They Turned the World Upside Down

“… these men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” Acts 17:6

I have to admit I am partial to the narrative books in scripture.

I love stories, I have been reading books since I was a very young lad, carried away to far off lands filled with heroes and villains.

The book of Acts is noteworthy for its narrative qualities.

Here we have an adventure filled with travel to far away places, arrests, imprisonments, beatings, riots, close calls and escapes, shipwreck, rescues, and more.

Although the book focuses primarily on Peter and Paul – the founding and growth of the church, we cannot forget the real hero in our story – The Holy Spirit!

Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to empower the apostles as witnesses, to spread the message of the gospel, and to draw to Himself, a people from all nations.

We see in the book of Acts how the the early church followers and witnesses of Jesus impacted the Roman empire – we are told in Acts 17:6 “they turned the world upside down”.

Old time preacher and evangelist Vance Havner, much admired by Billy Graham, once wrote, “We will move this world not by criticism of it, nor conformity to it — but by combustion within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God.”

The early church shows us the difference between “witnessing” and being a witness. It is our witness, grounded in the Word, powered by the Holy Spirit that moves and expands His Kingdom.

As we continue to explore the ministry of Peter, we see him assume a leadership role in Chapter 1.

After he is filled with the Holy Spirit in Chapter 2 – Peter begins his public ministry.

We have designed our reading plan to focus on the chapters related to Peter and we will pick up the rest of the adventure when we explore the teachings of Paul.

As we read this narrative in Acts, we wonder, can this be the same man we read about in the gospels? What has changed with Peter? Simple answer – the Holy Spirit!

Peter was always a man of action but tempered with doubt.

Jesus promised to make Peter a fisher of men – indeed Peter became an evangelist who would bring many people into the kingdom over the course of his life — three thousand were saved during his first sermon alone.

When we read Acts we are reminded that when we open our hearts to Jesus, the Holy Spirit indwells within us.

And through the Holy Spirit, God calls us to join Him on this journey, this adventure – witnesses, expanding His Kingdom – turning the world upside down.

Until next time… keep reading!

Jim

Sources used for this blog: ESV Study Bible, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, New Testament

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