“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Acts 2:1
There’s several things that jump out at me about this verse: 1) The “Day of Pentecost”, 2) the words “fully come”, and 3) that they were all with “one accord”.
What was the “Day of Pentecost”? From what I have read, it took place 50 days after the Feast of the Firsfruits. According to J. Vernon McGee, the Feast of the Firstfruits speaks of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one is his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 20-26
The Passover speaks of the death of Jesus Christ: “…For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1Corinthians 5:7-8
The words “fully come”, again according to Dr. McGee, could be translated to mean “fulfilled”. The Passover was fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ. The Feast of Firstfruits was fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now, the Day of Pentecost, being “fully come” (aka fulfilled) means that it represented the fulfillment of something — the birth of the church, the day the church came into existence.
So, in order to understand the timeline…..
Jesus was crucified.
3 days later, He was resurrected.
For 40 days, He walked upon the earth, resurrected. (Acts 1:3)
He then ascended into heaven. (Acts. 1:9)
10 more days passed.
On the 50th day (Pentecost) the church was born and the Holy Spirit arrived.
I find it interesting, reading back through other gospels, that Acts is really detailed about these events. If you look at Mark, chapter 16, there is very limited information with no real timelines describing these days. It just basically says that Jesus was resurrected, went among people and the eleven apostles, gave the command to go out into all the world and preach the gospel, was received back into heaven, and then the apostles went out preaching and performing their ministries.
Acts reveals sooooooo much more information!
Luke also gives a little more detail that I wish I had read last week. For example, at lifegroup this past week, we discussed the portion of Acts 1 that told of Christ’s ascension. We all pondered how it must have felt to see Jesus disappear into the clouds, and I made a statement something to the effect that it would have been a little unexpected for me at the moment, because it seemed that Jesus just gave the command to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit and to be witnesses to all the earth, then…..poof! He ascended into the cloud and disappeared! I said that I think I would have been a little shocked, and stood there with my mouth open, just as the apostles seem to have done. —No warning, no “goodbye”…it just happened.
However today in Luke chapter 24, I read where Jesus said,
“Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Luke 24:46-49
Then, it says that, “He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.”, and parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
So you see, there was preparation from Jesus to the apostles that he was about to leave. He blessed them and then lifted his hands as he was leaving. They may have seemed to be “gawking” at the ascension, and maybe partly that’s true, but Luke 24: 52-53 says that they worshiped Him (the reason for their tarry at the ascension), and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. I’m assuming that it was during the ten days after the ascension and before Pentecost that they were “in the temple praising and blessing God” — yet another one of our questions being, “Where did they stay during that time?” —in the upper room? No, after reading in Luke today, I believe they were in the temple most of the time. (If I’m wrong, somebody please tell me!!??)
The words, “one accord” just nearly make me shake my head in shame. Today, it seems that no church (people) is all in one accord. We are divided about so many unhealthy issues and yet forget that the main purpose of the church is to be a witness of Christ’s resurrection. We get our feelings hurt about the least little thing, and just stop fellowshipping with other believers. We allow simple words or actions to affect the unity of the whole congregation when all along, God’s plan did not include specifications about insignificant matters. We should be all in one accord…striving to perform the work that God has equipped us to do, and forgiving all the rest. This is a lesson that we all can probably take to heart. I know I can.
I feel like I’m straying into uncharted territory in this next subject. I honestly have not had to defend my opinion about the issue of tongues much before, however, I’m striving to get to a place where I can, so….here goes!
All baptistic upbringing aside, I do agree that tongues, as it is often presented today, is not necessary. Not to say that God couldn’t use it, but personally, I have never experienced a time that the Holy Spirit intercepted my audible speech and carried on a conversation for all to hear. With the availibility of scripture and the teaching of the Holy Spirit, I just don’t see where God uses unknown tongues in the modern world.
In Acts 2, these verses tell of the time that tongues were used by the Holy Spirit to allow communication from one believer to another. So many people from all different nations and tribes were present in Jerusalem that day. Many, many different languages were represented and to offer any communication about the church and the evangelism commandment would, by worldly standards, require a huge effort to assemble interpreters of all the languages represented, and an impossible task of sharing the same message among them all. The Holy Spirit, instead, caused each man to hear the message in their own language. For instance, a person from Judea would be talking to a person from Libya in the Judean language, but the Libian would have understood it as it was received in the form of the language of Libya. One language was miraculously transposed into another for every person in Jerusalem that day.
