Summary: The life of the church is founded on Christ, anchored in His Word and marked by His love.
Hi everyone. Welcome back. Let us take this moment to worship God in spirit and in truth, wherever we are. Let’s prepare our hearts for the Word of God.
• We have been looking at the works of the living Christ through the book of Acts.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the opportunity to meet again, to worship you and hear from your Word.
We want to remember the many who are going through difficult times right now – those who are afflicted with the virus, in isolation and in hospitals, the migrant workers in community, the frontline workers battling the unending workloads, and our leaders who are under pressure and having to make important daily decisions – bless them with Your grace and mercy, with your help and protection. Provide them with the necessary resources to meet the needs. May all who seeks you find you. Reveal Christ to them, Lord. Open their hearts to call on you. Glorify yourself in all of this.
Thank you for your written Word; therein lies truth and hope, light and life. Bless us with your Word today, this we pray in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.
Let us read Acts 2:42-47.
We see here the inception of the church, the infant church. With 3000 new believers being added to the initial group of 120 that gathered at the upper room on Pentecost.
• This is the community of faith, the Body of Christ, the church; known then as people belonging to the Way (that’s how Saul described them in Acts 9:2).
• Luke paints for us the essence of this gathering of God’s people at its inception.
• It is NOT the picture of a perfect church, just at its infancy; still predominantly Jewish in nature, with no Gentile believers until Acts 10.
• The church will grow in maturity over time, resolving issues like whether to keep to certain Jewish customs and traditions, and accepting foreigners into their community.
• It will take time for them to grow and mature as a church, but here Luke gives us a glimpse of the essence of the life of the church. I will share these 3 points.
The Life of the Church is FOUNDED ON CHRIST
Peter did not preach to establish a movement. He did not plan to start a following, set up a sect or even a church. It is the will of God.
• Earlier Jesus said to Peter in Matt 16:18 “I will build MY church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” That was the first time the word ‘church’ was used.
• The original Greek word is ekklesia, meaning an assembly, the called out ones.
Peter preached to save souls.
Acts 2:38-39 Peter tells the crowd: "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. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call."
• “whom the Lord our God will call” – the called out ones, those who repent and believe Christ will become the ‘assembly’, flock of God that has obeyed the call of the Shepherd.
And Luke says, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” (Acts 2:41)
• And he tells us again in Acts 2:47 “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
• This ‘added to their number’ was the work of God. It happened through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. It was the presence of the living Christ among them.
• Jesus said, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." 33He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.” (John 12:32-33)
• The birth of the church is made possible through the cross. We’re the redeemed of the Lord.
The Lord authenticates His presence by the “many wonders and miraculous signs” that were done by the apostles (2:43). Everyone was filled with awe, Luke said.
• The signs and wonders did not point to the apostles but the living Christ among them.
• Peter in his sermon said, “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.” (Acts 2:22)
• The believers know that the living Christ is among them when they see the miracles, wonders and signs through the works of the apostles.