The Book of Acts: How the Bible Guides our Unlearning

By: Bethany Mortelliti, Communications Assistant at the180

If you haven’t noticed, our current sermon series, “The Courage to Unlearn,” is shaped by the Book of Acts.

This biblical book is written by Luke, who is helping a person named Theophilus (or Theo, as Dom likes to call him) understand the story of what happened in the early days after Jesus’ resurrection and departure. Here we find the record of the oldest and most exciting happenings of the days of the early church.

As an emerging church plant, the book of Acts is teaching us that without the courage to see God's change penetrate our hearts and minds, nothing new can truly be born. At the180 we believe that a courageous way of life remains foundational to following Jesus. This is something that, unfortunately, many choose to ignore in favour of safe approaches to faith and spirituality.

During our Sunday learning times, both in our Sunday gathering sermons and Leadership Sundays, we've focused on the life and journey of the early disciples of Jesus as they embraced the courage to lead in a new season. No, they didn’t have it all together. In fact, the truth is that sometimes they actually didn't know what to do.

In this light, the book of Acts reveals that Jesus had not left his followers a perfect to-do manual that we can somehow recover today.

This is a great lesson for us today as we, along with these disciples, have to unlearn our often misplaced expectations of what it looks like to be part of a new church.

At the180 we are learning to depend on God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to provide everything we need. Whether it's key leaders, financial support, or wisdom and clarity in vision, we must depend on his leading. At the heart of our pre-launch season we learning what it means to bring the gospel’s impact into own lives and out into our city and our changing and complex world.

If you haven’t gotten a chance to read the Book of Acts, consider picking it up - but be aware that it is easy to read our expectations into it, and easy to get caught up in the fast pace of the story.

Here are some simple tips for how to read Acts well*:

  • Read the whole book in one sitting, writing down observations and questions. Make notes of recurring themes, words, or images – what is Luke really interested in as he shares the story of the early church? (Hint: it’s more than an instruction manual for future churches!)
  • Ask yourself where Luke is not directing the focus. What details do you wish were included that he doesn't cover – and why?
  • Note the divisions of the book – what seem to be its natural movements?
  • Finally, ask yourself, “Why did Luke write this book?”

As you work through these key questions, pray through what the Lord is revealing to you about yourself, the church today, and your role in it.

I'm excited to see you on Sunday at 10:30am as we continue our sermon series with "Unlearning Healing & Hope."

*These questions are taken from a helpful resource: How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart, 2003.