Well, what do you say about Acts other than it is ridiculously exciting! The Gospels are just full of the excitement of the arrival of Jesus, but you begin to see the fruit of His work exploding in Acts from the cross and the resurrection, to Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, and across the known world, to Rome. Acts is amazing! You could title Acts, “Preach The Gospel” because a third of the content of Acts is actually speeches or sermons; it's where you begin to see the gospel formed into this way of thinking, this way of thinking about us, the way of thinking about our world, the way of thinking about this person, Jesus, and what He has provided.
And, because that message is to be carried to the world, empowerment is needed, help is needed. We are not capable of doing the work of the gospel justice; and so in Acts 2, we see the gift of the Spirit. As the Spirit is given, you see the fulfillment of those promises of Jesus that, “I'll be with you always.” We become the place where God dwells.
You see very quickly that this gospel is not a gospel of the Law; it's a new way, it's a gospel of grace, and it’s a gospel that's not offered just to Jews. It's a gospel offered to all people. Acts 10, we see that very clearly depicted as Peter is called to bring the gospel to Cornelius and has to deal with the fact that there’s a new economy, there's a new people, there's a new call in the gospel. The first time we see the people of God that Jesus came to restore, now collected into this thing called, “The Church.” That's what we are now part of.
And it's a gospel that is not thwarted by enemies and persecution and opposition. You see, the exact opposite, that that opposition, that persecution, is actually God's tool to propel His Church. Listen, you learn from Acts that nothing will stop the march of God's grace through His Church. Church is God's powerful tool of change on earth and it actually thrives under opposition.
You see unlikely messengers, and this should be comfort to us all as you see the rise of the ministries of Peter and Paul. Whenever I read of Peter and Paul and the second opportunity they were given, I think how inpatient and how judgmental I am. If it had been me, Peter wouldn't have ever gotten a second chance, and Paul wouldn’t have gotten his first opportunity. But that's why this is a gospel of grace; no one measures up. That's why Jesus had to come because He alone is able to measure up to God's holy standard.
And so, it's very clear that the message that needs to be taken to the world, by this newly formed church, is Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, and Him crucified and Him risen. Jesus Christ is our hope! Jesus Christ is our message! And whether that's carrying that to your children or to your spouse, to your neighbors, or around the world, Christ is our message because Christ is our hope!