Tag Archives: Acts 2

The Growth of the First-Century Church

The Growth of the First Century Church

Acts 2:44-47

I. Their united effort

    A. “Together” / “Common” / “With one accord” (Acts 2:44-47)
    B. Not “unity in diversity” but unity in the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 1:10; John 17:20-21)
    C. Striving for peace (Acts 6:1, 7; Romans 14:19; Ephesians 4:1-3)

II. Their steadfast nature

    A. Steadfast in doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, prayers (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 16:13)
    B. Danger of not being steadfast (Galatians 1:6-9)
    C. Self-discipline (Romans 12:1-2)

III. Their belief in the message

    A. “Into all the world” (Mark 16:15  Colossians 1:23)
    B. Unafraid when opposed (Acts 4:18-20; Galatians 1:10)
    C. Despite persecutions, they believed (Acts 8:1-3; 2 Corinthians 11:24-27; Acts 12:1-2; Acts 8:4)

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 237/260: Peter

Read Acts 2

What Shall We Do?

On the first Pentecost following Jesus’ ascension, His promise concerning the Holy Spirit is fulfilled. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). These “other tongues” were not some unintelligible languages, but foreign languages that these Galileans had never studied before. It was a miracle that they could speak in such a way!

Peter takes the lead in Acts 2:14 after the apostles have the attention of the crowd. He explains, “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:16), then proceeds to quote from Joel 2:28-32. The apostle then speaks of Jesus, the Man through whom God had worked miracles. Peter plainly says that the Jews had illegally detained and murdered Jesus, but that God had raised Him from the dead. He then refers to the inspired Psalms, claiming that David was writing of Jesus. Concluding this first gospel sermon, Peter 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).

The positive response to this message is recorded by Luke. The people who were “cut to the heart” asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Recognizing their error and their great need for forgiveness, they wanted to know how to make things right.

Peter answered plainly, “Repent, and let everyone one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). The phrase “for the remission of sins” indicates that without repentance and baptism, one’s sins cannot be forgiven.

The results of the gospel proclamation in the early days of the church are compelling. Luke tells us that on “that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41). He then says that “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Have you done these things? Have you repented and been immersed for the remission of your sins? Have you been added to the Lord’s church?

The Gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38)

The Gift of the Holy Spirit Acts 2:38

Acts 2:38

I. Voices of the past

    A. Non-miraculous indwelling? (Coffman, McGarvey, Jackson)
    B. Miraculous gifts of first century? (Boles, Camp, Woods)

II. Context

    A. Joel’s prophecy of the miraculous (Joel 2:28-32)
    B. Pentecost as the fulfillment of that prophecy (Acts 2)

III. “Receive”

    A. Samaria (Acts 8:14-17)
    B. Cornelius (Acts 10:44-47)
    C. Ephesus (Acts 19:1-6)

IV. “Gift”

    A. Samaria (Acts 8:18-20)
    B. Cornelius (Acts 10:45; 11:15-17)

V. Parallel with Mark 16:16-18

    A. Salvation and its divine conditions (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38a)
    B. The gift of the Holy Spirit (Mark 16:17-18; Acts 2:38b)

Christ’s Kingdom: Now Established or Yet To Come?

Christ's Kingdom Now Established or Yet To Come

Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-21

I. Prophecies concerning the kingdom

    A. Daniel 2:31-44
    B. Isaiah 2:2-3 (cf. Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Timothy 3:15)
    C. Joel 2:28-32

II. The establishment of the kingdom

    A. Acts 2:1-21 (cf. Acts 11:15)
    B. The nature of the kingdom (Acts 1:6; John 16:12-13; 18:36; 1 Samuel 8:1-7)

III. Modern misunderstanding of the nature of the kingdom: premillennialism and its consequences

    A. Makes God false to His promises (Mark 1:14-15; Deuteronomy 18:18, 22)
    B. Alternates Judaism and Christianity (Hebrews 8:13)
    C. Demotes Christ from His place at the right hand of God in heaven to the earth (Hebrews 1:3; 8:1)

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 26/260: Read Acts 2

How do you react when someone confronts you about something you have done? Are you defensive, or penitent? How we react to the awareness of sin in our lives says a lot about our hearts and our desire to be right with God.

