THE TWENTY-FOURTH DAY OF MAY IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN
If we read the Book of Acts carefully and with open eyes and ears, we will find that evangelism as done by the disciples and their associates differs in several respects from much evangelism today. It speaks in a context of End-times and of the transition from the Present age to the Age to come. Peters first evangelistic witness to Jesus on Pentecost is filled with End-time significance. His opening words identify the occasion as the commencement of the last days of Joels prophecy (Acts 2:16), and Peter later relates the occasion to the day of the Lord (v. 20), the climax of the last days. Other End-time phenomena spoken of as present realities include Gods Spirit poured out on Gods people in general (v. 17-18); cosmic signs reversing the natural order (v. 19-20); salvation available by calling on the name of the Lord (v. 21).
The Messiahs coronation at Gods right hand (Acts 2:33-36); and, most dramatic of all, the resurrection of the dead has begun, starting with Jesus himself (v. 24-32). In cultured Athens, Paul addresses the philosophers and others at the Areopagus. He speaks, as he did at Lystra, of the true God who is generous to all humankind. God patiently tolerated the nations ignorance in the past (Acts 14:15-17), but now God commands repentance. He has set a day for judgment, appointed Jesus as judge, and certified it by raising him from the dead, as Peter also told the Cornelius household (10:42).
Nine of the ten testimonies mention Jesus resurrection, eight explicitly. At least three of the ten specifically name the Holy Spirit, the Messiah/Christ, and salvation, and refer to Psalm 110:1 in which God enthrones Jesus the Messiah. Two testimonies include coming Judgment with Jesus as judge. The testimonies in Acts include one mention each of cosmic signs, the Day of the Lord, and the last days. Lukes record of the earliest evangelistic testimonies make absolutely clear that the apostolic message was an End-time (eschatological) message through and through. For believers who take the gospel seriously and desire to shape their lives by Scripture, an orientation regarding Last Thingsas defined and described by Jesus and New Testament writersis inescapable.