"Today in Acts chapter 2 verses 1 to 47 we focus on the account of the birth of the church as found in Acts 2. The history of the church begins with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. On that day ordinary men and women were filled with the Holy Spirit. As a result they began to be transformed by the power of the Spirit and began to be built into a community. A community that bears witness to the reality that the Lord Jesus Christ has conquered death and offers salvation to all who believe in him." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)
When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.I was encouraged by this In Touch devotional from August 17, 2006, by Charles Stanley titled The Holy Spirit’s Presence.
Cut to the quick, those who were there listening asked Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers! Brothers! So now what do we do?"
Peter said, "Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites."
He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, "Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!"
That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.
Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met.
They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved. (Acts 2:1, 2:37-47, Paraphrase by Eugene H. Peterson in "The Message")
During the time of Moses, God established a festival to celebrate the grain harvest. The first day of the feast became known as the Day of Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-21). After Jesus ascended to heaven, God revealed a new spiritual meaning for Pentecost. On that day the promised Holy Spirit arrived, and the church of Jesus Christ was born!At the start of this reading in Acts the followers of Jesus were meeting in One Place by the end they were together in One Spirit. This was the birth of the Church. The Holy Spirit changed a group of individuals devoted to Christ meeting in one place into a fellowship of believers, devoted to Christ and sharing life together. The modern day understanding of Church as a building or place is so very far from it's birth.
While the disciples and others had been Jesus’ followers before this, there had been no “body of Christ” to which they could belong. On Pentecost all that changed. God’s Spirit baptized believers into the Lord Jesus, making them one with Him (1 Corinthians 12:13-14). Now they had a brand-new relationship with the Lord: from that point on, the Holy Spirit lived Christ’s life through them, and they abided in Jesus through His Spirit.
What a difference the Spirit’s indwelling presence made in their lives. No longer were they fearful men who ran away; nor were they people looking out for their own interests. Now they were transformed into a cohesive group who “were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common” (Acts 2:42, 44).
Our own personal “day of Pentecost” occurs at salvation, when we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and baptized into the worldwide body of Christ. The Spirit’s presence is permanently given to everyone who believes, for He is the guarantee of our salvation. What difference is the Spirit of God making in your life?"
I am encouraged as I read this passage to see how one of the most intimate ongoing encounters a person has with God, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, is also what fundamentally and functionally connects us with other believers. The Holy Spirit, in us, some how, for me even mysteriously, connects us with other followers of Christ locally and around the world. Wow!
I am working through the E100 Bible Reading Challenge again. You can learn more about my journey and read the other posts completed so far at this link. I encourage you to stop back soon to read another passage.
Please share your own thoughts on this passage in the comment section below or on the Facebook page.