Acts 1:8 is a great verse that outlines what the book of Acts is all about. We read, “ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Chapters 1-7 are centered in Jerusalem, 8-10 around Judea and Samaria, and 11-28 detail accounts of the apostles spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the “uttermost parts of the earth”.
The following list is useful to see what the Church of Jesus Christ looked like in the meridian of time. The parallels between the early first century church and the church as it was restored in the latter days are obvious.
Acts 2-5: Qualities of Disciples
- When pricked in their heart they change (2:37; contrast with 5:33).
- Repent and make/renew covenants (2:38).
- Do not follow the crowd (2:40).
- Gladly receive his words (2:41).
- Continue steadfast in apostles’ doctrine and fellowship (2:42).
- Have all things in common (2:44-45; See also D&C 42:30-31).
- Continued daily (2:46).
- Feasting on spiritual meat is more important than feasting on other meat (2:46).
- What they really have/seek is more valuable than silver and gold (3:6).
- Take no credit (3:12).
- Bold (4:13, 29, 31; See also Alma 38:12 and D&C 50:33).
- Are wise because they have been with Jesus (4:13).
- Hearken more unto God than unto man (4:19; 5:29).
- Cannot but speak the things they have seen and heard (4:20; See also D&C 31:4).
- Attitudes of consecration/desire to establish Zion:
- What I own is not mine. (4:32; See also D&C 38:24-27, Moses 7:18.)
- Sold and gave excess (4:34-35). Examine their lives, looking for surplus they can give to the kingdom (See also D&C 42:55).
- Know the difference between things that are of eternal value and things that will come to naught (5:34-39).
- Willing to and rejoice in suffering shame for His name (5:41).
- Cease not to teach and preach Jesus Christ (5:42).
Acts 2-5 show us what it means to have a Zion attitude. The apostles worked diligently to build Zion, from sharing their wealth to care for the poor and widows to spreading the gospel message. They were willing to lay all things at the altar of sacrifice, even their own lives if necessary, in building the kingdom of God. We can learn much from their example!
With respect to building Zion, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught: The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; but they died without the sight; we are the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day glory; it is left for us to see, participate in and help to roll forward the Latter-day glory. 1
We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object. … The time is soon coming, when no man will have any peace but in Zion and her stakes. 2
1. History of the Church, 4:609–10; from “The Temple,” an editorial published in Times and Seasons, May 2, 1842, p. 776.
2. History of the Church, 3:390–91; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith about July 1839 in Commerce, Illinois; reported by Willard Richards.