Bible Study: Acts 2
Part 2 of the Acts Bible study series.
Joining me this evening is one of the presenters on the Beyond Today Program and also a Pastor in Minnesota area, over several churches up there. He is also teaching at ABC now, the “Epistles of Paul” class. We are happy to welcome this evening, for the Bible Study, joining me this evening is Mr. Steve Myers.
Bible Study was opened with prayer by Mr. Myers
We covered the background to the Book of Acts and Chapter 1. We are going to be going into Chapter 2 and, possibly, Chapter 3 this evening, depending how fast we get through Chapter 2.
Welcome to all of our live audience here. Nice to see a number of you coming out on a Wednesday evening and I know it is because of the snacks, not because of us. Snacks and fellowship draw people every time. But we will try to give you a good measure this evening.
The Book of Acts was written by Luke. Much of it he did not actually witness. The last part of it he did. He was a companion and a traveler with the Apostle Paul so he did, in fact, see some of the events he will relate to us as we read through the Scriptures in the Book of Acts.
The Book of Acts, called the Acts of the Apostles is really, primarily, the acts of Peter and Paul. About the first 11-12 chapters talk about Peter. Then Peter disappears from the scene and the last 16 chapters cover the life of the Apostle Paul. So, we are really going to see the acts of Peter and Paul is what we are talking about when we read the Book of Acts.
Some think that the book was written as a defense for the Apostle Paul when he was taken to Rome. Luke writes about it and gives a chronology of what happened in the early Christian Church. He gives a lot of positive feedback and positive feelings about the church which would do well as a defense for the Apostle Paul. He also writes it for Theophilus as he did the Book of Luke. It is thought that Luke may have been a slave. He certainly was a doctor. He uses terminology that only doctors would be familiar with. When he uses typical words such as “going through the eye of a needle”, for instance, in his account, he uses the surgical term for a needle as opposed to the typical word that a person would use for a sowing type of needle.
Theophilus, the person he wrote it for, can be found in Acts 1:1 and Acts 1:3. Theophilus could be a name of someone who is a lover of God. Some think Luke may have been a slave and actually earned his freedom. He actually may have earned his freedom because of his good deeds and good works. And, perhaps he did this in return for Theophilus granting him his freedom.
The Book is awesome. It shows that Christianity is good for all and emphasizes, heavily, the resurrection. We will see that.
Several wonderful chapters in here.
Acts 8, the Samaritans are reached by the Gospel.
Acts 10, Romans are reached by the Gospel
Reaching out to lots of people in lots of areas of the world showing God is an international God and not just a God of the Israelites or the Jews.
I am going to skip to Chapter Two. In chapter one we talked about the foundation of it and how the Apostles were looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ, thought He might return at that time. And God said to them, “What are you doing standing around here?” “What are you standing here looking at”, Christ as He was ascending into heaven from the Mount of Olives. “Why don’t you get busy and go out and preach the Gospel. Go carry this message, not only to Judea, not only to Samaria, but to the uttermost parts of the world.” They may not have done it to the whole world but they may have done a great deal to their world. Who is going to do it to our world?
You can divide the Chapter into two parts.
2:1-13, the coming of the Holy Spirit
2:14-36, Peter’s sermon
2:37-38, how to become a Christian
2:41-47, and the church grows
Pentecost had arrived.
The day had arrived. It was there. It is essential to note that they kept the Day of Pentecost.
What does Pentecost mean? When I was a new trainee in 1961-62, I was told, “Pente-costa”, “Counta-fifty”. We are not Italian so we are not counting 50. The word, Pentecost, means “the fiftieth, 5-0”. That is what it means and when you count Pentecost, you always come up with the same day, but not the same date. It is counted from the Sabbath. The Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread. “You shall count from the morrow after the Sabbath”. There are three Sabbaths during the Days of Unleavened Bread. The first Sabbath was a Holy day. The weekly Sabbath and the last Holy day. Whatever the weekly Sabbath is, it is the day after that, you begin counting with a Sunday. You always end up with a Sunday for the fiftieth day. “Seven Sabbaths shall be complete, even to the morrow after the seventh Sabbath.” Always on a Sunday but not always the same date on the calendar because the Jewish calendar fluctuates. Why? Because they do 29, 30, 29, 30, 29, 30, whatever, and then, finally, they have to put in an additional month, called an “intercalary year”, in which they actually put in another month, a 13th month in the year. And, because of this, you have to be able to count. You have to count the days in order to get the right date. And you always count it from the Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread. That is basically how you do it. It is a fixed day but not a fixed date. If it were a fixed date, you would never have to count it. But, God doesn’t say, “On the sixth day of Sivan, the sixth day of the third month, you shall…”. He says, “Count…” from the morrow after the Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
It is interesting to note that this Day of Pentecost, which was called the “Feast of Weeks” in the Old Testament, is synonymous with the Feast of Firstfruits as well.
Act 2:1 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”
It is interesting that God’s people were in accord with one another. I wonder if this event had taken place if they had been all disheveled, all confused, and all upset at each other. But He says they were all in one accord and all on one place. They came together. They came together to meet.
This would have been about 54 days after the death of Jesus Christ.
Talks about that Day of Pentecost. I am not going to go there but I’ll just give it to you as a reference.
V. 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.”
A couple of things to note. The receiving of God’s Holy Spirit was accompanied by some pretty awesome events. They were not generated by the people. They didn’t have somebody banging a tambourine and repeating the same thing over and over again. The sounds did not come from the people whooping and hollering or louds bands. The sound came from God. A rushing, mighty wind from heaven and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. It wasn’t their wind. It wasn’t their voices producing wind. It was mighty wind from God. So that is one thing to note. It came from heaven and it filled the house.
V.3 “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.”
So, it was like a flame of fire sitting on each one’s head so, if it happened to us up here, it would be like a flame of fire, lapping out from each of our heads, on top of our heads. They saw this. The people saw this. Humans can’t produce that. God did. He was about to give them the gift of speaking in tongues.
Now, they didn’t really need to know the language of the people who were there because most of them were Jews and they spoke Aramaic if they were from Jerusalem area. If they were from the Roman Empire, which was the ruling party, they would have known Greek. Greek was known throughout the Roman Empire. So, all these men had to do was speak in Aramaic or Greek, which they would have known, and people would have understood them.
