Summary: 5 week series on the book of Acts. How the church began.
WITNESS IN JERUSALEM – POWER OF THE CHURCH
* Beginning a 5-week series on the book of Acts.
* If you check the sermon titles of this series given to me, you would notice that the series is arranged under the headings:
1. Witness in Jerusalem,
2. Witness in Judea and Samaria
3. Witness to the ends of the earth
This division is based on Acts 1:8
Read Acts 1:1-14, 2:1-21, 2:36-47
To truly appreciate the significance of the passages we just read, we need to keep in mind two key things:
1. The disciples of Jesus were ordinary people. And not just that, they were generally unschooled (uneducated).
2. While they were certainly overjoyed that Jesus had risen from the dead, they were still an apprehensive bunch as Jesus was going to leave them.
So what was it that would make them change into such a dynamic people of God? How did the church become so powerful? The answer is simply: Obedience
They were given two simple orders which they obeyed …
What does waiting mean?
When God asks you to wait? What do you do?
How did they wait? What did they do?
Answer is in 1:14: They prayed
How? In unity - Joined together
In perseverance - constantly
Interesting that ….
• Before action comes preparation!
• Before action comes patience!
• Before action comes prayer!
Jesus appeared to them over a period of 40 days.
Pentecost is 50 days after Passover.
They waited and prayed for about a week!
Ever wondered why did Jesus make them wait until the day of Pentecost?
Apart from what I just mentioned, …
Perhaps also it is because of the significance of Pentecost.
The Feast of Pentecost needs to be understood in order to see God’s providence at work.
Pentecost which was celebrated fifty days after the Passover was also known as the “Day of the First Fruits” (Num.28:26), or the “Feast of Weeks” (Ex.34:22), or the “Feast of Harvest.”
Pentecost was a glorious day of celebration, a day when the people were to heap praise and thanksgiving upon God.
There were three particular reasons for which they were to thank God.
1. The harvest of the fields.
It was a celebration of the “First Fruits.”
It was celebrated when the first fruits of the harvest began to come in, which was around the first of June.
It actually opened the harvest season.
2. The Exodus,
It was a celebration of the deliverance of the nation Israel from Egyptian bondage (Dt.16:12). The people were to thank God for the day he delivered them out of slavery.
3. The giving of the law upon Mt. Sinai (Ex.19-20).
This was the day the people were constituted as a nation, as the great nation of Israel. They were to live as God’s very own people upon earth. They were to thank God for Himself and for His law, the rules and principles He had given to govern their lives and nation.
The Jews figured the law had been given to Moses fifty days after the Exodus.
When God tells us to wait, He has good reasons.
Note how all three events found new fulfillment in the coming of the Holy Spirit.
1. When “Pentecost was fully come” the first fruits were born--the church itself and the first harvest of souls.
The new beginning, that is, the filling of the Holy Spirit, began fifty days after Jesus’ death and resurrection (Acts 2:4).
2. The Holy Spirit came to live and work within the heart of man, to deliver and free him from the enslavements of this world--from sin, death, and hell.
The Holy Spirit came to set man at liberty even as God had delivered the Jews out of Egyptian slavery (2 Cor.3:17; cf. Jn.16:8-11).
3. The coming of the Holy Spirit brought the law of God into the hearts of people.
It was the birth of the church, the new people of God. People who truly came to God were now to be sealed and known by the presence of the Holy Spirit, by His very presence within their hearts and lives.
In addition, God wanted to make certain that it was understood that the birth of the Church was God’s miraculous work through His Holy Spirit and not the work of any man.
The open and dramatic out-pouring of the Holy Spirit may have well symbolized the character God wanted to see from His Church.
1. The noise like wind may have symbolized power
2. The “tongues of fire”, purity
3. The other languages, universality
• The power we know was to witness in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.