Summary: The church which was born in the midst of Jerusalem in Acts chapter 2 was a living, dynamic expression of the power of God to change lives.
Acts 2:37-41 ~ part 3
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call." With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. (Acts 2:37-41)
Nothing can be as dead and dry, futile and frustrating as church work without the power of the Spirit. On the other hand, nothing is quite as exciting and exhilarating, alive and powerful as a church filled with the Spirit. The church which was born in the midst of Jerusalem in Acts chapter 2 was certainly such a church. It was a living, dynamic expression of the power of God to change lives.
We see God at work as the Holy Spirit descends on the day of Pentecost. We see God at work when Peter, a fisher of fish, too cowardly to confess Christ to a servant girl a few days earlier during the trial of Jesus, receives the boldness to become a fisher of men. We see God at work whenever three thousand people are added to the Church in one service. We see God at work, changing lives and performing miracles of forgiveness and deliverance in the hearts of men. The Church was born that day in Jerusalem, and what a Church it was! Through its ministry, the entire world would be changed. It truly was a great and dynamic Church.
We want to be a church like that, don’t we? We want to experience the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit of God. We want to experience the life which comes from a mighty move of the Spirit in our midst. But we have to ask ourselves, What made this first church so powerful? What made it the kind of church God could use? What were the marks of its greatness? What was the character of its people? How is it different from what we see today? And what can we do to follow their example?
Over the next few weeks, we will see from our text several marks of a growing and great church. But it is not enough to merely see them and note them as interesting features, we must ask God to make them a part of the fabric of our lives as individuals and our fellowship here in this local church.
The Church is Born
The events leading up to the Day of Pentecost were unique for this small band of disciples of Jesus. They had endured one of the most traumatic and bewildering times of their lives. Jesus had been crucified on the Cross. The one they believed to be the Messiah had been killed, an innocent man murdered! They thought it was over. They didn’t know what to do. Then they heard the news. Jesus was alive! He had risen from the dead. Then He appeared to them to confirm this fact. Even doubting Thomas was made a believer. Jesus then told them to wait in Jerusalem for the power of God to come upon them and after that they would bear witness to Him all over the world. After He said this, He ascended into the clouds before their very eyes. Wow! What a wild ride this time must have been. I am sure they must have felt every emotion that a person can have.
Then they went to Jerusalem to wait. They waited and prayed for ten days until the Day of Pentecost, a Jewish feast day, came. And God showed up that day. By His Spirit, God poured forth His power on the one hundred twenty disciples who were waiting in the upper room. It was a powerful demonstration of power with tongues of fire hovering above everyone and with everyone speaking in other tongues and the crowd understanding them in a multitude of languages. Something strange was happening. God had showed up and things were about to change.
One thing that changed was that timid men became bold, one in particular. Peter, a few days before not able to confess Christ to a servant girl, now stood up before thousands of people and preached a sermon. He was now bold as a lion and unafraid. He had the power that Jesus had promised. At the conclusion of the sermon, he told them just who Christ really was. When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" (v. 37) This was right where God wanted them.