The Founding of the First Church

Acts 2

There was a tremendous response to the exhortation of Peter. Under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, 3000 souls repented and were baptized.

At this point we see the prophecy of Jesus regarding Peter being fulfilled. “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”—Matthew 4:19.

1. These repentant and baptized souls continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching. This teaching was delivered orally at first, and now preserved in the books of the NT.

2. Fellowship—this was an evidence of the new birth to be in the company of those of like precious faith.

3. The breaking of bread—the Lord’s Supper. According to Acts 20:7 the early Church broke bread on the first day of the week. During the early days a love feast was held in connection with the Lord’s Super. However, abuses crept in and the love feast was discontinued.

4. Prayers—this was an important part of the life of the early Church. In praying they expressed their complete dependence on the Lord for worship, guidance, preservation, and service.

They continued steadfastly in these things.

Verse 43—“And great fear came upon every soul.”

A great sense of reverential awe came upon the church as the mighty power of the Holy Spirit swept over and through believers.

So great was their love for the Lord, and for one another, that each one gave their possessions into a common fund which was used to meet the needs of the needy.

The Marvels of Pentecost

Of all the marvels wrought at Pentecost none was greater than the change wrought in the disciples themselves.

Previously they had met behind closed doors for fear of the Jews. Now this fear had given place to lion-like boldness.

Would you recognize Peter, the denier, as the preacher who faces the Jewish authorities and fearlessly charges them with the Lord’s murder? See Acts 2:23—“You have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”

Peter was not alone in this holy boldness. The other disciples exhibited a like spirit. The indwelling Spirit had transformed them.

These early disciples in their Spirit-filled state exhibited:

    Great joy—Acts 8:8; 13:52.

    Great boldness—Acts 4:29, 31.

    Great fear—Acts 2:43; 5:5, 11.

    Great grace—Acts 4:33.

    Great power—Acts 4:33.

Illustration: During the American Civil War, Sherridan’s army was attacked during his absence. They were routed and fled from the battlefield in disorder. Suddenly they stopped, formed into ranks, then advanced toward their foes and drove them back. What had happened to turn an army of frightened men into an irresistible force? General Sherridan had suddenly ridden into their midst and immediately his dynamic power infused his men and they were changed.

The disciples were changed in like manner by the coming of the Holy Spirit into their midst.

The second marvel of Pentecost was the spontaneous joy which welled up in their hearts. “Joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Nothing attracts the attention and grouses the envy of the world than the joy of the believer.

The Jews could not account for it and said they were drunk with new wine. But Peter identified the source of their exhilaration as being the Holy Spirit’s presence and power and now new wine. V. 15-21.

The unbelieving world was shocked at their impact on society. They were not able to resist the wisdom and power by which he spoke. Acts 6:10; Stephen.

Notice how the multitudes were moved by these so-called ignorant and unlearned men.

    Three thousand souls were saved—2:41.

    Five thousand men believed—4:4.

    Multitudes of men and women believed—4:32; 5:14.

    The Word of God increased, the disciples were greatly multiplied—6:7.

    A great company of priests were obedient to the faith—6:7.

This was the effect that Spirit-filled men and women had on their neighbors and society.

Very soon, thereafter, their sphere of influence widened. Samaria was evangelized by Philip (Acts 8). Prejudice was overcome. Philip preached and a mighty revival broke out in Samaria.

Later, the Spirit overcame Peter’s prejudices and Jewish exclusiveness and through him opened the door to the Gentiles.

Finally, God sent Paul forth to the regions beyond. Spirit-filled men penetrated into a godless world with the Gospel.

When the Spirit dwells in a believer, ungrieved and unquenched, certain changes take place within him.

1. There is progressive sanctification.

2. He is taught by the Spirit.

3. He is guided by the Spirit.

4. His prayer life deepens.

5. His worship is more intelligent.

6. His service is more fruitful.

v. 8—On the day of Pentecost the church received power to evangelize the world. When the hundred and twenty came down from the upper room, they came in the power of the Holy Spirit.

It was a spiritual phenomenon flowing out in joyful ecstasy and miracle working power, resulting in the conviction of sin, repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Some were empowered for special service, but all received power to witness.

The real power of the church is not found in:

1. Modern buildings or unique methods of preaching or teaching.

2. Its great riches or how those riches are made.

3. The church’s prominence or popularity.

The Laodicean church was the first self-sufficient, Spirit-less congregation, but not the last.

You can always recognize a Spirit-filled church. 1 Thessalonians 1:8—“From you sounded out the Word of the Lord.” They shared their faith with the lost and souls are saved. Total involvement. Each one in fellowship tries to make full proof of their ministry.

When a church is not involved in winning souls, it grieves the Holy Spirit and is void of power.

Souls are born into the family of God by the Spirit through the imperishable seed, which is the Word of God. The Spirit-filled believer sows the seed; this is evangelism. The Holy Spirit hovers over the seed, convicting and leading the lost to repentance.

They have the power to turn the world upside down. Acts 17:6.

This is the power that filled the upper room congregation on the day of Pentecost. This same power is within the reach of each believer today in the person of the Holy Spirit. He is the power of the Church.