by Ryan McAdams
I previously mentioned that we would venture into the New Testament through our curriculum in our Sonlight elementary and Sparklers preschool ministries, and we did have a profitable study through the earthly life of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. But our journey has taken us now to the book of Acts, into unfamiliar territory for many of our young souls.
Through our study, I hope both we the teachers and the students can more greatly appreciate the gracious gift that God has given us in this book. Without the book of Acts, we would all struggle to make sense of the New Testament, most likely inventing wild bridges to correlate the accounts of the life of Jesus to the letters (Epistles) that followed. We would laboriously hunt for the identity of that Paul fellow, and lose the drama of the incredible conversion that God orchestrated for him. Perhaps most significantly, while we would have the Great Commission that Jesus delivered to his followers, to make his disciples in every nation, we would lack some of the understanding of how God intended to accomplish that mission, namely the vehicle of his church.
Jesus reiterated his Great Commission to his disciples in Acts 1:8, saying “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And for the rest of the book, we read how the Holy Spirit brought believers together into churches, starting in Jerusalem, and propagating to Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Traditionally, the church has entitled this chronicle by Luke The Acts of the Apostles, which we shorten to Acts. And while the apostles certainly performed many acts to advance the gospel throughout the earth, the Holy Spirit empowered and drove them to establish the churches all over the Roman Empire and beyond. So, arguably more accurately, some theologians have instead called the book The Acts of the Holy Spirit.
As our pastor Josh recently taught, borrowing a bit from John Piper, God has worked to bring all nations into the white-hot worship of himself throughout both the Old and New Testament ages. Through our study of Acts, hopefully the children can see how God intends to draw all nations to himself in this New Testament age and gain a greater measure of awe for God and his sovereign hand over human history.