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1 John 5:13 assures us that we may know for certain that we have experienced true salvation and will one day go to heaven. This passage, along with the remainder of 1 John, declares the marks of a Christian. First, a genuine Christian believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the savior of the world. Next, a believer will show progress (not perfection) toward an obedient lifestyle of holiness. Finally, Christians love one another sacrificially and humbly (1 John 4:7-11).
What does it mean to be saved? Salvation is an “all of life” term that begins with a specific point in which we have been saved, delivered from the penalty of sin through faith in Christ (Romans 2:15 & Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation continues as we grow in holiness through dependance upon God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. We are being saved from the power of sin (1Corinthians 1:18). In the future day of glorification, at the return of Christ, we will be saved from the presence of sin (Hebrews 9:28).
Worship is a natural response to grace as the Holy Spirit gives us the desire to speak and sing to God about His attributes and actions. We are to worship God in spirit (heartfelt) and truth (in accordance with Scripture). Worship is an eternal joyous reality (Psalms 145:1-2), a corporate activity (Psalm 95:1-2), and a daily lifestyle (Psalm 104:33). Like the early church in Acts 2:41,47 let us be devoted to worship.
Private and corporate prayer both flow out of our love for God and for others. We have access to the Father because of Christ the righteous, our mediation (Hebrews 10:19-22). The early church was devoted to prayer, making it a priority. We should specifically plan for times of praise, confession, and intercession, and we should also live in an attitude of prayer, ready to lift up prayers as we feel led throughout the day.
The breaking of bread in Acts 2 refers to the Lord’s Supper: a practice commanded by Jesus that we are to continue with earnest devotion. Communion is an act of worship that allows us to look back upon the sacrifice of Christ, look around in fellowship, and look ahead in anticipation of Christ’s return.
The early church was devoted to the apostles’ teaching. These new believers made it a priority to be a learning community, and it is also vital for each of us to ponder and pray through scripture with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The prayer of Jesus for future believers was, “Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth.” (John 17:17 ESV).
Peter’s message in Acts 2 caused many of the listeners to experience deep conviction, so they asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Repentance is utterly necessary, full forgiveness of sins is promised, and the message of salvation is urgent. Let us respond in faith and true repentance. We will no longer be separated from God, and the Holy Spirit will empower us to live for Christ.
When Peter preaches in Acts 2:32-36 that Jesus is both “Lord and Christ,” what does this mean and how should this impact our lives? The term Lord in scripture refers to the only true God. Jesus is also the only Savior of all, the Christ, the Anointed One who has been given authority to rule in every aspect of our lives.
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the keystone of our faith. We can be certain of the resurrection based on the fulfilment of prophecy, the testimony of many eye witnesses, and the transformation of believers’ lives. The resurrection proves the veracity and unity of the Scriptures. It authenticates the deity of Christ, makes our salvation possible, and promises future hope.
Peter’s message in Acts 2 focuses on “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Jesus, a man of humble beginnings, made like us yet without sin. Jesus, whose mighty works and miracles established His divine identity and authority. Jesus, crucified according to the plan of God, taking the penalty for our sin. Jesus, raised up from the dead and ready to bring salvation to all who repent and call upon Him.
Peter, who just 50 days earlier had fervently denied Christ, is now preaching with boldness by the mercy of Christ and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. His sermon (Acts 2:14-21) explains from the prophet Joel that the last days had arrived, the promised gift of the Spirit had been poured out, and the world’s savior had been identified. Let us ask the Father for more indwelling of the Spirit in order to fearlessly proclaim the Gospel to whole world.
In Acts 2, Peter is filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit as he preaches directly from the Scriptures about Christ. In the same way in our current time, the Spirit of God empowers preachers and teachers to proclaim the Gospel, creating a worshipping, redeemed people that are changed by the Word.
On the day of Pentecost all the gathered believers are filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered for bold proclamation of the good new of Jesus. Boldness is not rudeness. It is courage mixed with compassion. Let us obey the directive of Christ in Luke 11:13 to ask the Father for the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit was sent to the disciples on the day of Pentecost, the promised power from on high. The disciples heard a mighty rushing wind, saw tongues of flame representing the presence of God, and experienced the Spirit’s fullness, empowering them to preach the gospel. Let us also ask the Father for the equipping power of the Holy Spirit.
The coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost created a Spirit-filled church that was devoted to unerring truth, sacrificial fellowship, corporate worship, and compassionate witness. The presence, power, and fullness of the Holy Spirit empowered the early church believers creating a zeal and commitment that we may share as we allow the Spirit to work in our lives.
and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which…
In Ephesians 1:17-18 Paul continues his prayer for believers by asking God to give them knowledge of the “riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.”
One of the priorities in our prayers for other believers is that they would know the hope to which they have been called. Hope is a confident expectation, not mere wishful thinking (Titus 1:2 and Titus 2:13). We have hope of grace, hope of eternal life, and hope of all the other promises of God. This hope enables us to live in this present world for Christ’s sake and in Christ’s power.
Our greatest need and privilege is to know God (Jeremiah 9:23-24). Paul prays for the believers, asking the Father of glory to give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God. This knowledge is more than knowing facts or even understanding deep doctrinal truths. It is a relationship with the true, living God, growing in close fellowship with Him as the Holy Spirit gives us insight through the Scriptures.
Paul’s prayer for the believers at Ephesus serves as a pattern for us. Paul prays that God’s glory will be advanced, and he also prays for the spiritual well-being of believers, including himself. Let us pray earnestly, humbly, fervently, and frequently. Pray that we will know God better and be empowered to follow Him in righteousness.