Acts 2:1-4 The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit
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.
“The Beginning of the Church Age”
"Pentecost" is a Greek word signifying the 50th part of a thing, or the 50th in order. Among the Jews it was a applied to one of their three great feasts which began on the 50th day after the Passover. This feast was reckoned from the 16th day of the month ABIB, or April, or the second day of the Passover. The paschal lamb was slain on the 14th of the month at evening, (Leviticus 23:5) on the 15th day of the month was a holy convocation-the proper beginning of the feast; on the 16th day was the offering of the first fruits of harvest, and from that day they were to reckon seven weeks, that is, 49 days, to the feast called the Feast of Pentecost, so that it occurred 50 days after the first day of the Feast of the Passover. This feast was also called the Feast of Weeks, from the circumstance that it followed a succession of weeks,
The first Passover was instituted because it commemorated that night when God sent the Death angel through Egypt who killed all the first born males of the Egyptians and it passed over the Israelites who took in obedience the blood of the lamb and painted it on the doorpost and the lentils of the entrances of their houses. At the first Passover, the Israelites were delivered from Egyptian bondage and started their exodus from Egypt to the promised land God gave them
The law relative to this feast is found in Leviticus 23:15-16, in the following words: “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave-offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days. “
This feast was instituted in commemoration of Yahweh giving the Law to Moses for the people on Mount Sinai; and is therefore sometimes called by the Jews, “the joy of the law”, and frequently” the feast of weeks”. There is a correspondence between the giving of the law, which is celebrated by this feast of Pentecost, together with the crucifixion of our Lord, which took place at the Passover, and this descent of the Holy Spirit, which happened at this Pentecost.
Consider the times and conditions of Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit came.........
The Holy Ghost came down at the time of the celebration of a solemn feast. There was then a great number of people to Jerusalem from all parts of the country, as well as the proselytes from other countries, which would make it the more public, and the fame of it to be spread the sooner and further, which would contribute much to the propagating of the gospel into all nations. Remember, when Jesus gave the disciples the "Great Commission" in Matthew 28:19-20, the question that crossed the minds of each disciple was how. Jesus solved their internal inquiry by the events that were about to take place on at Pentecost. Thus now, as before at the Passover, the Jewish feasts served to toll the bell for gospel services and entertainments.
This feast of Pentecost was kept in remembrance of the giving of the law upon mount Sinai, whence the incorporating of the Jewish church was to be dated. Fitly, therefore, is the Holy Ghost given at that feast, in fire and in tongues, for the promulgation of the evangelical law, not as that to one nation, but to every saved person.
This feast of Pentecost happened on the first day of the week, which was an additional honor put on that day, and a confirmation of it to be the Christian Sabbath, the day which the Lord hath made, to be a standing memorial in his church of those two great blessings: the resurrection of Christ, and the pouring out of the Spirit, both on that day of the week.
At the Passover, Jesus Christ, who was typified by the paschal lamb, was sacrificed for the sin of the world, and by this sacrifice redemption from sin and Satan is now procured and proclaimed. At the Jewish Passover, Christ was degraded, humbled, and ignominiously put to death: at the following festival, the Pentecost, he was highly glorified; and the all conquering and ever during might of his kingdom then commenced.
The Holy Spirit seems to have designed all these analogies, to show that, through all preceding ages, God had the dispensation of the Gospel continually in view; and that the old law and its ordinances were only designed as preparation for the new.
Jesus Promise Fulfilled: “The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit”
The Disciples did as Jesus instructed and remained in Jerusalem waiting for God to fulfill the promise Jesus made for the sending of another Comforter. (Holy Spirit) Pentecost was now upon them and they along with other followers of Jesus totaling 120 in number were in the upper room praying and united in faith. They were all of one mind and in one accord. (vs.1) Suddenly……….
There came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. (vs.2)
The “rushing wind” sound from heaven burst upon them all at once without notice. The Holy Spirit came when God deemed it time. Even though they were waiting for the descent of the Spirit, it’s not in all likelihood that they expected it for the Holy Spirit to come to them this way.
