The word of God is a ( living organism ). It’s alive. There is no bottom, no top nor sides to it. Any person that chooses to can learn and grow spiritually beyond any other person in this world. That is because of the vastness of God’s word. Just to start this, the message that Peter preached on the ( Day of Pentacost ) was to the Jewish nation. If we go back to ( Leviticus 23 ) you’ll see that he makes a distinction between a ( sheaf of the firstfruits ) ( verse 10 ) and ( wave- loaves ) ( baked with leaven ). This os offered fifty days after the ( sheaf offering ).
The picture here is one of individual salvation and of a body of unified believers or people. In Israel. Each individual would bring their offering to the alter, so to speak, fifty days later, they would cook a loathe with leaven, Leaven is a type of sin, the loathe shows togetherness, cooked together.
We, as individuals have to come to Christ on our own for our own sins but, the Church is a group of forgiven sinners all coming together for a common goal in unity. This is what God was looking for in Israel, the whole nation in unity seeking his will. It’s the same picture in a Church setting. Each of us have to get saved on our own but, we are suppose to come together in a Church setting all seeking the unity in Christ. I often use the picture of ( communion ) as picture of this. In that ceremony we use bread and wine. Each grape and grain of wheat has to completely give up its individuality to form either grape juice, wine or bread. Have you ever seen a grape floating around in a glass of wine? Or, a grain of wheat in a good loafe of bread?
On the day of Pentacost, this whole nation, typlically is come together. What had happened was that it had simply become a religious ceremony without the power of God being present. They were expecting the same thing on this day. They didn’t realizze that they had offered the perfect lamb of God to be sacrificed on the Cross of Calvary. Christ was the firstfruits spoken of in ( Leviticus 23 ) and now on this day ( fifty days later ) the True loathe is being baked, so to speak, which is the Church, the bride of Christ.
So, now let’s go back to John the Baptist. What was the significants of John the Baptist? The best place to read about the purpose of this man is in ( John 1 ). He was a little older than Jesus Christ and, was actually born to be the person to anounce the coming Messiah. You can read about his birth in ( Luke 1 ). But we see a real picture of his ministry in ( John 1 ). I’m going to ( Mark 1:1-8 ), here we can see his ministry and message ( 1) The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; ( 2) As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare the way before thee. ( 3 ) The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. ( 4 ) John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. ( 5 ) And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river Jordon, confessing their sins, ( 6 ) And John was clothed, with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; ( 7 ) And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. ( 8 ) I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
As you look at the ministry of John the Baptist; he is preparing the people of Israel for their coming Messiah. That is his ministry. For years they have been waiting for him. Will Istael now except him when he comes? We see that there are some people coming and being baptized. John is preaching: repent and be baptized for the remission of sins.
We need to recognize something here. What the people of Israel that were hearing the message of John were declaring wes this. Basically they are saying ( I believe that the Messiah is now coming like you are preaching, I repent from doubting that fact and, I’ll be baptized to show other people that I believe what you are preaching ).
Now, consider this; when Jesus Christ actually began his public ministry, did he baptize any person with the Holy Ghost? ( Verse 8 ) says: But he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. We must understand the concept of the ministry of John the Baptist. He was preparing Israel for the coming of their Messiah and, that Messiah did come; Jesus Christ but, Jesus never, not one time baptized any person with the Holy Ghost. That part was yet to come. As far as I know, every person that said that they believed, repented of their sin and, was baptized could have received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentacost, along with anyone else that choose to do so.
As I make that statement; I wonder? How many people can you name or, show me in scripture, died from the time that Jesus Christ was born until he died on the cross? The two I can think of is Lazarus in which Jesus raised from the dead and, John the Baptist which was beheaded. Wonder why Jesus didn’t raise him from the dead? I think there’s an answer to that question but, all this is just a train of thought that doesn’t matter. We know that the Holy Ghost did come and all that were alive could receive him however, that is a choice. Just like repenting and being baptized was a choice, so is any person’s willingness to receive the Holy Ghost in their hearts.
The Apostle Peter, on the day of Pentacost was preaching the same message that John the Baptist preached, still, only to the Nation of Israel. The only difference in the two messages is that when John the Baptist preached ( repent and be baptized ), he didn’t have the Holy Ghost to offer, when the Apostle Peter preached, that Spirit was then available. When John the Baptist pearched it, Jesus hadn’t come or been revealed as of yet but, the Apostle Peter was on the other end of the life of Jesus.
