Acts 4:33 “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.”
What message would you like your church to be known for? In their quest to be “relevant” many churches today focus on practical living. Their pulpits regularly dish out good advice for family life, successful careers, or happy relationships. Some churches want to be the guardians of moral behavior and preach a steady stream of warnings about the moral decline of our country. Some churches want to be socially conscious and promote one cause for justice or the environment or humanitarian aid and relief after another.
The Bible has something to say about all those topics. But the apostles’ preaching in the church of Jerusalem could pretty much be summed up as testifying “to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” And the result was that “much grace was upon them all.” Here’s an interesting fact: the word “resurrection” appears more in the book of Acts than any other book of the Bible–ten times in all. It is often a kind of shorthand to summarize the content of the apostles’ preaching as they carried the gospel around the world.
Of course, to preach Jesus’ resurrection, you had to preach Jesus’ death. He had to die before he could rise again. To preach Jesus’ death and resurrection, you had to explain the meaning of it all. It’s more than a curiosity of history or an entertaining myth. It is the payment for every sin and the promise of life that never ends. It is God’s way of freeing us from hell and filling us with new life and heavenly hope. It is the great rescue of all time.
The Apostles preached this message “with great power,” because it is this event, the telling of this rescue story, that has the power to turn people from doubt and skepticism to faith, from enemies of God to his friends and children, from spiritual death to life. It is the reason that this church grew by the thousands, the heart and soul and bedrock of all their evangelistic efforts.
There will be times you hear practical advice, moral exhortations, and social concerns coming from the pulpit and classrooms where you worship. But is that what we want to be known for? Could we share the evangelistic zeal and evangelistic method of the believers in Jerusalem, and trust the power of preaching Jesus’ death and resurrection? It has already worked on each of us! It’s why we are Christians, and it will mean as much to others as it has to us.