About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Introduction, Chapter 2
in Acts chapter 2 the New Testament era begins.
It begins with a miraculous and historic event.
The Holy Spiritís coming to earth in the lives of the believers
is unprecedented in human history. If you read John 14 through 16 you'll
note that since Jesus would no longer be with the disciples, Jesus would
send the Holy Spirit to be His replacement.
coming of the Spirit not only introduces the New Testament era, but it
brings about a new community of Godís people called the
"church". It brings
about a new mission for Godís people, that is, the proclamation of the
gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The
church would now represent Jesus on earth, as
verse 1 of chapter 2 Luke says that ďwhen the day of Pentecost
cameÖĒ The feast of
Pentecost was fifty days after Passover.
Pentecost means fiftieth. This
feast was also called the Feast of Weeks.
is interesting to note that the coming of the Spirit happened on the Day
of Pentecost. Obviously this
was not some accident, but part of Godís design.
Passover represents the sacrifice of Jesus, while Pentecost
represents the giving of the Holy Spirit to Godís people. This to me is
yet another reason to believe that God has a timetable.
He does things at specific predetermined times.
Without getting involved in the discussion here, all of the seven
feasts found in Old Testament Judaism are symbolic and representative of a
New Testament fulfillment.
study the Feast of Pentecost from the Old Testament you can read, Exodus
34:33, Leviticus 23 15-21, Numbers 28:26-31. In
first century Judaism Pentecost came to mean a day where Israelis
remembered God giving them the Law of Moses.
It also became a day of thanksgiving for the "first fruits of
harvest". The term
"first fruits" are important to what is about to happen here in
Acts 2. The first fruits of
the church, the spiritual
says that "when the Day of Pentecost came, they were all together in
one place". I believe the
pronoun "they" refers to the one hundred and twenty believers
mentioned back in Acts 1:15.
the Greek grammatical structure, the words "altogether in one
place" means that these people were all in one room, the upper room,
and in one mind and purpose. They
had gathered together for the sole reason to wait for the promise of God
to come to them as Jesus said would take place.
has been made of "being of one accord" as the KJV puts it.
These people were united in prayer, united in waiting for the
Spirit, and united in purpose. We
should understand that the Holy Spirit didn't come to them because they
were meeting in one place and in one accord.
The Holy Spirit came to them because it was God's plan for that
exact moment in human history. I'm
not under estimating being of one accord and of one mind.
That is very important, especially in our present day divided
church. I'm simply saying that
being of one accord wasn't the reason why the Spirit was given to them.
was most likely during a time of prayer when as we see in verse 2 a loud
noise sounded. It sounded like
a sudden violent wind storm had just hit them. Note that the sound was
heard throughout the whole house, not just the upper room.
Note also that this was not a wind.
It only sounded like a wind storm.
The word sudden suggests that the noise was not anticipated and
came on them without warning. It
was a big surprise. Those in
the room were most likely very shocked, maybe even terrified. At
this precise moment, the New Testament era was born.
A similar suddenness will end this New Testament age with the
return of Jesus to earth. It
will be just as sudden, without any advance warning.
says that this violent sounding wind type of noise came from heaven.
It came down from above and filled the whole house that they were
in. If the sound filled the
whole house, it probably echoed outside and down the street as well.
Note the word "violent" in the NIV.
I imagine this noise to be like the noise of a jet fighter flying
close to the ground. When God
intervenes into humanity, it can be pretty dramatic.
verse 3 we see "what seemed" to be flames of fire, or as Luke
calls them, "tongues of fire".
The tongues of fire separated and "rested" on each person
in the room. These tongues of
fire weren't real fire, but only appeared to look like fire.
This most likely is a direct fulfillment of Luke 3:16 where Jesus
says that the believers would one day be baptized with the Holy Spirit and
interesting to me to note that there was something sounding like a violent
wind, but it wasn't a violent wind, and, something like fire, but it
wasn't fire, resting on all in the room.
What I find interesting here is that the Holy Spirit, although
sounding furious and looking like fire, is neither.
He is gentle and kind, but powerful and awesome at the same time.
you want to get technical, verse 4 begins the New Testament era.
This is so because the one hundred and twenty people in the room
were filled with the Holy Spirit. Not
one person was left out. Both
men and women, young and old, were filled with the Spirit.
4 also tells us that all these people spoke in other tongues.
Speaking in tongues as seen here was a direct result of being
filled with the Holy Spirit. I'll
speak more about tongues as we carry on in this study.
will become obvious in the book of Acts, and really, is also obvious in
our lives, that when the Holy Spirit comes to an individual, something
happens. He is God in spirit
form. God coming to anyone
through His Holy Spirit is a dramatic event, as this certainly was.
are a number of words and phrases that the New Testament uses for this
phenomena that we see here in Acts 2.
Luke uses the words "filled with" here in verse 4.
Other passages us such words as ďbaptized", "poured
out", or, "come upon", when the Spirit envelops people.
Peter himself in verse 18 uses an Old Testament Scripture where the
words "poured out" are used.
By using the words "poured out", it paints a picture of
God pouring out the Holy Spirit onto the believers.
It's like God has a huge bucket full of the Spirit and He just
dumps it onto the believer and the believer gets soaking wet with the
Spirit. The idea of getting
soaking wet is where the word "baptize" comes in.
Like one gets soaking wet in water baptism, so one gets soaking wet
in Spirit baptism when the Spirit is poured out on him.
need to understand here that the Holy Spirit didn't just come on these
people. He came to live within
these people. The Holy Spirit
wasn't just poured on them, but into them.
For the first time in their lives the Holy Spirit was actually
inside these people. He had
been with them in times past, but not in them.
Jesus, in John 14:17 said that the Holy Spirit was with them
"but He would soon be in them".
Jesus' prediction was fulfilled here in Acts 2.
need to realize, as this passage clearly shows us, that when the Holy
Spirit touches a person's life, something dramatic happens.
I've often heard over the years that people who don't experience
something dramatic when they receive the Holy Spirit should simply believe
by faith they received Him. I
think there's something wrong with this.
There's no logic. If
the Spirit of the Almighty comes to you, you will certainly know.
If you don't know, it's obvious that He did not come to you.
There is no accepting this by faith.
The rest of the book of Acts proves this to be true.
I'm about to say next is very important.
Verse 4 tells us that these people were filled with the Holy
Spirit. He came to reside in
them. I strongly believe
that prior to this moment, none of these people had the Holy Spirit living
people suggest that the Eleven apostles actually received the Holy Spirit
earlier when Jesus appeared to them one time after He rose from the dead.
