Acts 2

Thursday Evening Bible Study

September 12, 2013


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved?

The book of Acts takes up where the gospels leave off. Jesus has died on the cross for our sins, risen on the third day, and just before He ascended into heaven He told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit. They would be waiting in an upper room for about a week…

2:1-4 Spirit Baptism

:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

:1 the Day of Pentecost

The feast of Pentecost was one of the three feasts each year where all Jewish men were required to come to Jerusalem to celebrate. (Ex.34:23)

This means that Jewish people from all around the world will be in Jerusalem at this time.

It was called “Pentecost” (meaning “fifty”) because it was celebrated 50 days after the Passover, and was also known as the “Feast of Weeks”, because it occurred on the day after a “week of weeks” (7x7=49 days) from the Passover.

Jewish tradition has it that it was also the date that the Law was given by God to Moses.

It’s fascinating to think that the Old Covenant (Law of Moses) is now officially being replaced with the New Covenant (grace through Jesus) on this day.

It was also known as the “Feast of First Fruits” (Ex.34:22), and was primarily a celebration of the beginning of the summer harvest, where the first sheaves of the harvest were offered up to God as a reminder of Who was providing for the nation.

It’s not coincidental that the Holy Spirit fell upon the church that day, bringing in the “first fruits” of the cross, the “first fruits” of the gospel, as 3,000 people will respond to the message preached and be saved, and the church will be born.

This is a prophetic fulfillment of the feast.

That’s the sense of the day having “fully come”, it’s being prophetically fulfilled.

:1 with one accordhomothumadon (“together” + “passion”) – with one mind, with one accord, with one passion.

There’s a sense of unity among the believers as they have been “waiting” for the Holy Spirit in their prayer time.

The Bible connects “unity” with the power of the Holy Spirit.

(Ps 133 NKJV) — A Song of Ascents. Of David. 1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing— Life forevermore.

Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
Unity among brothers is like the Spirit coming upon Aaron the priest.
The dew of Mount Hermon is a picture of refreshing – what happens when we learn how to get along.

The Holy Spirit comes upon the early church when they are in a place of “unity”.

:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

:2 a rushing mighty wind

The language doesn’t say that a mighty rushing wind filled the house, but the sound filled the house, and the sound was like the sound of a mighty rushing wind.

The concept of “wind” is the root behind the Hebrew and Greek words for “Spirit”.

In Hebrew the word is ruach, and in Greek the word is pneuma, but both words mean “breath, wind, or spirit”.


Recognizing the Spirit

In Acts 2, it’s a “rushing mighty wind”.
For Elijah, it was a “still, small voice”.
(1 Ki 19:12b NKJV)…and after the fire a still small voice.
We need to be careful not to put the Spirit in a box and think that He’s always going to act in certain ways.
Jesus connected being “born again” with the work of the Holy Spirit:
(Jn 3:8 NKJV) The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

In a way we need to learn how to be “balloon pilots”. To pilot a hot air balloon, you need to learn a lot about wind currents. You can only go where the wind blows you.

Play “Hot Air Balloon Pilot Training Camp” clip

:3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

:3 divided tongues … fire

Not only is there an audio thing going on, but something visual occurs as well.  It’s not real flames of fire, but it looks similar to it.

When Jesus was baptized by John, there was something seen with the eyes:

(Jn 1:32 NKJV) And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.

Here it’s not a dove, but something that looks like flames of fire on each person.

John the Baptist had talked about the baptism of the Spirit in this way:

(Mt 3:11 NKJV) I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Some see the “fire” speaking of the day of Pentecost, tongues of fire.
Others see the “fire” component being a picture of judgment, to burn away the things that aren’t of God.


