December 31 - Acts 2:37-47

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Acts 2:37-47 – The Effects of the Sermon

The Jews in the crowd reacted and responded to Peter’s sermon immediately. Their hearts were struck as they recognized the guilt in their lives that came from rejecting the Messiah. To their query as to what they should do, Peter set forth the four points of conversion.

First they had to repent, then be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Next there would be forgiveness for their sins and finally they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. These four components become central to the message of Acts, but not in any particular order since the Spirit will not be tied to mankind’s patterns. He will work as he will work, in his own time and by his own will. In Acts 10:44-48, the Spirit is poured out on the people and that is then followed by water baptism.

With the action completed, Luke summarizes what happened and shows the reader what life was like in the early days of the church (Acts 2:42-27). Even with three thousand new believers (Acts 2:41), the community held together, incorporating each person into the fellowship.

There were four practices that the larger community devoted themselves to. The teaching of the apostles: Just as Jesus had instructed the twelve, they, in turn, passed that teaching on. Secondly, their fellowship was so important that Luke adds a strong article – ‘the fellowship.’ This held many meanings, from association with each other to close relationships that were built, to communion and sharing of their goods with each other. They cared for each other without thought for themselves. Thirdly, the breaking of bread was more than likely the remembrance of the Lord’s Supper. It was more than eating a meal together, but was an opportunity on a regular basis to remember why they even existed as a community. Finally, Luke again employs the formal article in telling his readers that the community devoted themselves to ‘the prayers.’ There were hours devoted to prayer throughout the day and those would have been observed, as well as regular worship and private worship and prayer.

Miracles continued to be performed by the apostles, filling the community with awe, drawing them together as a unified group. They were ready to meet each other’s needs. Their hearts were filled with gladness and from that poured generosity. They praised God and each day more were added to their number.

The work that began with the birth of a baby boy has been transformed into the birth of the church and its rapid growth, soon to fill the whole world.