Summary: I’m convinced that when the 6 characteristics of the early church are put into practice, & are evident in our lives, then God will use us to build a great church that brings glory & honor to Him. (Powerpoints Available - #206)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoints used with this sermon are available at no charge. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #206.)
A. I’m sure that most of us here this morning would agree that the greatest single event in human history is the resurrection of Jesus. Just seven weeks ago much of the world celebrated that occasion.
And today we’re celebrating what many consider another great event - the birthday of the Church - for it was on the day of Pentecost _____ years ago that the Church began. And this morning, let me remind you of the events of that day.
B. Remember, after His resurrection Jesus appeared & spoke with the apostles & many others again & again over a period of 40 days before His final appearance to them on the Mt. of Olives. There, on the Mt. of Olives, Jesus tells them:
“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” (Acts 1:4)
Continuing on in vs. 8 Jesus tells them, “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
“After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.”
“’Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.’ (Acts 1:8-11)
Vs. 12 says, “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mt. of Olives…” And vs. 14 tells us, “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”
What did they do? It says “They all joined together constantly in prayer…” Obeying the command of Jesus they spent the next 10 days praying & waiting in Jerusalem. And then came the day of Pentecost! Listen to what happened on that day:
C. “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
“They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:1-4)
Listen to what happens next! “Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
“Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?
‘Parthians, Medes & Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea & Cappadocia, Pontus & Asia, Phrygia & Pamphylia, Egypt & the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews & converts to Judaism); Cretans & Arabs – we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!’
“Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’ Some, however, made fun of them and said, ‘They have had too much wine.’
“Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ‘Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.
‘These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: …’” (Acts 2:5-16)
D. And with that beginning Peter preaches the first-ever gospel sermon about the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus. He points out that the prophets had predicted exactly what had happened, & he told them:
“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.
“… and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. But God raised Him from the dead…” (Acts 2:22-24)
Then, in Acts 2:36-38 Peter says, “‘Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’ When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’