But, there was something special about this day that God wanted to include all peoples. So, even though there were pilgrims there and, by the way, Barclay points out in his book, that more people went to Pentecost, as many, certainly, as went to Passover. There were much easier travelling conditions to go at this time of the year, when Pentecost was, than it would have been in the spring of the year or even the fall of the year. So, there would have been a huge throng. It would have been inviting, for individuals to come from all over the world, that Roman world that we see, that they did come from. In a moment you will see how many people there were, and the languages of those countries. So we are going to see what happened.
So, they (tongues of fire) sat on them and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other languages. The Greek word is “glossa”. They began to speak with languages. Strongs says “they were naturally unacquired”. They had not acquired these languages themselves. They hadn’t gone out and studied, like I have tried to do Arabic and I’ve tried to do German. And, on Rosetta Stone they say it is really easy. Try Arabic and see if it is easy. It is not easy but it is a nice opportunity and I learned some things on it. But, it wasn’t something that they naturally acquired. It was something that was unnaturally acquired. They had it from God. It was a special blessing. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
V. 5 “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.”
A large expression, “every nation”; certainly many nations were represented here. He goes on to say in verse 6.
V. 6 “Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.”
They came together. They heard this rushing. What is happening in this section. And they came in confused because everyone hear him speak in his own language. And, even the word there is dialect. If they spoke Southern Greek, they heard them in Southern Greek; they heard them in Southern Roman or Latin; they heard them in Southern Arabic; or northern. They heard their own dialect being spoken. What a tremendous witness. How could Steve or myself sit up here and speak to you and everybody hears in their own language. So, there is a Frenchman, there is a German, there is an Italian, there is a Yugoslavian and they all hear us in their own language. And we are sitting up here knowing exactly what we are doing. How come, out of one mouth, can come all different languages? So there was a miracle not only in the speaking but also in the hearing. They all could have understood Greek. That wouldn’t have been very special. They all could have understood Aramic, that wouldn’t have been very special. But for them to be there and hear this, they would have said, “You know what? That sounds like my home country?” Did you ever meet people whose primary language is other than English? Did you ever see them when they have a chance to speak to someone whose of their same language.
We went out to dinner with Mr. Anastasi and Mr. Mike Cabuto. And you should have seen the animation between the two of them. It was amazing. They were going back and forth in Italian. I was just observing. They were so enthusiastic. One of their meals hardly got eaten because they were just really enjoying each other. They were talking about something that pertained to them, in Italian. It was fine with me. They apologized a couple of times. I said, “No problem, I see you are having a great old time, just keep at it. Have a great time.”
When you meet somebody who speaks your language that is really encouraging. When you go abroad and you go to some of the countries like when you go to order food. I went to order some things at McDonald’s in Germany when we were on tour with the students. I walked up and I was trying my best German. They said, “You want some French fries and a Big Mac?” He spoke American. He was over there training people. Was that ever encouraging to me as I tried to get out the German language. To hear someone in my own language. So, these individuals heard, each one, in his or her own language. Not only that, but even in the dialect.
V. 7 “And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?”
Where did these guys ever learn to speak these languages? Why, we know that they come from Galilee. They can’t be very smart. This was a poor, uneducated district, a section of Judea. I don’t know if they were wearing Galilean outfits or whether they were wearing the “Galilean Braves” soccer team, or whatever at that time. I don’t know how they identified them at that time but they knew they were Galileans. “Weren’t these guys from Galilee? Where did they ever learn to speak these languages?”
V8 “And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?”
The country, the area where we were born. They could have heard in Aramic, they could have heard in Greek. Instead they heard in their own language, from the land in which they were born. What a marvelous miracle. And notice what they heard. They heard the wonderful works of God is what they heard. We will see that in Verse 11. The languages they refer to were
V9-11 “Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.”
Notice what they said, “We hear them speak in our language the wonderful works of God.”
It wasn’t some type of unknown tongue. It wasn’t done for their own personal glory. As on person told me in a church he went to. He said he tried really hard to speak in tongues and he couldn’t. He wanted to. Now, let me backtrack for a moment. A certain denomination says that you should give a proof that you are converted. When you study the Scriptures you find several times, associated with baptism, is speaking in tongues. Let me remind you the fruit of conversion, the fruit of the Spirit is not tongue speaking. The fruit of the Spirit is found in Galations 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
The proof of a lemon tree is not if you find the apple that I tied onto it as a gift. Here is a lemon tree. I want to give this lemon tree a gift. I’m going to give it a nice, red delicious apple. I tie a string on it. You go by it and you say, “This is an apple tree”. No, that is not what is being produced from it. That is a gift to the tree. It is a gift on the tree. It is not what the tree produces. The proof that you have the Spirit of God is the fruit that you bear.
Now gifts of the spirit are wonderful. They are great and I believe that God will give the gift of speaking in tongues when He is ready and when He wants to. It is certainly in His power to do it. But, if you read 1 Corinthians 14, the people who are speaking in tongues know exactly what they are saying. The spirits of the prophet are subject to the prophet. The brains, the minds and the morale of that particular prophet are subject to them. They know exactly what they are doing. They are not taken over by anything. I have talked to many tongue speakers and many of them will tell you they didn’t know what they said, they didn’t know what happened, and all of a sudden sounds started coming out. People said, “WOW, what a great conversion that is.”
Proof of the Spirit is the fruit, not the gift. Gifts are great. God chooses to give them, whose going to deny them. But gifts are always given by God who is a very purposeful God who does not give things for people to use flippantly. So, if you look at 1 Corinthians 14, which I am not going to take you to now, you will find the Corinthian church, which had lots of different nationalities passing through, also had the gift of tongues. In this case, it looks like the gift of speaking the language so that person who would come from that particular country could understand. And, he says, you have been misuing this. Don’t just stand up and start speaking in a language at church because you have this gift. The people cannot understand. He said, “If you are going to do that, you better make sure somebody is there who can interpret.” So, if I am going to speak Arabic to you, which I can’t, Mr. Myers would have to be able to interpret. I’d say a few things in Arabic and he’d explain it. If you are going to speak in that language, you are going to need an interpreter. Otherwise, you need to keep quiet. So, he was not in any way telling them that this was a good thing to do. They were abusing it and he had to lay down some rules about it. You can read that.
What happened as a result of that? It says,
V 12, Luke writes, “And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?”
This is amazing!! These men are uneducated. We are all hearing in our own language, coming from their mouths. Whatever could this mean?
V 13 “Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.”
