Pentecost: A Church Emerges in a Day

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Pentecost

A Church Emerges in a Day

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The Christian church started with a big bang on the Day of Pentecost ten days after Christ ascended into heaven.

Christ told His disciples that big things were ahead  "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8 Acts 1:8But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout).

Just 120 faithful followers of Christ assembled on that day of Pentecost—waiting for something "big" to happen.

And it did. 

 "When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting" (Acts 2:1-3 Acts 2:1-3 [1] And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. [2] And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. [3] And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them.
American King James Version×
).

The chapter continues with the miraculous ability of people assembled from various nations to each hear Peter in their own language!

Peter, who less than two months before tried to hide the fact that he was with Christ, now boldly proclaimed Jesus, His ministry, His death and His resurrection. Furthermore, Peter indicted the crowd, whose attention he held, that they were responsible for the death of this powerful Christ:

"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36 Acts 2:36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made the same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
American King James Version×
).

What was the crowd's response?

"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?'" (Acts 2:37 Acts 2:37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?
American King James Version×
).

Without hesitation Peter gives the first action step in a Christian's life:

"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" (Acts 2:28 Acts 2:28You have made known to me the ways of life; you shall make me full of joy with your countenance.
American King James Version×
).

Three thousand were immediately baptized. Christ's followers grew from 120 to 3,000 in short order. Then 2,000 more were added.

After Jesus left this earth to return to heaven, perhaps some of His witnesses doubted that much would come of this fledgling ministry. After Jesus' death Peter and some of the others apostles were ready to go back to what they were used to doing—fishing. Maybe, they thought, this is the end of this ministry and work. How wrong they were! This was not the end, but a new beginning.

The early Church quickly took form and shape and proceeded to preach the message of repentance and salvation through Jesus Christ. It made an immediate mark on that society. The Church's reach extended soon beyond Judea. It was not a faith exclusive to the Jews. No, it was for all mankind.  Shortly thereafter a Roman centurion and his family were baptized. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34 Acts 10:34Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
American King James Version×
).

The book of Acts gives such an exciting history of growth of the Christian faith. It leads us to ask: What were the vital factors? Could it be possible to have such growth now? Why not?

If there is any time in the course of human experience that the word of God needs to do its work, it's now! As it was necessary to have the resources in manpower and support in the startup Jerusalem church to reach out to the world, it is likewise necessary for us to have the resources to reach our world. But notice, that the growth was contingent on power that was to be given to it through the Holy Spirit. Power was not from the apostles or the people. It came externally from God, who had His purpose in doing His Work.

My prayer is that the same power also be turned on in our time for us to proclaim the gospel as it was done after Pentecost A.D. 31.

Truly, I believe that we have so much in place after decades of training and testing. We have the respected Good News magazine, a library of literature and content galore on our Internet properties. We have an established television presence through Beyond Today. We are honing our content as true as possible in fact and impact as it was in Jesus' time: a message of repentance and transformation to becoming like Christ.

The Day of Pentecost was a milestone of growth in the history of the Church. Can it be again? I believe it can.

Our current issue of the Good News magazine contains articles speaking about the establishment of Christianity, the coming of the Holy Spirit and what all this means to you.

 

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