In John 20:22 we see Jesus breathing on the Eleven apostles.
He then said, "Receive the Holy Spirit".
On the surface, you might think that these men received the Holy
Spirit into their lives then, not here in Acts 2.
Once you do a little digging into the Scriptures you'll see that's
not true. If you read John
7:39 you'll learn that Jesus' followers would receive the Holy Spirit once
Jesus was glorified. A careful study of Jesus' prayer in John 17 tells me
that Jesus was glorified at the ascension. Therefore, the Eleven could not
have received the Holy Spirit in John 20:22 because Jesus was not yet
more point to add is that in Acts 1:4 Jesus specifically told the Eleven
to wait in
clear to me, that the experience that took place in Acts 2 was not a
"second work of grace" that is traditional Pentecostal teaching.
Traditional Pentecostal teaching states that one receives the Holy
Spirit when one is first saved, and then at some later date, they have a
second experience called the "Baptism in the Spirit".
Pentecostals use Acts 2 as proof of a second work of grace, but
Acts 2 isn't a second work. It's
actually a first work. For the
first time in their lives, these people received the Holy Spirit.
other Pentecostals believe that when one gets saved one just believes in
Jesus. He doesn't actually
receive the Holy Spirit until the Baptism in the Spirit.
Without getting too involved at the moment, I believe this to be
truer than the above thinking concerning the Baptism in the Spirit.
these same people did have other times in their lives when the Holy Spirit
came on them. Acts 4 is just
one example, but these subsequent outpourings of the Spirit differ from
this experience in that the Holy Spirit already lives in the believers.
The simple fact is that there is more to the Holy Spirit than one
body can contain. That is why
He can come on a believer and be in the believer at the same time.
The Holy Spirit quietly lives in the true Christian, but there are
times when He comes on a true Christian in dramatic power.
We'll see this as we move along in the book of Acts.
only did these people get filled with the Holy Spirit but they also spoke
in other tongues, or other languages, "as the Spirit enabled
them". Speaking in
tongues is listed by Paul as one of twelve gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Paul calls these gifts a "manifestation" of the Holy
Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:7) This
simply means that certain gifts are given by the Spirit to individuals,
showing that He truly lives within the person.
To manifest means to show forth, or give evidence to, that which is
true, and in this case, that which is true is the Holy Spirit living
within the believer.
one hundred and twenty people began to speak in other tongues, that is,
languages that they did not know how to speak.
It was Godís Spirit that caused this to happen.
It was a miracle. This
was not man made, but truly a miracle of God.
tendency in Pentecostal and Charismatic
circles, which is the tendency in all areas of the church, is to reduce
the supernatural into human effort, as Paul puts it in Galatians 3.
We have too often reduced speaking in
tongues into a mere human thing.
By this I mean that we have said such things as, "repeat after
me". This actually
happened to me in a time of prayer at a Pentecostal altar.
A preacher told me to listen closely to him speaking in tongues.
Once listening closely, he told me to repeat what I hear.
By repeating what I heard the preacher say would mean I spoke in
tongues, at least according to this preacher.
Well, that would not have been tongues.
Such nonsense is humanizing a true gift of the Holy Spirit.
have also heard some say, "just say any syllables that come to mind,
and then the Lord will take over and cause you to speak in tongues".
The idea here is that you start the process by faith and Jesus will
end the process with His supernatural faith, but again, this is pure
humanism. This is not how you
begin to speak in tongues. This
is not what happened here in Acts 2.
need to note that "speaking in tongues" is not just a Christian
phenomena. Such things
have been recorded in pagan worship. This
is one reason why the Corinthian church had so many problems with tongues.
They had seen it happen before in pagan worship.
Maybe some of them had actually spoken in tongues as a pagan.
This does not mean that we should downgrade this gift.
We know that the devil has many counterfeits.
thing we should note here is that there is a difference between speaking
in tongues and praying in tongues. The
people here spoke in tongues and it was a witness to those around them.
If you read 1 Corinthians 14 you will see Paul use the phrase,
"praying in the Spirit", which in context is praying in tongues.
This is important to understand, especially for non-Pentecostals
who only think tongues is that which we see here in Acts 2, which they see
as a form of witnessing to others about Jesus.
There is more to tongues than Acts 2 tongues.
There is 1 Corinthians 14 tongues as well, and that is, praying in
tongues that is not a witness to others, but a simple private prayer
Acts 2 tongues being a witness; in one sense of the word it was.
It got the attention of those around them, and, those around them
heard the one hundred and twenty praising God in tongues as we will
shortly see. Non-Pentecostals
tend to see tongues in Acts 2 as preaching the gospel.
They thus say that tongues are still valid to today to preach the
gospel on the mission field where other languages are involved.
These same people reject the 1 Corinthians 14 prayer languages
tongues. The problem with
viewing Acts 2 tongues as preaching the gospel is this.
Those speaking in tongues didn't preach the gospel as they spoke in
tongues. Luke says in verse 11
that they heard the tongues speakers speaking the wondrous things of God.
It was Peter, after the tongues had subsided, that preached the
gospel, and he did so in his own language, not tongues. Simply put, Acts 2
tongues weren't really a form of preaching the gospel.
verses 5 and 6 Luke says that "there were Godly Jews staying in
the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Pentecost were mandatory
requirements for adult men to participate in at
verse 6, when these people "heard this sound, a crowd gathered in
bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own
language". The noise that sounded like a violent wind, and the
various languages being spoken at once drew all sorts of Jews to the place
where the believers were. Everyone
who heard was bewildered. The
reason for this bewilderment was due to the fact that each one heard their
own language being spoken.
need to note that this demonstration of power from God was directed
strictly to Jews who had come from all parts of the known world.
There is a Biblical principle that states, "to the Jew first
and then to the Gentile". What
we see here is that the giving of the Spirit was to the Jew first.
Those who witnessed this were Jews, probably at, or near by the
temple where they were worshipping.
Evangelicals say the real miracle here was not in the speaking of tongues
but in the hearing of these tongues. They
say this because such mass confusion from a hundred and twenty people
speaking in different languages at once would be too hard for any one
person to understand. Therefore
the miracle was not in the speaking but the hearing.
There is some validity to this view, but you cannot say the
speaking in tongues wasn't miraculous, because it certainly was.
As far as I am concerned, tongues are the primary miracle here,
other than the believers receiving the Holy Spirit.
