X04.23............Where Acts Ends......Have You Ever Noticed?
Have you ever noticed where Acts of Apostles ends?
The last event recorded in Acts tells us that Paul the apostle, has been taken captive by Rome. (This in itself speaks volumes--considering what Jesus said about the kings of the Gentiles---and in fact the history of the church itself!)
But the Romans do not make him a complete captive--instead they restrain him to his own house, where he preaches the Gospel.
The Romans take authority over Paul, and they make him stay in his own house (no more house to house---no more "SENT"----NO MORE APOSTLESHIP)--and "teach" others about Jesus. (Again--this in itself can be taken as a prophecy of what would later happen to the church in history. The church was itself taken captive by Rome--and re-formed into a house--a stationary ministry which ruled over people---and focused mostly on teaching instead of apostleship)
But this is exactly the place where God ended the book of Acts.
Many scholars desperately want to continue studying the life of Paul (as well as Peter and the rest of the "famous" apostles). Many scholars try to piece together Paul's continued story---but God decided to end the story here. So many people look at the Bible in the new testament and are trying to find the "famous heroes"--the "saints"--the "big leaders"---and so try very hard to continue the history of Paul or Peter---but the fact is that God did not continue "their" story--He did not continue the "biography" of Paul.
But--maybe God is trying to send us another message in ending the book of Acts exactly at this point. Maybe the story is not about Paul or Peter--really.
Maybe the new testament is a book of obedience--a book of correct examples--a book we ought to take seriously as our example and strive to follow after. And maybe, the example of apostleship is compete in itself.
That is to say, the story of what the church ought to be, begins and ends at apostleship---and is very specifically NOT supposed to carry on into a system of rule and authority and teaching.
Maybe apostles are first and foremost (1Corinthians 12:28 says this very clearly)---yes, there is meant to be teaching within the church--but maybe it is meant to be the last concern.
"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers......." (1Cor 12:28)
Maybe God did not want to corrupt the example of apostles with any thing else being added to it.
Well, certainly much more was added to the church after the time of the Bible---but was it all correct? Was it correct for the "church" to become a ruling government and hierarchy? Was it correct for the function of the church to focus on worship and teaching---and limit itself to one day a week meeting---and largely minimize the witnessing of the Gospel?
Yes, I know, YOUR churcfh believes ONLY in the Bible. We ALL like to think OUR church does exactly that. But unless we study ministry and authority and church operation from the Bible---and also study the history of the church---we MAY be doing things that were added later. We MAY be following decisions and ideas that Roman emperors, popes of the dark ages, and protestant kings originated. We MAY be following traditions which are specifically NOT in the Bible (at least the way God wrote it!).
Maybe in the new testament, we are not studying Paul, but rather apostleship, and the example God left us in His word.
And maybe---just maybe---God is right---and we're not!