NINETEEN HUNDRED YEARS have passed since the early apostles went out into a hostile world with a Gospel that transformed men and influenced nations.
It would be impossible to make many valid comparisons between the world of that time and the one in which we live. The age of the plodding donkey and the ship wind-driven has been engulfed by the atom and the jet plane. And these fantastic achievements of our day will probably be supplanted by yet more fantastic discoveries in later years.
But the hearts of men have not changed. The sins and temptations of Jerusalem, Corinth, and Rome of the past are the sins of London, New York, and Tokyo today. The needs of the human heart are identical in view of man’s separation from God through sin.
Have we, in our sophistication, equated scientific achievement with spiritual advancement? Are we again in danger of substituting another gospel because we fail to appreciate the relevance of the gospel of Jesus Christ for every age?
Study of the book of the Acts is always a rewarding experience. Here we have a stirring record of the beginnings of the early Church. Here are the stories of men who ventured everything for the sake of Christ and his gospel, most of whom eventually paid for their faith even to death itself.
The lives of these men cannot be duplicated any more than can the world and the conditions in which they worked. But do not the underlying truths and principles remain valid for us today? As we Christians look at the Church and search our own hearts, do we not sense that we have lost something infinitely precious, something of their convictions, their message and their power?
Certain definite elements in the ministry of the early apostles are desperately needed today—and they are available. ...1
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