The text clearly says that the believers spoke with other tongues,
meaning languages they did not know how to speak, "as the Spirit
enabled them". "As
the Spirit enabled them" means the tongues were miraculous.
I think when people say the miracle was in the hearing of the
tongues and not the tongues themselves, I believe this is an attempt to
down play the tongues.
people make a connection between this event and the
in verse 7 that the disciples were "Galileans".
Galilee is north of present day Jerusalem. Back then there was
8 clearly says that those hearing what was being spoken "were
probably an understatement. They
were bewildered because each one heard these people speak in their own
language. Some suggest that
there was only one language being spoken here by the believers.
Thus, the miracle was in the hearing of what was being said in
their own language. I think
the text makes it clear that the believers were speaking a number of
different languages. When the
text says that they spoke in "tongues, that is tongues plural, more
than one tongue or language, it's obvious that more than one language was
spoken here. These various
languages corresponded directly to those in the crowd.
are not exactly sure what was being said in tongues, but in verse 11 Luke
does say that they "were declaring the wonders of God".
Iím convinced that they were not preaching the gospel as
non-Pentecostals suggest. Luke does not say they were preaching the
gospel. If they were I think
heíd say so. We do know that
Peter did preach the gospel after the event concluded.
If the tongues were the preaching of the gospel, then why did Peter
preach the gospel?
who believe that this tongues was preaching the gospel say this in order
to suggest that there is only one type of tongues that they will accept as
being valid and that is tongues that is a form of preaching the good news.
They say tongues in a Christian gathering are not valid tongues.
But this canít be so. Paul
in 1 Corinthians 14:2 says that tongues are actually speaking to God in
another language, and that is what took place on the Day of Pentecost.
The one hundred and twenty were speaking the wonders of God to God.
They were not preaching the gospel.
I am what many would call a Charismatic Pentecostal Christian. I'm not one for labels but because I do pray in tongues I can understand this label. This is what I believe was happening when the one hundred and twenty were praying in tongues. Those who have felt the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into their lives know it is one amazing experience. You're lost in the presence of Jesus. You have little concern for those near by. All you want to do is praise Jesus and speak to Him all the glorious and wondrous things about Him. This is what I believe was happening here. These people were not preaching the gospel to those around them. They were praising Jesus. They were directing there words in tongues to Jesus as Paul states what tongues really is in 1 Corinthians 14.
localities stated in verses 9 through 11 represent people from as far east
as India; as far west towards Rome; and south to Northern Africa.
F. Bruce, in his commentary on Acts makes an interesting point at this
juncture. He note that Jewish
rabbis believed that when Moses met with God
in Exodus 20 they believed that God spoke to the 70 nations of the
world in their own language. To
be clear, the text does not say this.
That being said, it is interesting that God would use the gift of
tongues to speak to these Jews from distant parts of the
verses 12 and 13 we see some of the responses by those in the crowd to
what was going on. Some were
bewildered while others thought the one hundred and twenty were drunk.
I suggest that when the Holy Spirit falls on people today with the
same lack of understanding would say the same thing, and they surely have.
What has been called the Pentecostal experience has been seen by
some as being next to insanity.
tells his readers in verse 14 of chapter 2 that Peter took the lead.
He says that Peter "stood up with the eleven".
Remember, there are one hundred and twenty people speaking in
tongues here, but only eleven, the apostles, are standing together in
front of the crowd. This is
their part, their job, in their apostolic ministry.
some point the commotion must have died down and Peter took the
opportunity to explain what had just happened.
Why did Peter take the lead here?
Was it because of his impulsiveness, or could it have been Godís
will? Some would say
that Jesus had already told the eleven that Peter would be their
spokesman, when He said, "upon this rock I will build my
church". (Matthew 16:18)
Since this is a Holy Spirit led event, I believe that the Holy
Spirit chose Peter on this day to give explanation for the event of the
in John 21:17 Jesus tells Peter to take care of His sheep.
Peter surely had this in mind.
What Peter was doing here was taking care of "the lost sheep
is interesting to note that after the miracle that had just taken place,
someone had to preach the gospel. Seeing
and hearing the miracle of tongues was not sufficient.
This is what Paul seems to say in Romans 10:14 when he says,
"How can they hear without someone preaching to them".
The preaching of the gospel, that is using one's mouth is
fundamental to New Testament thinking.
I have heard it said, "Live the life, and if necessary
preach". This is not a
Scriptural saying. It is
necessary, even mandatory, to
preach the gospel. On the very
first day of the New Testament times, after Godís miracle, a human being
had to preach the gospel. This
is also what Mark was talking about in Mark 16:20.
He said, "The disciples went out and preached everywhere, and
the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word with signs that
accompanied their preaching". The
spreading of the gospel is a partnership between the Lord and us.
We do the manual labour, that is the preaching, and whatever else,
and He confirms what we say by miracles.
fact that Peter preached the gospel after the miracle of tongues tells me
that these tongues weren't preaching.
Verse 11told us that those speaking in tongues were glorifying God,
which I do not interpret as preaching the gospel.
If it were, then Peter was being redundant by preaching.
I say this because non-Pentecostal Evangelicals say that the tongue
speaking here was preaching the gospel.
They say that to back up their thinking that tongues for today is
only valid on the mission field when a missionary miraculously preaches
the gospel in a tongue he doesnít know.
This whole thinking is faulty.
speaks to "fellow Jews and also to all who live in
doesn't end there. He makes
sure he addresses his remarks to those living in Jerusalem. Why Peter specifies
verse 15 Peter opens the first Christian sermon by saying, "these men
are not drunk as you suppose. It
is only nine in the morning". Some
had mocked the believers for their behaviour, thinking that they were
drunk. This is why Peter
begins as he does.
might think that the nine oíclock in the morning reference suggests that
it was too early for people to be drinking wine.
There might be something to this, but most likely what Peter had in
mind were the strict dietary rules Jewish people were suppose to follow,
as can be seen in Exodus 16:8 and Exodus 10:16 Ė 17.
They could only eat bread until 10 oíclock in the morning, only
eat meat in the evening, and only drink wine with their meat.
So if these Jewish people speaking in tongues were drunk, then they
werenít following Jewish Law.
Peterís response you might even say that he was a little indignant
concerning the idea of him and his brothers being drunk.
It may have appeared to be drunkenness to the scoffers, but for
Peter, it was far from being drunk. I
am not sure that Peter would even relate being filled with the Spirit to
being "drunk in the Spirit" as you often hear in modern
Pentecostal or Charismatic circles today.
