"Showing the way, Teaching the truth,
Experiencing the life in Christ"
Part 5 - The Gift of Tongues
(Acts 2:4, NKJV)
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“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues,
as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
In this lesson we will see how the incredible power of the Holy Spirit was released in the Jerusalem Church when there was an environment of unity—they were all united around the primary purpose for which the Lord Jesus had left His church in the world. Jesus explained that purpose to them when He said, “You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8b, NKJV).
The leaders of the church had just led them to make the decision to replace Judas, who betrayed the Lord and then committed suicide, with Matthias to work with the other apostles as a witness of the resurrection of Jesus. Luke wrote, “They cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:26, NKJV). Remarkably, the church was united around this decision.
In the midst of their unity, the Holy Spirit arrived and began to empower them to do exactly what Jesus had told them to do when He said, “You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8b, NKJV). Luke recorded the scene when he wrote, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4, NKJV).
II. Crossing the Language Barrier
“The Day of Pentecost” was a Jewish religious holiday known among Old Testament Jews as “The Day of First Fruits,” during which they offered a sacrifice to God from the first fruits of their harvest. It occurred fifty days after the Jewish Passover Celebration which is why Luke used the Greek word “Pentecost”—which means “fifty”—to describe it. On this first celebration of “The Day of First Fruits” or “The Day of Pentecost” after the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus, the Jerusalem Church was experiencing a season of incredible unity. That’s why Luke wrote, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1, NKJV).
Jews from all over the known world of that day would travel to Jerusalem, to offer sacrifices from the first fruits of their harvest to God at His Temple in the city. That’s why Luke wrote, “There were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2L5, NKJV). Many of these Jews were second and third generation descendants of Jewish people who had migrated from Judea decades earlier and were born in and grew up in the various provinces of Alexander the Great’s Greek Empire.
Many of them no longer spoke the Hebrew language of Judea, but the languages of the various nations in which they had been born. God chose this day when Jewish people of many different languages to begin the process of getting His Gospel across the language barrier. Luke recorded the event like this: “Suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:2-4, NKJV).
When Luke wrote, “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4, NKJV). He used the Greek word “glossa,” which is translated “tongues,” but which literally means “languages.” It is the Greek word that we get our English word “glossary” from. It refers to the words of a language.
“The gift of tongues” was given when the Holy Spirit gave Hebrew speaking Jewish disciples of Jesus the supernatural ability to speak languages they had never learned in order to get the Gospel across the language barriers of the first century. That’s what Luke was describing when he wrote, “They…began to speak with other tongues [languages] as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4, NKJV). The gift of tongues was actually the gift of languages.
Luke’s description of what happened clearly reveals that God gave first-century Jews “the gift of tongues”—the gift of languages—in order to get His Gospel into all the major languages of the known world of that day. He wrote, “There were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues [languages] the wonderful works of God.’” (Acts 2:5-11, NKJV).
The gift of tongues was actually the gift of languages—and not some kind of mystical language that only God knows! They were the very real languages of people who were present and needed to hear the Gospel in their languages so they could understand it and believe it! And that was exactly what happened. Luke wrote, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41, NKJV).
III. Peter’s Explanation of the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit
Those who witnessed this outpouring of God’s Spirit responded in one of two ways. Some were amazed but simply didn’t understand the significance of what they had just witnessed. Others assumed that the disciples were merely babbling as a result of drunkenness. So Peter seized the moment and used it as an opportunity to explain what they had just seen God do. He said, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘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. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy’” (Acts 2:14b-18, NKJV). Peter declared that what they had just experienced was the fulfillment of a prediction by the ancient prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-29, NKJV) through whom God said, “I will pour out my spirit…and they shall prophesy.” The term “prophesy” in this context means “to declare the Word of the Lord,” but in order to effectively do so, those disciples needed to declare it in the languages of their audience. So God gave them the gift of languages!
Peter continued to quote from Joel’s Old Testament prophecy (Joel 2:30-32a, NKJV) describing events that will occur at the end of the church age and concluding with a statement that implied that this outpouring of the Holy Spirit was given to empower God’s people to effectively witness on a global scale until the end of the age. He said, “I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:19-21, NKJV).
