So They Turned the World Upside Down
J. B. Phillips writes in the preface to The Young Church in Action, that one cannot spend several months in close study of this book, "without being profoundly stirred and, to be honest, disturbed.
The reader is stirred," he says, "because he is seeing Christianity, the real thing, in action for the first time in human history. Here we are seeing the Church in its first youth, valiant and unspoiled a body of ordinary men and women joined in an unconquerable fellowship never before seen on earth."
But the reader is also disturbed, "for surely," he adds, this "is the Church as it was meant to be. It is vigorous and flexible, for these are the days before it ever became fat and short of breath through prosperity, or muscle-bound by over organization.
These men did not make acts of faith, they believed; they did not say their prayers, they prayed. They did not hold conferences on psychosomatic medicine, they simply healed the sick.
By modern standards they may have been naïve, but perhaps because of their very simplicity, perhaps because of their readiness simply to believe, to obey, to give, to suffer, and, if necessary, to die, the Spirit of God found that he could work in them and through them, and so they turned the world upside down!
St. Luke, who is the author of the book, describes his gospel as recording all that Jesus began both to do and to teach" suggesting that his present book is a continuation of what Jesus Christ had already begun to do.
Someone has said that this book is one that both fills us with hope and fills us with shame. It fills us with hope as we consider what God can do: it fills us with shame when we consider how little we see to have achieved in contrast to what God has done at other times.
I. THE DISCIPLES ARE CHALLENGED
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me ...
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