We, in our modern day usage of words should not use words said by
scoffers, but use words said by Peter.
My suggestion is to stay away from the phrase "drunk in the
Peter just speaks of men here when there were obviously women being filled
with the Spirit to might be speculative.
It might have something to do with the culture of the day as well.
It was a man's world back then.
these men are not drunk, then what does their behaviour mean?
In verse 16 Peter begins to quote from the Old Testament book of
Joel, chapter 2, verses 28 and 32. Joel
prophesied around 870 B. C.. Peter
says that if God said these words through Joel, his Jewish audience needs
to pay close attention to what God said.
Good God-fearing Jews would have known about the book of Joel as
well as the rest of the Old Testament, although it is clear that most Jews
didn't understand all of the prophetic implications of the prophets,
verse 17 Peter states God saying that "in the last days" He
would "pour out His Spirit on all flesh".
Two important points are made by these words.
One is that the term last days.
The last days as Peter understood them began
on the day of Pentecost. That's
why he is quoting this passage from Joel.
This event was predicted and therefore should be accepted as being
from God. So, in one sense of
the word, the "last days" began on the day of Pentecost.
Biblically speaking, the term "last days" is in reference
to the age in which we now live. The Bible also uses the term "last
days' in reference to the very few last days that ends this age.
second point to be made is that the Holy Spirit could now be poured out on
all flesh, all men and women, no matter what nationality they were. The
giving of the Spirit was not exclusive to the Jews, something that Peter
himself did not understand as yet. He
would begin to understand in Acts 10.
We see that when we come to Acts 10.
interesting to me that Peter quotes from Joel but really doesn't yet
understand what he is quoting. Joel
says that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on all nationalities, but
when Peter quoted this passage I don't really think he considered the
meaning of these words. My
guess is that he thought the Spirit would be poured out on all Jews in all
nations, not on Gentiles in all nations.
Again, Peter doesn't learn the true meaning to this prophecy until
Acts 10. This makes it clear
to me that the Holy Spirit can speak through a person and cause the person
to say truthful things without the person really having a clear
understanding of what he is saying.
are viewed as being exclusive, and in one sense of the word we are.
Yet from the beginning of New Testament times, in one sense of the
word, Christians are not exclusive. They
believe that all peoples, in all nations, and of all stripes, can find
favour with God, yet only through Jesus, as we see here.
continues in verse 17 to quote Joel by saying that "your sons and
daughters will prophesy", which you might say is one of the main
results of the outpouring of the Spirit.
Once again, we donít receive the Spirit for the sake of having an
awesome experience. We receive
Him in order to prophesy, that is, in the broadest sense of the word,
meaning "to preach" the gospel.
think it is important to understand what prophecy really is.
It's more than predicting the future.
It's simply speaking what God wants one to speak.
So, in the case of Peter preaching, he was in fact prophesying, at
least in the broader sense of the word.
only will your sons and daughters prophesy, but your young men will see
visions and your old men will dream dreams.
What Joel is saying here is that everyone can be as the prophets of
old were, including women. We all can proclaim Godís message, even if we
are not full fledged prophets. This
would have been a new concept for Peter and for the Jews listening to
saying the above, I'm not discounting the ministry of the prophet.
Just because one prophesies doesn't mean he is a prophet.
The ministry of prophet can be seen throughout the New Testament,
which we will encounter later in Acts.
verse 18 we see that Joel goes on to say that "even on my servants
will I pour out my Spirit". It
is clear that in order to be a real servant of God; you need the presence
of Godís Spirit in your life, and not simply hovering over you as the
Jehovah Witnesses would say. He
needs to be actually living within you. Joel
also says that these servants of God, including both men and women, would
prophesy. Once again, the result of the indwelling Spirit is prophesying;
is witnessing to the resurrected Christ as Jesus predicted in Acts 1:8.
continues in verse 19 to quote from Joel, but the prophecy speaks about
the very end of this age. It's
interesting to note that if you read Joel, the whole prophecy seems to be
about the days leading up to the return of Jesus to earth, even though
Peter interprets the first part of this prophecy as being in his day.
Verse 19 is clearly apocalyptic in nature when it speaks of wonders
and signs in the heavens and on the earth.
might wonder why Peter quoted this part of the Joel prophecy.
Why did he quote the parts that didn't clearly refer to the present
event? I can't say that I know
the answer. Some might suggest
that Peter is misquoting the Joel passage, but I don't see it that way.
I believe he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak as he did.
In my thinking, this suggests that the giving of the Spirit in such
dramatic and effectiveness is not meant to be something that begins this
age, but something that will end this age as well.
Peter clearly says that the pouring out of the Spirit referred to
by Joel was for his day. If
you would ask Joel, I believed he'd say it was for the end of this age.
Therefore, I believe that just prior to the return of Jesus there
will be a huge out pouring of the Spirit that takes place during the Great
Tribulation. If you read the
book of Revelation you'll note that there are many believers killed for
their faith, believers who became believers during the time of the
words "blood, fire and billows of smoke" in verse 19 are an
obvious reference to the final calamities as described in the book of
Revelation. The blood, fire
and smoke could easily be from the wars that Jesus describes in Matthew
24. The same is true with the
sun being turned into darkness and the moon into blood as we see in verse
20. Jesus says this very thing
in Matthew 24:29.
these things will happen says Joel "before that great and glorious
day of the Lord". The KJV
says "terrible day of the Lord".
In reality, that day is both glorious and terrible. It's glorious
for the believer and terrible for the non-believer.
verse 21 we note that before that final day comes Joel says, and Peter
repeats, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be
saved". The name of the
Lord is Jesus. There is no
other name under Heaven whereby one can be saved from the great and
terrible day of the Lord.
word ďcallĒ in verse 21 implies a serious heart felt cry to Jesus; not
simply a mental ascent to the gospel.
This call is a cry. It's
a plea for help. It implies
that more than anything else, you want Jesus and His salvation, and you
will do anything to get it. When
God hears such a cry, He will grant salvation and freedom from the terror
might say that the word "call" here could be used by one calling
out to a fireman who is trying to rescue those in a house on fire.
If you were in the house, you would be screaming at the top of your
voice so the fireman would hear you and rescue you.
There is a desperateness involved in the cry, in this call.
The same is true with what Peter and Joel are saying.
This call is a desperate cry for help, which implies a good measure
of repentance. I say this because this "call" is in reference to
bad things happening on the earth at the time.
Men are terrified. Some
will cry out to the Lord while others won't. This
is extremely important when thinking of the gospel and preaching it.
