Pentecost (Acts Chapter 2)
By: Brian A. Yeager
Acts chapter 2 is the beginning of many great things. This great chapter in the Bible is one of the most studied, most taught, and often times the most wrongly taught. Those who believe in the truth on baptism for the remission of sins live and die with Acts 2:38. Those in the denominational world overlook it, but teach that baptism brings the Holy Spirit. So many things to learn and so little space to write, presents a challenge of great proportions to this writer. Thus, we are going to outline this chapter, then discuss the major points of it, and concentrate on some often overlooked and wrongly taught things in this chapter.
Outline of Acts Chapter 2
I. The Apostles had the Holy Spirit come upon them (Acts 2:1-4)
A. The Holy Spirit coming in power shows that this too is the day the Kingdom is establishedII. The Apostles were speaking in unknown tongues (language not known to the speaker)1. The Kingdom was at hand (Matthew 3:2)B. Holy Spirit Baptism occurred only ONE other time (Acts 10)
A. This gift was not to last (I Corinthians 13:8-13)III. Peter’s Sermon Begins (Acts 2:14)
IV. Peter’s Explanation of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which happened and explains the Apostles speaking in tongues using a Prophesy – Joel 2:28-32 (Acts 2:15-21)
V. Peter preaches Christ and tells those present of their guilt in the death of Christ (Acts 2:22-28)
A. Note who was present at this sermon (Acts 2:9-11)VI. Peter preaches about the prophesy of the Church/Kingdom (Acts 2:29-30)
VII. Peter tells of Christ being on the right hand of God presently (Acts 2:31-35)
A. A note should be made that the Lord will be there until he comes a second time in which the IMMEDIATE judgment will occur (II Timothy 4:1 and II Peter 3:9-10)VIII. Peter again reminds them that the blood of Christ is partly on their hands (Acts 2:36)
IX. They are pricked in their hearts and ask the ultimate question “…what shall we do” (Acts 2:37)
A. The word of God does the pricking (Matthew 13:3-23)X. The command to repent (see Acts 3:19) and be baptized in the name of Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38)1. We plant and water but God gives the increase (I Corinthians 3:6)
A. The blood of Christ was shed for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28)XI. Peter tells them to whom the promise is to (Acts 2:39)
1. Many mistakes are made to this verse and to whom the promise is madeXII. Peter preached MORE (Acts 2:40)a. You – Those present
XIII. After they received the word gladly three thousand are baptized (Acts 2:41)
1. It takes the word (truth) to save souls (Romans 10:17, John 17:17, and Ephesians 1:13)XIV. The practices of the first century Church (Acts 2:42-46)
XV. The reminder that the LORD adds to the Church (Acts 2:47)
(Because of space constraints this outline does not give all of the detail that could be given)
Acts chapter two opens with the Holy Spirit coming upon the Apostles. We must note in our studies that these men will be guided in all truths. (John 16:13) "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." We need to remember that these men when they speak are speaking the word of God. (I Corinthians 2:13) "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."
Peter’s inspired sermon was not just from verse 14 through verse 38. As a matter of fact it was "many other words" verse 40. In his sermon he uses context from the Old Testament. Many members of the Lord’s Church do not believe that there is a need for Old Testament studies. Maybe the lack of studying the Old Testament produced that thought. We are told that those things were written for our learning. (Romans 15:4) "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." Without the Old Testament we would not know of the prophecies that are in Christ. It is an absolute truth that the Old Testament points to the New. Without both we cannot understand either. Peter also in his preaching was very to the point. The fact was that many of those present that day were part of the murder of Christ. He did not hesitate to tell them that. Peter was led by the spirit and spoke as it gave him utterance. Therefore, God wants people to know that they are living wrong so that they can make those changes. God does not want preachers to preach a sugar coated Gospel. Preachers are simply to preach his word (II Timothy 4:2). Preachers are to be bold in their speech (Acts 4:31, Acts 9:27-29, Acts 14:3, II Corinthians 4:7, and Ephesians 3:12).
