Plain Talk On Acts
By Dr. Manford George Gutzke
" . . . and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost . . ."
" . . . ye shall be witnesses unto me . . ."
(Acts 1:8).As we begin our study together of the Book of Acts of the Apostles, two groups of nine and sixwords, respectively, would seem to set the tone for the entire book. We have headed our introductionwith these statements, and I would suggest that you ponder them for a moment or two, for their meaningfor us today is just as important and potent as when they were first written down in this book.This glorious book is full of incidents of the founding, growth and work of the early church. It recordsmiracles and miseries, heights of joy and depths of suffering, and sets forth clearly the ministry of theChurch of Jesus Christ then, today, and until He comes and receives us unto Himself.Our attention is first claimed, as we shall see, by the ascension of our blessed Lord, and then by thecoming of the Holy Spirit of God, to indwell the hearts of believers. To what purpose this infilling? Thatwe may be witnesses! None of us is of any use at all, apart from the indwelling presence of the HolySpirit.Five words in chapter 28 are highly suggestive. "and we came to Rome . . ." (v. 16). What tremendousexperiences lay between the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus and this calm statement at theend of the book. Let him tell us briefly:". . . in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned,thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep: In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in thecity, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren: In weariness and pain-fulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside thosethings that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches . . . "(II Corinthians 11:23-28).I feel confident that all of this was in Paul's mind as he neared Rome, and the writer of Acts put downthe simple words, "and we came to Rome," the end of the long life of service.As we study this Book of Acts together, let us ask God to speak to our hearts. "Ye shall be my wit-nesses . . . witnesses unto me," said our beloved Lord, as His feet left the earth and a cloud received Himfrom the sight of the watching disciples.These chapters before us will set forth clearly all that is involved in "being a witness" for Christ.Is this witnessing just one single act, Bible in hand, telling others about our Redeemer, crucified, risen,ascended, and seated at the right hand of the throne of God, in our behalf? No! We may well ask our-selves. How am I living, day by day? What are my inmost thoughts? Are they reflected in my conduct?Are my speech and my actions such as becomes a child of God?Let us begin our study with prayer that when we reach the last verse, "Preaching the kingdom of God,and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbiddinghim," we shall be different men and women, led more fully by the Spirit of God, taught by the example
© Dr. Manford G. Gutzke