Pentecost (Acts 2) The Day the Church Began
The church was conceived in the mind of God. We read, To the intent that now unto principalities and powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 3:10-11).
God said that the seed of Abraham was to bless all nations (Genesis 22:18). Paul said that the promise was not to seeds but to SEED. That seed was Christ (Galatians 3:16). Isaiah said, And it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of Jehovah's house shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow unto it (Isaiah 2:2). This would be a change from the Old Testament, for God, in giving the law to Moses, said, Write thou these words for after the tenor of these words have I made a covenant with Israel (Exodus 34:27-28). Isaiah said that all nations would flow into God's house (Isaiah 2:2). John the Baptist had one message. Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand (Matthew 3:2).
John was cast into prison and beheaded, and Jesus began His earthly ministry. His message was: Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand (Matthew 4:17). Jesus used the terms kingdom and church together (Matthew 16:18,19). In Mark 9:1 Jesus said that the kingdom would come in the lifetime of those to whom He spoke, and He said that it would come with power.
After Jesus arose from the dead, the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost with power. Jesus said that His chosen men would carry the message of the gospel into the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8). Paul says that Christ, was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4). Paul further declares that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to the believer (Romans 1:16). He further tells us that the gospel is the facts of the death, burial and resurrection (I Corinthians 15:3-5).
Jesus summarized all this by saying, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned: (Mark 16:15, 16). The apostles were to wait in Jerusalem (Luke 24:49). The Holy Spirit was to come to them there. Peter, guided by the Holy Spirit, declared that God had made Him Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified (Acts 2:36). This Jesus was at the right hand of God (Acts 2:32.33). The effect of this sermon was immediate. Now when they heard this they were pricked to the hearts and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brethren, what shall we do?' There can be no mistake in the answer. Those who gave the answer were guided by the Holy Spirit.
And Peter said unto them, 'Repent ye and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit' (Acts 2:38).
This was not a limited command, for the next verse says, For to you is the promise and to your children and to all that are afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call (Acts 2:39).
One of the most popular doctrines in the world today is the doctrine of justification by faith alone. If that doctrine is true, then Acts 2:38 is not true. To say it is not true is to charge God with folly. Jesus saves those who obey (Hebrews 5:9). Yes, we are saved by faith but we are saved by an obedient faith (James 2:14, 24). Peter, by the Holy Spirit, said they were to save themselves (Acts 2:40). Now note that they that received his word were baptized (Acts 2:41). Now, what did they do? And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:41). Our duty is revealed in that verse. If we would restore New Testament Christianity, we must return to the pattern as revealed in this chapter. Jude tells us that the faith was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
We pass under judgment when we reject the words of Jesus (John 12:48). Here are the words of Jesus, Every one therefore that heareth these words of mine and doeth them shall be likened unto a wise man who built his house upon the rock and the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house; it fell not for it was founded on the rock. And every one that heareth these words of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man who built his house on the sand and the rain descended and the floods came and the winds blew, and smote upon that house and it fell and great was the fall thereof (Matthew 7:24-27).
All life comes from a seed. Each seed produces after its kind. Wheat produces wheat; it does not produce oats. Jesus said that the seed of the kingdom is the word of God. He was talking about the church. That seed never produced anything but a church of Christ in the New Testament.
Let us see what happened the day the church was born. And Peter said to them, 'Repent ye, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For to you is the promise and to your children and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto Him.' And with many other words he testified and exhorted them saying, 'Save yourselves from this crooked generation.' They then that received his word were baptized; and there were added unto them in that day, about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:38-42).
Wherefore, putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls (James 1:21). Then he adds this warning, But be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only deluding your own selves (James 1:22).
J. C. Bailey, 1992, Weyburn, Saskatchewan
Published in The Old Paths Archive