus is risen from the dead to the disciples, it seemed to them an idle tale. But in this good news, we have hope in a happy ending that is coming for those who put their trust in the risen Christ.