These men are drunk. Yes, the produced some pretty good sounds for individuals who were drunk.
V 14 “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:”
So, Peter must have heard what they were saying. He said listen to what I have to say to you. This begins Peter’s inspired sermon on that Day of Pentecost, when you had all of these people’s attention. I believe this was a dramatic event to get these people’s attention and to give the church a really good start.
V 15 “For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.”
“I heard you talking about it. These men are not drunk. It is only 9 a.m. Come on, give the guys a break. They are drinkers but they don’t drink that early. Maybe they had some wine last night but they don’t drink all through the night. They aren’t up drinking that early in the morning. It is only 9 o’clock!”
V 16 “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;”
He said this is a fulfillment of what Joel wrote in Joel 2. Joel 2 is a prophecy of the end time. So this was not the complete type at all. The ultimate is going to come to pass when lots of people are converted; when God gives His spirit without them having to be called because they will all be called. He gives it to them once they believe, repent, and are baptized, have hands laid on them, and receive the Spirit of God. Right now it is only those whom God will call.
John 6:44, 65 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”
So there is a limitation on how many people on which He will pour out His spirit. But, in Joel’s prophecy there is no such limitation. Joel says He will give it to everybody, from the lowliest servant, the lowliest handmaid, to the highest person in society, He will give His spirit. He will pour it out. And, by the way, “pour out”, which we read in V. 17, which he quotes, means to literally “spill forth”. God’s spirit can be spilled forth, indicating it is not a person, not a third person of the trinity. But, God’s Spirit is awesome.
When I was studying, taking additional classes to teach theology at Ambassador College, we had this man who was asking us, “Do you believe in the Trinity?”
“No, we don’t believe in the Trinity.”
“Well, what do you believe?”
“Well, we believe in God, the Father. We believe in God the Son. We believe the Holy Spirit is what God is. God is holy. God is spirit. God is Holy Spirit. It is His very essence.”
He said, “You are crypto-trinitarians. This means, “You are in the closet somewhere. You don’t really want to believe it all.”
I believe in the Holy Spirit. Absolutely. I do not worship the Holy Spirit. I worship in the Holy Spirit. I worship with the Holy Spirit. I do not worship the Holy Spirit. I worship God, the Giver of the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ.
V 17 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:”
Now, He is not just going to pour it out. You mean, they get it differently than we do? You mean they don’t have to come to believe? You mean they don’t have to come to repent? You mean they don’t have to come to be baptized? I believe all that. I don’t think God is just going to pour out His Spirit, “Here you go, you people just get it.” The Bible is consistent. The Bible has a theme throughout. The Bible makes sense.
And by the way, “prophecy” has two meanings. It doesn’t mean women are all of a sudden going to jump up and start telling you what is going to happen next week, next month. Or men, next month, next year, next week. Prophecy means to speak under inspiration. I certainly hope every time you speak, you speak with God backing you. That is why He says, “Don’t swear at all”. That is why He says, “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’; be true with whatever you say and whatever you do because God is watching each one of us. He knows what we are and He knows what we do and I hope every time you speak to somebody, you speak under inspiration. You forth speak. Prophecy can mean “foretell”, speak of the future or “forth tell”, speak out boldly. Either way.
Even on the people who are servants in the home, He will pour out His spirit. Again, speaking under inspiration.
V 18-20 “And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable (awesome) day of the Lord come:”
Verses 19 and 20 are describing the heavenly signs which take place just before the Day of the Lord. So, when is the Holy Spirit going to be poured out? Don’t forget in Revelation 7, there are going to be 144,000 Israelites converted during the tribulation and before the Day of the Lord. There is going to be an innumerable multitude of individuals who are converted, come out of great tribulation. God says, “OK, those people have had enough. They have come to real repentance. Let’s not whack them anymore with plagues and punishment during the Day of the Lord.
The final fulfillment of that, and this was only a prototype, the pouring out of God’s Holy Spirit, will be at the end. It will be during the millennium, the major part starting during the time when Israelites are converted; true Israelites. 12,000 from each of the tribes of Israel and the innumerable multitude in Revelation 7.
V 21 “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Ok, let’s take that as a stand alone Scripture. I don’t have to repent. I don’t have to believe. I just have to teach people to sing, “Yes, Jesus Loves Me”. And they can be saved. Is that what this is telling you? This is one component. People in that time are going to be able to call on the Lord and say, “God, I want to be saved!”. Do they still have to believe, repent, and be baptized? Yes!
All they say is, “Lord!”
“OK. You get My spirit.”
I don’t see that anywhere in Scripture. Do they have to call on God? You bet. They call on God to forgive them of their sins. They call on God to say, “I confess. I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and my Master and King.” They have to confess. They have to be willing to submit themselves to God and to express that confession. Yes, they have to call on God but it is not just an empty thing, calling on His name. They have to call on Him to help them. He says, “They shall be saved.”
Let me just cover this next little section and I will turn it over to Mr. Myers.
V 22 “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:”
You are going to see something in this section. Notice “Man” was capitalized because He was God in the flesh. You saw Him walk on the water; feed 4,000; feed 5,000; raise the dead; heal the sick; all manner of sickness and disease. Nothing was too hard for Him.
He was right here in Jerusalem. He was right here among you in Judea. Probably some of your cousins and relatives, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, were healed by Him because He traveled throughout the villages. And He healed all manner of sickness and disease.
V 23 “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”
Yes, God sent Him to be a sacrifice but the way you took Him and how you took Him. So God is not exonerating criminal behavior of those who said, “Kill Him. Kill Him. Crucify Him.” On the other hand he is saying, “You know, you didn’t just deliver this yourself. God determined that this would happen.” God had the power to keep it from happening.
V 24 “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
You will find the theme of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ trumpeted throughout the Book of Acts as we see this first century church. They were so excited just like you’d be excited if somebody was raised from the dead. You’d be excited to be around this. “I saw his lifeless body and he is alive now.” You’d be excited. They were so excited. They saw His lifeless body. They saw Him afterwards, so did 500 brethren at once. The disciples had a barbecue with Him on the beach. The disciples walked with Him and saw Him for 40 days straight. He would appear to them every-so-often afterwards. They knew. They were so proud – I don’t mean that in a wrong way – they had a great sense of being with their Lord and Savior. Men who turned tail and ran now had the gumption and the strength and the heart to keep on doing God’s work because of it.
God was not going to let Him stay dead and remain dead. God would resurrect Him.
