Acts charts the phenomenal spread of the gospel over 30 years from a provincial backwater to an Empire spanning faith, from 120 Jews to thousands reconciled from every tribe and tongue. It is quite simply a stunnung story of how the gospel changed the world one life at a time.
However, I think we often read Acts wrongly. We read it and think it was through Peter who is the focus of the first 12 chapters, and then Paul who is the focus for the rest, that the gospel is spread. Now they are hugely significant, but if we focus solely on them we miss the great encouragement for us in the normal spread of the gospel. Focusing on Peter and Paul leads us to have a sit and wait theology of evangelism – where we sit and wait for the really gifted person to come along, or run missions where they do all the gospel-ing.
But alongside the gifted preaching of Peter and Paul are the ordinary people; workers, shopkeepers, slaves, jailors, civil servants, mums, grandmas, and so on who take the gospel with them everywhere they go. In (2:47)it is the everyday life of the church that speaks so powerfully for the gospel, in Acts 6 it’s the practical service of the 7 alongside the Apostles teaching that sees phenomenal growth. When the early church is persecuted and spreads to Samaria and Judea (8:4) "Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” In (8:39) the Ethiopian Eunuch is saved, baptised and heads home bursting to share this joyful news. Throughout Acts we see again and again ordinary people saved and serve as they live lives transformed by the gospel. Every believer is a minister, every believer lives out and declares the gospel as they live life transformed by the gospel and as part of a gospel community.