Too often we have not viewed this call in this way.
We more often than not give the impression, "just try Jesus
and see how it goes". This
is not the gospel.
in this chapter I compared the coming of the Holy Spirit to the return of
Christ. There are many
similarities. I think the
quote from Joel backs up my point. It
links the coming of the Spirit in Acts 2 with the events which will close
this age. In both instances
God takes a people out of the world for Himself.
He will always have a remnant of true believers.
verse 22 Peter says "men of
continues by saying, "Jesus of
says that Jesus "was accredited" by God through the miraculous
signs and wonders. That is to
say, the miracles were Godís stamp of approval on Jesus.
The miracles prove that God in fact sent Jesus to earth.
then says "as you yourselves know".
He is saying that his audience knows about this Jesus.
It wasnít too many days earlier that Jesus walked their streets,
and talked with them, confirming His words with miracles.
Many of these same people praised Jesus as He entered the city for
the last time. Peter knows
that these people would remember Jesus.
23 is very important. It says,
"This man was handed over to you by Godís set purpose and
foreknowledgeÖ" It is
clear by these words and also by a reading of Isaiah 52 and 53 that God
was the one who killed Jesus. It
was His set purpose. At the
same time, He knew ahead of time how this would happen.
The debate has raged over the years, did God make Judas hand Jesus
over to the authorities? Did
God make the Jews bring Jesus to Pilate?
I donít believe that God had to make anyone do anything.
There were enough people who wanted Jesus dead.
They didnít need Godís help.
God knew ahead of time who these people were, and in the long run
God wanted, and even needed this to happen.
I also believe that Jesus knew He was choosing a thief in Judas
when He asked Judas to follow Him.
verse 23 we see clearly that God has a timetable of events for things to
take place. It was His
predetermined plan that Jesus would die on the cross.
21:23 speaks of those dying in the way Jesus died.
It speaks of a man dying on the cross as being cursed.
Jesus was cursed because He died on the cross and also because He
took our sin to the cross. He
took both the curse and punishment due us.
In short, He died in our place.
had the courage to say that "you (the Jews he was speaking to), with
the help of wicked men, (the Roman authorities) put Him to death".
This is a pretty dramatic thing for Peter to say. Even
more than dramatic, it took lots of Holy Spirit guts to accuse the Jews of
killing Jesus. From this
moment on, Peter would be hunted down by both Jews and Gentiles alike
until he was executed upside down on a cross in
doesn't leave Jesus in the grave. In
verse 24 he says, "But God raised Him from the dead".
The resurrection is a main part of the gospel.
The gospel without the resurrection is not the true gospel.
This too would be called "another gospel", as the apostle
Paul puts it in Galatians 1:8.. Peter
says, that "it was impossible for death to keep a hold on Him".
It only makes sense. Jesus
is God in human flesh. Death
could not have a hold on Jesus forever. Jesus tasted death, but death did
not overcome Him like it does us.
prove the resurrection of Jesus to his Jewish listeners Peter quotes from
another Old Testament passage in verse 25.
This time Peter quotes from David, from Psalms16:8-11.
There is something to think of here concerning how Old Testament
Scripture is interpreted in the New Testament.
These words were spoken by David.
When he spoke these words he was speaking about himself.
Yet when Peter quotes these words he says that these words, though
spoken by David were not about him. These
words were prophetic. They
spoke about Jesus.
pronoun "I" in the Psalm of David that Peter quotes refers to
Jesus. This is how Peter is
led by the Holy Spirit to interpret David's words.
"I saw the Lord" means, Jesus saw Yahweh.
"Because He (Yahweh) is at my right hand, I (Jesus) will not
be shaken". Even though
Jesus died on the cross, descended into Hades, and, even though God turned
His back on Jesus while on the cross, Jesus understood that at that exact
moment was at God's right hand of authority.
The term "right hand" as used in the Bible is idiomatic
of the idea that one is in a place of authority alongside someone else.
This term doesn't mean that God has a physical right hand.
verse 26 we see that even in His trials, Jesus had a measure of joy
because the death He was experiencing would end in a great hope.
His "body would live in hope". We
know that Jesus suffered the agony of the cross.
We saw Him sweat blood in the
verse 27 Jesus says that God "would not abandon Him to the
grave". Even though God
turned His back on Jesus while on the cross, which by the way, we should
not see as abandoning Jesus; God would not allow Jesus to remain in the
grave. I understand the words
"the grave" here to be more than a hole in the ground, or in
Jesus' case, a whole in the side of a mountain.
I understand grave here to be Hades, as is often the case in the
Bible. Jesus did go to Hades
to free the righteous souls, but He did not stay there.
in verse 27 we see "the Holy One".
This is clearly in reference to Jesus.
Decay entered the world when Adam first ate of the forbidden fruit,
but Jesus would not experience any of this decay in a lasting sense.
He would only taste decay. The
technical term for this decay is "entropy", meaning, "All
things lead to decay".
verse 28 we note that Jesus understood every stop of the path He would
take. Nothing was a surprise
for Him. No matter how hard
the path was for Jesus, the Psalm clearly predicts that it would end in
life. I believe Jesus knew
that as He hung on the cross.
Psalm that Peter quotes here fills us in on a lot of what happened to
Jesus while on the cross, especially how He viewed the whole experience,
as many Old Testament passages do.
verse 29 through 31 Peter tells his audience that David died and his tomb
could still be seen. He said
that David was actually acting as a prophet as he spoke "and knew
that God had promised him on oath that He would place one of his
descendents on his throne. Seeing
what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of ChristÖ"
Peter was simply saying that David wasn't talking about himself but
about the Messiah, and especially the resurrection of the Messiah,
something the Jews didn't see in the Psalms because they failed to see
that their Messiah would come to earth twice; once as the suffering
servant, and then as their Saviour.
also speaks of the Messiah, meaning Jesus, as one who would sit on His
throne. We see this truth
predicted in 2 Samuel 7:11 -
16 and Psalm 89:3 Ė 4. If
you recall what the angel told Mary concerning the birth of her Son Jesus,
He told her that Jesus would rule on the throne of David. (Luke 1:32)
it comes to the fulfillment of Jesus ruling on the throne of David, this
will be realized when Jesus returns to earth and rules the world from
this point I'll remind you of the false teaching of Replacement Theology.
People holding this view believe that
verse 31 we see reference to Jesus' body not decaying.
Peter is saying that David's body did decay.
So, for this reason, David's words could not be speaking of him.
