Sermons on Acts
The early church persistently proclaimed the Gospel in the power of the the Holy Spirit, depending on God to open minds and transform hearts. A witnessing church is a Spirit-filled authentic community, faithfully praying and living a witnessing lifestyle despite persecution.
Fellowship is the mingling of our lives together, often at great cost, because of all that we have in common. Our salvation which allows us to have a personal relationship with Christ immediately brings us into a corporate relationship with others. Fellowship means living for one another, helping each other grow spiritually, and taking care of the needy among us in genuine love.
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.
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.
Hebrews 3:3 reminds us to pray for out persecuted brothers and sisters. Continue to remember those in prison, as if you were together with them prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Here are a few ways we can pray: Pray that the persecuted church (and we as well) will be unafraid and faithful (Revelation 2:8-11). Pray for God to fill them with the Holy Spirit and enable them to speak and act boldly with clarity, wisdom, and courage (Acts 4:31). Pray that they will be joyful, rejoicing that Jesus and His name are worthy of any cost (Acts 5:41).
Acts 8 describes Philip’s encounter with an Ethiopian on a desert road. Philip was an “ordinary guy,” content to stay in the background, yet he was used by God to share the good news of Jesus to a man who later returned to his corner of the earth to impact others. We can be used in similar ways if we will obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit that is proactively entering the lives of others and speak the good news of Jesus.
Do we ask God to guide us before we forge ahead with our own plans? The Holy Spirit who lives in us may be telling us, “No, there is a better plan for you.” If God says “Yes” let us move ahead without hesitation.
Are we living out our faith in such a way that we bear the repercussions of living and sharing the Gospel? Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail, but they were able to worship and praise God because they expected to suffer persecution, and they knew that their situation and served to advance the cause of Christ. Their concern for the new believers at Philippi and their commitment to the advance of the Gospel was the outpouring of a life tuned to the will of Christ.
Christ’s command is that we are to be His witnesses, energized and equipped by the Holy Spirit. We are called to make visible the love and holiness of God, for the authenticity of our testimony rests on how we love one another and pursue holiness. We must also resolve to speak the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation.