Our Bible reading today is Acts 2. One of the greatest chapters in the Bible.
In Acts 2 we see the fulfillment of Joel 2, Isaiah 2 and Micah 4. Jesus’ promise that the kingdom of God would come with power was coming to pass (Mk. 9:1). His command for the apostles to wait in Jerusalem to receive the power of the Holy Spirit occurred in dramatic fashion before an astonished crowd.
Peter’s sermon was Christ-centered. He argued that Jesus was the Son of God, based on His miracles and His resurrection from the dead. And that He was the fulfillment of David’s Messianic prophecy. The miraculous events of Pentecost were further evidence. His riveting message cut to the hearts of those he charged with wickedly crucifying Christ.
“What shall we do?” cried these convicted believers.
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. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39).
The response was incredible. “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls”(v. 41).
The following verses (42-47) provide for us a divine example of the purpose of God’s people. They answer fundamental questions people continue to ask today.
Why did Jesus promise to build His church? (Matt 16:18)
Who are we to be as God’s children?
What are we to do as saved people?
In short, what is the purpose of the church?
While the rest of Acts and the subsequent epistles answer these questions in greater detail, these verses provide us a cliff notes version.
1. We are called to worship God.
“They devoted themselves to…breaking bread, and prayers, and praising God.”
Worship is vital, not just for our personal benefit, but for our relationship with God. Heart-felt worship according to God’s Word pleases Him. And He seeks such worshipers (Jn 4:23-24).
2. We are created for community, formed for God’s family, called into fellowship with one another.
The words “fellowship,” “together,” “in common,” and “one accord” all speak to cultivating our relationship within the church-family. The numerous “one another” commands through the New Testament specifically address and highlight what it means to be “members of the same body.”
3. We are to be committed to discipleship.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.”
Discipleship involves learning. Growing. Maturing. Becoming more like Christ. It’s not a one time event like baptism, but a lifetime process.
4. We are to be concerned about and minister to others’ needs.
“They gave to anyone as he had need.”
Collectively and individually these Christians serve as an example for generosity, unselfishness and liberality in giving. While benevolent needs of fellow Christians were met through the collective efforts of the church, we are individually commanded “to do good to all people” (Gal. 6:10).
5. We are challenged to evangelize the lost.
“And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
Implied in this verse, is that they were sharing their faith. Reaching out to the community. And bringing the gospel message to the lost. The following chapters verify the evangelistic fervor of first century Christians.
We learn so much from Acts 2 from the establishment of the church, to God’s plan for salvation, to the mission of the church and the purpose of His people.
Personally, we each need to ask, “Am I following the divine pattern? And am I fulfilling God’s purpose for my life?”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman