Next Sunday (the 25th) will be our last week in the sermon series on the Acts of the Apostles. Acts shows us the practices and teaching of the earliest Christians, and it's critical for us to know how the New Testament Church functioned. Many of their practices are still in use today unchanged, and the others have just been adapted slightly to fit our times and our places.
Acts is the last history book in the Bible; there aren't any other books of stories and narratives to tell us what happened after we leave Paul in prison awaiting his execution. To me, that means we're given the job of writing the next part of the Christian story. We can look back over 2,000 years of church history and see our heritage. Some things have been good; a lot of things have been terrible. Christians left the Bible, found the Bible, preached salvation, preached heresies, killed people, and loved people. But that's part of our story as the Universal Church. The stories of church history are our own stories, our own history.
What comes next? We're writing that chapter right now. The things we do today, the things we did yesterday, and the things we will do tomorrow will become part of the grand Christian story. What will we write? Will we ignore what's happened before? Will we give up? Will we continue to win lost souls to Jesus Christ? Maybe the Church will be forced underground in more countries; maybe more countries will allow Christians to worship openly and freely. Maybe we'll win some political battles; maybe we'll lose even more. Maybe science and religion will learn how to play nice with each other; perhaps our faith will sound a little stranger each day.
We can't make all the decisions that will impact the Church in the coming years, but we can write our stories in the history books. We can take this time after Acts to remember God's promises to the Church and continue to work for the kingdom of God. Let's write a great chapter together.