Summary: The New Testament Church was created by God through the preaching of the rsurrection with the purpose of proclaiming pardon to all mankind.
The New Testament Church, Its Beginning Acts 2:1-6, 37-41
INTRO.: Barton W. Stone was born Christmas Eve in 1772 in Port Tobacco, Maryland. His father died while he was still a baby. He watched his older brothers leave home to fight in the Revolutionary War. He listened to the sounds of artillery in the distance as General Green and Lord Cornwallis met in combat only 30 miles from his home.
Barton himself was a frontiersman. He explored the wilderness of North Carolina and Kentucky. In 1790, he enrolled in Guilford College in North Carolina to study law with the goal of being admitted to the bar.
At Guilford, he began to come under the influence of religion. He resisted it strongly, actually deciding at one point to change schools to escape it. Instead, he began associating with those who made light of religion and poked fun at those who practiced it. His conscience would allow him no peace, however. A favorite theme of preachers of his day was the wrath of God and the threat of Hell.
Then, along came William Hodge, a young preacher who spoke at Guilford about "The Love of God." This seemed like a new doctrine to Barton. He surrendered himself to the love of God. Soon he developed a compulsion to preach the Gospel and was eventually ordained as a Presbyterian Minister. He questioned the creeds of his day and, refused ordination twice. When finally ordained, he promised to accept the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Presbyterian creed, only "as far as I see it consistent with the Word of God."
Eventually Barton Stone became the Minister of two Presbyterian congregations in Bourbon County, KY. They were Concord and Cane Ridge. At Cane Ridge, Barton W. Stone hosted a great revival that sparked a religious revival that spread all across the frontier. Thirty or forty preachers, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists preached to as many as 30,000 people, as estimated by military personnel and reported by Stone.
As they preached to the people, every preacher forgot his denominational creeds and divisions and preached the simple Gospel, calling on their hearers to simply become Christians. They advocated for the unity of all believers. There were hundreds of wagons and carts parked through the woods and tents created a huge campground. Uncounted hundreds were converted to Christ. Out of this revival came one of the streams that contributed to the Christian Church as we know it today.
This was a rediscovery of the biblical principles upon which the Church was built. The actual beginning of the Church was also at a great revival. It occurred on the first Day of Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus. The story is recorded in the second chapter of Acts.
Let’s look at the record to see who started the Church, how it was started, and why:
I. A miracle shows Who started the Church: 1-8
A. The occasion was the Jewish Day of Pentecost, one of three annual national feasts.
1. This was the first Pentecost following Jesus’ resurrection. 50 days after the resurrection, 10 days after His ascension.
2. Jesus had promised "power from on high." Acts 1:8. The Holy Spirit is to be a gift from the Father. V. 4
3. By Pentecost, the apostles had prepared themselves for a great blessing and were waiting in Jerusalem just as Jesus told them.
B. The miracle itself appealed to those present on at least three levels:
1. Sound like a mighty wind (Note: not wind, just the sound). This got their attention by appealing to their sense of hearing.
2. What appeared to be tongues of fire. Dr. Luke is careful to let us know it was not fire but only looked like fire. This appealed to their sense of sight.
3. Speaking in tongues. This appealed to the intellect and curiosity. It created wonder. V. 8, 12
C. The purpose of the miracle was obviously not to save anyone. Those who received it were already the Apostles of Jesus: What was it’s purpose?
1. To let everyone there and all who read the story know that what is happening is of God. It has been prophesied by His messengers. Vv. 16, 17
2. To gather a crowd. These spectacular sights and sounds would get everyone’s attention. Better than being hit between the eyes with a two by four.
3. To prove beyond doubt that the message these twelve men were about to preach is from God Himself. It validated the Apostles and their message.
4. To give the Apostles the miraculous power Jesus had promised. They were baptized (immersed) in the Holy Spirit.
II. As the story continues, we see how the Church began. It began with the preaching of the Gospel.
A. Peter, as spokesman for the Apostles, begins the message by explaining the miracle the people have seen.