An often missed point in when teachers teach about this sermon that Peter preached, is the fact that he preached on the Kingdom, therefore he preached the Church since they are one in the same (Matthew 16:18-19 and Colossians 1:13-18). This occurred in Acts 2:30. The Jews knew through prophecy that there was going to be a Kingdom (Daniel 2:44 and Daniel 7:13-14). How could someone determine that they could preach salvation without preaching the Church? Peter was following the example of Christ (Matthew 4:17-23). Peter would not be the first or the last to preach the Church. Philip did (Acts 8:12), and so did Paul (Acts 28:31) as recorded accounts. They were following the command of Christ in preaching about the Church (Matthew 10:1-7). Hearing the Kingdom prior to conversion is simply put in the Parable of the Sower. It is simply put in the sense of what happens when one hears that word and understands it not. (Matthew 13:19) "When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side." If someone continues to hear (heareth) the word of the Kingdom, and they continue not to understand it "understandeth it not", then Satan takes that seed away. Does that not also mean, if they do not hear the word of the Kingdom/Church, then they have not heard the word of God? Remember that only the truth can set one free (John 8:32).
Peter preached Christ dead, buried, and resurrected (verses 23-35). The preaching of the cross is the power of God.
(I Corinthians 1:18) "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." Let us consider what happened on the cross. Christ shed his blood for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28). The Old Testament was taken away (Ephesians 2:13-15, Colossians 2:14, and Romans 7:1-6). He gave his life thus, purchasing the Church (Acts 20:28 and Ephesians 5:25). This is the preaching that saves the souls of men.
Peter tells them to repent and be baptized verse 38. An interesting thing is going on in this verse. This is the message that John the Baptist was preaching (Mark 1:3-5). Yet, John was preaching a message of preparation for the Kingdom to come. The Kingdom is now here, and Peter is preaching and teaching these men and women to be baptized with the baptism of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-19 and Mark 16:15-16). To be added to the New Testament Church (Acts 2:47 and I Corinthians 12:12-13). This is something that John could not preach seeing that the Kingdom had not yet come. This will tie into what occurs in Acts 19:1-5 to those 12 men in Ephesus. They were not taught the whole counsel of God, and needed to be directed more perfectly as did their teacher in Acts 18:26. The difference was the preaching of the Kingdom and the baptism of the Great Commission. Peter telling them to repent prior to baptism is powerful. These were non-Christians being told to repent. This shows us that everyone is amenable to the Gospel. The format for Judgment is going to be that Gospel (John 12:48 and II Thessalonians 1:8-9). They were told to repent of their sins. What if they did not? Would that not make them just some wet folks? Sort of like those today who are immersed for the remission of sins like in Acts 19:1-5, yet they have not properly completed every step preceding baptism. Remember to repent of sins, means there had to have been a breaking of the law (I John 3:4), for sin is transgression of the law. A lesson here is for us not to end up going in to the Day of Judgment thinking that we have done all right, thinking that we are Christians, and then the Lord telling us that not only does he not know us, but he never did. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23). After following the instructions and being baptized then they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift was not directly associated with coming up out of the water. They would receive this gift as they did in (Acts 8:16-17). The gift of the Holy Spirit was the same as in (Acts 10:44-48). Yet, those whom insist on this being a gift given as a direct result of baptism miss the fact that Peter did not say Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. What he did say was "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and(another action/like saying and then ye…) ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Peter is telling them that they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit after baptism, but not in direct relation of baptism. They will receive the remission of sins directly from the operation of baptism which is a washing (Acts 22:16).
Three thousand were immersed in Acts 2:41. These were three thousand that received the word of God as the text states. The question is how do we know that they were immersed? The text does not say they went into and came out of the water. While this text may not, there is one that does (Acts 8:35-39) "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing." Remember the same spirit that lead Peter; lead Philip. Another point in the text of the conversion of the Eunuch is Philip never mentioned baptism in the text. Why did the Eunuch then say "here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized"? This goes to show that a text does not give every detail. Baptism is a burial (Romans 6:1-6). God does not respect persons (Acts 10:34). We cannot break any part of the law (James 2:10). Thus, by examples that are binding law we can know that they were immersed. Thus, their immersion would have been a birth into the Kingdom (John 3:1-5).
In verses 42-46 we can see their unity. Oh, how great
it would be to have that unity in the Church today. They were not mixed
in any political messes. They had no false teachers among them. They were
all of one mind. This is what the scriptures urge us to be in the Church
today. (I Corinthians 1:10) "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name
of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there
be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in
the same mind and in the same judgment." They had fellowship one with
the other. This text should be taught to bring the Church of today back
to it’s roots and beginning. We can learn from this text how to have 1st
Century Christianity in the 21st Century. From this great chapter
of the Bible we can learn to take the Church and make it the pillar and
ground of truth (I Timothy 3:15). We can keep the body the ONE body of
the New Testament (Ephesians 4:4 and 1:22-23). The Church that Christ built
(Matthew 16:18) is the Church we read of in Acts the second chapter.
Copyright 2000 by Brian
Yeager may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.