Acts 2: 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
The response was immediate, the conviction of the Holy Spirit “cut to the heart”. Their consciences were heavy and they needed to deal with it. But notice that the people didn’t feel rejection. Peter had identified himself with them and they responded in kind. Their conviction was relevant to their sin, their conviction wasn’t interpreted to be personal in anyway?
How did Peter, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, keep this wonderful sermonette and altar call from getting personal? After all, they lived with Jesus. They were personal friends with Jesus. These people were responsible for killing Jesus. Yet, they don’t feel condemnation from Peter or the Apostles for what they did?
While I don’t doubt that each of the Apostles had to deal with this at some personal level, Jesus’ resurrection and 40 days of teaching them undoubtedly helped them to forgive and move on.
It would have only been from this position that they could have been Baptized in the Holy Spirit and been able to proclaim the Gospel with such inspiration on that day.
Peters response to the peoples cry was simple?
#1 Repent - What is repentance? - Change your mind on how you are going to live your life, stop sinning and accept the will of God presented through Jesus Christ.
#2 Be Baptized - Why Baptism? - Not only was it a command of Christ to be baptized, but it was a public proclamation of faith to the world of their decision.
Water Baptism was a rite of passage for a number of faiths. Therefore, it wouldn’t have been a strange sight to the people of Jerusalem. However, I can’t help but think that the number of people getting baptized would have made quite an impression.
Now what happen?
#1 Forgiveness of your sins, - This was new! Jesus had been talking about this the whole time, but the hope of forgiveness was now a reality. Understand that up to that time, Old Testament believers were not forgiven of their sins like this before. Their sins were now out of existence, never to be brought up against us anymore.
#2 You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit - Is Jesus speaking of the gift of speaking in tongues or is he speaking of the gifts of the spirit we find in 1 Cor 12 - 14)?
This is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in other tongues. Here we see that this is a GIFT which is distinguished from the GIFTS given BY the Holy Spirit.
Peter now establishes who can receive this Baptism and how long it will be available to followers of Christ. - 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” What does this scripture tell us? The baptism isn’t limited to the 120. It will be available to their descendants.
As many as who believe and repent can receive. This is the only qualification to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
We know that 3,000 people were baptized that day. It is safe to assume that they were also baptized in the Holy Spirit? There is nothing to suggest that it didn’t happen. Because Peter promised it, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it is therefore acceptable to believe that these 3,000 believers spoken in other tongues too.
The new found faith of these believers had a tremendous impact on them. Because many of them were new, they had to learn. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
These 3,000 did not scatter, they stayed and discovered.
43 And awe (reverential fear) came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
What was the purpose of these signs and wonders? Miracles confirmed to the people who were hearing these messages that what the Apostles were saying was true.
Some have taken verse 44 to be socialistic or at best a communal living thing. It is neither. It is Christian sharing. Christian sharing simply is giving where there is a need. Simple as that. The reason for this was probably due to a segment of the 3,000 being from out of town. They can come for the Feast of Pentecost and stayed for the teaching. However, they were probably running out of money. The residents of Jerusalem who had also experienced Pentecost were sharing what they had to help support them.
Because these believers did not have a church building to meet in, where did they default to? The met in homes. Each house became a center of Christian fellowship and worship. In these homes they worshipped God, shared meals together and matured in their faith.
What was the blessing for their actions? - …having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Verses 42 - 47 give us a picture of what we should see the church doing today. Can you see them?
- Worship - Verse 47, 42
- Evangelism - Verse 47
- Fellowship / Relationship Building - Verse 44, 46
- Discipleship / Christian Formation - Verse 42
- Ministry / Serving - Verse 44, 43
Chapter 3 1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
There was a gate between the court of women and the court of Gentiles Peter and John were confronted by a lame man who was asking for a hand out.
Here is a footnote of social commentary about this situation that you may not know. The gate that this beggar was at was a bronze gate with gold and silver inlays. Very valuable and very beautiful. It served as an entrance to all Jews who would come to worship God. (Gentiles could not enter) But here you have a man who was lame and having to beg for a living in the presence of all of this wealth. What a contrast?
Peter and John fix their attention on him and Peter says, “Look at us.” Gaining the attention of a world for the cause of Christ can be risky to difficult depending on the culture you live in. Nonetheless, we see that Peter and John focus the attention of this beggar on them.
How could they have the confidence to do this? The answer is quite simple, because they have something to give him.
Do you think that some followers of Christ don’t get the attention of the world they live in because they have nothing to say?
Did Peter and John give the man what he expected? No, he expected money - but received something else totally different.
Do you think that the world expects something from us that we either cannot or should not deliver?
Peter and John didn’t have any money. They had already given what they could to needy believers, but Peter by faith doesn't leave the man alone.
Now we don't know what this mans faith is like.
- Has he ever heard of Jesus? Most likely.
- Had anyone ever talked to him about Jesus? Most likely,
- Did he know of the miracles and healings that were taking place in Jerusalem through these believers? Most likely.
So when Peter mentions Jesus’ name, most likely, this mans faith rose to the need. But who had the greater faith here? Peter or the lame man? I would argue for Peter. His faith had to initiate the action and took the risk to follow through by offering out his hand. How many times have you heard people have enough faith, but never took the risk to do something with it?
As well as being healed of his handicap, he also miraculously walks. As we will learn later, he been lame since he was born.
What was the mans reaction?
- One thing for sure, he didn’t complain about not getting any money.
- He walked into the one place he had always wanted to be, but had never been able to go to - the Temple (The lame and infirmed were unclean under the law and not allowed in the temple)
- He cannot contain himself. He would walk a few steps, then he would leap up in the air, then he would praise God.
Do you think that his response is appropriate or over the top? Now ask yourself the question, If this man was in my church Sunday morning and this happened to him, would his response be appropriate?
The reality is that I know of some who would probably tell this man to tone it down. Sad, I know.