Acts 2:22-47: Empowering of the Spirit
January 4, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
We are in the middle of the day of Pentecost. And Peter is giving his famous Pentecost sermon. He is continuing to argue that this (the experience of the Spirit) is that (what Joel and the prophets had predicted). Now he transitions to argue that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah promised by David—the Messiah that his hearers handed over to be crucified by the Romans—under the sovereign plan of God—for the salvation of those who will repent and believe. He was handed over by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge, and they, with the help of wicked men, put him to death. But God raised him from the dead! They, the apostles, are witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection. Peter concludes: “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah” (2:36). And the people, hearing, are “cut to the heart,” asking what they should do. Repent and be baptized! And they will receive forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit. About three thousand repented and were added to their number that day!
Then Luke tells what this early church was like in the first of three paradigmatic descriptions of the New Testament church. The Holy Spirit comes, Peter preaches, and God gathers his people together into a congregated body of believers. They were devoted to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, and to prayers. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. They were committed to worship, outreach, relationship in fellowship, and discipleship.
What are we to learn from this description of Pentecost and the early church? Often in church life the lessons of Pentecost have been somewhat esoteric and mystical. But here we see four great practical fruit from the empowering of the Spirit:
- There is immediate evangelism. If we are filled with God’s Spirit, we will be active in evangelism in our own lives too.
- There is a gathering together in the church. If we are filled with God’s Spirit, we will join together with the local church.
- There is a commitment to Bible study and Bible teaching. The apostles’ teaching is the teaching that Christ authorized them to give as a foundation of the church, recorded for us in the New Testament. If we are filled with the Spirit, we will be Bible students.
- There is a deep commitment to other local Christians. If we are filled with the Spirit, we will be generous with our personal resources to the work of God in the local church.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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