Note: Because this was an important event and the welfare of the church’s beginning depended upon His coming, it was proper that the gifting of the Holy Spirit should take place in some striking and sensible manner, so as to convince them in an emphatic way that truly God fulfilled His promise.
This “rushing wind” sound filled the entire house where they were all assembled. God will move many ways totally in a different manner than we are either accustomed to wish that God will answer our prayers in that fashion…..and then…
“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”. (Vs. 3-4)
The Holy Spirit appeared to them physically in the form of a “cloven” or divided tongues of fire (possibly “forklike” in appearance) and then rested upon each one of them. These tongues were the emblem or symbolic of the different languages they were to speak.
Fire represented the act of baptism in the Holy Ghost and that the Holy Spirit himself was given as a spiritual gift and would be the means of bringing light and life to the souls who should hear them preach the everlasting Gospel in those languages.
Remember when many of the Pharisees and Sadducees came to John’s Baptism after John the Baptist declared that he was not the Christ. (Matthew 3: 7-12) John the Baptist told them this:
“ I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in those other languages as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance.
What occurred at Pentecost in Jerusalem was in stark contrast to what had happened at the building of the Tower of Babel. At Babel the language of the people was confounded by God in order that His people might scatter all over the world because of their rebellion in Genesis Chapter 11.
At the foundation of the Christian church, at Pentecost, the gift of various languages was given to the Apostles, that the scattered nations might be gathered; and united under one shepherd and superintendent of all souls Jesus Christ by the preaching of the Gospel in every language assembles at Pentecost. This was predicted to occur by Isaiah in Isaiah 28:9-12 and by Jesus Christ in Mark 16:17; John 15:26; 16:13) and was fulfilled in Acts 2:4-13; 10:44-48; 19:1-7; 1 Corinthians Chapters 12-14.
Even though speaking in tongues is done through immediate inspiration of the Holy Ghost by new recipients, when a person has received this gift, the gift then becomes a part of his mental makeup so that he can, if he desires to do so, exercising it without direct inspiration, “even in a backslidden” condition.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,* but have not love, it profits me nothing.”
This is why the exercise of the vocal gifts of prophecy, tongues, and interpretation of tongues is commanded to be regulated and even judged as to determine whether the practicing person is under direct divine inspiration of the Holy Ghost or whether the person is exercising a gift of himself.
(1 Corinthians 14:29-33) Order in Church Meetings
“ How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints”.
Holy Spirit Baptism: The “Response “of the Pentecost Crowd
Devout men living in Jerusalem among them men who returned to Jerusalem for permanent residence, awaiting the expected return of the Messiah. (vs. 5)
Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesoptanians, Judeaens, Cappadocians, Pontusians, Asians, Phygians, Pamphylians, Egyptians, Cyreneans, Roman strangers, Jews and proselytes (Greek Speaking), Cretes and Arabians
The Effect: The noise of the rushing wind and the thunder clap was heard abroad and each nationality listed heard and came together in Jerusalem. Every man was confounded because they heard the 120 speaking, but each heard what they were saying in their perspective dialects.(languages) the “wonderful works of God.”
They then marveling and in amazement questioned: Aren’t all these (who were under Holy Spirit influence) speaking Galilean? How is it then that we hear our own dialects coming from them? What does this mean?
(vs. 6-8 and11-12)
Others chose to mock and said: These men are full of new wine! (vs. 13)
Revival: Peter Preaches 1st “Apostolic” Sermon (Vs.14-36)
The speaking in tongues had now ceased and Peter preached a sermon by the same inspiration of the Spirit, but in his own tongue that could be heard by all 16 different nations:
Introduction: Fulfillment of 2nd Old Testament Prophecy (Joel 2:28)(Vs. 14-18)
Outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all in the Last Days
"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. (9:00 am.)
