Witness ends when the world ends.
When it comes to missions, Acts is the greatest story ever told. It begins with Jesus preaching the Kingdom in Jerusalem (Acts 1:3). It ends with Paul preaching the Kingdom in Rome (Acts 28:30-31). Witness has spread from place to place, from people to people, from province to province, and finally to Rome, the beginning of the ends of the earth. Luke’s whole plan of Acts leads to this triumph of Truth.
The Word of God can never be bound.
The last word in the Greek text of Acts is “unhindered”. This is a technical term used in legal documents of the day. Paul is under house arrest. But no one stops him from preaching the Kingdom and teaching about Jesus in the capital city of the Roman Empire.
In this way, Luke brings closure to some of the central themes of his Gospel and Acts:
- Persecution is a gateway for the Kingdom.
- Providence prevails over all.
- Preaching the Kingdom is Jesus and Paul’s priority.
- Both Jesus and Paul are innocent.
- The Jesus Movement is compatible with the interests of society and state.
- And nothing can stop the forward march of the Gospel. Truth triumphs over all.
God is at work in our world today just as He was in the time of Acts.
Paul’s hands are bound. But the Word of God can never be bound (2 Timothy 2:9). Nothing in heaven, earth or hell can stop the advance of the Good News of the Kingdom. God is sending salvation to all nations and all peoples.
The abrupt ending of Acts suggests that the story is incomplete and to be continued.
The road goes ever on, to the ends of the earth and the end of the age. God is at work in our world today just as He was in the time of Acts. He works through ordinary people, both then and now. Ordinary men and women can play an extraordinary part in God’s work today. Acts is the beginning of a journey that we are all invited to take. It continues here and now, right where you are. Who knows where it may take you?
All aboard! To the ends of the earth.
Fast and pray
- 76 years ago, when Singapore fell to the Japanese, we were re-named “Syonan” which means “Light of the South”. In recent times, God has been burdening some pastors of our city to unite in loving Japan, turning her Godwards. Could Love Japan be Singapore’s unique part in the continuing story of Acts? Will you come aboard?
Rejoice! God has been preparing the way: The Japan-Singapore relationship is one of the best we have with any foreign country. And over the last 50 years, we’ve built an excellent relationship in every direction – economically, politically, culturally and most importantly, between our people (Professor Tommy Koh, Channel NewsAsia, March 17, 2017). Spiritually, the link could be better. It’s time to build stronger bridges and make deeper inroads. God sees the harsh realities of Japan’s spiritual landscape. He invites us to dream with Him and soften the ground with our prayers and tears. All things are possible with God. Turn information into intercession:
Only 0.3% of Japan’s 126 million people are evangelical Christians. This makes the Japanese the second largest unreached people group in the world. Most Japanese identify with Shintoism or Buddhism. But many practise more than one religion for pragmatic reasons. They see each religion as beneficial in different ways at different times. Christianity, therefore, is just another option. To preach Christ as the only Way is a daunting task. The majority of Japanese do not know a Christian. They have little or no idea what the Gospel is about. Some 50% of Japanese pastors are in their 70s. Only about 10% are below 50. 30% of churches have no pastor. And since 1997, the number of missionaries has dropped 40%.
- Beyond the 40.Day season, revisit this page often. Keep asking, seeking, and knocking. Pray the Word: “They shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; for He will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives.” (Isaiah 59:19)
- “Peace is always worth the effort.” (US President Donald Trump) On June 12, 2018, Singapore hosted the historic Summit between the US and North Korea. We were chosen because they know that we are neutral, reliable, trustworthy and secure (Dr Vivian Balakrishnan). Acknowledge God for His divine favour. But is He saying something more? Is He setting the stage for Singapore to play a bigger role in shaping the spiritual future of North Korea, the site of a great revival more than a century ago? Could this unfolding story become a new chapter of Acts featuring Singapore as the Antioch of Asia?
Does this resonate with your spirit? If so, fall on your knees, cry to God that we will honour Him and rise to the occasion. When North Korea opens her doors, pray that our sons and daughters will be among the first to enter as ambassadors of the Prince of Peace.
Read the devotional from Day 38, August 7: Saint Paul’s Cathedral here.