1 Cor. 15:3, 4 “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
So, Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead and that resurrection was trumpeted, loudly and powerfully, by His disciples afterwards.
It is interesting that as Peter makes this argument, he points to the fact of all the things that the people would have experienced themselves. So, he points out the fact that Jesus was among them, that they witnessed these things, these fantastic miracles that many of them would have experienced. Then he also backs up his argument by turning to prophecy then. So, he goes into this section in Verse 25, for the next four or five verses here, where he quotes from the Psalms. And so he uses the support of David as backing to show that Jesus is the Christ, that Jesus was the Messiah. So he uses David as backing, a little bit of proof here that shows the fact that he prophecied about Christ. So David understood these things. And, if David understood these things, he didn’t see Christ do these miracles, he didn’t experience these things but he foresaw it. He prophecied about it. So how much more should these people, who experienced all these things, react to that fact. So he draws that in here in the next couple of verses.
V 25 “For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:”
So there is confidence that we can have in Jesus Christ.
V 26-27 “Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”
See, he is explaining what happened after three days. He is explaining how Jesus Christ was resurrected. He is pointing to the fact that David had prophesied this. It wasn’t some happenstance. It was something that God foresaw and David prophesied about. So he is fulfilling this passage, he is fulfilling these prophecies about Him. He didn’t see corruption. His body didn’t degenerate. And so He was changed. He was resurrected.
V 28 “Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.”
Peter draws on David for support.
V 29 “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.”
That is a little bit of a contrast, there, as to where Christ is. Christ was resurrected, but David? He is still here. He is still dead and buried. But, he says, he was a prophet.
V 30 “Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;”
If you were to look back at 2 Samuel, you could get a little bit of background about these promises that God had made to David. That the Savior would come through his lineage. And that is a fact. You can look it up. I won’t take the time right now to rehearse that, but you can research that pretty easily to find how the line of Jesus Christ came through David. So God had promised that to Him.
V 31 “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.”
He is rehearsing again what Psalm 16 said. He is not saying He had an immortal soul. That is not what that word means there in the Greek. It is just talking about His physical body. That his body was not left in Hades. Hades isn’t talking about an ever-burning hell. It is literally the grave. So His body, His soul in that sense, was not left in the grave, not left in Hades. And His flesh did not see corruption; it didn’t even start to corrode, didn’t even start to wear out. It didn’t become infected with all the bugs and worms and things like that. That didn’t happen to Christ. What a miracle that would be in itself. So, he is referring back to that.
So, he says, That Jesus. That is the one. The one that you saw. The one that you witnessed. The one that you denied. The one that David himself prophesied about. The one that God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
There were probably some of those there that, when Christ was resurrected, were around. It says that He appeared to 500 people after He was resurrected. So, it is very possible some of them were around at that time. They may have been in the audience that Peter was speaking to here. He is saying, ”We were witnesses to these things.” Maybe not witnesses to every single aspect of this but I’ll be the impact must have been phenomenal. There were some influence, some affect, some things that they had not only heard about but they had seen themselves. So he says, “We are witnesses to those things.”
V 32-33 “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”
So, Christ was resurrected. He is at the right hand of the Father and He has poured out His Holy Spirit. God’s spirit was given through Jesus Christ, he is saying. Christ prophesied about this Himself, didn’t He. He said, “I need to go. I need to be crucified. I need to pay the penalty for sin. I need to be resurrected so that God will pour out His spirit.” You can look at some of those passages back in the Gospels that talk about that. That Christ had the spirit. He promised a “Helper”, didn’t He? He promised the “Comforter” would come. And, so here is where Peter is pointing. This is it. This is the event that Christ was talking about. So that is what you are seeing. That is what you are hearing. Pretty amazing thing that they were seeing and hearing. Languages being spoken. Things that look like fire but it wasn’t really fire. Things that sounded like the wind but it wasn’t really the wind. It was “as the wind”, “like the wind”.
A lot of times I often think of what people say after a tornado. They always say the same thing. It doesn’t matter where the tornado was, or when it was. They always say, “WOW! It sounded like a locomotive. It sounded like a train was coming right through my house.” Well, a train wasn’t coming through their house but it seemed like it. It sounded like it. So these awesome events, these fantastic miracles that were taking place; he said that is a result of God pouring out His Holy Spirit. And, boy did He do it in a big way.
V 34 “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,”
Interesting point here. There is a little bit of a contrast. Remember how much esteem that the Jews had for David. David was right there at the top. You had Abraham, Moses, and David. They were like the “Big 3”. You couldn’t get much higher. You want backing? You want support? Look at David. Look at Moses. Look at Abraham. These are the big ones that we all look to; that we all have such deep respect for. Jesus Christ is no longer in the grave. He is not dead. He is not buried. He is resurrected. He is at the right hand of God.
On the other hand, here is David. He is still dead. He did see corruption. And he is still in his grave. So we are seeing that varying and that contrasting between the beloved David and Jesus Christ Himself. So he said David did not ascend into the heavens.
Great passage to remember. When you die, do you go to heaven after death? Well, if David is a “man after God’s own heart”, and he is still in the grave, pretty simple proof. I am pretty simple when it comes to proving things. This is a great passage to remember. David is not in the heavens. Well, OK. He is dead. He is awaiting the resurrection.
We can look back at Ecclesiasties 9. He is still there. He is waiting for Jesus Christ to return and be resurrected. He didn’t ascend into the heavens. If David didn’t ascend into the heavens, how can we argue that anyone else did? It is not possible.
Even though he didn’t ascend, look at what he prophesied about. He says here. He is saying, look at what David said. David said he had a Lord. “The LORD said….” He is prophesying about Jesus Christ Himself. In fact, Jesus uses this particular passage to stump the religious leadership of the day. They couldn’t explain it. “What does He mean by that?” That “The LORD said to my Lord…” . Maybe Peter is using a little bit to remind them. Remember these great religious leaders and how they were trying to put down the Christ? How they were trying to show that Jesus was not the Messiah? Remember this passage that they had no answer for? I think he is using that as a little bit of a goad, saying, “Do you remember that event?” And they were left speechless. And they didn’t question Him any longer after that. That was one of things that was noted about that particular verse in the Gospels.
It is an interesting fact that Peter brings that back up again, quoting David.
