Summary: God is going to reach a lost world through the empowering of the Holy Spirit and His church. We depend on One and devote to building His church through the teaching of His Word, fellowship, communion and prayer.
Reaching the lost world for Christ would necessarily mean the birth of the Church, the body of Christ, the gathering of believers in Christ.
• This is a divine institution, not a man-made organisation. Through the Body of Christ the world will come to see Christ.
• The Church is the “hope of the world”, Bill Hybels love to say.
• Jesus believes that His disciples will bring the Good News to the ends of the earth – because of the empowering of the Holy Spirit and through Him, the establishment of His Church.
The Church is God’s agency in bringing the lost world back to Himself.
• Acts 2 tells us FOUR things the first believers were devoted to, as a Church.
• So I like to share on this – our need to “DEPEND on One and DEVOTE to Four”.
The Holy Spirit finally came upon the witnesses. It was the miraculous act of God.
• No one dictated it. No one planned for it. It was the promise of God. It was the power of God.
• The witnesses began to bear witness of the act of God in Jesus Christ. They declared the wonders of God in the native languages of the region (2:11).
It was a sign from God that the Gospel must be proclaimed beyond their own race and language, beyond their own homeland.
• It was meant for the ends of the earth. This is the purpose and plan of God.
• And He has just provided proof that this can be done, when He blessed the disciples with the miracles of tongues.
• God empowers them to bear witness of what they have heard and seen.
Peter, representing the 12, stood up with the Eleven (2:14) and addresses the crowd.
• It was the first, impromptu Gospel rally. Acts 2:22-24 “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”
• At the end, “about 3000 were added to their number that day.” (2:41)
• We see more came into the Kingdom in a day than what Jesus secured in 3 years of His ministry.
Remember what Jesus said:
• John 14:12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
• John 16:7-8 “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment…”
The Holy Spirit convicted the hearts of 3000 men that day, as He did to your heart and mine.
• This was just the beginning. 2:47 tells us “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
• With the proclaiming of the Gospel, convictions take place in the hearts of men.
When the rich, young ruler in Matt 19 rejected Jesus’ offer, the disciples were greatly surprised and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
• Jesus: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt 19:26)
• It wasn’t the programmes that brought the people to Christ. It wasn’t their eloquence that swayed people to Christ. It was the move of the Holy Spirit.
Wherever and whenever the Name of Jesus is proclaimed, we see the move of the Spirit of God. The disciples were empowered by the Spirit.
• We are called and empowered today, to be His witnesses, in word and deed.
• This is God’s promise and the gift of God. Believe it. Each time we bear witness to Jesus, someone is there with us - to prompt, to move, and to convict the hearts of men.
• We DEPEND on the One whom the Father sent to us. He is with us today. You LEAN on Him each time you PRAY.
And so the Church was born, with more than 3000 believers.
• When the people come together, they become the collective WITNESS for Jesus Christ, the Saviour who died for them and saved them from sin.
• What do they do? Luke tells us in Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”