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The last part of Acts chapter 2 provides an inside look at the early church gathered together. Many times people take this picture of the early church and try to make church like it today or judge their church because it’s not like that.

This passage is descriptive, but not necessarily prescriptive.  Meaning, that the passage describes how the early church operated immediately after Pentecost but does not command that the church operate the same way in the future.  There are important parts of this passage that we should learn from without trying to fit our round church into this square hole.

The thrust of the passage is that the church is together. This is not just a physical idea, but spreads to all facets of life. They were together in their beliefs based on learning and growing together under the apostle’s teaching. They sold goods and distributed as needed recognizing that God is provider. God provides some an abundance so that they may be a blessing for those that are without.

The church eats together. Everyone eats. It’s part of everyday life. Eating together reminds the church of many things. One is that God has provided. Another is our mortality. If we do not eat we will not continue to live. Eating together should be a worshipful experience if we do it in light of God and not our own selfish desires.

Obviously this ability to be together was supernaturally supported. Anytime you get people together you are gathering sinners. When sinners gather, even if they are believers, conflict happens. People are messy. Sin is messy. Therefore the ability to gather together is completely dependent on believers actively living out the gospel. Believers must continually walk in confession and repentance to gather as a church and walk together.

Lastly people were added. People were not added because of what the church did, but because of what God did within the church. When God transforms people it allows them to have community with one another that was not possible before.

Right in the middle of Acts 2 we get a sermon from the Apostle Peter.  The Holy Spirit falls on the church in dramatic fashion and the world notices immediately. As soon as the crowd gathers Peter opens his mouth and the Holy Spirit provides the voice.

Peter preaches the gospel. He doesn’t sugar coat. He doesn’t do a dance or dramatic interpretation.  Peter quotes from the Old Testament and then ties the events written about long ago to the very time they were experiencing. Scripture was living and active.

Then Peter tells them they killed Jesus. And Jesus was Lord. He preaches repentance, trust in Christ as a redemption of sins, and baptism. Simple message. The same message we are to preach today.

The Spirit moved. People were convicted. And with the work of the Spirit they received the words and were saved.

The crowds are gathering. Will we be obedient to open our mouths? Will we preach the gospel?

Read this article from a counselor at CCEF.  He quickly connects the root of our anger in the simplest disappointments to our disbelief in God’s goodness.  Yet the goodness of God shines through.

We will be back to regular blogging soon.  It has been a big summer so far.  Updates coming.  In the mean time I will try to post some other blogs for your reading.

Acts chapter 2 starts with the disciples all in one place on the day of Pentecost. Pentecost is 50 days after the passover, so it has probably been about one week since Jesus ascended. The Holy Spirit appears. First they hear a mighty rushing wind. When I was younger I lived in West Texas and this time of year we always had tornado warnings. A tornado is said to sound a freight train passing by. I imagine the mighty rushing wind made a significant sound.

The Holy Spirit not only presented himself audibly, but also visually. Tongues of fire came down, split to all the people, and landed on them. As if a supernatural rushing wind inside a room was not enough, the disciples now saw an incredible phenomenon of fire coming down and touching them. The disciples were now filled with the Holy Spirit. At this filling they began to speak in other tongues as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance.

Pentecost is the celebration of Feast of Weeks or Feast of Harvest. The Jewish people would gather to offer their firstfruits to God. We find out there are Jews from all around the region and they speak many different languages. The passage reveals 15 possible different languages. The multitude of Jews heard the sound and commotion to see what was going on. The disciples under the power of the Holy Spirit then proclaimed the mighty works of God in the tongues previously unknown to them.

First the Holy Spirit presented himself powerfully in three ways that could not be explained as human exertion. There was an audible sound, visual representation, and an oral proclamation in an unlearned language. The Spirit with purpose. It was a time where many from different parts of the world were gathered together and the Spirit sought to reach them. The message was proclaimed in a way they could understand.

We will not do an in-depth study of the gift of tongues at this point. What we need to recognize is that the men spoke under the power of the Holy Spirit and as He gave them utterance. The languages they spoke were of the men that were gathered there that the gospel might be proclaimed. The gift of tongues was completely given for the glory of the Lord and the proclamation of the gospel.

The men that gathered to hear them were amazed. Some questioned whether they were drunk. The Holy Spirit unquestionably moved powerfully.

What do we take away from this passage? The Spirit is powerful. The Spirit can move in us to do that which is impossible for us. The gifts of the Spirit are for His glory and the proclamation of the gospel. We should desire and expect the Spirit to move in us in powerful ways to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

In Acts 1 we encounter a scene that is not talked about much.  When they come back to the upper room they choose a disciple to replace Judas. It’s an interesting text and I want to focus on one aspect. 

Scripture says they were worshipping and praying in one accord when Peter spoke to the group. Peter quotes from the Psalms. He quotes them as speaking about Judas and what they should do now. Don’t miss this point because it shows us insight into how the disciples viewed scriptures. Somehow Peter knew that the Old Testament could speak directly into their current lives, that it could be taken as prophesy. He also quoted a part that instructed them to fulfill the role that Judas once did. 

Then the disciples prayed to the Lord and cast lots between two men who had walked with them from the beginning. The lot fell on Matthias.

What does this teach us about Scripture?  The disciples had a supernatural trust in the Word of God. They believed it spoke specifically to present situations. The greater realization may be that the way they read Scripture should teach us what they believed about the God who created it.

Christ gathers his disciples and takes them up to a hill.  It has been about 40 days since the resurrection. The disciples want to know if Christ will now restore the kingdom to Israel. His answer is that it is not for them to know the times and seasons established by the Father, but they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them and they will be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

When I first read this I thought Christ was taking mercy upon their misunderstanding of who he was, why he came, and what he did by not answering their question. After reading through it and meditating on it I realized that he did answer them.  At this point they don’t have much understanding of the Holy Spirit and what will happen when the Spirit shows up. We have carried on this tradition today. We don’t know the role of the Holy Spirit and we either overemphasize the work of the Spirit or avoid speaking about the Spirit.  That may be overly harsh for some of you but I come from a Baptist background where we mainly speak of the spirit when we are baptizing someone. And we don’t mean the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

What Jesus tells the disciples is that he is going away and he is sending the Spirit. The Spirit will give them power to be witnesses of gospel. The kingdom will be restored using the church powered by the Holy Spirit to witness to the world about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ will restore his kingdom but not like they were thinking.

We are like the disciples a lot of time when we want Christ to just take over the world and give us comfort and peace. We want the kingdom of God to be restored because of what we will get or who we will be not because He will be glorified. If His kingdom is restored we get God, He is the good news, not what we might get along with Him.

So Christ tells them the Spirit is coming, they will be powerful when they have the Spirit, and it will lead to them witnessing to the world. The story is the same for believers today. Today Christ is restoring the kingdom of God using the church. Today Christ desires to empower us with the Spirit. Today Christ desires for us to be His witnesses in Dallas, Texas, the U.S. and the ends of the earth.

At the end of the passage after Christ ascends the disciples are greeted by angels. They are told not to continue looking into heaven for Christ, but that Christ will return just as He ascended. We are not to look into the heavens for Christ, but to trust that one day He will return just as He ascended. We are to be busy about the kingdom of God. We are to ask for the Spirit to empower us so that we may boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Christ left, but He did not leave us alone. He sent us the Spirit. Let that reality resonate in your soul this week.

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