“The gift of tongues”—the gift of languages—was not given to the church for our benefit. It was given to God’s people for the benefit of non-believers who need to hear the Gospel in their own languages and then believe it. That’s what God said through Joel’s prophecy, “I will pour out My Spirit…And they shall prophesy…And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:18b…21, NKJV). Paul explained the same fact to the believers at Corinth when he wrote, “Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers” (I Corinthians 14:22a, NIV). The gift of languages was given by the Holy Spirit as an evangelism tool to enable God’s people to witness to non-believers in their own language!
So what would “the gift of tongues”—the gift of languages—look like in our day in our situation? It might look something like this: An Hispanic family, who just arrived from Mexico and speaks no English, might show up at one of our worship services. Since nobody here is fluent in Spanish and God wants them to hear the Gospel, He might choose one of you and suddenly, supernaturally give you the ability to speak Spanish—even though you have never learned that language. You would preach the Gospel to the Hispanic family in Spanish. Thus, moving the Gospel across the language barrier! That’s what Luke says happened in Jerusalem on “The Day of Pentecost.” He wrote, “They…began to speak with other tongues [languages], as the Spirit gave them utterance… everyone heard them speak in his own language” (Acts 2:4…6b, NKJV).
Giving His people a tool with which they could get the Gospel across the language barrier was all part of Jesus’ plan to empower them to do what He had commanded them to do when He said, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NKJV).
Part 6 - Peter’s Powerful Sermon
(Acts 2:36, NKJV)
“Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus,
whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus promised to give Peter “the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew recorded the scene when he wrote, “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:13-19a, NKJV).
“The keys of the kingdom of heaven” is God’s message to the world regarding the death, resurrection, and ascension of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter used those keys for the first time during his powerful sermon on the Day of Pentecost and opened the gates of heaven for 3,000 Jewish people!
Luke recorded the opening lines of Peter’s sermon when he wrote, “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— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it” (Acts 2:22-24, NKJV).
In the introduction of his sermon, Peter boldly declared the death and resurrection of Jesus. Later in the sermon he proclaimed the ascension of Jesus; and as a result, 3,000 people believed it and were baptized. Luke wrote, “Those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41, NKJV).
II. The Death of Jesus
The first significant point of Peter’s sermon was that Jesus had been crucified and as a result He had died. He said, “Jesus of Nazareth… you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death” (Acts 2:22b…23b, NKJV).
Peter was there as an eye-witness of Jesus’ death, so he could preach that message with great confidence. As he preached he may have been remembering the scene recorded by Matthew when he wrote, “And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink. Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: ‘They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.’ Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: ‘This is Jesus the King of the Jews.’ Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left. And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing. Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, ‘This Man is calling for Elijah!’ Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. The rest said, ‘Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.’ And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit” (Matthew 27:33-50, NKJV).
Evil men didn’t murder Jesus. He voluntarily dismissed His spirit. Matthew wrote, “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit” (Matthew 27:50, NKJV).
III. The Resurrection of Jesus
The next crucial point in Peter’s sermon was that, even though the Jews had taken Jesus, crucified Him, and put Him to death, God had raised Him from the dead! Peter said, “Whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it” (Acts 2:24, NKJV).
Peter then offered his Jewish audience the Biblical basis for believing that God would raise His Son, the Messiah, from the dead. He quoted what King David had written in Psalm 16:8-11 when he said, “I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence” (Acts 2:25b-28, NKJV).
Peter explained the David was writing about Jesus, not himself, when he wrote Psalm 16:8-11. He said, “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. 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, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:29-32, NKJV).
An important fact to notice is that while the body of Jesus was lying cold and lifeless in the tomb, His soul journeyed into Hell and He experienced there everything we deserve to experience because of our sin. Peter said, “You will not leave my soul in Hades” (Acts 2:27a, NKJV). Peter understood that Jesus was confident that His soul would return to His body and He would therefore be resurrected and His body would be rescued the decay of death. He said, “Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption” (Acts 2:27b, NKJV).
In order to be saved people must believe the God raised Jesus from the dead. They must believe in His resurrection. Paul wrote, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9, NKJV).
IV. The Ascension of Jesus
Not only did King David write about the resurrection of Jesus, he also predicted His ascension. Peter quoted David, saying, “You will make me full of joy in your presence” (Acts 2:28b, NKJV). Therefore, after His resurrection, Jesus returned to heaven full of joy in His Father’s presence!
Peter again insisted that David wasn’t writing about Himself, but about Jesus. He was quoting from Psalm 110:1 when he said, “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool’” (Acts 2:34-35, NKJV). In order to sit at the right hand of His Father, after leaving the tomb, Jesus had to return to heaven where His Father’s throne is. Peter interpreted David’s words to be a clear prediction of the ascension of Jesus!
As Peter preached this section of his sermon, he may have been reflecting on a scene he had witnessed just a few weeks before. It was recorded by Luke when he wrote, “He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God” (Luke 24:50-53, NKJV).
The ascension of Jesus means that today He is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven acting as our defense attorney! Paul wrote, “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us [pleading our case]” (Romans 8:34b, NIV). John wrote, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate [defense attorney] with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (I John 2:1, NIV).
God has given us “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” just as He did Peter, and He wants us to use those keys—to proclaim the message of the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus—to open the gates of heaven and let as many people in as we possibly can! That’s why Jesus said to His disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15, NKJV). Peter said, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9, NIV).
Peter summed up the matter when he concluded his sermon with these immortal words: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2L36, NKJV).
Part 7 - The Crowd’s Response to Peter’s Sermon
(Acts 2:37, NKJV)
“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?’”
Peter concluded His Sermon on the Day of Pentecost with one of the most stirring statements of his preaching career. He challenged his Jewish audience with a dramatic conclusion to his sermon when he said, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36, NKJV).
The convicting power of the Holy Spirit was so powerful at that moment that there was an immediate response from the audience. Without any invitation or evangelistic appeal from Peter, they enthusiastically responded to the message he preached. Luke recorded the scene when he wrote, “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?’” (Acts 2:37, NKJV).
Their question was—no doubt—prompted by a deep sense of guilt. As a result of Peter’s preaching, they realized that the Jesus whom they had unjustly condemned to death by crucifixion was the very Son of God—the long-awaited Jewish Messiah! This Jesus had been raised from the dead and was now exalted in heaven. They must have wondered, “How can we—guilty murderers that we are—possibly escape judgment?” So they cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do” (Acts 2:37b, NKJV)? What a profound question—a question that demands an answer!
II. Peter’s Answer to the Jews’ Question
Peter instantly and pointedly answered their question. Luke recorded his response when he wrote, “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” (Acts 2:38, NKJV).
First, Peter said, “Repent” (Acts 2:38a, NKJV). Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of behavior. Rather than continue to believe that Jesus was a fraud who was a menace to the spiritual well-being of the nation and they had done themselves and God a favor by executing Him, they were instructed to “Repent”—change their mind! This radical change of mind would transform their behavior. No longer would they be His enemy. They would become His followers!
Genuine repentance is always evidenced by a change in behavior. This is the kind of repentance Paul preached. He said, “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 20:26, NIV).
Next, Peter said, “Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38b, NKJV). Taken alone, this verse might seem to teach that baptism is necessary for salvation, and many people insist that this is precisely what it teaches. But I want to offer you three facts from Scripture that contradict that interpretation:
In order to properly interpret Peter’s command—“Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38b, NKJV)—one must consider the meaning of the Greek preposition “eis” which is translated “for” in most English versions of the Bible. This particular Greek preposition can be translated in a variety of ways depending on the context in which it is found. It is sometimes used as an instrumental preposition and in such cases should be translated “as a means of.”
However, “eis” is also used as a causative preposition and in such cases should be translated “because of” or “as a result of.” An example of this is found in Matthew’s gospel where he wrote, “The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here” (Matthew 12:41, NKJV). In the phrase “they repented at the preaching of Jonah,” the Greek preposition “eis” is translated “at.” The meaning is obviously—“because of” or “as a result of.”
The citizens of Nineveh repented “because of” the preaching of Jonah. Likewise, the Jews in Jerusalem were baptized “because of” the remission of their sins! Baptism was the result of salvation, not the means to it.
