Much class-time on Acts is spent on baptism, and well spent it is. Baptism is an important subject in the New Testament that needs to be understood thoroughly so we can teach unbelievers its necessity. (1 Pet 3:15) But baptism is not central to the Book of Acts. A whole lot of class time is spent on geography, and while the subject is interesting, it’s of no real consequence.
There are two main points I feel Luke wants us to get from the book. First of all, in every case of conversion—I say this with no fear of contradiction—a preacher was present. Read the book. Name one case where someone came to Christ by himself. But where were the teachers? In chapter 3, Peter and John are headed to the Temple at the time of the afternoon prayer. They’re arrested, and released, but go back to the Temple. The 12 are arrested, but they went back to the Temple. Stephen was stoned and the disciples were scattered but they “went everywhere preaching the word.” Philip went to Samaria. He was miraculously sent to the Ethiopian eunuch who went home with the Gospel message. Peter was sent to the household of Cornelius. Then Saul was converted. He covered half the known world thrice with the Gospel message such that he was accused of turning the world upside down. He preached in synagogues, and schools, beside riverbanks, in prisons, in palaces—wherever he was, he preached.
So, what’s the point? The point is that these men of the 1st century took the Gospel message out to the people. They did not sit in comfortable air-conditioned buildings on padded pews waiting for some alien sinner to walk through the back door and say, “Today, I want to be baptized!” NO! We need to get out of our comfort zone and take the message of Jesus Christ out to people who need to hear it. We need to have the same love for the lost that the early disciples did. This takes courage, will power, and determination!
Luke’s other point is just as strong and is linked with the 1st: The life of an evangelist is hard, really hard. The apostles were arrested and flogged. Stephen was stoned. James was beheaded. Peter was imprisoned under a sentence of death. If you want to know how bad Paul’s life really was, read 2 Corinthians 11:24-27, and that’s not the last of his perils. The “early church fathers” record the brutal deaths of most of the Apostles.
These folks didn’t let severe hardship stop them. Why should small stuff stop us? We may be laughed at. People may call us names. Doors may be slammed in our faces. Jesus told His disciples to shake the dust off their feet and keep going. But, I’ll tell you from personal experience, the joy that comes from helping save one soul makes all the trouble, grievous as it may seem, more than worthwhile.