Moving forward into Acts 20 (link), I want to comment on something we haven’t seen since Acts 16, but is integral to the story. More than that, it’s integral to our understanding of the growth of Christianity.
What is it?
The use of “we” in the narration. Our tradition and scholarship points to Luke as the author of Acts, and so we gather this: when Acts refers to the events occurring with “We” that tells us that Luke is present in the situation.
Some of Acts is simply history, recorded under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and likely based in eyewitness account and personal recollection. Those segments are as valuable as the others, because that “inspiration of the Holy Spirit” phrase means something: there is no one part of the Bible that is better than another part. Some might be easier to apply, but none are superior to others.
Some of Acts, though, is the recollections of a person who was right there, in the midst of the action. Luke is in the middle of things. He was there when Eutychus died in the middle of church. He was there when Paul raised Eutychus and then finished his sermon. And keep in mind: Luke is a physician—if Paul had to raise Eutychus, that means Eutychus was all the way dead: no medical help would help, or Luke could have handled it.
Luke was there at the painful farewell to the Ephesians. Luke was there to know what Paul had faced. He was there, and knew the heart and soul of both the preacher and the people. He was there, and heard Paul’s warning that men would arise and try to mislead the church. Perhaps this was part of Luke’s reason for writing.
We can take this away from the situation, though:
Christianity does not call for passive observers but active participants.
Now, you may come alongside and watch us, but at some point, a person must either join in or reject the life that is believing that Jesus is the Son of God and King of Kings. As the Spirit and power of God move you to that point, you are certainly welcome to observe. Please understand, however, that you are observing through dirty glass and mis-aimed mirrors: none of us quite reflect properly the truth, and so you need to look broadly and also look to the source.
You will, eventually, be in or out, but for now, watch as you will. I’m not really after you on this one.
Who am I after?
The person that thinks Christianity is about sitting in a pew, or a movie theater seat, or their recliner, and watching. There is no place for that. Scripture knows nothing of an uninvolved Believer in God. Not even of one whose main job is to record what happens: there is no evidence that any author of any portion of Scripture was not involved in the events that they recorded.
(Within reason, of course, since Moses records several thousand years and was only involved about 120 of them, and the authors of the Books of the Kings were likely not involved in every century they recorded. Still, they were a part of what happened when they were alive.)
You do not get to sit back and just watch it happen.
Not and call yourself a Christian. There is an active pursuit of obedience that is necessary.
So get out there and make certain that the record of the Kingdom of God can be written by you in the First Person Plural. If you aren’t part of “we” then you are missing the point.
Actually, preacher note: Don’t preach people to death unless you know you can raise them from the dead: Eutychus.
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