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Acts Part 5, Acts 2:41-47

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Acts 1:8 ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Chapter 27: Of the Communion of Saints (1689 London Baptist Confession)

All saints that are united to Jesus Christ, their head, by his Spirit, and faith, although they are not made thereby one person with him, have fellowship in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory; and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each others gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, in an orderly way, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man. ( ; ; ; , ; , ; ; ; , ; ; , ; )
Matthew 16:24 ESV
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Question 48 What is the church? (The New City Catechism)

God chooses and preserves for himself a community elected for eternal life and united by faith, who love, follow, learn from, and worship God together. God sends out this community to proclaim the gospel and prefigure Christ’s kingdom by the quality of their life together and their love for one another.
The Church: The people of God who have been saved through repentance and faith in Christ and incorporated into his body through baptism with the Spirit.
“A circumcised heart is when what you ought to do and what you want to do are the same—pleasure and duty are the same.” Tim Keller
Acts 2:38–47 ESV
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. 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.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Acts 2:41
5 Marks of a Spirit-Filled Community
A circumcised heart is when what you ought to do and what you want to do are the same—pleasure and duty are the same.”)
What, my friends, is the church?
Or what is a church supposed to do?
Identity before tasks.
Adam was made in God’s image before he had work to do.
Who we are is not determined by what we do.
What we do is a result of who we are.
So when we ask what the church is, or does, we must not ignore who she is.
Context, context, context.
We aren’t allowed to read anything in the book of Acts apart from the missional aspect that is crystal clear from 1:8:
Acts 1:8 ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The primary weight/concern of this narrative is to reveal how the gospel of the Kingdom and its resurrected King goes out, leaves Jerusalem, touches the world.
It’s the story of how the word of God spreads across the 1st century world- transforming and saving and disrupting and confronting the world as they knew it, just like it continues to do so today.
This message is so powerful, it cannot be contained.
So at Pentecost, Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples and friends stands up and preaches it to a large crowd, we could call it the first sermon after Jesus is resurrected and exalted, and lots of people have their eyes opened, their hearts cut, and they become believers and followers of Jesus. Revival.
This is the beginning of how the gospel will go from Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, and eventually to Rome, the ends of the earth to somebody living at this time in this culture.
So gospel revival and ministry always begins with faithful proclamation of Jesus Christ. That’s what Peter’s sermon was all about- Jesus.
And so verse 41 tells us that there were “added that day about three thousand souls” to the new family/humanity of God, meant to reflect Him. That’s what the gospel has the power to do.
So now there are at least 3,120 people, with 3,000 having just become Christians. This is a simultaneous joy and terror. It’s like having 3,000 babies. How cute and special and precious, but oh no, we have a lot of work to do.
So what Luke does, (and he’s a doctor so he’s an intelligent guy) frequently in his writings, especially Acts, is every now and then stop and write a summary for us, especially to give the readers a snapshot as to what is going on with this new Spirit-em
For example, this section, is going to be followed by more interaction with the Jews in Jerusalem, beginning in chapter 3, especially the conflict and opposition that is going to arise, but create the pathways for the gospel to get out of Jerusalem beginning in chapter 8.
In fact, you will find the next summary statement of what the church looks like as she makes a cameo in 4:32-37 and again in 5:12-16.
My point: these summaries aren’t written to give us instructions per se on what we are supposed to be doing today in the church. That isn’t why Luke writes these things down. He rather wants us to sometimes take a look at the internal practices or marks of the Spirit-filled community and see them as means for the mission.
I’ll say it this way as well.
If we reduce the answer to the question, “What is the church?” as being only, , we are not only using it to answer a question Luke has no intention of answering, we are also failing to take into consideration everything else the Bible says about the church.
Some have also reduced a definition of the church to a verse in Matthew:
Matthew 18:20 ESV
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
All that we see described in these verses is a glimpse into what a community full of Holy-Spirit-filled life looks like. There are 5 marks that give evidence that life exists in this community of new believers.
They readily learned the scriptures.
They selflessly share their resources.
They informally eat together in one another’s homes.
They formally pray together.
They fully engage with and see lost people saved.
All that we read here, stems from the prior work and gift of God.
1 Corinthians 1:9 ESV
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 10:16 ESV
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?
Matthew 28:20 ESV
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Romans 15:16 ESV
to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthian s 10:16
2 Corinthians 9:13 ESV
By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others,
Romans 12:13 ESV
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
The gift? The Holy Spirit.
If the Holy Spirit has been given to you because you’ve put your trust in Jesus to save you from your sin, then these things aren’t religious exercises or duties you have to muster up to please God- they are natural inclinations you will have because these are things that Jesus Himself did, and being united to Him through the Spirit, you will have the same desires Jesus has.

This is a summary of the essential elements needed in Christian discipleship. They are elements the apostles had learned from their experience with Jesus: His teaching about His person and work (Matt. 16:18, 19; Luke 24:46) and their Christian responsibility as His followers (Matt. 5–7), the fellowship of Christ with His disciples (John 13), the Lord’s Supper—the breaking of bread (Matt. 26:17–30), and His prayer life for and with the disciples (Matt. 6:5–13; Luke 11:1–13; John 17).

Acts 2:38 ESV
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.
This is Pentecost, remember. Revival.
And one of the gifts given to sinners in the gospel is actually a Person: the Holy Spirit.
He
SENDING
Our God, the God of the scriptures, is a sending God. There is a missional dynamic within God himself.
The Father sends the Son and the Spirit.
Jesus didn’t just show up, or arrive. He was sent.
40x in John. Let me give you just one example:
John 3:17 ESV
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
The Father also sends the Spirit:
John 14:16 ESV
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
John 14:26 ESV
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
John 15:26 ESV
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
John 15:26 ESV
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
John 20:22–23 ESV
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
How? Because Jesus is God.
John 20:21–23 ESV
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
Acts 13:1–4 ESV
Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
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