Do you want to be filled with a Spirit who, though he is like Jesus in his gentleness and love, will nevertheless demand to be Lord of your life? Are you willing to let your personality be taken over by another, even if that other be the Spirit of God himself? If the Spirit takes charge of your life he will expect unquestioning obedience in everything. He will not tolerate in you the self-sins even though they are permitted and excused by most Christians.… You will find the Spirit to be in sharp opposition to the easy ways of the world and of the mixed multitude within the precincts of religion. He will be jealous over you for good. He will not allow you to boast or swagger or show off. He will take the direction of your life away from you. He will reserve the right to test you, to discipline you, to chasten you for your soul’s sake. He may strip you of many of those borderline pleasures which other Christians enjoy but which are to you a source of refined evil. Through it all he will enfold you in a love so vast, so mighty, so all-embracing, so wondrous that your very losses will seem like gains and your small pains like pleasure.
A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)

:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

:4 filled with the Holy Spirit

We talked about this on Sunday morning. This is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised:

(Ac 1:5 NKJV) for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”


If we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and self-seeking and pleasure and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God, and I believe many a man is praying to God to fill him when he is full already with something else.
Dwight Lyman Moody (1837–1899)

:4 speak with other tongues

They are being enabled by the Holy Spirit to speak in languages they have never learned before. They are also speaking words that they themselves do not understand.

While some teach that everyone who is filled with the Spirit must speak in tongues, the Bible does not teach this.  Not all speak with tongues.

There are indeed several places where people are filled with the Spirit and speak in tongues, but there are also going to be places in the book of Acts where tongues are not mentioned.
Paul wrote,
(1 Co 12:29–30 NKJV) —29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?

The implied answer for each question in the Greek grammar is “no”.

The gifts of the Spirit are part of what identifies you as a “member” or a “part” of the Body of Christ. It takes all the body parts to make up a body. The only person who has all the gifts is Jesus, because the Body of Christ is His body. The rest of us are all just parts.

Don’t get me wrong here – the gift of tongues is a wonderful, beautiful, special gift of the Spirit. But it’s just one of many gifts. Paul wrote,

(1 Co 13:1–3 NKJV) —1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
The gifts are beautiful, but if we don’t learn to use them with love, it’s all worthless. We’ll talk more about the gifts of the Spirit in a few weeks on Sunday morning.

2:5-13 The Crowd Reacts

:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.

This is because Pentecost was one of the yearly feasts that Jews were required to come to Jerusalem to worship. In Jesus’ day, the Jews not only lived in Israel, but in just about every other part of the world.

:6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

:6 in his own language

Though Paul mentioned that there are “tongues of angels” (1Cor. 13:1), in this instance all the tongues were recognizable languages. These people from all over the world were hearing messages in their own languages.

:7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?

:8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

:9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

:11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

:9-11 Parthians … Arabs

See map of the Diaspora.

These are Jews from all around the world who are in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost.

They are all hearing things in their own native language.

:11 the wonderful works of God

The content of “tongues”.

There was content to what they were saying, it wasn’t just gibberish.

The believers speaking in tongues didn’t know what they were saying, but those who heard it did.

The content had to do with giving God praise.

Paul wrote about who is addressed when someone speaks in tongues:

(1 Co 14:2 NKJV) For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
In Acts 2, the disciples are telling God about His wonderful works.

Tongues can be a way of expressing thanks and praise to God.

Paul told the Corinthians that tongues do not benefit the church unless there is interpretation. Yet they are still a way of giving thanks “well”.
(1 Co 14:15–17 NKJV) —15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? 17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.
The “uninformed” is the person in the service who doesn’t understand what you’re saying if you are speaking out loud in tongues.  Tongues does not give the “uninformed” any value.  Paul’s intent is to show that tongues without interpretation does not help the rest of the church.
But for the person speaking in tongues, they do “give thanks well”.

There are times when English words just cannot express the love you have towards God. If you have the gift of tongues, this is a great time to use it. It’s okay during worship to sing in tongues, thought it might be a good idea to sing a little quieter so you’re just singing to God and not to the person next to you.

:12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

This is the main question that Peter is going to address.

:12 Whatever could this mean?


Our worship prepares their hearts

We often think of worship as being a purely “Christian” thing, where we do it behind closed doors, where there are only believers.
Yet here are the disciples praising God, a crowd gathers, and they start asking questions.
And when Peter gets up to answer their questions, 3,000 people are going to be saved!
Don’t be afraid to bring your friends to church, and show them that God is real by worshipping Him.
Don’t be afraid of worshipping in front of others.

:13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

:13 full of new wine

Paul also connected being “drunk” with being “filled”:

(Eph 5:18 NKJV) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
They are not “under the influence” of alcohol, but of the Spirit of God.


The Real Deal

I think that part of the appeal of drugs and alcohol is the unrecognized fact that they are simply substitutes for the real thing, the Spirit of God.
There was a photographer for a national magazine who was assigned to take pictures of a great forest fire. He was advised that a small plane would be waiting to fly him over the fire.
The photographer arrived at the airstrip just an hour before sundown. Sure enough, a small Cessna airplane was waiting. He jumped in with his equipment and shouted, “Let’s go!” The tense man sitting in the pilot’s seat swung the plane into the wind and soon they were in the air, though flying erratically.
“Fly over the north side of the fire,” said the photographer, “and make several low-level passes.” “Why?” asked the nervous pilot. “Because I’m going to take pictures!” yelled the photographer. “I’m a photographer, and photographers take pictures.”
After a long pause, the “pilot” replied: “You mean, you’re not my instructor?”
Sometimes it’s kind of important to make sure you get in the right plane with a “real” pilot.
Don’t settle for quick substitutes like alcohol and drugs. The Holy Spirit is the “real deal”. Don’t settle for anything less.

2:14-36 Peter’s Message

:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.

:15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

:15 the third hour

It’s only 9:00 in the morning.

:16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

Peter will start his message by answering their questions with a quote from Joel 2:28-32

(Joe 2:28–32 NKJV) —28 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. 30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 32 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the Lord has said, Among the remnant whom the Lord calls.

:17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.

:18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.

Young and old, men and women, God will pour out His Spirit.

:19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

These are things often associate with our future, the Second Coming. Yet part of this prophecy spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit.

:21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’

:17 in the last days

Peter is saying that Joel’s prophecy was about the last days.

Peter is using this passage to describe what was happening in 33 AD.
We like to think of our current time period as the “last days”, but there is a technical sense in which the “last days” have been happening since the day of Pentecost.

:17 Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy

I was talking to Caleb Beller yesterday and he was sharing with me some of the exciting things that are happening in Hungary at the Bible College.

This last summer he ran the “Vision for Life” program, taking 30 teens for six weeks, discipling them, and watching God work through them.
Caleb was reminded of this passage, that God would be using youth in the last days.

:21 whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved

What a great passage, and from the Old Testament at that!

Peter will use this last phrase to encourage the people to call out to God, to believe in God and be saved.

If you haven’t asked God to save you, it’s not too late.

Isn’t it amazing that this concept of trusting in God for salvation comes from the OLD TESTAMENT?

:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—

:23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;

:24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

:22 Jesus of Nazareth

This is Peter’s testimony about Jesus.

Peter’s message starts by explaining their questions about the phenomena taking place through the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
Peter then transitions the message to the real main topic – Jesus.
Jesus said that one of the Holy Spirit’s main jobs was going to be to point to Jesus.
(Jn 15:26 NKJV) “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
(Jn 16:14 NKJV) He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
If you are really filled with the Spirit, this is what you should expect.
You will be pointing people to Jesus, not the Holy Spirit.

We’ll be talking more about the things that the Holy Spirit does on Sunday morning.

:22 as you yourselves also know

Jesus was not some sort of mythical person. He was real. All the people that Peter is preaching to know what had happened through Jesus and especially the last two months when Jesus was betrayed and crucified.

:23 you have … put to death

Pretty bold words. They are guilty of having Jesus put to death.

It’s the same with us.


My sin killed Jesus

Just because we think about God’s love and how God has taken care of our salvation, we shouldn’t forget that it was our sin that put Him on the cross.
There’s a t-shirt that has the phrase on it, “I killed Jesus”.  It’s true.
Yet even then, it wasn’t nails that held Him to the cross, it was love.  Love for us.  He did it because He loves us.

:23 determined purpose … of God

Even though Peter is reminding the people that they as a nation had put Jesus to death, he also acknowledges that it had always been God’s plan for the Messiah to suffer and die for our sins.

800 years before, Isaiah wrote,

(Is 53:5–6 NKJV) —5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

:24 whom God raised up

When we share with people about Jesus, we never leave Him in the grave.

He rose again.