The gospel was to be preached to the Nation Of Israel first. John the Baptist revealed Jesus to the Nation and now, on the day of Pentacost, Peter is now offering the Holy Ghost to them first of all as a nation.To me; the whole concept of repentance is a new thing to Israel, I realize it has always been a part of the walk with God but not in the sense that they are hearing it now. In their mind, we are the children of God, what do you mean repent of? Are we not somewhat the same way? God desires our hearts, our all. He wants us to seek his will because of a desire to do so, not because we are born into a family
Peter’s message now is ( 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.( 39 ) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call, ( 40 ) And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
( I just want to add this. You can study it out if you like. John the Baptist used the phrase ( Baptism of repentance ) for the remission of sins. Peter said, Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. Do you see the difference )?
I know I’ve said some of this before but, it bears saying again. The message that Peter preached on this day was birth pains to the salvation we know about today. Even some of what the Apostle Peter was saying, under the inspiration of God’s Spirit was not understood by him or the people that heard it. It would take time to grow to a spiritual awareness of all that was about to take place.
There are people today that still can’t see all that transpired during the transitional things that happened in Acts. I’m going to take the time here to show you a verse, something to consider. ( 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 ) For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. ( 10 ) But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
According to the records I see but can’t prove, these verses were written somewhere about 60 years after the Apostles Peter’s message on the day of Pentacost. The Apostle Paul is still saying, that which is perfect is not here. So, what is that which is perfect and, when will it come?
These things in scripture are ( hidden pivot points ). They are scattered all throughout scripture. ( 1 Corinthians 2:7 ) But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. I always refer back to this verse of scripture. Notice; he say: ( ordained before the world ) ( unto OUR glory ). Again, I say; these things are ( right in front of the world ) but they cannot see them. Even we that are born again, born into the family of God must have a passion to study and find them. God, by his spirit will reveal them if we are willing to look for them and know them. To use a metaphor; it’s like raising your own food. You can’t just through seeds on the ground and expect them to produce, it takes work to bring about the fruit you desire. The world of God is the same way, it takes interest and will, work, study to know truth. It’s a gold mine but, you have to dig it out, one verse, one word, one mystery at a time. I remember, learning to play guitar, what little I know about it. Once you get to the place you can strike a tune, all of a sudden you began to hear other tunes in that same song. It builds, line upon line, precept upon precept. ( Isaiah 28:9- 13 ) Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. ( 10 ) For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: ( 11 ) For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. ( 12 ) To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this the refreshing: yet they would not hear. ( 13 ) But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
We, as believers are like the Cretans ( Titus 1:12 ) One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretans are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. You can decide whether these people are actually born again or not; just like in any Church. The Apostle Paul left Titus here to set things in order at this place, for these people.
We have a mindset we can go to Church, listen to our Sunday School teacher, teach out of a quarterly, sit in our congregation for thirty minutes and hear a message from our pastor, go home and know who God is. My friend, it doesn’t work that way. That is what we would call a lazy believer, slow belly.
I’m going to make one other point here and move on. My heart felt desire is to help people see truth, not as seen by me but as revealed to them by God’s Spirit. God and you are one. You simply must be willing to forget family, brothers, sisters, Churches or, what they teach or believe and simply allow God, by his Spirit to teach you. If you lose every friend you have, stand on the precepts of God through his word. Very often, that is a hard thing to do therfore, we remain as we are.
So, what is ( that which is perfect ) ? And, ( When did it come )? That whis is perfect is the complete word of God. It came when John the revelater put the final Amen in the Book of Revelation; typlically speaking. However, it does appear that he was the last one to write anything in scripture. Do you have to believe this just becsuse I do, no you don’t. That’s up to you and the Spirit of God.
There have been denominations and religious organizations built on the concepts stated by the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentacost and, at that not even one word of the New Testament had been penned down yet. To use another metaphor, that would be like basing your whole life on what you learned from a six month old baby. Do you realize that, it would be an average of thirty years before the first word of the New Testament would be written after this day? As a matter of fact; the Apostle Peter was becoming part of that Testament and probably didn’t even know it.
AS we get back to the Apostle Peter and the message he preached on the day of Pentacost, he took scripture from the Old Testament and proved that, according to what it was saying, Jesus Christ was the man it was speaking of. As it did on that day, it takes the truth from God’s word to draw conviction on the heart of any sinner. Again here, I’d like to compare scripture with scripture to make a point. On this day, the Spirit of God was present. Now, let’s look back at something that Jesus said: ( John 6:53 ) And Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Now, look on down to ( John 6:66 ) From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
What Jesus was saying here is relative to allowing his Spirit to come and live within you and allowing his word to transform you into what God wants you to be. Remember John the Baptist saying that Jesus would baptize you with the Holy Ghost? It’s very possible that many of these same people that Jesus spoke to and, they didn’t follow him anymore were some of the same people on the day of Pentacost. The difference would be the baptism of the Spirit that now is on them. But still, would you agree with me that it’s one thing to allow God’s Spirit to come and live within you but, quite another to allow him to guide you as you walk through this world?