But this is (THAT Prophecy) 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,” (vs. 17)
In verse 16- 21, the 2nd Old Testament prophecy fulfilled. (Joel 2:28-29) From Acts 2: 17-12, the 4th New Testament prophecy (Joel 2:28- 29) is partially fulfilled. This prophecy will be completely fulfilled during the Great Tribulation Period found in Revelation 6:9- 11, Chapter 7:1-17 and Chapter 15: 2- 4.
Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.
Note: During the time of the Prophet Samuel, the word of the Lord was precious in those days, because revelations, prophecies, visions, and contact with God were rare and therefore extremely valuable. The prophetic promise shows a sharp contrast with how different it was in Peter’s own day, when men had prophets to whom they could go at any time. In Samuel’s day, there was no publicly accredited prophet with whom the revelations and secrets of the Lord were known to dwell, and to whom anyone could go for help in time of need.
Men of Israel: Concerning Jesus Christ: The “One” you Crucified!
Peter: “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know”.
Peter starts out by revealing to them that Jesus was accredited by God, that is, God sent Jesus. The proof is in all the fact that He did produce signs, wonders and miracles as evidence that he was divinely sent by God even though the Jewish leaders and the Jews in general rejected Him and accused Him of Blasphemy. They found it hard to believe that any good thing could come out of Nazareth.
This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
And because God knew you would reject Jesus, God purposed and with foreknowledge handed Him over to you and you solicited the help of wicked men (Romans) to help you kill him by nailing Him to the cross. (That’s because the Jews could not crucify him without the Romans’ help. There was no provision in the Mosaic Law or crucifixion. The best they could have done was stone Jesus to death, but that would not have fulfilled the requirements God had set forth before the foundation of the world.)
But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Here Peter emphasized that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, taking away the “pangs” of death from him and in doing so repudiated the erroneous belief held by the Sadducees that once a person died, life ceases. Not only this, but Jesus’ resurrection was necessary to fulfill prophecy concerning His coming and mission and that his body would not experience the corruption, (decomposition that naturally happens to the body after death).
David said about him: "'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
David’s declaration is the basis of the Doctrine concerning the Resurrection that says the Messiah must rise from the dead. Peter proceeds to prove its validity by quoting a quotation from the Psalmist in the Old Testament. This following passage is taken from Psalms 16:8-11.
“I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore”.
The words “I saw the Lord always before me” meant that David trusted that God is always present with him and believed that He was always near him. Therefore David put his confidence in God, relied upon Him and expected God to come to his rescue "because David sometimes saw himself as helpless and dependent but willing to wait on help from God.
David saw God at his right hand (side) because to stand at the right hand (side) is was seen as standing at the place of dignity and honor. David wasn’t just saying that the Lord was near to help him, but that God had the place of honor, the highest place in his affections. (Psalms 109:31) In our complete dependence on God we should exalt him. We should not merely regard him as our help, but should at the same time give him the highest place in our affections.
This expresses the confidence of one who is in danger of great calamities, and who puts his trust in the help of God alone.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.
Men of Israel: Concerning David (Vs. 29-37)
Peter: “David is both dead and buried and his tomb is with us to this day.”
This passage of the Psalms Peter now proves could not relate to David, but must have reference to the Messiah. He begins his rebuttal in a respectful manner. Peter addressed them as his brethren, even though they had just accused him and the others with public intoxication. Christians should strive to use respectful forms of salutations and rebuttals whatever we are faced with contempt and reproaches from a person or group whether religious or not that stand in opposition to Christianity and the activities of the Christian church. Peter goes on to say….
“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.
David, both a king and a prophetic writer in several Psalms he wrote had been assured by God that in his future generations, God would raise up the Messiah (Jesus Christ) to sit on the Davidic throne. Many of the prophecies pertaining to the Messiah are found in the following Psalms of David: Psalms 22:1, Psalms. 22:18, Psalms. 69:21,and Psalms. 69:25.
The Psalms which speak of God as having sworn to David are:
Psalms 89:3-4, "I have made a covenant with My chosen I have sworn to My servant David: 'Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations.'"