V 36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
Was Jesus the Messiah? He says “Absolutely. Without a doubt. Most assuredly.” It is undeniable in other words. In fact the wording that he uses here must have really hit home because maybe some of these people were yelling out at that time, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him. Crucify Him”. So, maybe he uses that terminology, “The Lord that you crucified…”.
Can you imagine what that would have felt like if you were one of those who were screaming for His death and then he has pointed out the fact that Jesus is Messiah. He points out the fact that He was resurrected. He backs it up with prophecy by King David. And he brings it out so clearly. It must have really struck home.
V 37 “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
They felt it to their very being. Not only were they sorry but there was probably a sense of remorse. Probably a guilty conscience. So there was this sense of a combined, not an emotional response, but I am sure there was also an intellectual response too. “All of these things are true. I realize it now. I finally see it. I can finally put it all together. Peter mapped it all out and I was a part of it. I caused the death of the Messiah. The one that all of Israel had been waiting for for years and years, for all time for that matter! They were waiting for the Messiah and I had a part in killing Him.”
So, would that cut to the heart. Would that reach to your very being. It says that is what they felt like.
Mr. Antion: Regarding emotion. “They were cut to the heart…” When you find in Acts 7, as will cover in future Bible Studies, you will see that men were “cut to the heart” again, in Acts 7:54. Instead of repenting because emotions can be used for you for good or they can be used against you for evil. In this case these men ran at them and gnashed at them with their teeth. Some say they gnashed on him. Actually they were so mad they were biting Stephen before they finally stoned him to death. So emotions can be used for you for good or they can be used to hurt you as well.
It is really interesting these people were really “cut to the heart”. I also want to just mention that when people repent there is an emotional element. There should be an emotional element. You should feel it down to your heart. Do you always have a cupful of tears? Not necessarily. It depends on how you repent. If you repent a little at a time and finally come to the end of those various times of repentenca, you say, “Why do I have to keep messing up all the time? I am so sorry God. I submit and I repent.” That is a less emotional repentance than one who sins and doesn’t notice it and keeps piling them one on top of the other until, finally, at the top of this heap of sins, something dramatic hits them and they look back and say, “Oh, what a rotten wretch I am!” That produces a much more emotional repentance. Should there be emotion with repentance? Yes. Feelings? Yes. These people had it.
That is kind of interesting because it points out the difference between emotion and emotionalism. You are not getting carried away with your emotions. In fact here you see that the spiritual response because they were touched to their very being. It affected them right down to their hearts their minds and their response was, “What should we do about it?” I think that shows their intent very clearly. “Men and brethren, what should we do? What should our response be to this very earth-shaking event that I had a part to play in?”
V 38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
So, Peter said the response to this is that you have to change. You have got to repent. You have to turn to God. You have to forsake your ways and you have got to become a godly individual. You have got to turn and go God’s way. It is not just to feel bad about these kinds of things. It is not just recognizing the fact that Jesus is Savior. Our response has to be a change of life. This emotion, this understanding, this truth, should have led them to change their lives. So the response was to repent and then they have to be baptized.
So, it is not only realizing I need to change, we need to do something about it. We need to make a commitment to God. We need to be baptized so that our sins can be forgiven, for the remission of sins, for the forgiveness of sins. So, the response to this is that I must make a commitment to God. Being baptized. I must have that baptismal covenant. I must make an agreement with God. He will be my God and I will be His servant.
They needed that. They needed to change and, as a result of who Jesus Christ was, God wanted a personal relationship with these people. It wasn’t just a national relationship anymore. It wasn’t just Israel. It wasn’t just Judah. Now, here they were working with individuals. God is changing a way, in a sense, that He is working with people. He wants an individual, personal relationship.
So, what should we do, men and brethren? You need to have a relationship with God. You have got to repent. You have got to change your life. You have got to dedicate your life to following God. You have got to have your sins forgiven and it only happens by the blood of Jesus Christ. As you do that, as you go through that process, after baptism, you will have hands laid upon you and you will receive this awesome gift that is in evidence today.
So, what an amazing experience that had to have been.
A comment about the repentance side of it. Repentance is really important to understand. It is not just a change of action, it is also a change of mind. In order to repent, you must change your mind. Now, if I tell you, you are doing this wrong. OK, you may change this action but you may grumble about it the whole time. You may still do it. He threatens me with eternal death, OK, I’ll do it. It has to be a change of mindset, not only toward the person who is asking you about it and brought it to light but a change of mindset toward to God. He is the One who gave the principles and issues about life. So it is a change of mind, a change of heart, and a change of action.
One other thing that is required, and one of the best Scriptures that I have ever found on repentance is
Pro. 28:13 “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
It is awesome because he says that if you want to prosper, if you want to be a success in life, and you cover up your sins, you will never prosper. But, if you confess and forsake, you will have mercy.
If you want forgiveness, if you want God’s mercy to be applied, it takes confession. God wants to hear you are sorry. He wants to then see that you are sorry. He wants to see fruits indicating repentance. So, repentance is two-fold. Confession, talk to God. Tell Him how you feel about you. Tell Him how you feel about your sins. Two, forsake them. Quit doing them. As he said, change of heart and expression of that change of heart, and change of action.
We were talking about that a little bit in class this week. Romans 6 has a lot to say about baptism and repentance and our perspective on that. The doing shows the evidence that we are repentant. Part of that is included here in the sense in that we have this emotional response. They were cut to the heart. But, even in that, there had to be evidence that they were committed to God so they needed to be baptized. They needed to have their sins forgiven and then they would receive the power in order to overcome, so that they could overcome sin. Then, they could have the fruit of the spirit more abundantly in their lives.
V 39 “For the promise is unto you, (all the people that were there) and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
We know God does the calling. That is where it starts. We can’t work it up ourselves. God does that calling but it is a promise, a family promise. God’s plan is a family plan. He is building His family. Here we see that promise is not only to the parents but it is also to the children. God works with families. That is such an awesome blessing.
He talks about this promise. What promise is He referring to? The promise of the forgiveness of sins. He is talking about our sins can be forgiven. We can repent. We can change. We can be baptized. That forgiveness of sins is a promise to all of those who repent and change and respond to God’s call as well as the gift of the Holy Spirit. So, God’s Spirit is a part of that promise as well. That the gift of the Holy Spirit would be given to those who respond to God’s calling. We see that was just the beginning of where Peter was speaking to the people here.
