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Bible: What Does Acts 2:33-47 Teach Us About the Day of Pentecost?
Pentecost: The Descent of the Spirit
The Place Where the Church Worships Together
Important Questions from Acts 2:33 ff
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Baptism: Is it Necessary for Salvation?
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Acts 2:33-47-- Peter's Pentecost Sermon/The Activities of the Church in Jerusalem
The Promise of the Father
Having established that Jesus is the resurrected Messiah, Peter returns to the discussion of the current phenomena: the manifestations resulting from the Spirit’s descent.
Christ, now seated in heaven at the place of honor (“the right hand of God”), has “poured out” the promised Holy Spirit after receiving Him from the Father (v. 33; cf. 2:17-18).
Peter reminds his audience that just as David has not yet resurrected from the dead, so the patriarch did not ascend to heaven.
Instead, David made known a conversation the Father (“the LORD,”YHWH) carried on with Christ (“my Lord,”adonay) in which God told David's son and Lord to sit at the place of honor until the day that He subjugates His enemies (vv. 34-35; cf. Ps. 110:1).
Quickly, the apostle gives the “house of Israel” the bottom line: you killed Jesus, the Person Whom God made both Lord and Christ (v. 36).
The Need for Personal Repentance
Convicted in their heart of their misdeed, the men cry out to Peter and the Eleven, asking them for guidance (v. 37).
The apostle calls for them to “repent”: that is, turn from their sin of unbelief (and misbelief) regarding Who they thought Jesus to be (a false prophet), and trust Him as Who they now believe Him to be—(both God and Messiah).
Trusting the Lord Jesus as their Savior will bring about their salvation from sins.
Their subsequent immersion in water will not forgive them, but only show what God has accomplished through their act of saving faith.
Forgiveness of sins comes by professing genuine faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, not by following through on a ritual merely intended to picture a cleansing from sins.
[The word “for” here is better translated “on account of, because of.”]
When these people believed in Christ, they immediately received the Holy Spirit as a gift from God; the Spirit did not take up residence within them at the time they submitted to baptism (v. 38).
The promise of the Spirit applies universally—to Jews and their children then present in Jerusalem, as well as to Gentiles (“to all who are afar off”); God saves all people whom He will call to Himself (v. 39; cf. Eph. 2:13).
Three Thousand Saved!
Luke sums up the subject of the rest of Peter’s long sermon with the apostle’s command: “Be saved from this perverse generation” (v. 40).
[What did Peter mean by “saved” here?
In his mind, the Jewish nation stood condemned for their treatment of Jesus.
Was he merely expecting God to wreak physical vengeance upon the nation, or does his warning have eternal, spiritual consequences?]
Having “received his word,” i.e., they repent and believe, three thousand souls then submit to immersion in water (baptism) [v. 41].
After being received into the “church” (cf. v. 47), these new believers participate in a large Bible conference or a retreat of sorts which involves the following activities:
The Upper Room: Site of the First "Lord's Supper"
Teaching, Fellowship, Communion, Prayer
Four Fundamental Church Activities
(1) They stay a long while (“continued steadfastly”) to listen to the apostles’ teaching about Jesus;
(2) They spend time in the fellowship—the fellowship (koinonia) signifies having things in common, so they met together to develop spiritually-oriented friendships—;
(3) They celebrate the Lord’s Supper (“the breaking of bread”); and
(4) They devote themselves to prayer (v. 42).
Besides teaching about Jesus, the apostles also perform “many wonders and signs,” further authenticating their calling and ministry to everyone present.
A healthy reverence for God and His chosen leaders descends upon all (v. 43).
Voluntary Contributions to the Needy
The post-Pentecost gathering also meets the physical and material needs of the poor among them.
For a limited space of time, well-to-do believers sell some of their possessions and give the proceeds to those running out of supplies among them (vv. 44-45).
[Although the need for those with means to help the now displaced population of new believers did not become a permanent condition, it probably persisted for decades (cf. 2 Cor. 8:16ff)].
The new converts attend “church services” every day in the temple, and Jerusalem believers open their homes to the pilgrims, inviting them to dinner (v. 46).
The joy and love of the infant church impress “all the people”; this godly testimony undoubtedly contributed to the Lord’s daily increasing the number of the saved (v. 47).
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