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White Horse Inn: Conversational Theology

Spreading the Word

On this program, the hosts will be taking a brief survey of the book of Acts in order to see what the ministry of Word and sacrament should look like in actual practice. By examining Peter’s inaugural sermon on the day of Pentecost, what we discover is that the apostle pointed his hearers to the finished work of Christ, and those who believed were told to “repent and to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 2:38). Once they were baptized, we then find these new converts devoting themselves “to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, and to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).


“Frequently repeated throughout the Book of Acts is the announcement that the Word of God spread. In fact, this was the same as saying that the church grew. That’s because the Word, particularly the gospel of God’s son, creates the church. People often associate the Book of Acts with spectacular signs and wonders. But the main message is about the gospel going out from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria and to the outermost parts of the earth namely, the seat of Rome itself. Nor is the book really the acts of the apostles but the acts of the triune God working through the Word.”

Michael Horton


“The Mission of the Church”

Like our own lives, the church is gospel-driven. Every new-covenant command is grounded in the gospel. We love God because he first loved us (1 John 4:10, 19). We choose Christ because he chose us (John 15:16; Eph. 1:4–5, 11; 2 Thess. 2:13). We are called to holiness because we are already declared to be holy in Christ, clothed in his righteousness (Col. 1:22; 3:12; 1 Cor. 1:30). Because we have been crucified, buried, and raised with Christ, we are no longer under the tyranny of sin and are therefore to offer up ourselves in body and soul to righteousness (Rom. 6:1–14). In view of “the mercies of God,” we are called to “present [our] bodies as a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1). Similarly, in our corporate calling as the church, we are always responding to a state of affairs that God has spoken into being, rather than creating that reality ourselves. The church’s mission is grounded in God’s mission, which he fulfilled objectively in his Son and whose subjective effect he is bringing about in the world through his Spirit. Because the Father sent the Son and then the Spirit, we are sent into all the world with the gospel. So being mission-driven is really the same as being gospel-driven. As believers and as churches, we are motivated by the mission of the Triune God, as the Father, the Son, and the Spirit save us and send us with that saving message to our neighbors.

(Michael Horton, The Gospel Commission, p. 24)

More from this Series: The Ministry of Word & Sacrament

  1. The Ministry of Word & Sacrament Listen Now ›
  2. The Foolishness of Cross-Centered Preaching Listen Now ›
  3. What is the Purpose of a Sermon? Listen Now ›
  4. Spreading the Word Listen Now ›
  5. Discussing Our Differences on Baptism (1) Listen Now ›
  6. Discussing Our Differences on Baptism (2) Listen Now ›
  7. Discussing Our Differences on the Lord’s Supper Listen Now ›
  8. Icon of the Gospel Listen Now ›