Monday, December 5, 2011

From Acts to Revelation - Part 6: The First Church


From Acts to Revelation
Part 6 – The First Church Sermon
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

INTRODUCTION
Last week we looked at how the Apostles and Disciples followed Jesus' command to go to Jerusalem and await the promise of the Father, which was the Holy Spirit. We know that there were approximately 120 followers at this time, who made up the first church. They had their first church meeting, and chose a replacement for Judas who had betrayed Christ.

Afterwords, they prayed and waited. The streets were filled with God-fearing Jews from around the world at this time, who came to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover / Pentecost, which was God's plan to have them there when the church began.

Pentecost took place 50 days after the Passover, and celebrated the giving of God's Law, as well as gave an example at Passover of obeying God's Word, and salvation through the blood of sacrifice.

Last week we saw how the Holy Spirit filled the 120, and they spoke in known languages to all the God-fearing Jews from around the world, speaking of God's wonders.

Today we will look specifically at Acts 2:37-41, and read the first Church Sermon ever preached. This message was given by the Holy Spirit, through Peter, and we will read the results of that sermon.

SCRIPTURE READING
Acts 2:37-41
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

I.       WHAT SHALL WE DO?
1.      When they heard Peter's sermon, they were cut to the heart

2.      This is conviction from the Holy Spirit
1.     Conviction is from the Holy Spirit to guide you to repentance
2.     Guilt is from the devil to control you and keep you from moving
3.     Don't confuse the two!

3.     This conviction from the Holy Spirit to get right with God, let the listeners know a few things;
1.     The Holy Spirit was speaking through Peter
2.     Peter's message was Truth
3.     They needed to 'respond' to God's call to repent

4.     The proper response to hearing God's word
1.     You hear, and your heart is convicted by God's Spirit
2.     You ask, “What must I do?”
3.     You 'DO' it!


II.    REPENT AND RECEIVE
1.     When they listeners heard Peter's message, they asked
1.     What shall we do?
2.     This is a basic question we must ask. It is not enough to be sorry for our sins, we must repent, and ask God to forgive us, then live like forgiven people.
3.     Has God spoken to you through His Word, or through the Words of another believer? Like Peter's listeners, ask God what you should do, then obey.

2.     Peter answer's their question directly
1.     Repent
1.     Meaning, 'to turn from your sins', change the direction of your life from selfishness and rebellion against God's laws.

2.     Be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ
1.     Baptism identifies us with Christ and the community of believers

3.     And because of the remission of sins by the Blood of Christ, you shall be prepared to receive the Holy Spirit.


3.     Instantly, but wait
1.    When we repent, and are baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ, we are instantly saved from the debt owed to God because of our sins.

2.    But we, like the Apostles and Disciples, have to wait until the appointed time for us to receive the Holy Spirit.

3.    Receiving the Holy Spirit is separate from salvation.
1.     The Apostles and Disciples were “saved” by the Blood of Christ, and would have been guiltless before God if they would have died.

2.     But they had not yet received the Holy Spirit, which Jesus instructed them to go to Jerusalem and wait for.

3.     We know from scripture, apart from the Spirit of God, we can do no works, have no gifts, and remain helpless in this world.
1.    This is why we see so many Christians struggle in this world to cope, because they have not yet received the Holy Spirit, though they are saved.
2.    Sometimes it is because they are awaiting the appointed time in their lives to receive, and sometimes it is because they have not accepted what has been given to them.

4.    Peter tells them 'who' the Holy Spirit is for
1.    It is for you now, and your children, and those afar off!

2.    More or less, he is saying it is for ALL time, and ALL people!

3.    To as many as the Lord shall call!
1.     Who does God call?
2.     I Timothy 2:3-5 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus...”

3.     Who does God want saved? ~ EVERYONE

4.     John 7:37-39 37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as[c] the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”

5.     Revelation 22:1717 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”

III. SAVE YOURSELVES
1.      We see in vs40 Peter warned & pleaded the people

2.      Save Yourselves from this corrupt generation!
1.      This is a call for repentance
2.      ONLY YOU can repent for your sins!
3.      YOU must save yourself by repenting!
4.      NO ONE can repent for you!

3.      Once you truly repent, you are ready to be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ       

CONCLUSION

On the first Pentecost, which took place after the first Passover, 3,000 were killed because they did not obey what the Word of God instructed, which was to have the blood of the lamb on their door so that they may be saved from the angel of death.

On this Pentecost, the first church sermon, many received the Word of God, repented and thus had the blood of the Lamb on the doors of their hearts, which in turn saved approximately 3,000!