It is interesting that he talks about the spirit, then, as no longer just working with us. He is comparing and contrasting, here, that we can have the spirit in us. And that becomes the vital difference, I think. God was working with Israel. They were supposed to be His model nation. Judah was supposed to be as well but they couldn’t do it. Because of that we see that God wants to work in individuals. He wants to that through His Holy Spirit.
I want to mention something in Deuteronomy 7:9, talking about promises “to you and your children, to all who afar off.
Deuteronomy 7:9”Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;”
So what that tells me is, if I believe, repent, am baptized, and receive God’s spirit and live a godly life, my children will be given that opportunity to follow in those same steps. My children will then give their children opportunity to do the same. 1000 generations, you start a new trend by coming to God, accepting Him, and then God says, your children also I am going to draw them and call them.
That is a phenominal thing. Especially the way he is probably also tying in these thoughts back to Joel 2. Remember he talked about what is going on. Verse 16 is what was spoken by the prophet Joel. What was Joel prophesying about? He was talking about young men seeing visions and old men seeing dreams. So he is kind of, possibly, referring back to that as well, talking about the children. The children are going to be a part of God’s way. They are going to have a fantastic opportunity.
Joel 2:16-17 “Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.”
There is a great promise, one that is good to remind our young people about. God is working with them. God wants them a part of the family, too. It is not just for adults. It is not just for grandma and grandpa, of for mom and dad. God wants you a part of His way. It is an important aspect of what God is doing. What a fantastic promise that He has given to us.
Act 2:40 “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”
It sounds like words for today. This perverse generation. What was the world like back then? It probably wasn’t anything compared to what we’ve got going on today it seems sometimes. But, he is showing the fact, what a difference between God’s way and what man has devised for himself. This world, this perverse generation, probably refers a little bit to the fact that they denied the Christ. Part of that perversion is that they didn’t want to see it. They had every opportunity to see it. In fact, if you read the history books, at that time, they were expecting a Messiah. Many of the religious leadership were expecting a Christ to come on the scene. There are many examples of a false Christ that had shown up throughout that time period in history. And yet they denied the true Christ, they denied the true Messiah. So they needed saving. They needed God’s intervention in their lives. Those that were cut to the heart, those that were responding, those that did follow what Peter said to them,
V 41 “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”
Wow. What a fantastic response. When the Gospel message goes out, God expects there to be a positive response to that message. In some ways I don’t think we should expect anything less today. We preach the Gospel, God’s going to call people. He’s going to work with individuals. Hopefully, they are going to come to baptism. These 3,000 had already had baptismal counseling all the time, during their life. They were watching it before their eyes. It took Peter’s message, here, to bring it to life. “Wow! This was it! Right before us.” So, they did repent. They did accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. They did have their sins forgiven. They were baptized. An amazing event that happens here. They responded to a powerful message. A really miraculous message. When you think about Peter. Probably not the one that was most blessed in his speaking abilities and yet here God powerfully used Peter as he helped bring these people to conversion.
They were baptized, 3,000 souls. Once again there is that same word. They are not talking about souls that are wafting off to heaven. 3,000 living people, 3,000 living people, were added. Human beings added at this time.
And it says, “what did they do?.” They didn’t just accept Christ and then that was it. He says,
Acts 2:42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
So here you have, I suppose you could say, a recipe for a healthy church. If you want a healthy congregation, these four things are powerful aspects of a strong congregation. The truth. They had the Apostle’s doctrine. The true teachings of Jesus Christ.
They were strong in their fellowship. They got together. They talked with each other. They knew each other. They participated in each other’s lives. So much in fact that they broke bread together. They had hospitality between themselves. They had each other over. They ate a meal. It wasn’t just entertainment. They weren’t just going to a movie or something like that. They were participating in each other’s lives. They were getting to know each other. They were eating together. Powerful things happen when you have a meal together, don’t they?
And, of course, we see prayer. Prayer, another vital part of a strong, healthy congregation.
Those four things were the things they “continued steadfastly”. They were devoted in other words. That word can sometimes have “a singleness of mind”. They were so focused on the truth that they were going to follow it. They were going to understand it thoroughly. They were going to continue in what the Apostles taught and they were going to be together. They were going to fellowship. They were going to break bread, be hospitable to each other and support each other and have a relationship with God in prayer.
So, fantastic things began as the New Testament church started.
V43 “And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”
This type of fear probably referring more to an “awe”, an amazing respect, not “shaking in their boots” type of fear. An awe. A feeling of “God has done some amazing things. Many wonders and sign. You know, since the church began, things were done in a big way. In fact, we will see that throughout the Book of Acts. When things happen for the first time, they happen in an amazing way.
So, here we have the beginning of the church. The Holy Spirit poured out. It happened in a monumental, wonderous way. Fantastic signs were being done through the Apostles as well.
V 44-47 “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
They had things in common. I am not talking, necessarily, about socialism, or anything like that. But, they were supporting each other. They were helping each other. Each one of them used their resources to support one another. So this was the way that it happened. In order to help, people would sell things. If someone was in need, “Well, let’s help. Let’s serve them.” Whether it was real estate as sometimes it can mean that, their posssessions, their real estate. We will see a big example of that with Ananias and Sapphira coming up a little bit later that seems to indicate that, not only real estate was sold, personal possessions were sold, their goods.
Part of it probably was their perspective as well. Peter quoting end time passages. They might have thought they were a little closer to the end than what they really were. “So, what do I need these possessions for anyway? Let’s support each other. Let’s love each other, economically help each other.” They did those kinds of things. At this particular time, they used those opportunities to help and serve one another.
Of course you can think of garage sales. Have you ever had a garage sale and donate their money. Some people let their hair grow long, cut their hair and donate it to charity. People have done things, given things for the silent auction for our charity auction that we have each year. They have donated. People have given of their wealth. They have given of their goods to help others. It doesn’t mean that we are communists. It doesn’t mean everything is mine, you come to my home. You come to my home, I’ll say, “Make yourself at home”. I don’t expect you to bring a freezer bag and start unloading my freezer. “Here’s some steaks. Here’s some lamb chops. Here’s some frozen peas.” (I love frozen peas.) And you walk out with them. You said, Make myself at home. Does that mean to come and raid somebody’s house? Their cupboard? Their pantry? No! But they were kind to each other. They shared. You tell people, “Make yourself at home”, you don’t expect them to say, “Well, I think I’ll spend the night”, and they go upstairs and sleep in your bed. You don’t expect them to do that. But you want them to feel welcome and they certainly did feel welcome.