Finally, Peter assured this Jewish crowd that if they repented and were baptized they would receive the “gift of the Holy Spirit.” He said, “You shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38c, NIV). After repentance and baptism the same power that had been promised to original members of the Jerusalem Church would be available to this crowd of Jews. They too would be empowered by the Holy Ghost to engage in a global witnessing campaign. Jesus had promised, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NKJV).
Peter then explained to them that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” is available to everyone who will “repent and be baptized.” He said, “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” (Acts 2:39, NKJV). The “gift of the Holy Spirit” was available to their generation and future generations—Jews and Gentiles alike!
Luke chose not to record the entirety of Peter’s sermon. We know that is true because he wrote, “With many other words he testified and exhorted them” (Acts 2:40, NKJV). We don’t know what those “many other words” were, but Luke summarized it like this: “Be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40b, NKJV).
The immediate results of Peter’s preaching were phenomenal. Luke wrote, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41, NKJV).
No doubt, this Galilean fisherman-turned-preacher was reminded of the words of the Lord Jesus, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19, NKJV).
Peter had just witnessed more conversions in a single day than the church had experienced up to that point in its brief history. He may have quietly pondered what Jesus had said months earlier: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12, NKJV).
In order for the church to make the maximum impact on the world in our generation, its message must be the same as that of Peter in his generation: “Be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40b, NKJV).
Part 8 - The Results of Peter’s Sermon
(Acts 2:41-42, NKJV)
“Those who gladly received his word were baptized;
and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship,
in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
Luke’s record of what happened in the aftermath of Peter’s sermon reveals two criteria that determine the effectiveness of a man’s preaching: Evangelism and Discipleship. The immediate result of Peter’s preaching was evangelism. That’s what Luke was describing when he wrote, “Those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41, NKJV).
The long-term result of Peter’s preaching was discipleship. Luke described the wave of discipleship that resulted from Peter’s sermon when he wrote, “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42, NKJV).
Let’s examine both the immediate and long-term results of Peter’s sermon.
II. The Immediate Results of Peter’s Sermon
The immediate results of Peter’s preaching were phenomenal. Luke wrote, “Those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41, NKJV). No doubt, this Galilean fisherman-turned-preacher named Peter was reminded of the words of the Lord Jesus, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Peter had just witnessed more conversions in a single day than had been experienced by the church up to that point in its brief history.
Evangelism occurs when God’s people use every creative and resourceful means to communicate the gospel to unbelievers. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15, NIV). That means that God wants us to personally “preach the gospel” to everyone in our sphere of influence, and He wants us to contribute toward the preaching of the gospel on a global scale!
Evangelism is one of the purposes of His church, because God doesn’t want anyone to perish. Peter wrote, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9, NIV). When Jesus paused long enough to describe His life mission, He said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10, NIV). Because it was the mission of our Lord “to seek” and “to save” those who are hopelessly lost in sin, it should be our personal mission “to seek” those who are lost in sin, and to introduce them to the only One who can “save” them!
Without hearing the Word of God men and women simply cannot be saved. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24, KJV). Paul logically explained this fact, when he wrote, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:13-14, NIV). That’s why on the Day of Pentecost, Peter preached God’s Word to that immense crowd of Jews—declaring Who Jesus was and what He had done for the entire human race!
That’s why Paul was so bold in his proclamation of the Gospel. He wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile” (Romans 1:16, NIV). Our words do not have the “power” to bring salvation to others. Only God’s Word has that kind of “power!” That’s why Paul wrote, “It is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.”
III. The Long-term Results of Peter’s Sermon
The long-term results of Peter’s preaching on the Day of Pentecost are indeed remarkable! Referring to the three thousand people who were converted at the conclusion of the sermon, Luke wrote, “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42, NKJV). The real test of one’s profession of faith in Christ is whether or no he continues to live out his faith—and those three thousand converted on Pentecost under Peter’s preaching “continued stedfastly” living out their faith within that community of fellow-believers we call the church! Let’s examine how Luke described their experience—an ongoing experience that we call discipleship.
Doctrine. Luke wrote, “They continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42a, NKJV). “The apostles’ doctrine” refers to the inspired teachings of the apostles, delivered orally at first, but now preserved for us in the pages of the New Testament. “Doctrine” (teaching) is important. For our own spiritual well-being we must “continue stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine.”