The central theme of the apostles’ preaching was the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

If you examine Peter’s sermons recorded in Acts 3,4,5, and 11, you will see Peter always bring in the fact of the resurrection.
Not only was Jesus’ death predicted, so was His resurrection…

:25 For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.

:26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.

:27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

:28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’

Peter is quoting from the Psalms to show that the resurrection was actually prophesied.

Peter is quoting from Psalm 16:8-11 (verse 8 is the theme of this year’s Ladies’ retreat)

(Ps 16:8–11 NKJV) —8 I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. 10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

David is talking almost as if he didn’t expect to die and stay dead, as if he wouldn’t experience the bodily corruption of death.  But David isn’t speaking about himself, he is speaking prophetically…

:29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

David can’t be talking about himself because he died and is still buried.

:30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,

:31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.

:32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.

:25 David says concerning Him


Filled with the Word

Pay attention to Peter’s knowledge and use of the Scriptures.  He has Scriptural reasons for what he is preaching.  First he quoted from Joel, now from Psalms.
People God use mightily are people filled with the Word.
Billy Graham in his autobiography, “Just as I am”, pg.212:

“Early 1954 gave me very little time at home in Montreat.  Ruth maintained in her counsel and advice to me that my studies should consist primarily of filling up spiritually; she believed, as I did, that God would give me the message and bring to remembrance in my preaching the things I had studied.  This was always the most effective preaching, we had discovered:  preaching that came from the overflow of a heart and mind filled not only with the Spirit but with much reading.  Hence, I picked each sermon topic carefully, read myself full, wrote myself empty, and read myself full again on the subject.”

:33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.

:34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand,

:35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”

:34 The Lord said to my Lord

Peter is quoting from Psalm 110:1, which speaks of Jesus (“my Lord”) sitting at the right hand of God (“The LORD”).

In other words, Jesus had to ascend into heaven.

Peter quotes one more time from David, to give a Scriptural reason why Jesus ascended into heaven.

In doing so, he quotes from one of Jesus’ favorite passages (Psa. 110:1; Mat. 22:42-46), a passage known by all as one descriptive of the Messiah.
(Ps 110:1 NKJV) The Lord said to my Lord,“Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
(Mt 22:42–46 NKJV) —42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: 44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ’? 45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.
And now Peter pulls from this same passage to talk about the idea of the Messiah sitting at the right hand of God until the time comes that God brings all of His enemies into submission to Him.
Peter is pointing out that there had to be a time when the Messiah would be sitting in heaven at God’s right hand, waiting for the time when the enemies would be conquered.
Jesus had to ascend into heaven.

:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

:36 both Lord and Christ

Peter is referring to Psalm 110:1 when he says “Lord” here.

He’s saying that God has identified Jesus as the “Lord” (not all caps in OT) in Psalm 110:1.

God has also made Jesus to be the Christ, the Messiah, the one anointed to save His people.

2:37-41 Message Response

:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

:37 they were cut to the heart

As the people were listening to these words of Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, they were “cut to the heart”.



One of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to bring “conviction”
(Jn 16:8 NKJV) And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Conviction is the sense that you are guilty before God and that you are facing judgment.
It is not something that we can manufacture, it’s something that the Holy Spirit does.

He will use our words (like He used Peter’s), but He is the one who penetrates hearts and convicts.

In particular, He likes to use the word of God:

(Heb 4:12 NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Share God’s Word with people, whether they believe it’s God’s Word or not.  It is powerful and it is what the Holy Spirit can use to bring conviction.

You might say to me, “But how can I use the Bible to tell my friends about Jesus when they don’t believe in the Bible!”

The fact that they don’t believe in the Bible isn’t really all that relevant.


A robber comes into a bank and tells the teller to give him all the money.

As he pulls out his gun to show the teller, the teller responds, “But I don’t believe in guns!”  “I’ve never seen a gun hurt anybody, and I don’t believe that yours can hurt me!”

What will happen if the robber decides to show the teller that his gun actually works?  Will the teller’s disbelief keep him from hurt when the robber pulls the trigger?

The Bible is the “sword of the Spirit”, and it is going to work in people’s hearts, whether or not they believe in it.

Just use it.

:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

:38 Repent

Don’t forget that Peter has already told them from Joel 2 to “call on the name of the Lord”.  He’s already told them to believe.

