Before we start this study I want to address why I think we need to study this book. The massacre in Colorado this week validates, in my mind, why we need to study the Book of Acts. In our study of Habakkuk we saw God’s people in terrible shape, torn by idolatry with God’s hand removed from them. When His people rebelled and continued into rebellion, He just let them go for a while. When they stiffened their necks and hardened their hearts God judged them. I think we can clearly see that today in America. I want to take a look at where we are today in respect to what is called the life cycle of nations. This can also apply to individuals. When we decide that we are going to do what we want and disregard what we know is right, God will judge us.
Life Cycle of Nations
The rise and fall of nations, there is a disturbing sequence throughout history.
The sequence of nations, as observed by Alexander Tyler, 1750, follows a predictable pattern:
from bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;
from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance;
from abundance to complacency;
from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency;
from dependence back again into bondage.
The problem I see is that many just don’t care as long as it doesn’t directly hit the in the bank account or hurt their family. This tragedy (in Colorado) is horrible and it is big news for now but it will soon fade like all the other bad news stories we hear. It doesn’t directly affect us where we live.
I think we need to look at it for what it is; sin sickness. There is no other explanation that we can put to it. It is a symptom of our nation gone awry.
I think the verse we looked at last week in II Chronicles deserves another look to set us up for our new study in the Book of Acts.
II Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
We need to ask ourselves if we are even interested in what it takes to turn our country and ourselves around. What does this verse have to do with Acts?
We need a supernatural touch from Heaven to turn America around.
When we view the Acts of the Apostles we will see a tremendous outpouring of power from on high. This is what we need for America today. We need Power back in the Church. The verse in II Chronicles gives a roadmap to recovery. It’s a way to right the wrongs of us as individuals and collectively as a group. Is that what we really want? Answer that question for yourselves!
The Book of Acts is the story of how the Church began and the Power that that changed the world once the Holy Spirit came to indwell men. God is no longer dealing only with nations and prophets. He is now dealing with individual hearts through a collective body called the Church.
The Book of Acts was written by Luke in 61AD and it covers a period of about thirty years. It is a bridge between the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament. It provides the history of the newborn Church, patterns of Church life, conversion from a purely Jewish to a mixed Jewish & Gentile Church and outlines the need for and principles of missionary work.
What I think we can gain from studying Acts is an opportunity to tap back into the Power that changed the world. We need it as individuals as a Church and as a nation. We are without a doubt the most blessed nation ever but we are spiritually bankrupt.
I hate to say this but; “Just because we show up for Church on Sundays & Wednesdays does not mean we are right in our hearts.”
Murder in the streets, panic in our hearts (if we even care) human trafficking, corruption at the highest levels of our government, a national debt so high the average person can’t even understand it, divorce rates in the Church as high as the secular community, abortion on demand and the list goes on.
It’s not new, it’s all happened before. Our examples are in the Old Testament; Israel and Judah just as we studied in Habakkuk. There is a remedy and there is hope but it’s only in the God we say we believe in. Do we believe enough to do what He says in His Holy Word?