Recently I was reading through the book of Acts, and I noticed something I had missed in previous trips through it. Quite often I have spoken about the message of the early Church. Acts 4:20 says that the Apostles spoke about what they had “seen and heard.” This is a critical line. The Apostles did not travel around talking about what they believed; rather, they spoke about what they believed happened. Their sermons were lessons about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, of which they were witnesses.
For the first time, I noticed a different statement in Act 5:20. The New International Version of the Bible 2011 says, “tell people all about this new life.” Other translations say something like “tell them the whole message about this life.” It appears in the original Greek is “speak all the words of this life.” So, there is a little unclarity on how exactly to translate it accurately, but the critical thing to notice is the topic of their preaching in this story.
Peter and his companions are told by an angel to go and speak to the people. This time their words will not be only about the death and resurrection of Jesus, although I am sure they talked about that topic too; instead, it will focus on the life transformation of those who follow him.
One of the vital messages of the Christian faith is that following Jesus should be life transformative. It is not merely a call to believe in the historical events of his death, resurrection, and ascension, although those are intricate to salvation. The gospel contains within it a primary appeal to have your life radically changed as you follow Jesus.
This has almost limitless points of application for us. Those who call themselves Christians will be more loving, forgiving, encouraging, humble, compassionate, kind, gentle, and self-controlled. They will serve, give, and work for the good of God’s kingdom and not their own. Someone who believes that Jesus came, lived, died, was buried, and resurrected on the third day will attempt to live like Jesus every day in every way.
The Apostles are told to stand up and tell others about this new life. It should be a part of the message of the gospel. We do not just have a Savior, but that Savior wants to transform our lives. We should speak about it just like they did in Acts chapter 5.
What I know is your most powerful testimony to this truth will not be your words but your life. It is one thing to speak of the difference Jesus can make in your life and quite another to show it to others by your actions. Actions will always speak louder than words. Everything you do will show people what you really believe about Jesus. May your message this week be that Jesus has the power to offer us a new and better life. I pray your days are transformed by his grace.