They had to have been speaking of someone else, meaning, the
Messiah, who Peter now says is Jesus.
Peter is using simple logic here; simple common sense.
verse 32 Peter clearly gives a powerful witness to the resurrection of
Jesus, just as Jesus predicted in Acts 1:8 would happen.
When the Spirit would come on these disciples, they had great power
and boldness to witness to the Lord Jesus Christ, which in this case meant
that Peter exposed the sins of the Jews.
He would give them an opportunity to repent of their sins.
in verse 32 the words "this Jesus".
We've seen this before. Peter
makes sure that those hearing him know exactly what Jesus He is talking
about. It's the Jesus these
Jews killed. Peter's
boldness would soon get him in lots of trouble.
verse 33 we see the term "exalted to the right hand of God".
As I've said before, this term doesn't mean God has a right hand.
It's idiomatic of the fact that Jesus will rule alongside of God.
The term "right hand" in those days simply meant "to
rule alongside another". So,
Jesus was exalted from being the servant to the Lord of all there is.
here in verse 33 that Peter says that Jesus has received the Holy Spirit
from His Father and has poured Him out on the disciples.
It was Jesus, at the Father's request, who gave the Holy Spirit to
the believers. This verse
might be hard to get your head around, especially when thinking of the
Trinity. You might ask,
"How can God give the Spirit, who is God, to Jesus, who is God"?
I'm not sure I can properly answer that question.
verse 34 Peter goes beyond the resurrection of Jesus, as we should do in
our preaching. Yes, Jesus was
raised from the dead, but He was raised to higher heights.
Verse 33 says that Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God. This
speaks of the ascension of Jesus. Jesus
had to leave this earth as He said in John 16:7 before the Holy Spirit
could come to the believers.
getting back to his proof concerning the Davidic Psalm being prophetic of
Jesus and not David says in verse 34 that David did not ascend into
Heaven. Thus is one more proof
that this Psalm was speaking about Jesus.
verses 34 and 35 Peter then goes on to quote Psalm 110:1.
This Psalm says that Jesus would "sit at the right hand"
of God until all of Godís enemies would become His footstool.
As Paul clearly points out in 1 Corinthians 15, the last enemy to
be defeated by Jesus is death. Once
death has been conquered and thrown into the
when speaking of the "right hand of God", we must understand
this to mean that Jesus will rule with God His Father in a place of
110:1 also says, "The Lord says to my Lord".
This might be hard to understand on the surface, but if we continue
on as we've been saying about David and the Psalms, the first mention of
Lord here would be Jesus while the second mention of Lord would be Yahweh.
Putting Jesus and Yahweh in the same sentence would disturb the
Jews. Saying that Jesus is
Yahweh, as this verse states, was blasphemy to the Jews.
Peter was being bold in saying this.
This is not the same Peter who denied knowing Jesus just a few
weeks back. The Holy Spirit
made a huge difference in Peter's life.
word "sit" here in
this Psalm might have some significance.
The Psalm didn't say stand. Of
course, when it comes to thrones, one does sit.
That being said, the word "sit" implies rest and
confidence. Jesus could rest
in confidence knowing that He would win the battle over death.
verse 36 Peter carries on with the same thinking.
He says, "Let all
we see the earthly name of Jesus, along with His two titles.
Jesus is His earthly name, yet God has made Him both Lord and
Christ. We need to understand
Lord as Yahweh. The Hebrew
equivalent to Lord was always understood to be Yahweh in the Old
Testament. Yahweh is the final
authority of all there is. As
Christ, Jesus is the Messiah who will eventually restore the nation of
being very bold told his listeners that they were the ones who killed
Jesus. I am sure this would
have irritated them. Yet it was the Jews who handed Jesus over to the
Roman authorities who actually put Him to death.
But behind all of these events was the will of God. God needed to
see Jesus die in order to bring salvation to the world. Isaiah
53, the chapter that is all about Jesus, tells us that it pleased God to
bruise Jesus. In one real
sense of the word, it pleased God to see Jesus hang on the cross.
I suggest you read Isaiah 52 and 53 to understand what I've just
biggest thing that bothered the Jews from Peter's message was the fact
that Peter was associating Jesus with Yahweh.
This was pure blasphemy to the Jews and worthy of death.
words of Peter most likely did irritate some but for others his words
"cut them to the heart", as stated in verse 37. It
was as if someone had stabbed them right to the core of their being and
twisted the knife around in circles. These
people simply did not know how to respond to Peter.
They only sensed the convicting power of God. The Holy Spirit
brought such conviction to them that the only thing that they could say is
seen in verse 37. They asked
Peter, "What shall we do"? Simply
put, they were asking "whatís next".
told them what was next. In
verse 38 he says, "Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the
name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins".
Peter preached repentance and faith. One
cannot have true faith without true repentance.
That is to say, one cannot truly trust Jesus with his life unless
he has seen the need to do so. It's
my thinking that the modern church is in the process of neglecting the
preaching of repentance, and that has shown in church membership.
One cannot be a true Christian unless he repents of his sin.
there is great sorrow involved in repenting, and sometimes not.
But one must turn from their own ways.
Of course they must see the need to turn.
This is where the Reformation Movement gets its thinking on
"law and grace". They
say, as the Scripture says, one must have the law preached to them before
they can begin to understand faith. People
must understand that they live in a fallen state, they disobey God daily,
and they are in desperate need of help from God.
This is what Romans 1 and 2 is all about. This is the preaching of
law is preached, people need to hear grace.
That is Godís love and provision for them.
People have a way out of their lostness.
So Peter says, "Repent".
Although in the verse he doesnít actually tell them to
"believe", or to have faith or trust in Jesus, he does tell them
to be water baptized, which would imply faith.
also important to note that Peter says that repentance, faith, and water
baptism, must be done in the name of Jesus.
No other name will do. No
other name will lead people to salvation.
does not leave the people with repentance and faith.
He continues to say, "And you will receive the gift of the
Holy Spirit. The promise is
for youÖ." The natural
result of true repentance and faith is that you will receive the gift of
the Holy Spirit. Note once
again, the gift is the Holy Spirit, not an experience called the Baptism
in the Holy Spirit. Note also
the word "promise" again. The
promise also refers to the gift of the Spirit, not an experience as some
in this one verse we have what I call, "salvation as a package".
Salvation is a combination of three things.
They are, repenting, believing, and receiving the Holy Spirit. One
must repent to truly believe. One
must repent and believe before receiving the Spirit.