Psalms 132:11, "The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David, he will not turn from it, Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon my throne.
So far as the human nature of the Messiah was concerned, he would be descended from David’s genealogy. The promises made to David had immediate reference to Solomon and to his descendants. But it is clear that the New Testament writers understood them as referring also to the Messiah. And it clear that the Jews understood that the Messiah was to be descended from David, (Matthew Chapters 12:23; 21:9; 22:4 and verse 45, Mark 11:10 and John 7:42).
On Palm Sunday as Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey, the people took their cloaks and laid palm branches in the street and cried "Hosanna, Hosanna, Blessed art thou thy Son of David; Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord."
So here’s what we do know:
(a) The kingdom which was promised to David was to have no end; it was to be established forever.
(b) The promise stood by itself. This promise was not made to any other Jewish kings; nor was similar declarations made of surrounding kingdoms and nations. It came, therefore, gradually to be applied to that future king and kingdom which was the hope of the nation; and their eyes were anxiously fixed on the long-expected Messiah.
(c) At the time that Jesus came, it had become the settled doctrine of the Jews that he was to descend from David, and that his kingdom was to be perpetual. On this belief of the prophecy the apostles argued; and the opinions of the Jews furnished a strong point by which they could convince them that Jesus was the Messiah. Peter affirms that David was aware of this, and that he so understood the promise as referring not only to Solomon, but in a far more important sense to the Messiah. David gave his own testimony concerning the promise. That testimony is found particularly in Psalms Chapters 2; 22; 69; and Psalms 16: In these Psalms there can be no doubt that David looked forward to the coming of the Messiah; and there can be as little that he regarded the promise made to him as extending to his coming and his reign.
This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 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” (Vs. 32- 35)
Jesus had to be raised up from the dead not just so his body would not experience the normal decomposition that happens to human flesh once life has departed from it, but to fulfill His portion of the promise that would release the presence of the Holy Spirit to come and “comfort” His disciples. Now that He is in heaven and sitting at the right hand of the Father as our Great High Priest, Jesus has poured out the presence of the Holy Spirit and the sound of the rushing mighty wind you heard and the sound of your own native languages being spoken in your hearing by those you have recognized as being Galilean.
David has not risen from the dead and ascended to heaven, so the word in Psalms 16 could not have referred to David, but to the Messiah. Because of the great importance of making sure that there was no logical way these words in this psalm could refer to David, Peter made sure under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that it was clear that they referred to Jesus Christ. Peter in this verse that David affirmed that the Messiah was to be exalted to a dignity far above his own.
In Conclusion….. “Therefore” (Vs. 36)
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Let the whole House of Israel be convinced without hesitation and without making a tragic mistake by these indisputable facts :
the fulfillment of every Messianic prophecy.
by our testimony, and
by what you have heard, feel and seen this day on the day of Pentecost,
The Effect of the Sermon: “What Shall We Do? (Vs. 37- 40)
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? (vs. 37)
The message made them realize that they stood naked before Jehovah God. Having sinned against HIM, without hope and needed to obtain mercy from the very one (Jesus) they had crucified some 50 days ago.
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (vs. 38)
Repentance, then, implies that a measure of divine wisdom has been communicated to the sinner, and that he has become aware that he or she needs to change and salvation is available to them if they make the necessary change. In the process of repentance and salvation, the person’s mind, their purposes. Their personal opinions, and inclinations, are changed that leads to a total change in his conduct the person should feel a deep anguish of soul, because he has sinned against God, unfitted himself for heaven, and exposed his soul to hell. Hence, a true penitent has that sorrow, whereby he forsakes sin, not only because it was a ruin to his own soul, but because it has been offensive to God.
