The Book of Acts was written to show how the gospel spread according to Jesus' plan, to "Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth"(Acts 1:8). It also provided the history of the establishment of specific congregations to whom later letters would be written. It powerfully records how individuals became a part of God's kingdom. It clearly shows the conversion process, and combining the elements of the different accounts, we can demonstrate the big picture of just what becoming saved disciples of Jesus is all about. The history of the church in Acts is so important for disciples young and old to learn, because it must be the "norm"for the church today!
The Book of Acts is history, but it is also far more than history. It is the story of how God dramatically changes the lives of those who make Jesus their Lord. It is a story waiting to be relived again and again by idealistic, faithful men and women who dare to follow the world's greatest radical Leader.
The fact is that the Book of Acts may be far more radical than some of us think. Some of us have read Acts for years and have taught our favorite verses from it to others on many occasions. We think we know this Book. We think we are like the people it describes. We feel comfortable in Acts. Perhaps we should not. A careful look at Acts will reinforce many of our convictions, but it will also stretch us, challenge us and even shake us up. If that is what we need, and I think it is, so be it.