As verse 4 points out, it was the Holy Spirit that gave them utterance, not the people who uttered to the Spirit.
The people did not initiate the tongues. They did not bow their heads to pray and then suddenly begin talking in an unknown language, carrying on a conversation between them and the Holy Spirit.
This was a planned event used for a planned purpose that was only controlled by God. He then used Peter to interpret the event. Everyone was confused, not understanding how it was that they could hear each other in their own language. Some even wondered if it was from being drunk!
Peter explained the prophecies concerning Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit. He reminded the people of all that had taken place through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, and the promise of the Father, the coming of the Holy Spirit. He reminded them that Jesus performed miracles and wonders and signs, and that this new, wondrous miracle was no doubt the receiving of the Holy Spirit upon the earth.
Peter interpreted what it meant to hear the message in their own language. No one was confused at that point. Everyone understood. There were no bystanders hearing unknown tongues. They all understood.
When they all heard Peter’s explanation for this miracle, verse 37 says, “they were cut to the heart“, meaning the message was clear and concise.
The next interesting thing is to note that once the message was received, the people immediately felt a necessity to act upon it. “What shall we do?” was their question. “How can I apply the message to my life and the lives of those I am around?” “What now?”
A message delivered from one who is empowered with the Holy Spirit to interpretation should be received seriously and bring change. Do we trust our pastors and elders to truly deliver God’s message?….or are they just making a great speech? How do you view the message? What do you do with it once it is received? We should always be attentive to the fact that God has prompted the “messenger” with the message. It is worth hearing. It is worth being attentive to. It is worth taking notes. It is worth praying about. It is worth the constant question….”What should I do with it?” and the purposefully devised plan to carry forth the message to another.
The message is not just meant for Sunday morning, or Sunday night, or Wednesday night, or for lifegroup meetings, or for other corporate gatherings. It is meant to share with the lost world daily, in many different ways, and as God would lead you to carry it out. However, we all must be attentive to the message first and be willing to convert it into action.
Many people were saved that day. Verse 41 says, “about 3,000” gladly repented, received the word, and were baptized. They then continued in four areas:
In the Apostle’s doctrine – Can anyone explain this to me? I know the word “doctrine” to mean “beliefs” or “teachings”. So I’m assuming that this just means that the apostles continued teaching the things they had witnessed while Jesus was physically on the earth. The miracles, the parables, the instruction and wisdom He brought, the crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension, the promises He made, etc. Is there any part of scripture that point blank states what the “apostles doctrine” was? Or have I assumed correctly?
In Fellowship – Did they have a covered dish meal in the “fellowship” hall? No, I doubt it, although I have found that eating together is a wonderful way to fellowship with other believers. It is a time that we all can relax, laugh a little, share stories, and more. It helps develop relationships, and fosters friendship. I expect that the word “fellowship” might include eating together, but also spending time together in other ways such as praying together, studying the bible together, playing together, being goofy together, shopping together, working on a project together, ….pretty much anything that shows a common interest and strengthens the relationship one believer has with another. This is how we get to know each other. It can be likened to the fellowship we should all be having with God as well. If we don’t purposefully spend time with Him, our relationship is lacking. Consequently, our time with other believers is important in order to be effective witnesses together.
In the breaking of bread – Here’s food again!! haha (not really). The “breaking of bread” would mean continuance in observation of communion, right? It is necessary to do this in order to maintain the focus on Christ. We are admonished to remember Him in the ordinance. It should not become a routine event, but should always be meaningful and reverent.
In Prayers – God’s people pray together. Scripture teaches this over and over. Prayer should be a very important part of the church, not something we side step because we’re afraid to speak in public. At this risk of offending someone, and I pray that will not be the case, I want to encourage each of you to step over the line of comfortableness and say a prayer out loud this week. Don’t be afraid. No one will judge your words, or expect an eloquent speech. As a matter of fact, God doesn’t want to hear eloquence, it is vain babbling to His ears. He just wants your heart. Whatever is on your mind: Praise, Repent, Ask, and Yield. Say it out loud, in front of someone else. The more you do, the more comfortable you will become. Before long, you won’t hesitate to offer to pray for a group, and you will be much blessed because of it. Don’t allow yourself to be stuck in the “silent” mode forever. I use to be there, but thankfully God delivered me out of it. Still, I had to be willing to be vulnerable in front of others and take the first step. Eventually, I came to the decision that audible prayer was an act of obedience to God. I couldn’t worry about what others thought about the words I said. Only God judges my prayers, and interestingly enough, I have learned that when I stumble in my words or stutter, it is usually because I am responding to a thought in my head rather than the supplication from my heart. “What are they thinking about what I am saying?” “Oh great……that just sounded stupid!?” “Man, I’ve really got to make myself sound educated and “Christian” when I say this prayer.” — See what I mean? Those questions only arise from worldly, fleshly thoughts about prayers. God doesn’t care about all that stuff, except that He knows those words are not sincere. Take time today to pray about praying. I promise, God can and will listen to your words as long as they are heartfelt.