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (vs.39)
The promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit is for the Jews of the land of Judea, but in this promise was also included the purification from sin, with every gift and grace of the Holy Spirit. This promise also applied to the Jews wherever they were dispersed in foreign lands and to all the Gentile nations; even though Peter had not at this time has any formal knowledge of the calling of the Gentiles. The Spirit of God, by which he spoke, had this in view; and therefore the words are added, even as many as the Lord our God shall call, meaning to all of whom are covered in his providence and grace, he shall send to them the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Peter testifies to “Other” Important things: “Salvation” (vs. 40)
In addition to everything Peter had told them concerning Jesus, Peter makes a sincere appeal to the people about the sad state their present generation is in. In all likelihood, he elaborates on the advantage to accept Jesus Christ as Messiah since it had been proven that he was. Peter warn them of the fate that awaited sinners who refuse to turn from their wicked ways and embrace Jesus and told them the advantage a life with Jesus Christ would afford those who will accept Him.
Peter finally makes an “evangelistic” appeal to the people: “Save yourselves”! Preserve yourselves from the vile and wicked influence, opinions, and fate of this generation. They had crucified the Messiah; and they were, for their sins, soon to be destroyed because of their sins.
Little did they know that those arrogant words they uttered at the trial of Jesus saying Jesus blood was to be upon them and upon their children (generations) would come back to convict and haunt them within the next 37 years in 70 A.D. when Nero the Roman Emperor would go a rampage and Titus, a Roman General would destroy Jerusalem again and destroy the temple also. They were to use diligence and maximum effort to deliver themselves.
God deals with all people as free agents, especially when it comes to the salvation of our souls. He calls upon us to put forth our own power and effort to be saved. This doesn’t mean that we can save ourselves without the blood and finish work Jesus did when He died on the cross. It means, we all must do what is required according to Romans 10:9: Confess with our mouth our complete trust in the Lord Jesus for salvation and believe in our hearts that Jehovah God has raised Jesus from the dead, so by trusting in what Jesus did, we can be redeemed. Unless we put forth that effort with our own strength, we will never be saved. Once we are saved, we will ascribe to God the praise for having compelled us to seek him, and for the grace whereby we are saved.
Now, those who us who are now saved and delivered from the “wages” (penalty of sin) should immediately resolve at once to break off from all evil companions and associates, and unite ourselves to Christ, His Church, and his people. There may be no other way in which this can be done but by resolving to forsake altogether the company of those who are infidels, scoffers, and profane. This might include unsaved friends, love ones and family members whether” immediate” or “extended”. We should forsake the world (world’s system) and give ourselves up completely to God, and resolve to have only so much contact with the world, in any respect, as may be required by duty, and as may be consistent with a supreme purpose to live to the honor of God.
The People’s Response: “They Gladly Received The Word” (Vs. 41-42)
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (vs. 41)
Those who accepted what Peter said received the word (in reference to receiving pardon for their sin through Jesus Christ) did it with joy and without hesitation. They rejoiced in the fact they were no longer under the curse of the Law, or the curse of their wicked vow at the trial of Jesus. Those that received the word were also baptized in the name of Jesus they did it cheerfully rejoicing in the privilege of becoming reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Their conversion was instantaneous. The demand on them was to yield themselves at once to God. And their profession was made, and the ordinance which sealed their profession (water baptism) was administered without delay.
Even though so many received his word and were baptized the same day, there were others who did not. It is probable that there were multitudes assembled who were alarmed, but who did not receive the word with joy. In all revivals there are many who become alarmed, and who are anxious about their souls, but who refuse to embrace the gospel, and again become thoughtless, and are ruined.
Concerning their “Baptism”
These Jewish converts were baptized, in the name of Jesus, according to Acts 2:38, This was the Lord’s criteria of a Jew's conversion to Christianity. It must be noted that when a Jew had received baptism in Jesus’ name, that Jewish convert was excluded from all communication with his countrymen.(ostracized and blackballed) No man would have forfeited such privileges unless they knew the full ramification of making a full and open confession with the fullest and clearest conviction. This baptism was a very powerful because, it was the means by which their apostasy would be averted. By receiving baptism in the name of Jesus, they were in essence renouncing Judaism all the political advantages connected with it; and they found it indispensably necessary to make the best use of that holy religion which they had received in its place.