It’s not so much not being willing but, it takes time to reach maturity. On the day of Pentacost when they said: What must we do? And, the Apostle Peter said; ( 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. These people were just in the beginning stages of understanding what that meant.
As we move on to the next few verses; I’ll make some comments that I’ve never heard made before. Again, you will have to decide whether you, being led by God’s Spirit, agree with me or not. However, as we go through this, I believe what we see is important to see and recognize as the beginning of the New Testament Church and, how it relates to our spiritual growth as we mature. We can either see these things and grow or decide to stay just as we are. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with me to grow but, you have to acknowledge the need to mature and put off old things and move foward.
We’ve already written ( verse 40 ) but, he makes this statement in that verse: ( Save yourselves from this untoward generation ). The day that Jesus Christ was crucified the Bible says the ( the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom ). ( Matthew 27:51 ) What that typlifies is the end of the ( Age of Law ) The main purpose of the law was to show us we are sinners, that we might be drawn to Christ and be saved. ( Galatians 3:24 ) Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ , that we might be justified by faith. The leaders of the religious sect in Israel had taken this and used it for their benefit, made it a legal, religious system to basically benefit themselves. If we are not careful, we will and are doing the very same thing today in our Churches. Just as they needed to be saved from that, we need to see ( religion ) for what it is and, turn away from it, by faith, placing our faith in the word of God and not in any religion or denomination.
I say that because of what I’m about to say about the next verse and, how I see it relating to what we see today. In ( Acts 2:38 ), at the end of the Apostles Peter’s message; he offered the Jews; there; that day the same ( way of ) receiving the Holy Ghost as John the Baptist had in the very beginning of his ministery. Basically, the only difference is or, we see was the ( receiving of the Holy Ghost ). John the Baptist never said that at any time. Why? John the Baptist’s message, by design was to prepare a nation of people for their promised Messiah. At that time, it had nothing to do with the Holy Spirit or anything other than acknowledging that Jesus Christ was that man that was the Messiah. Repenting was an act of cleaning themselves up of all things sinful in respect of all other teachings or falsehoods that had been drilled into them. Being baptized was somewhat the same as it is today. It’s just an outward showing of an inward belief, showing those around you that you believe what is being taught, in their case by John the Baptist. The question might be; on the day of Pentacost, did they recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost by believing the same thing, that being, after Jesus Christ had been cricified and raised from the dead?
This is where I get into some thing you might or, might not agree with. Personally, I believe that these people actually got saved, believing in Christ Jesus. So, let’s look at ( verse 41 ) Then they that gladly received his words were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Now, let me ask you a question. One that I already know that has to be rhetorical because we can’t see an answer. Did all three thousand of these people speak in another tongue? What do you believe and, can you take scripture and prove what you believe? I can share with you what I see and, you will have to again, allow God’s Spirit to lead you. We see in ( Verse 4-7 ) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak in other tongues, as the spirit gave them utterance. ( 5 ) And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. ( 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. ( 7 ) And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
( I believe ) on that day when the Holy Ghost fell on the 120 Believers. God enabled those people to share their heart with people that spoke another language. It’s very possible that if another Galilaean was standing beside the man that was speaking, then he heard that man speaking in Galilaean. ( I believe ) that, as that one man spoke, if there were ten different languages around him, they all heard what he was saying in their own perspective language.
After this was ( noised abroad ) and these three thousand heard the people sharing that message in their own language then , there was no need for that again at that time. For instance, if I had been standing there and heard a Galilaean speak in english and, I believed then I told another man that spoke English what I had heard in English. Possibly, he believed as well. That doesn’t mean it was never used again. If I, speaking english left that day and run into another man that spoke another language and, I desired to share the message with him, ( I believe ) that God, at that time enabled me to do so. These gifts would be use and necessary until ( that which is perfect was come ).
As we go through the book of Acts, we’ll see tongues a couple more time used and, we will continue to study it out but, what about these three thousand that believed? What did they believe? These people, after listening to the Apostle Peter’s message and, even some before believed that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. They knew that he had been crucified by evil hands and, they truly believed that he would be returning. This concept and the reality of his return was ever, right before them. Think about it; these people had seen Jesus Christ, nailed to a cross, marred more than any other man with a crown of thorns placed on his head. They had seen this man Jesus placed in a tomb and, come out of that tomb. He even spent time with some of them, continuing to instruct them in the Kingdom of God. The three thousand people that believed are preparing themselves and, as many as will listen to them for Jesus to come back and set up his Kingdom right before them.Now, look at ( verse 43 ) And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Would you mind explaining the apostles doctrine to me? What exactly does that mean? I’m going to end this segment here and, begin a new one called: ( THE DOCTRINES OF MEN ).