The Book of Acts is the work by the Evangelist St. Luke : a book which helps us to know our church lineage more. It includes the history of the Church for the first thirty years unto the end of the sixties in the first century. The following are the major themes in the Book of Acts: Spreading of the Gospel
Through Acts Ch. 1 to 21 we can see the geographical aspect of the Early Church. As Orthodox Christians, do we enjoy the same enthusiasm with our Risen Lord? Can we encounter Jesus in our daily lives and be encouraged to share His Love with the world? The answer to these questions is simple- we can pray to the Lord to make us the instruments to share His Gospel to the world. The struggle that we may find while spreading the Gospel would be from our brothers from different denominations. Our Protestant friends feel that taking a few aspects from the Book of Acts makes them knowledgeable. The irony is that without having knowledge about the Church how can people say that they can imitate Christ.
The Importance of Holy Relics:
The Orthodox Church venerates the Holy Relics of the Saints of the Church, for Jesus Christ has sanctified their lives by His Presence. In Acts 5:12-16, we can see how people were healed even by the “shadow” of Peter that came upon them. Similarly, in Acts 19:11-12, Paul’s handkerchiefs or aprons were a catalyst for miracles and healing in the lives of people. The experience of God’s Power through the Relics of the Holy Saints is not to be limited to the Book of Acts, but rather is an experience offered to today’s faithful too. May the Communion of the Holy Saints continue to be a fortress for the Church! Structural Development of the Church
For a building to be strong it has to have a strong foundation. Through Christ’s parable about a man building a house in sand and a man building his house on a rock clearly shows how important the Structure is for a Church to grow (Mt. 7: 24-27). If we go through Acts 14:23, Acts 2:42-47, Acts 17:22-34 we can find how The Early Church through Ordinations of Deacons/Priests/Bishops, holding Councils helped the church to grow.
Union of God’s Grace and Human Will
The restoration work of our Lord reaches out to the world through the Holy Church. The faithful are called to participate in the Holy work. The Book of Acts clearly shows how this work is not merely by human efforts. God is interested in the lives of people. We should never estimate our love for God and our love for God’s people to be more than His Unfailing Love towards all mankind. The only way to have Gods Will working in our life is to co-operate with Him. The Communion between God’s Grace and human efforts is a crucial element in the life of an Orthodox Christian. The Book of Acts spells out clearly that the Holy Spirit would guide and lead the Church in every thought, word and deed for the Glory of God! Let us be earnest to renew ourselves daily by walking in the Holy Spirit – God, Himself, through the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church.
Often we are criticized about Baptizing Infants. What our brothers forget is the importance of Infant Baptism. If we go through Acts 2:38, Acts 8:35-38, and Acts 16:31, 33.
We can see how all the members of the families, including infants, were baptized. In the New Testament (St. Mathew 19:14) Christ says: “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven”
I would like to quote the lines of my Diocese Bishop which he shared in one of the Youth meetings: “Keeping Infants away from Holy Baptism, is keeping the Infants away from the Holy Spirit”
May God Bless us All.