The Result: Steadfast in Doctrine and Fellowship and Prayer (vs. 42)
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
They dedicated themselves, that is yielded themselves to the instructions of “apostolic teaching”, and to fellowship. They yielded themselves readily to those instructions which, in their raw state, would be indispensable in the consolidation and establishment of that immense multitude of 3000 new converts, who are now suddenly become a new group of “visible” disciples of Jesus Christ, and from that day forward were found regularly at the stated meetings of the believers for their Christian fellowship and mutual edification.
Four things they continued steadfastly in:
1. Apostolic teaching (Matthew 28:20)
2. Fellowship (1 John 1:1-7)
3. Communion (Acts 2:42, verse 46; chapter 20:7; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:23-34; Matthew 26:26-30)
4. Prayers (Matthew 7:7-11; 21:22; Mark 11:22-24; John 15:7and verse 16; Ephesians 6:18)
And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles (vs. 43)
That is, there was great reverence or awe of the wonders of God, even from those who accused the 120 of being drunk with wine at 9:00 am. The power of God on this day silenced all the clamoring naysayers, and caused all who witnessed the effects of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to become awe struck.
Whenever the “Holy Spirit” pours out his presence upon the masses, he will produce an unusual seriousness and solemn countenance in a community, even among those who are not converted. The work of the Holy Spirit restrains, subdues, and silences opposition. All of the events that started at the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the appearance of the dead saints in the streets of Jerusalem and the events that occurred on Pentecost that contributed to produce this fear:
And all that believed were together, and had all things common (vs. 44)
Everybody that believed that Jesus was the Messiah became united together in the faith, that is, they were together in believing the same thing. They were now united in the same community, or engaged in the same thing. They became a part of a new fellowship and were often meeting together in the same place for prayer and praise. For the Christian one of the best means for strengthening the faith of young converts is for them often to meet together for prayer, conversation, and praise.
Second, they had all things in common. In rejoicing over their new relationship in Jesus Christ they now regarded themselves as one family, having common needs, and felt that there was no longer a need to possess extensive property by themselves. So many of them decided to sell off much of what they possessed to form a common treasury on order that everyone’s needs could be met. None of them were forced to or coerced into doing this. They did it on their own volition.
Remember, many of them came from abroad. They were from Parthia, and Media, and Arabia, and Rome, and Africa, and other places. It is probable, also, that they now remained longer in Jerusalem than they had planned to and given the changes that took place among them, it was highly improbable that they would be denied the hospitalities of the Jews, or be excluded from their customary kindness, now since they embraced Jesus of Nazareth, who had been just put to death. In these circumstances, it was natural and proper that they should share their property while they remained together.
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (vs. 45)
They sold as much as was necessary in order to establish the means of providing for the needs of each other. They sold real estate such as houses, vineyards land and other movable property. Then in charity towards the poorer of the brethren, they redistributed these goods to help them according to their needs were. They laid the relinquished property at the apostles’ feet.
Important Note: This was an important incident in the early propagation of religion, and it may suggest many useful reflections:
1. We see the effect of a pure religion. Our love of the property we possess is one of the strongest affections which we have. The only thing that will overcome our attitude towards possessions is a pure relationship with God through Jesus Christ. One of the first effects of the gospel was to loosen the hold of Christians on property.
2. It is the duty of the “institution” church to provide for the needs of its poor and needy members. There can be no doubt that property should now be regarded as so far common as that the needs of the poor should be supplied by those who are rich.
3. If the question is asked why the early disciples possessed this readiness to part with their property in this manner, 3 things can be implied:
(A) That the apostles had done it before them. The family of the Savior (the Twelve) had all things common when they left their families and became Disciples.
(B) It was the nature of religious practice to do it.
(C) The circumstances and conditions of the people gathered together at Pentecost required it. Many of them came from distant regions, and probably many of them were the poorer class of the people in Jerusalem. In this they embodied what should be done in behalf of the poor in the church at all times.
