Summary: As a result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the First Congregation in Jerusalem set the pattern for biblical apostolic preaching and the disciplines of the Church.
The First Church of Jerusalem Acts 2:41-42
OUTLINE; The Work of God in the Growth of the Church
1. The First Church was a REDEEMED Church: They received the Word gladly.
2. The First Church was STEADFAST. (proskartereô) A True branch abides
3. The First Church continually taught Biblical Content: (Doctrine, didachç) The Church has the authority and responsibility to preach, teach, receive and obey God's Word through the power of the Holy Spirit.
4.The First Church continually exercised Christ-like Character: Fellowship (koinônia- to share in something) (Rom 15:26, 1Co 1:9, 10:16, 2Co 6:14, 8:4, 9:13, 13:14, Gal 2:9, Phil 1:5, 2:1, 3:10, Philemon 1:6, Heb 13:16, 1 John 1:3, 1:6-7)
We have been looking at the Peter’s Pentecost Message and the Holy Spirit coming upon the people who were present, giving birth to the Church. In Acts 2:40 we read: “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.”
The Work of God at Pentecost
Three thousand were added to the Church on that one day. In Acts 2:37 we had learned that they were cut to the heart by the sword of the Spirit and the word of God. God’s Word and Spirit bring the evidence that: ALL are guilty before God! Then God’s Word and Spirit gives life to the human dead heart and convicts us for the need to Repent, to turn to Jesus as Savior and Lord, and to be baptized. In Acts 2, God does NOT SLAY three thousand for rejecting Him and turning to false gods, as He did in Exodus 32, but in Acts 2, His Word and Holy Spirit cuts to the heart and brings new life, convincing even those who killed Jesus that HIS GRACE is even sufficient to save them, and so ANYONE who calls on Jesus as Savior God will be saved.
It is a level playing field. All have turned to his own way and everyone must Turn to Christ alone for forgiveness, and be cleansed, turn and be dipped, turn and be immersed, turn and be cleansed by Christ alone and follow Him alone…Water baptism is one of your first acts of obedience as you confess your trust in Him and are identified with Christ and with His Body. The gift of His Holy Spirit assures Believers of His peace, forgiveness, His presence and life. instead of His judgment.
The Work of God in the Birth and Growth of the Church
1. We are going to look at several results of the birth of Christ’s spiritual body, the First (Baptist) Church in Jerusalem. The First Church in Jerusalem was a REDEEMED Church because they “had received his word,” they accepted Peter’s message of salvation in the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. Individuals receive and accept the Gospel of Grace in Jesus and they are received into the Church. Verse 41 says: “Those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls (psychç ) were added to them.” It does not say that EVERYONE believed, but those who received the free gift that is offered by God, were born from above, brought to spiritual life, born into God’s Family, born into His community. The Church operates as the body of Christ: we are of one mind in Him since He is the Head of the Body.
The miraculous birth of the Church at Pentecost is HIS demonstration of the power of God’s unfathomable Love and grace to save through the Savior Jesus. His GIFT and Saving Work in us calls believers to a new way of Life in Him, providing a new focus and developing new habits or disciplines.
Being born into God’s Family inevitably results in GROWTH. Acts 2:42 tells us: “They devoted themselves (proskartereô) to the apostles' teaching (didachç) and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
2. In the original text it says: “They were continually devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles,” to the teaching of those who had seen Jesus. The First Church was STEADFAST and loyal. You find this word for CONTINUALLY DEVOTING or being steadfast throughout the life and growth of the Church. One way that it is exemplified is in the way that a soldier is entirely loyal to his calling. Even as a soldier’s intent is to be devoted to his calling, believers also willfully are devoted to God’s calling…a far greater calling!
Jesus said to His Disciples in John 15:4: "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” Make it your business to stay constantly in love with me if you are going to grow and bear fruit. Old Testament Israel was continually detaching themselves from the vine; if you are purely in love with Jesus, you’ll stay attached to Him.