One Consuming Purpose…

One Consuming Purpose…

E. Schuyler English

So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed (Acts 19:20).

It is refreshing and stimulating to read The Acts and to observe the joy and complete dedication of the early believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

They were possessed with one consuming purpose — to magnify Him and to tell others of God’s love and saving grace. As a result they were invested with the Holy Spirit with amazing power, “and the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

Give attention to some of these statements. “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people” (2:46-47). “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness” 4:31). “And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Spirit” (13:52). “And the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified… So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed” (19:17, 20). See also Acts 4:20; 5:41-42; 12:24.

Would that we all might capture the vision the apostles had! We lack nothing else. Ours is the same God they knew. The same Saviour bore our sins as He who died for them. The power of the eternal Spirit has not diminished. Newness of life today matches the new life in Christ of apostolic days. We have the same potentialities the early Christians had. We can tell the same Gospel story they proclaimed. Moreover, we have a fuller revelation than first-century believers had, for the New Testament is now in writing and is published throughout most of the world. Nineteen centuries have passed and today there are millions who acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, in contrast with a comparative handful in the first century.

Yet the world is hardly being turned upside down by the proclamation of the Gospel in our day as it was 1900 years ago (cp. Acts 17:6). Indeed, few communities, not to say large areas of the world, have had a mighty spiritual upheaval through the testimony of God’s people. What is it we lack? The vision the apostles saw of the living Christ, and their zeal to claim lost souls for Him — to “count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord” (Phil. 3:8); to be willing to be nothing, to be scoffed at and even persecuted; to commit ourselves in total surrender to the indwelling Christ; to be instruments cleansed and sharpened, “sanctified and suitable for the Master’s use” (2 Tim. 2:21).

The time is short. May God help us to dedicate ourselves to the unfinished task He has appointed for us. “I charge thee, therefore, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ who shall judge the living and dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all patience and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:1-2).

—Reprinted from The Pilgrim
May 1987