4. Was this practice was done on a common basis among the early Christians? It must also be mentioned here there is no evidence that it was. It is mentioned here, and in Acts 4:32-37, and Acts 5:1-7. The effect of religion was to make people liberal and willing to provide for the poor there can be no doubt. Pure religion does not contemplate, evidently, that people should break up all the arrangements in society, but it does contemplate that those who have property should be ready and willing to part with it for the help of the poor and needy.
5. If the question is then asked, then, whether all the arrangements of property should be broken up now, and believers have all things in common, we are prepared to answer "No." Because:
(A) This was an extraordinary case.
(B) It was not even enjoined by the apostles on them.
(C) It was practiced nowhere else.
(D) It wouldn't be practical. No community where all things were held in common has long prospered. It has been attempted often, by pagans, by infidels, and by fanatical sects of Christians. It ends soon in anarchy, licentiousness, idleness, and profligacy; or the more cunning secure the mass of the property, and control the whole. Until all people are made alike, there could be no hope of such a community; and if there could be, it would not be desirable.
God evidently intended that people should be excited to industry by the hope of gain; and then he demands that their gains shall be devoted to his service. Still, this was a noble instance of Christian generosity, and evinced the power of religion in loosening the hold which people commonly have on the world. It rebukes also those professors of religion, of whom, alas, there are many, who give nothing to benefit either the souls or bodies of their fellow-men.
“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” (vs.46)
The temple was the public place of worship; and the disciples were not disposed to leave the place where their fathers had so long worshipped God. This does not mean that they were constantly in the temple. They were there at the customary hours of prayer of nine o'clock in the morning, and at three o'clock in the afternoon. They went from house to house in fellowshipping one with another whenever they were sharing common meals. There was a common spirit of rejoicing that sprung forth from their relationship with Jesus Christ. Joy is one of the effects we experience in our religious experience. Joy wipes away sorrow and brings hope for tomorrow.
The phrase “singleness of heart “meant that they did those things with a sincere and pure heart. They were satisfied and thankful.
“Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved”.(vs. 47)
They were continually in the temple celebrating with praises and blessing and extolling God with the people in general. It didn’t mean that all the people had become reconciled to Christianity; but their humble, serious, and devoted lives won the favor of the great mass of the community, and they behavior silenced the opposition. God has power to silence opposition; and there is nothing so well suited to do this as the humble and consistent lives of his friends.
Finally….. Jesus Adds to the Church (vs. 47)
“And the Lord added” It was the Lord who did this. Only the Spirit of God can influence or convince a person to join the church and become a part of the Body of Christ. Man does not possess the power to add to the church. When we speak of the church, we mean the assembly of the followers of Christ. The word rendered "church" means "those who are called out," and is applied to Christians as being called out, or separated from the world.
The phrase “should be saved,” means simply the Lord would be the catalyst and the driving Spirit behind those who would be, or who were about to be saved. It is clear, however, from this expression, that those who became members of the church were those who continued to adorn their profession, or who gave proof that they were sincere Christians
It is implied here, also, that those who are to be saved will join themselves to the church of God. By giving themselves to Jesus, they are willing to face the world, and give themselves at once to the service of the Lord Jesus. The 2 effects of a consistent Christian life will be to command the respect of the world; and the other is, the effect will be continually to increase the number of those who shall be saved. In this case they were daily added to it; the church was constantly increasing; and the same result may be expected in all cases where there is similar zeal, self-denial, consistency, and prayer.
We have now can see how the Holy Spirit had a profound effect on the foundation of the Christian church and the first glorious revival of true religion founded upon the principles, precepts and truth of God. This chapter deserves to be continually studied by all ministers of the gospel and by all who pray for the prosperity of the kingdom of God. It should excite our fervent gratitude that God has left this record of the first great work of grace, and our earnest prayers that He would multiply and extend such scenes until the earth shall be filled with His glory.
Dr. William Edward Boddie