THE CHURCH IS BORN
SERIES: Unstoppable – The Book of Acts
Sunday, June 11, 2017
- The birth of the church began with an unexpected moment
- On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. – Acts 2:1-4 (830)
- This was what Jesus had told them to wait for – this was the birth or launch of the church
- It happened on a Jewish religious holiday – Pentecost – celebration of the harvest (50 days after Passover – Jesus’ crucifixion)
- If you’ve ever wondered why we are called “Pentecostals”
TEXT: Acts 2:5-14 (830)
5 At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem.6 When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers. 7 They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, 8 and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! 9 Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” 12 They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other. 13 But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!” Peter Preaches to the Crowd 14 Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this.
- God meets us where we are.
- Great reminder that God meets us where we are – both physically and spiritually
- Where were you when God met you and began to draw you to Himself? Physically where were you? Spiritually where were you?
- You may have said “yes” to God in a church service – but that process began in a conversation with a co-worker, through the witness of one of your neighbors, or a friendship that began in the bleachers during your kids’ soccer games
- The whole story of the Gospel is Jesus coming to Earth and meeting us where we are physically and spiritually so we could know Him.
- In God’s multiplication plan – in His plan for the church – our role is to meet people where they are physically and spiritually
- God tells us the truth about ourselves.
22 “People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. 23 But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him.
36 “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” – Acts 2:22-23, 36 (831)
- Apostles: “Say something warm and engaging…” Peter: “You killed Him! You killed Him!”
- At some level all of them – and me – and you – are complicit in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross
- Jesus: Be a witness to my resurrection – resurrection follows crucifixion – crucified not because of His actions but ours
- 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. – Romans 3:23-25 (859)
- Biblical word/concept: conviction
- Culture: conviction = condemnation or shame / Eliminate shame
- Gospel: You did it – but Jesus paid for it / You’re worse than you thought but the Good News is better than you ever imagined
37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” – Acts 2:37 (831)
- God works in our heart to respond to the Gospel.
- “Pierced their hearts” (Version: “Cut to the heart”)
- 12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. – Hebrews 4:12 (922)
- Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawnyou to myself. – Jeremiah 31:3 (598)
- Peter was telling them the truth, the Holy Spirit was working internally so they could respond and be changed (that’s what happened for all of us)
- 7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. – John 16:7-8 (824)
- When we talk to others we aren’t going solo – we are partnering with the Holy Spirit
38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away – all who have been called by the Lord our God.” 40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” 41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day – about 3,000 in all. – Acts 2:38-41 (831)
- The Gospel demands a response.
- What do we do? Repent and be baptized.
- Repent: Admit that you are headed in the wrong direction and that you plan isn’t the best plan. Put your faith in the resurrected Christ.
- Be baptized: Go public with your decision.
- What do we do? Repent and be baptized.
- Luke tells us that about 3,000 people said yes to Jesus that day.
- God meets us where we are – the Gospel tells us the truth about ourselves and offers us hope in Christ – and the Gospel demands a response.