This section of scripture prompts me to offer a few thoughts about a growing influence in the Christian realm today – that of the break from traditional, pastor-led corporate fellowships to “house” groups and elder fellowships. I acknowledge that I am treading on what some would consider as dangerous territory, because you are either one or the other, it seems. The traditional feel very strong about being traditional, and the other feels very strong about being opposite of traditional. So…please forgive me if I offer a view that might contradict your own beliefs. I will attempt to just take the scripture and form an opinion based upon its’ literal written word. Again, I am what most would consider “uneducated” in the realm of theology, but am searching for the accuracy through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. If I am taking anything out of context or without the consideration of historical facts, I would love to hear your opinion. Thanks, in advance, for extending me grace to be inquisitive, question-filled, and opinion forming as I re-examine the wheel in my mind after 34 years as a Christian.
Verse 44 says that “all who were believed were together and had all things in common, and sold their possessions anad goods, and divided them among us all, as anyone had need.” Several months ago, Susan at Faithwalk, wrote a post about this concept.
Here are some of her thoughts:
“Available first to God, and then to others; living with Intentional Vulnerability and a commitment to work through the fear of rejection that accompanies such transparency. A life alone, in pursuit of intimacy with Christ, and yet together as an expression of His Body in the world.
…what would it be like if believers lived together without any masks; to be a people who dare to share our lives, our hopes, dreams and visions for the Kingdom honestly with one another. To be secure in our relationships; knowing that even in our weakness and frailty there is acceptance, love, and encouragement to grow ever closer to the Savior. To be able to “love one another with a pure heart fervently“, in and through Christ Jesus; that we would be one as He and the Father are one, that the world might know that we are His. What could be done in and for the Kingdom with that kind of supportive environment and accountability, where iron sharpens iron; a spiritual family and home base that one can return to at the end of a day, or a season of labor abroad. Lives lived, both together and apart, strengthened by the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace, forged by the love of God abounding in our hearts.”
As Susan said, it sounds like a wonderful place to be in, sharing all things in common. Yet, I do wonder if that’s possible today. With all of our “stuff”, are we willing to make it available for the greater good? Now, I’m not telling you that we should all sell everything, build a compound, and move in, but in a world that is so materially focused, would we be willing to make a sacrifice in giving up our “things” for someone else? How about for another ministry work? What are we doing to support the missionaries? What are we doing to support the needy in our local communities? How much longer will we waste so much money indulging in the latest techno-gadget toy, or that new car, or the chicken fried 4000 calorie per plate meal every other day? Times are tough in the world today. Milk costs $4.00+ per gallon. Eggs are $2.00 a dozen. Gas is anywhere from $3.00 – 4.00 a gallon, and we keep spending like we are entitled to it. What can we do as Christians to support each other and provide for the widows and orphans and missionaries and the poor that really are poor?
Most of the times, Americans today can’t even find the money that belongs to God, –the tithe of all these material blessings He has bestowed upon us. We’re taking them for granted. I think it’s time to gratefully acknowledge them and look for ways to put them all to use for His service. What can we all do this week to move towards the commonality that Acts 2 speaks of? We don’t have to all live in the same house in order to meet needs.
My! This post is getting reallllllly long. (sorry)
Other quick thoughts:
The church, as shown in verse 46, met in the temple AND from house to house. Hmmmm…..there was a church building AND house meetings.
They were simple people who were glad (verse 46).
They praised God and had favor with all the people. ( I think it’s talking about the apostles here, right?)
The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. It was GOD’s work, and He brought in the numbers.
Thanks for sticking with me through Acts. I hope that since you’ve read through this whole, long, humungous, gi-normous post that you received something from the Lord. Again, I welcome comments….answers to my questions, input, etc. God bless you today!