The apostles were so committed to teaching God’s Word that their enemies accused them of filling the city of Jerusalem with their doctrine. Luke wrote, “The high priest asked them, saying, ‘Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!’” (Acts 5:27b-28, NKJV). What an honor it would be if we were accused of “filling Holcomb and Kennett and Clarkton and Campbell and Gideon and Gibson with our “doctrine.”
Fellowship. Luke wrote, “They continued stedfastly…in fellowship” (Acts 2:42b, NKJV). The Greek word translated “fellowship,” means “to work together.” Another evidence of the genuineness of the profession of Peter’s three thousand converts was their love-motivated desire to work together for the advancement of His Kingdom. Again, the genuineness of one’s profession is called into question when not enough “love” is evident in his life to motivate him to spend time with fellow believers working together to advance God’s Kingdom. John wrote, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.” (I John 3:14, NKJV).
John declared that the primary goal of his preaching ministry was to develop “fellowship” among believers. He wrote, “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3, NKJV).
The Breaking of Bread. Luke wrote, “They continued stedfastly in…the breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42c, NKJV). The expression—“breaking of bread”—is used in the New Testament to refer both to the Lord’s Supper and to sharing a common meal. The meaning in any particular case must be determined by the context of the passage in which it is found. Luke used it in Acts chapter 2 to refer to The Lord’s Supper.
Jesus had told His disciples to continue to worship Him by participating in The Lord’s Supper as a reminder of His suffering and death. So that’s exactly what they did! He said, “The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (I Corinthians 11:23b-26, NKJV).
Prayers. Luke wrote, “They continued stedfastly in…prayers” (Acts 2:42d, NKJV). Prayer was the fourth long-term result of Peter’s sermon. Spiritual growth and spiritual power are directly connected to one’s commitment to “continue stedfastly in prayers.” Prayer is the only spiritual discipline in all of Scripture about which God says, “Do it without ceasing.” Paul recorded God’s attitude about prayer when he wrote to the Thessalonians, “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17, NKJV).
Prayer is such a powerful force in the lives of God’s people that James wrote, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16b, NKJV).
Because “doctrine” was going out, “fellowship” was going strong, “the breaking of bread” was going on, and “prayers” were going up, the spiritual environment of the Jerusalem church was impacted. Luke described the effect in these words, “Then fear came upon every soul” (Acts 2:43a, NKJV). A sense of holy reverence and awe swept over the church! The mighty power of the Holy Spirit was so evident that their hearts were hushed and subdued.
Then astonishment filled their souls as “many wonders and signs were done through the apostles” (Acts 2:43b, NKJV). “Wonders” were miracles that were so dramatic they caused excitement and amazement. “Signs” were miracles designed to signify that the teaching given was authentic.
Then Luke recorded an amazing occurrence in the Jerusalem church. He wrote, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need” (Acts 2:44-45, KJV). These believers continually assembled together and were so bound together by the love of Christ that they held “all things in common trust.” Whenever there was a genuine case of need in the fellowship, they sold personal property and distributed the proceeds to meet the need. Perhaps that’s why,of all the spiritual virtues the Paul listed, he considered “love” the greatest. He wrote to the believers at Corinth, “The greatest of these is love” (I Corinthians 13:13b, NIV).
The attitude that characterized the early church immediately after Pentecost was that of unity and joy! Luke wrote, “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, praising God and having favor with all the people” (Acts 2:46-47a, NKJV). As it should be in every church in every generation, the joy of their salvation overflowed into every area of life! With King David, these believers could say, “My cup runs over” (Psalm 23:5b, NKJV).
Perhaps the most impressive result of Peter’s preaching on the Day of Pentecost was that the immediate surge of evangelism that resulted from his sermon didn’t stop there. A wave of evangelism continued uninterrupted for some time. Luke wrote, “The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47b, NKJV). The church—at least some part of it—was meeting every day, and people were being saved and added to the fellowship every day. What a grand time in the Kingdom that must have been!
Sunday Service Times
Morning Worship: 10:00 a.m.
M*PACT Kidz: 10:00 a.m.
Helping Hands: 6:00 p.m.
ONE WAY Youth: 6:00 p.m.