Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This Sunday, we begin a new sermon series looking at Acts 6-9. This series picks up on where we left Acts at the end of last year. The book helps us see how the good news of Jesus spread from Jerusalem and Judea to Samaria, and out to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). The way the good news spread and the church grew was through the word of God being proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Throughout the book of Acts, the author, Luke, charts the spread of the gospel and the growth of the church. Each time he does so, he uses the phrase “the word of the Lord spread” (6:7; 12:24; 13:49; 19:20). In doing so, Luke teaches us that church growth is linked to God’s word being proclaimed. It is the good news of Jesus proclaimed that brings people to faith. It is the good news of Jesus proclaimed that leads to healthy, vibrant churches.
The reality of this truth was brought home to me recently as I was reflecting on how I came to faith. I had the privilege of growing up in a church that faithfully proclaimed the good news of Jesus. One night, that powerful Spirit-inspired word opened my eyes and heart to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I am sure many of you reading this will be able to testify to a similar experience taking place in your life. Somebody somewhere spoke to you about Jesus and those words led you to trust in him. They may have been words spoken gradually, over time or in a particular moment. They may have been words accompanied with acts of practical love. It doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that the word of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, worked in your life. The gospel spread and the church grew.
This truth is a much needed reminder that, if the church is to grow spiritually and numerically, the word of God needs to be at the centre. As we look at the book of Acts, it’s my prayer that we would long for St Martin’s to be a church where the good news of Jesus is proclaimed.
Yours in Christ