Summary: A look at the results of Peter’s sermon and the community of faith that had sprung up.
The Early Church
Jeff Hughes – February 16, 2003
Calvary Chapel Aggieland
a. Remember what it was like to be a new Christian? Remember how excited and joyful you were? If you were like me, you wanted to read your Bible all the time, pray, go to church all you could, and spend time around other believers. Why do we do that? Well, it’s because we’re in love. We’re in love with Jesus, and just so happy at the work He’s done in our life. We are at a stage in our life where we want to learn and know more about Jesus, so we can be more like Him, as He has called us to do.
b. The group of people we are going to look at today are in the same situation. They have just heard the gospel for the first time. Today, we get the privilege to look at their reaction to the gospel, and how the love of Jesus was manifest in their lives. I pray that by the end of this study, God will move our hearts to a deeper love and devotion to Him.
c. Today’s study is out of Acts chapter 2, verses 37 through 47. A total of eleven verses. These verses will give us a good look at the early church in Jerusalem, and what their day-to-day life was like.
d. But first, let’s bow our hearts for a moment of prayer, and let’s ask the Lord to come and bless our study in His Word today.
a. Not too many years ago newspapers carried the story of Al Johnson, a Kansas man who came to faith in Jesus Christ. What made his story remarkable was not his conversion, but the fact that as a result of his newfound faith in Christ, he confessed to a bank robbery he had participated in when he was nineteen years old. Because the statute of limitations on the case had run out, Johnson could not be prosecuted for the offense. Still, he believed his relationship with Christ demanded a confession. And he even voluntarily repaid his share of the stolen money!
b. Along those same lines, two men opened a butcher shop and business was booming. Then an evangelist came to town, and one of the butchers was saved. He tried to persuade his partner to accept salvation also, but to no avail. “Why won’t you, Charlie?” asked the born-again fellow. “Listen, Lester,” the other butcher said. “If I get religion, too, who’s going to weigh the meat?”
c. The awesome power of God is unleashed in people’s lives when they accept Christ into their hearts. God wants that for each one of us as well, we are going to look at this in our study today.
d. As I said earlier, our study today comes out of Acts chapter 2, starting in verse 37, we are going to finish up the chapter today, continuing on to verse 47. Acts is just past John in the New Testament and before Romans. Follow along with me starting at verse 37.
i. 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" 38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
ii. What we are seeing in these verses is the birth and growth of believers – followers of Christ. We see them repenting of their sins and giving their hearts and lives to Jesus wholeheartedly. In many of our churches today, they would have stopped right there. Much more emphasis is put on evangelism then discipleship these days for the most part. Then they wonder why we have so many Christians living sinful defeated lives. The answer is simple for the most part – they don’t know any better. Every Sunday they get a message to draw sinners to Christ, but nothing of substance to help them grow in their walk. Generally, the task of bringing people to salvation is left to quote-unquote “professional Christians”. This is wrong. This is something that is terribly wrong with many of our churches today.