From the very beginning of time, from before we existed or time was even a construct, the three members of the Godhead (Father, Son, and Spirit) dreamed of a story that would continue throughout eternity. This story is what Paul would later refer to as the “eternal purpose” (Ephesians 3:11). Frank Viola suggests, in his opening chapter of the Untold Story of the New Testament, that we were created to continue the story:
“…God wills to produce a community on earth that will reflect the community that is found among the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.” (p. 27)
Yet every single day, when we look around the world in which we live, we are confronted by horror. This horror is not only taking place in distant war-torn countries, but often appears on our doorsteps. Is this what the Kingdom of God looks like? Is this how the the story is supposed to progress? What is the meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross if it makes no tangible difference in this suffering world? These are normal questions to ask—but our questions can’t stop here. If we shift the focus of our questions just a little, very different answers begin to emerge. Could it be, for instance, that we are not yet able to see the incredible shift that took place when Jesus ascended to heaven? Is it possible that we have not individually connected to the Spirit of God that makes us able to detect the surprising and shocking transformations taking place all around us? Could it be that we have not heeded all that God has called us to become as precious people created in His image?
While we will not cover the whole book of Acts for this series, you will likely find it difficult to resist reading all the chapters. Over the next three months you will be greatly challenged to find your own role in continuing the shared story of humanity here on earth. Something amazing happened in the first few years of the early Church that caused an uprising which continues to send shock waves through the earth. This story is part of your life today. It is not just about what happens here on earth, but also about what happens in the Universe as a whole. This story is about the power of the Cross. This story is about the presence of the Spirit in our lives.
The primary question we will investigate over the next three months is “How is Jesus continuing His work of redemption through the church?” We look forward to exploring this together in our local communities.