Summary: In leading to this first community produced by Jesus through the Spirit, we have seen that Pentecost is likened to the Shekinah glory: As the glory of the Holy Spirit filled the earthly tabernacle, and then the Jerusalem temple, the church born at Penteco
The great church historian, Phillp Schaff, whose library is here in Lancaster said:
"As to the numerical strength of Christianity at the close of the first century, we have no information whatever. Statistical reports were unknown in those days. The estimate of half a million among the one hundred millions or more inhabitants of the Roman empire is probably exaggerated. The pentecostal conversion of three thousand in one day at Jerusalem, and the "immense multitude" of martyrs under Nero, favor a high estimate. The churches in Antioch also, Ephesus, and Corinth were strong enough to bear the strain of controversy and division into parties. But the majority of congregations were no doubt small, often a mere handful of poor people. In the country districts paganism (as the name indicates) lingered longest, even beyond the age of Constantine. . . .And yet these poor, illiterate churches were the recipients of the noblest gifts, and alive to the deepest problems and highest thoughts which can challenge the attention of an immortal mind. Christianity built from the foundation upward. From the lower ranks come the rising men of the future, who constantly reinforce the higher ranks and prevent their decay. At the time of the conversion of Constantine, in the beginning of the fourth century, the number of Christians may have reached ten or twelve millions, that is about one-tenth of the total population of the Roman empire. Some estimate it higher."
As we continue through Acts, it is an astounding fact to consider the church’s humble expansion.
Remember the OUTLINE OF ACTS 2
THE HOLY SPIRIT’S COMING
THE HOLY SPIRIT’S CALL
THE HOLY SPIRIT’S COMMUNITY: 2:42-47
We will unpack this last passage in chapter two in two basic sections.
What the Community Continued to Do (2:42-45)
Where the Community Continued to Do It (2:46-47)
They though will not receive equal attention. We will focus more on this first section.
In leading to this first community produced by Jesus through the Spirit, we have seen that Pentecost is likened to the Shekinah glory: As the glory of the Holy Spirit filled the earthly tabernacle, and then the Jerusalem temple, the church born at Pentecost, as the very body and temple of Jesus Christ is also indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and this glory is made evident in the marks of the church given to us by Luke.
The instrumentality to call together the first congregation was pentecostal preaching. As we saw last week, many responded to Peter’s pentecostal preaching.
Notice vs 40-41:
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.
So Peter continued to exhort them.. From this we learn much about apostolic preaching, or the apostolic kerygma as it is called. Not only does such preaching, 1. The announcement that the age of fulfilment has arrived; 2. An account of the ministry, death, and triumph of Jesus; 3. Citation of OT scriptures whose fulfilment in these events proves Jesus to be the one to whom they pointed forward; 4. A call to repentance. -- But we can add that it also takes into account the generational context. See verse 40, "Be saved from this perverse generation."