I want to share a couple of thoughts with you as we conclude this particular section.
By the way, if you have questions, I have the Bible question sheets here if someone wants to get them. Or if anybody likes, they can use the microphone. If you have a question, you can just raise your hand in a moment. We will be happy to answer them. Or online, we have a couple of them already. One from last week and one from this week.
I want to share a couple of things.
First of all there were four kinds of preaching done that you will see Peter doing. One was proclamation. Another one was teaching, meaning of the facts. Another was exhortation, telling people they need to practice it. And the last one was using what we call “homily” which is to bring a subject matter that ties in with the Scriptures.
There is a pattern that they also used in preaching. One was foretelling that Jesus Christ fulfilled, or was going to fulfill these Old Testament Scriptures. Another was one these promises have been fulfilled, that is “forthtelling”. Another one was the certainty of Jesus Christ and His resurrection was taught. And another one was that Jesus Christ would return, would be coming back. Finally, that Salvation was through Jesus Christ.
Peter, in his presentation, used those various terms.
I want to share with you “The Acts of the Apostles” by William Barclay, Pages 28-29, what he said. “That experience regarding repentance demands a reaction from men. “Repent”, said Peter, first and foremost. What does repentance mean? The word originally meant “an afterthought”. Often a second thought shows that the first thought was wrong. So the word came to mean “a change of mind”. But, if a man is honest a change of mind demands a change of action. Repentance must involve both change of mind and change of action. A man may change his mind and then come to see that his actions were wrong but be so much in love with his old ways he will not change them. A man may change his ways but his minds remains the same, changing only because of fear or prudence. True repentance involves a change of mind and a change of action.”
I thought that was really interesting, pages 28 and 29.
And one other section I want to share with you is Pages 29 and 31. What we read hastily in this last part, to finish Chapter 2. He describes what kind of a church there was. Barclay points out several aspects of it. Actually nine ways that church was.
1. It was a learning church.
It listened to the Apostles’ doctrine.
2. It was a church of fellowship as Mr. Myers pointed out. A church that met together.
Malachi 2:16 “For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.” They spoke often to one another and God listened.3
3. They were a praying church as Mr. Myers pointed out again. They prayed for each other. They prayed for the whole of the church.
4. They were a reverent church. They tried to live in a Godly way. He lives in a proper respect for God.
5. They were a church where things happened. Signs and wonders were there. In other words, they were not a dead church. They were an active church.
6. It was a sharing church. They were willing to help. And I can site case after case after case of brethren, over the years, who drove multitudinous miles out of the way in order to pick up other people and bring them to our services. In order to bring them to church. In order to make sure they could come week after week after week. They gave of themselves. They were a sharing church. Those who took the rides, they were sharing, too. They would make a pie for somebody. They would bake some fresh bread and give it to someone, offer them to come in after the trip for some tea and scones or whatever.
7. They were a worshipping church. They never forgot to visit God’s house. They worshipped God. They came together.
8. It was a happy church. Gladness was there. A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that we all need to ask God to give us a lot more of is joy. Peace, longsuffering. What did I skip over? Joy. “Life is hard, it is tough. I am miserable but I am a Christian.” Do your neighbors want to come to your church? You are miserable. Why do I want to go to that church? I am miserable. “Life is heavy. Life is hard. Life is rotten. Trials all the time. Tests all the time. Things are difficult.” Why would anybody want to come to a church when that is the way you reflect it or I reflect it? Why would the ever want to come? Joy ought to beam from us. A joyous church, a glad church, a happy church.
9. It was a church whose people others could not help liking. It says they had “favor” with others. Why did they have favor? Because they were living a Godly life.
You know Jesus Christ was liked by people. What He said they didn’t like but why did they all come around Him? Why were they all flocking to Him? He had “favor with God and man”. You and I need to be in favor with them and that means that they like you. Why? Because they see in you qualities that are Godly. Qualities that say, “I love my fellow man and I love my God.” And if you love both of them, you will treat your fellow man in way that they will like you.
I thought I’d share those from Barclay, Page 30 and 31, Acts of the Apostles.
Alright that ends the formal part. By the way, next time you will have Mr. Peter Eddington sharing the desk up here with Mr. Randy Stiver. That is two weeks from now. Then, the following two weeks after that, we will have Mr. Myers and Mr. Stiver share. You will be getting a good variety of presenters up here. Basically, among us four, we will be doing the Book of Acts. From what everybody has said, they have appreciated it so we are going to plan to keep it going. We will probably think of some time in the summer to stop it, to give you time to tend your crops, to enjoy the summer time and then resume in the fall of the year. But, we will go for a while now, from spring time into early summer.
Mr Myers you have a question you want to answer.
This question came in online.
“Mr. Antion and Mr. Myers. What type of church governance is modeled for us in the Book of Acts and what Scriptures prove this to be so?”
A pretty big subject overall. There is quite a few different chapters that talk about how people are governed in the church. Of course it is interesting here to begin with. The section that we concluded with talked about the church, the “called out ones”, not just called out as individuals but called out and brought together, that were what “ecclesia” really means. But, I suppose overall, when you look through the Book of Acts, as just a general kind of perception on governance in the church, it was collective governance. There was always input, there was always agreement. There was unity. There was collaboration. I think when you look at Acts, Chapter 6, when the first deacons were chosen, and I don’t want to get into too much of this because we will talk a lot more about it as we go through those particular chapters. But, you see the leadership, the Apostles, were the ones that, ultimately, determined the final decisions. And that seemed to happen throughout the Book of Acts, whether you are looking at Acts Chapter 6, where the first deacons are chosen. It is interesting that people were utilized. “Choose from among yourselves”, they tell them. So they had to go out and seek those out who had a good reputation, that were full of the Holy Spirit and the Apostles then took their recommendations to heart, their input, their collaboration that they had and then, ultimately, the Apostles were the ones then who laid hands on them.
Acts 6:6 “Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.”
The same thing if you follow it through. I was thinking of where Paul and Barnabas were sent out later in the Book of Acts. Where is that?
Chapter 13 is the one I am thinking of, and Chapter 15 we will get to in a just a second maybe.
Acts 13:1-3 “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.”
So, once again you see that the leadership was involved with this whole process. In fact, one of the best examples is in Acts, Chapter 15, where the issue of circumcision comes up. Here you see the leadership coming together. The Apostles and the elders coming together to have collaboration. What is interesting about that is that they talk about these things. It says, “There was no small dissention.” So, they discussed these things and collaborated on them but they came to a consensus. The word went out on what the final decision was. We see that same system seems to be used throughout the New Testament.
