Jesus commanded His followers to be His witnesses in “Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The book of Acts is the record of all the things Jesus’ disciples did as witnesses to His life, death, and resurrection.

The Book of Acts was written by Luke, who wrote both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts, to his friend Theophilus, to educate him on the events of Christ’s life and the lives of His followers after Jesus’ death. Luke was a companion to Paul on some of his missionary journeys. Acts begins where the Gospel of Luke ends, with the ascension of Jesus and the disciples waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

After the Day of Pentecost, the disciples went out proclaiming the Good News of Christ. When persecution began, the believers scattered from Jerusalem into Judea and Samaria. A man named Saul was a leader in the persecution of Christians. After his dramatic conversion, Saul became a leader in the church. He was then referred to as Paul and the remaining chapters of Acts record his missionary journeys across the Roman Empire to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Book of Acts ends with the account of his imprisonment but implies that the spread of the gospel had only begun.

As we learn about the early church, we can find creative ways to spread the gospel and encourage other believers. We will find great encouragement for difficult times as we witness the apostles endure persecution, imprisonment, and even death for the gospel. We will be challenged in our faith and our work of spreading the gospel and making disciples of all nations.

The book of Acts is a great encouragement for us to love God greatly. As we read the records of the spread of the gospel, we can be encouraged to share the good news in our communities and spheres of influence. Even though they endured persecution, the disciples were steadfast in their mission to share the news of Christ with the world. We can persist when we face trials and persecution, too, because we know that there is no higher purpose for our lives than to be witnesses of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

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