It appears from life experience that all three can happen in a
moment of time, or it can happen over a period of time.
We will see this later. Still,
one is not fully saved until all three aspects of salvation have come true
in a personís life. If you
fall short, only God knows where you stand.
verse 39 Peter continues to say that this salvation is not only for you,
but also for your children and "all those who are far off Ė for all
whom the Lord our God will call". To
some, the words "also for your children" suggest what is called
"household salvation". This
teaching states that if the father or mother, or both, give his or her
life to Jesus, then the whole house is saved.
These people suggest this is the meaning to 1 Corinthians 7:14 as
well. If this were true, then
infant baptism would be permissible, just as infant circumcision was
mandated in the Old Testament by God.
I do not believe in this way of thinking.
That being said, I do believe that children while living at home
are under the blessing of God that is upon their parents.
does it mean when Peter uses the words "whom the Lord our God will
call"? Does it mean that
He does not call everyone to salvation?
Does He only call some and not others?
Some hold to this position, but I donít.
There are too many verses that say "whosoever will believe,
will be saved" to hold what is called the "Calvinistic view of
Predestination". If you
believe that God only calls some to salvation, then these "whosoever
will" verses are meaningless. God
calls all men, in one way or another, yet not all men respond in a
uses the words "in the name of Jesus Christ" when referring to
repentance and water baptizing. Some denominations have gone overboard in
their doctrine concerning the name of Jesus and baptizing in His name.
Jesus Himself said to baptize in the name of the Father and the Son
and the Holy Spirit. To me it
is simple. The name of the
Father Son and Spirit is the same as the name of Jesus.
No other distinction needs to be made.
The disciples did everything in the name of Jesus.
This means that they were representatives of Jesus.
They acted in His place on earth.
When they baptized people in water, they baptized them with the
authority that Jesus gave them to be His representatives.
40 says, "with many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with
them, Ďsave yourself from this corrupt generation'".
Peter obviously spoke more than what Luke recorded.
Personally speaking, I would have liked to have heard the whole
spoke to the crowd by "warning" them.
He actually "pleaded with them".
The use of the word "pleaded" suggests that Peter was
very emotional and even forceful in his presentation.
He told them to save themselves from the generation in which they
lived. Peter, and the rest of
the New Testament writers, did not think much of the generation in which
they lived. As a matter of
fact, the Bible really speaks of all generations being corrupt.
This should be our stance, but for many Christians today who are in
love with this world, they don't see things this way.
words "warned" and "pleaded" are imperfect indicative
verbs in the Greek.
Imperfect means that he continued to warn them and plead with them.
His warning wasn't just a quick statement.
The shows the intensity Peter has about this issue.
Indicative suggests a certainty about this warning.
The people must save themselves from their present generation.
Peter speaks of "saving" one's self from his corrupt generation,
the verb in Greek here is an aorist imperative.
This means that the one saving himself must do it right now.
It's a one time decision.
Imperative also suggests that this is not something to think about.
Peter is commanding these people to save themselves from their
the use of the word "save" in this verse.
As Christians we are not only saved from hell, from our sins, from
Godís wrath, but we are also saved from the world and its influence on
our lives. Peter believed that
we needed to be rescued from the corrupt surroundings that we all live in.
The word "rescue" is a good word to use because the way
of the world only leads us to death. We
all need to be saved, or rescued from the world.
41 tells us that three thousand people believed what Peter had to say and
were water baptized and added to the church that day.
I often wonder if the same Pentecostal event happened to these
people as it did to the one hundred and twenty.
Somehow I think that their experience might have been different,
maybe less dramatic. What
really took place at this huge baptismal service, we really donít know.
Luke decided not to tell us. Some
experts suggest that this baptism was not done by immersion, but by
pouring water on the head of the believers.
I also have wondered what baptizing 3,000 people in one event would look like. It musts have been one great baptismal service.
has been much debate over how water baptism is performed.
The very nature of the word means to totally immerse, yet there are
many experts that show from external sources, for example drawings, that
baptism was often a pouring out on the most part.
I'd like to close this section by saying that this is quite a sermon by an uneducated fisherman as many call Peter, but of course, he had help from the Holy Spirit. That being said, Peter was only uneducated in Jewish the legalistic laws of the Pharisees.
section of Acts gives us the very first picture of church life in New
Testament times. The first
thing we see is that "they", that is the new converts,
"devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the
fellowship". Teaching by
the apostles and fellowship with them and the rest of the church were
primary. The word
"continued" here suggests that these things were an ongoing and
regular process. I don't think
they were a once a week meeting of the saints.
The word "fellowship" used here implies more than just a
meeting. It implies the idea
of building functional relationships with one another in the Body of
Christ. I call these kinds of
relationships "functional relationships" because the
relationships formed among these people would have been twofold.
These relationships were a means of support for one another in an
anti-Christ environment. These
relationships however, were also a means in which the people functioned in
the Body of Christ. That is to
say, they served Jesus based from these relationships.
Serving, at least at this point, did not revolve around much
organizational structure. It's
important that we're not just joined to other Christians for the fun of
fellowship or for mutual support. We're
joined to work for the Lord with those to whom He has joined us.
that the general Christian public followed the apostolic teaching.
Of course, this is only reasonable.
There were no other teachers in the church.
Much has been said about apostolic teaching over the years.
I won't dwell on it here, but modern day apostles must not stray
from the apostolic teaching found in the Bible, but that is not always the
case these days.
mentions two other things. They
participated in the "breaking of bread and prayer".
Does "breaking of bread" mean eating a meal, or does it
mean what we would call "communion" or "the Lordís
supper"? I lean towards
the idea that breaking of bread means communion within the context of a
community meal. It appears
that communion was often part of a common meal that these people may have
eaten together, something like the Last Supper in John 13 and 14.
One thing I do say, I'm not convinced that this breaking of bread
was heavily ritualized as it is in today's church.
contextual meaning to why I believe the breaking of bread refers to
communion is because in verse 46 it seems to separate breaking of bread
from eating together. "They
broke bread in their homes and ate together Ö"
I take the eating together as eating meals.
Thus we see a distinction between breaking bread and eating meals.
prayer was also a regular practice for these Christians, something our
modern church should learn from. Prayer
meetings over the last few decades have decreased in size and regularity.
It's the hardest gathering to encourage people to attend.
This has led to a humanistic style of church, which really isn't
I've said, all these things mentioned here were a regular and ongoing
practice for these people. The
breaking of bread, the prayer, the teaching, was all in the context of
functional fellowship in the Body of Christ.
verse 43 Luke says that "everyone was filled with awe, and many
wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles".