I suppose, overall, that is the initial model that is given here in the Book of Acts so we see that through the Apostles there was a collective spirit, lots of input, lots of agreement, lots of unity and collaboration.
Acts 15:22 “Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:”
It was more a collaborative effort where the brethren had input, where brethren gave input on the deacons. We have a number of instances there where it says, “They sent them…”, “They did this…”, “they wrote this letter by them saying the Apostles and the elders…”. So, it wasn’t like, “I did this…”, in one man rule.
Eph 4:11 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”
Talks about first apostles, prophets, etc. This seems to set a pattern. Also the Apostle Paul said, “How do you want me to come to you? With a spirit of love or with a rod?” So, there was still authority vested in the ministry to take care of pastoring but it wasn’t as if every decision was made by them unilaterally.
That is the government we follow because we perceive it was more of a collaborative, more of a working-together effort to get things done.
2 Cor. 6:1 “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.”
Not I myself doing it all.
I have a couple of other questions real quick. One person just asked me, what was the exact name of this book? It is called, “The Acts of the Apostles”. This is a revised edition. There may be a newer version. By William Barclay. It is the Daily Bible Study Series by William Barclay.
I mentioned it before but that is the name of it. It is very good. I like Barclay’s because what Barclay will do is go through and give you word studies and gives you points from the past. And it is not perfect. It is not going to give you the words to eternal life but it is very, very good and helpful and I have used it in my General Epistles class. His ones to James and John and Peter and Jude. I have used them all so I really like the Daily Bible Study series.
Another question from last week that came in afterwards.
“Mr. Antion, Mr. Eddington. I am a UCG member, from Southern New Jersey congregation.”
By the way last time we had people from Philippines and people from Canada tuning into us and I have got emails from them, too.
“Could you please explain why Revelation does not mention, or leaves out, the tribe of Dan in the British Isles area?”
Why is Dan left out?
Revelation 7 does leave Dan out. It talks about 12,000 from each of the tribes of Israel, except it gives Joseph two portions. Ephraim and Mannaseh. What happened to Dan.
We believe the Danites, or that is what we used to believe, they were the Irish. They were the Danes and that the Irish were heavily tied in with the Catholic church and they probably would not be headed in the same direction as the other Israelites were, that they may have been more prominently a part of the Beast Power, the group that would be leading the United States of Europe. We find that they were probably tied in with them and that may be a reason.
But, it is interesting in Genesis, Chapter 49, prophecies about what was to befall the Israelites at the last.
Genesis 49:16, 17 “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.”
Dan, and you find a lot of Irish are judges or policemen. It seems more gravitate to that. Verse 18 is interesting in what is pronounced upon the blessings that Jacob, or the pronouncements, upon his sons.
V18 “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.”
Dan will not be excluded from the Kingdom but because the Scriptures talk in Ezekiel 48, there will be a tribe of Dan, in the millennial setting, Dan will be included.
That is our take on why he is not included in Revelation 7 when God spares those 12,000 from each of the tribes of Israel.
Another question that came in.
“If someone doesn’t respond to God’s calling, for example His spirit is with him/her but he/she doesn’t repent and get baptized, is there still hope for that person?”
It is kind of an interesting question there. If the person has been called by God, what should they do? I mean we just read through that in Acts, Chapter 2. We are to repent and be baptized. And so it is not a request in that way. It is a command. Baptism is a command. If God has opened your mind to His truth, He says that we must repent, we must be baptized. I guess you are saying is it possible to turn your back on God and not be held accountable if I am not baptized. I think that is kind of what they are getting at here. I don’t know that any man can be the judge of that. God would certainly have to judge that calling but it is certainly something I wouldn’t want to take into my hands and, if God has opened my mind to His truth, I’d better do something about it. If I understand aspects of the Bible, I’d better live them. I’d better do them.
Mark Twain said something years ago. He said, “It’s not the things in the Bible that I don’t understand that bother me. It’s the things that I do understand.”
So, if you understand something, it had better have an impact on your life. I believe that it is pretty clear that God does hold us responsible for the things that we know. If you feel that you are being called, I would seek that calling and develop a relationship with God.
I wouldn’t say take the way out.
James 4:17 “ Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
This is a sin. If you know to do good and you don’t do it, it is a tributable sin. So, if you know better, you should do it. However, you find in
John 14:17 “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
Before conversion God’s spirit is working with you trying to help you, trying to lead you to repentance.
Romans 2:4 “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”
If the spirit is trying to lead you that way, you’d do best to follow that lead. But, if you’re called, you have a say-so when God call you. You hear the call, “Hey you!” and you could keep on going. “What do You want?” “I want you to do this.” “Well, I don’t want to do that.” And you keep on going. You could receive a calling and reject the calling.
Would you lose out on eternal life? I don’t believe you will because I believe you have to have the Spirit of God in you to be lose out. The Bible says if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Jesus was a Comforter while He walked the Earth.
Heb. 6:4-6 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
Heb. 10:26 “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,”
Those sections talk about breaking faith with God after having the Holy Spirit.
Is it a good situation to be in, to be called and to know better and to draw back.
God says in Heb. 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
It is dangerous to know truth and not follow it. It is dangerous to hear truth and not accept it. It is dangerous.
2 Peter talks about make your calling and election sure, not rejecting it.
Deuteronomy says, “I set before you life and death”, chose life if you understand that God is calling you.
2 Peter 1:10 “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”
Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”
Are there other questions from the audience, any personal questions you want to ask?
Mr. McClain sent one up about Pentecost. Counting it if the first day falls on Sabbath. If the Sabbath is coincidental with the first day then what do you do?
I would like to study that more. I would probably say count it from then but I will do more study on that one because it is a little more tricky.
Any other questions that you may have.
He read announcements.
Reminder of Bible Study in two weeks will be on Acts Chapter 3. They will be held on March 16, with Mr. Eddington and Mr. Stiver and March 30th will be Mr. Stiver and Mr. Myers.
I gave out a set of important Scriptures in the Book of Acts. I don’t know if we want to post those somewhere. I consider those Scriptures you might consider looking into. Maybe they mark a story flow; maybe they give you important Scriptures such as Acts 2:38-39, repent and be baptized. Acts 2:1, Pentecost and so on. You may want to get that if you want.