Now we see that “calling on the name” will involve repentance.
Repentance means to “turn around”.  Instead of doing things that take you away from God, you change your behavior and turn toward God.
We are not saved by works (like repenting) but we are saved by faith.
(Eph 2:8–9 NKJV) —8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
But if the faith is real, then it will result in repentance. 
(Jas 2:14 NLT) What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?
It is important to realize that if a person says they want to believe in Jesus to be saved, that they need to be willing to repent.
God loves you enough to accept you just the way you are.
God loves you enough to not leave you like you are, but to encourage you to change.

:38 baptized … for the remission of sins

– or, for “the forgiveness of sins”, the idea is the “release from the debt” of sin.

The word “for” can carry two different ideas.  If you saw a wanted poster that said, “Jesse James Wanted for Robbery”, it could mean that you “want to see Jesse James so he can commit a robbery for you”, or it can mean you “want to see Jesse James because he has committed robbery”.
We are not baptized in order to receive forgiveness of sins, we are baptized because we have received forgiveness of sins.

Baptism doesn’t save you, baptism is something we do out of obedience because we have been saved.

:38 the gift of the Holy Spirit

Peter is giving us another name for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Peter isn’t just talking about the indwelling of the Spirit, the people have been prompted by what they’ve seen with the baptism of the Spirit.

Jesus called it the “promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4)
Later when the Holy Spirit is poured out on the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house, Peter refers to the filling of the Holy Spirit as the “gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 10:45; 11:17).

And no, you don’t need to be baptized in water to be filled with the Spirit.

The Gentiles at Cornelius’ house will believe and be filled with the Spirit, and then Peter will reason with the other disciples that they should also baptize these folks since God has filled them with His Spirit. (Acts 10:47)
(Ac 10:47 NKJV) “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?

:39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

:40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”

:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

:41 three thousand souls

Wow.  In one day the church has grown from 120 to 3,120.

2:42-47 Early Church Habits

:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

:42 continued steadfastly …

The early church was known to practice these things on a regular basis:

1. The apostles’ doctrine

The early church was about teaching.
The apostles would have been teaching things from the Old Testament.
They would have shared the teachings of Jesus.
They would have shared the things taught them by the Holy Spirit, the things we have recorded in their letters in our New Testament.

2. Fellowship

The Greek word is koinonia – the word means “sharing” or having things in “common”. Potlucks and going out for Starbucks after church can be a part of that. But it’s not just having “coffee” as the thing that we have in common, it’s having Jesus be the center of everything. It’s becoming a part of each others’ lives to encourage, support, and build up one another.

3. Breaking of bread

It could be that Luke was just elaborating on “koinonia”, but it seems more likely talking about communion, the bread and wine that represent what Jesus did for us. Jesus wanted us to remember what He did.

4. Prayers

The word used here is a general word for prayer and so this would include all kinds of prayer – Adoration, confession, and supplication – making specific requests from God.
Too often we think church is the place for “preaching”.  In the early church it was also a place of prayer.

:43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

:43 fear came upon every soul

When we are experiencing a true work of God in our midst, there ought to be a sense of fear.

Seeing God’s work is not “look what cool things happen in my church”. 

Seeing God’s work brings a sense of accountability to God.  God is here.  God sees us.  I better start taking God seriously.

:44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,

:45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

:45 as anyone had need

To be honest, the early church in Jerusalem practiced a form of communism.

I’m not sure you see this in some of later Gentile churches around the world.
I’m also not sure each person sold all of their belongings.
But they did meet needs.

I’ve seen folks take this wrongly over the years and expect the church to pay all their bills.  Paul wrote,

(2 Th 3:10–12 NKJV) —10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.

:46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,

:47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

:46 continuing daily … in the temple

They met every day.  Wow.

:47 the Lord added … daily

It seems to me that “church growth” is God’s responsibility.

I think we need to do our part – we need to be close to the Lord, we need to be sensitive to the Lord, we need to be filled with the Spirit, we need to be living like the church is supposed to live. We need to be open to what God would want to do.
Are we open to people being saved? Do we want to be used by God?
But what happens from there seems to be God’s job.