Note that there are two groups of people mentioned in this verse.
They are, "everyone" and "the apostles".
Note also that the apostles were the ones that did the miraculous
signs, not the group called "everyone".
Everyone did not appear to perform the miracles, as is so often
thought. Only the apostles
were used by God to perform the miracles, or so it is implied here.
This doesn't mean that many of the people were used by God to
perform miracles at times, because they probably were.
What I believe this says is that part of the apostolic ministry was
the performance of miracles. Paul,
in 2 Corinthians 12:12 suggests what I've just said when he says,
"Ö the things that mark an apostle Ė signs, wonders, and
miracles". This should
answer the question many of us had in our youth.
We used to ask why we don't see the miracles that we see in the New
Testament. We had the faulty
premise that everyone did the miracles, when I don't believe they did.
verse 44 Luke says that "all the believers were together and had
everything in common". I
canít see that this verse means that there were three thousand plus
people living in one big commune somewhere in
They held "all things in common", suggests more of a way of thinking. Once again, I canít see all these people bringing all of their possessions and piling them altogether in some big field to share with each other. The attitude of the first generation Christians was generosity. If someone needed something, they were given it by their brothers in Christ. I don't believe you can use this verse to support communal living, even though I have lived communally in times past. Luke's words speak to the mentality of the people. Simply put; they were willing to share when needed, and that they did. Verse 45 says this. It reads, "Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone who had need". If there was a need among them, and if the sale of an item would help that person, the item was sold. It's that simple. It was all about taking care of your brother in the Lord in the time of his need.
Christian Marxism or Christian Communism, as has been taught in some areas
of that which we call church, will often point to these believers having
all things in common to support their position.
This is a pure misuse of this verse.
A simple thinking things through of this verse tells you that no
one was forced to share anything with anyone.
Marxism or Communism is a forced sharing.
People shared here out of love and concern for their brothers and
sisters in Christ. Also, this text does not teach the concept of holding
all things in common.
It only states that this is what these first Christians did.
The teaching associated with this practice would have been simply
loving your brother as Jesus loved us.
46 tells us that the believers met in the
the pronoun "they" that refers to the believers in verse 46.
"They met in the temple courts on a daily basis".
I believe the word "they" is "a corporate
By this I mean that onlookers would look at the temple courts every
day and see a crowd of Christians there.
The word "they" refers to "the crowd", not to
individuals in the crowd.
This tells me that individuals in the crowd may have varied from
day to day.
Not the same individuals could be seen on a daily basis.
Only the crowd could be seen on a daily basis.
I'm not convinced that every individual believer met every day of
the week in the temple courts. Some might have met daily, but many, if not
most had obligations to fulfill, like earning a living.
I might also suggest that probably some did gather every day, but
only at times when they were free to gather.
Again, simple logic would tell us this, something many don't use
when reading the Bible. Unless
you stop your reading and think the text through, you'll most likely get a
wrong understanding of the text.
also says in verse 46 that "they broke bread together in their homes
and ate togetherÖ" Note
here the distinction between "breaking bread" and "eating
together". I suggest this
as proof that "breaking bread" means communion an eating means
eating of a meal. The first
generation church partook of the Lordís Supper in their homes as they
ate meals together. This was a
regular practice. Communion
was not a liturgical or ceremonial religious affair as it has evolved into
today. It was seen in terms of
fellowship and in terms of relationships in the Body of Christ.
Of course, over the years, like all other Biblical things, the
church has liturgicalized something that was very relational.
again, note the use of the temple temple
by these early Christians. Remember,
these new Christians were Jews, or Jewish proselytes, that is, Gentile
converts to Judaism. As Jews
it was their practice to meet at the
see Peter and John in the
verse 47 Luke says that these new Christians were praising God and as a
result were in "good favour with everybody".
"Everybody" would refer to the non-Christian Jews who
would have seen these people in the temple
on a daily basis. We should
note though, that this favour did not last long.
2 ends with the words, "and the Lord added to their number daily,
those who were being saved". Note
that the Lord added to the church. Note
also that this happened on a daily basis.
From this verse we should know that once a person gets saved, he is
added to the church. He
becomes a vital part of the Body of Christ.
Christians aren't isolated individuals, but affective members of
the community of God's people. We
should therefore act accordingly. This
truth is not always understood or practiced in Christian circles.
infant church was a praising church. They
were always getting together to be taught, to pray, to break bread, and to
have fellowship, including meals. I
say that as modern day Evangelicals we have the meal part of this down
pretty good. We might need to
work on the rest. When needed,
these Christians would give what they could to those in need because they
didnít think that what they owned belonged strictly to themselves.
They had favour with those around them, at least for the time
being, and their numbers increased on a daily basis.
This is a pretty nice picture of the early church.
this point you might want to ask, "Is the growth of the church
evolutionary" in nature? By
this I mean, "Should we just allow the church to evolve in such a way
to fit the needs of our generation without any consideration to what the
New Testament teaches, or, should we pattern church after what the New
Testament specifically teaches".
The church we see in Acts 2 was young. It
was an infant church. As it
grew, it did encounter change. Was
this change meant to stop after the first generation church members died
off, or was it meant to continue?
you ask these questions to those who think about such things, you probably
get many answers. How you
answer these questions will determine what kind of church you will have. If
the church is totally evolutionary; meaning it is in constant change, then
we donít have to follow what the first apostles taught about church.
However, if the church isn't to be evolutionary in nature, then
what was taught by men like Peter and Paul should be clearly understood
is a third possibility, that is neither totally evolutionary nor an exact
replica of the first church's teaching.
This possibility would be a combination of both.
That is to say; we practice what the New Testament apostles taught,
but with present day updates. For
example, the early church had a group of elders as its leaders.
We could do the same today, yet the duties of these elders may
differ since we are in a different era.
Back then the church did not have worship teams with all sorts of
high tech equipment as we do today. One
of our elders could be a worship team elder, something they might not have
had back then.
it comes to church structure, I strongly believe that we should follow New
Testament teaching. I
differentiate between New Testament teaching and New Testament practice.
Not all that the first church did was correct.
The church at Corinth
is an example of that. I do
believe we should follow New Testament teaching.
If we don't follow New Testament teaching on this issue, why do we
think we should follow it on any other issue?
we walk our way through the book of Acts you will see the change this
early church goes through. It
should be obvious and clear as you read.
You might then want to ask yourself how this change affects our
church life today.