After giving a brief history lesson, including prophecy that pointed to the very day they were witnessing, Peter tells the Jews on Pentecost that they had crucified the Lord and Christ sent from God. What was their reaction? Luke says, “They were cut to the heart,” then they asked, “What shall we do?”

They were genuinely concerned about the atrocious act they had participated in and wanted to correct it. Obviously, they could not undo the act, but by the grace of God they could be forgiven.

It is interesting to note that Peter responded definitively: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” Without obedience to this command, their sins would not be remitted.

What do you lack in your relationship with God? Have you repented of your sins and been baptized? Are you obediently faithful to the revealed Word?

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

Acts 2:38. Then Peter said to them, “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.”


Pray for forgiveness, but do not neglect obedience. Pray for stronger faith.

The Purpose of Baptism

There are many opinions about baptism in the 21st century religious world. Most recognize that baptism is important but disagree on its place in God’s plan for saving man. Since it is an important topic, we would be wise to seek the counsel of God on baptism.

“For the remission of sins”

Acts 2:38, Then Peter said to them, “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.”

According to this passage, Peter says that baptism is “for the remission of sins.” What does that phrase mean? In English, we recognize that “for” can have a few different meanings. It could mean that baptism is done with a view toward, or in order to accomplish the remission of sins. Another way to understand it is that baptism is done because of the remission of sins, or because remissions of sins was already accomplished. So which is it?

This is not the only passage in the Bible that uses the phrase, “for the remission of sins.” I am a firm believer in the idea that the Bible is its own best commentary, so let’s look at the other passage in which the phrase “for the remission of sins” is found.

While instituting the Lord’s Supper, Jesus said about the cup, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). Now, apply the above meanings to this passage. Was Jesus’ blood shed with a view toward, or in order to accomplish the remission of sins? Or was His blood shed because the remission of sins was already accomplished?

Obviously, the first view is correct. If remission of sins was accomplished before His blood was shed, then why was His blood shed? Just as Jesus’ blood was shed in order to accomplish the remission of sins, likewise we are baptized in order to accomplish the remission of sins.

Not baptism alone!

Let us pause for just a moment to clarify that the Bible does not teach salvation by baptism alone. The Scriptures are clear that one must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe (John 3:16), repent (Acts 2:38; 3:17), and confess his belief in Christ as the Son of God (Acts 8:37). All of these things work together with baptism to bring about God’s grace in a person’s life. It is neither faith alone (James 2:24) nor baptism alone (Mark 16:16) that saves, but an obedient, active faith.

“Wash away your sins”

When Jesus appeared before Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, the Lord told him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6). For three days Saul fasted and prayed (Acts 9:9,11) until Ananias came and said, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

So follow the events: Saul believed, then started fasting and praying, and then Ananias said stop praying, be baptized, and wash away your sins. That’s a lot different than what many say today! Many teach that when you believe and say a prayer, you’re saved at that point, and then later you can be baptized if you want. But Ananias placed baptism before the washing away of sins!

Necessary or not?

The North American Mission Board, an organization of the Southern Baptist Convention, says, “While baptism is important, it is not necessary for salvation.” They argue against the clear statement of Mark 16:16, in which Jesus says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” NAMB argues, “Mark 16:16 is silent concerning whether the person who believes but is not baptized is saved or lost.”

Jesus is clear in His command. Why must man take His plain statement and twist it and make excuses and try to find loopholes? Jesus said believe, be baptized, be saved. Nothing is said about belief without baptism because there is no such thing; if one truly believes and understands, he will simply obey what Christ commands without looking for a way out.

Where do you stand?

Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and died so that your sins could be forgiven? Have you had your sins washed away by the saving blood of Christ? Have you been baptized for the remission of sins?

If you need assistance in obeying this simple command of the Lord, the only One who can save you from your sins, please contact your local church of Christ today.