Ink and Truth
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Ink and Truth

Acts — Exhortations

Acts 13:15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it.” [ESV]

Well, I’ve got some. Four, in fact.

To exhort is to encourage or urge someone to do something. An exhortation could be a word of encouragement, warning or a reminder of an important truth.

After planting churches, the Apostles visited the churches again or sometimes stayed long after planting the church. They did so mainly for one reason — exhortation. I’m sure that the Apostles taught many things, but during the course of the narrative, Luke (the author of the book of Acts) sometimes picked a single theme to summarize what the Apostles exhorted the hearers to do. I found great treasure in studying those precious verses and I want to share them with you.

Acts 11:20–23 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, [ESV]

Barnabas wanted the church to follow steadily after God, without wavering here and there. “Steadfast” is the key here. The problem is that we are acquainted with spiritual ups and downs and not accustomed to a steady and focused commitment. A steadfast, single-purposed heart is the need of the hour. We must hold on to absolutes without wavering, for, only then will we be of any savor. Otherwise, we’ll be salt fit for the garbage heap.

A big problem plaguing the church today is that many think and preach that the Christian life is supposed to be filled with spiritual ups and downs — quite contrary to the call of Scripture. We must not conform our message to our experience. Rather, we must strive to conform our experience to the standard of Scripture.

Acts 2:40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” [ESV]

We must never make the mistake of thinking that we can have God and the world at the same time. We cannot walk the way unbelievers do — we belong to a different generation. We cannot share their passions and lusts because we have a higher calling. We are a generation whose hearts are set on a Heavenly Home. Therefore, a Christian must be holy — separated for the Lord’s Glory and purpose. What that means will become clearer only if we walk with the Lord and keep at it. If we try to invent our own definitions, we’ll either become a legalistic hypocrite or a compromising so-called Christian. Note that when Peter tells the people “Save yourselves”, he is not making a theological error — he is warning people to consciously make use of God’s Grace (2 Cor 6:1) and continue in the Truth. This brings us to the next point.

Acts 13:43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God. [ESV]

If you continue reading the above passage, few verses later, you’ll notice that the Jews left the faith. They did not continue in the grace they received when they heard the message of Truth. The Bible teaches us that there are three stages in our salvation experience. [1]

  1. When we came to the knowledge of Christ, we were saved from the penalty of sin — our past was forgiven, we were reconciled to God and justified in Christ.
  2. Now, having received the Holy Spirit and with Christ’s power at work in us, we are being saved from the power of sin.
  3. After our life on Earth is done, if we had endured till the end and overcome, we will be saved from the possibility of sin.

If you’re sensible, you’ll acknowledge that we have not yet reached the third and final state. With Divine Resources, we must persevere till the end to make it. Believing the Gospel once does not guarantee a finish. Jesus made it clear that we must persevere till the end in order to be fully and finally saved (Matthew 24:13).

Acts 14:21–22 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. [ESV]

Contrary to today’s popular preaching of success and prosperity, the Apostles exhorted the Church to be sober and prepared to go through suffering in order to enter the Kingdom of God. We often become disillusioned with Christian life because we have unreal expectations. Suffering may not be persecution always. They may come about in various ways — but they will. Let us prepare our minds for such a life, and all the more, let us also prepare ourselves for an all-glorious eternal life — the glory of which will surpass every tear shed in this life.


[1] For a detailed discussion on this subject, you may want to study David Pawson’s “Once Saved, Always Saved?



For the love of Christ and writing!

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Jim Moses

Follower of Christ and husband of Linda. Baby Isa is learning to call me ‘dadda’. I code for a living and love cycling, writing, driving, guitar & coffee! :D