Acts 2 is one of the most important principle sections of Scripture. If you could only know 1 chapter of Scripture Acts 2 may be the best one. It tells of the first preaching of the completed gospel of Christ. The gospel of Christ was not complete until the death and resurrection and ascension of Jesus into heaven. And in Acts 2 we have the first preaching of an apostle after Jesus took His throne in heaven. It’s a chapter full of evidence to substantiate who Jesus is and where He is. It’s a chapter that tells of how 3,000 souls were saved and how every lost soul from that time to now and til Christ returns can also be saved. If you don’t have a right relationship with the Lord or you’re unsure of your salvation, if you will pay attention to Acts 2 and understand what it’s saying, you can obtain salvation from your sin this very day if you haven’t and you can have the joy and peace of knowing that you have. So I urge you, please, take your Bible and look at the text with us and see for yourself these words of life. And it’s a chapter that shows us what Christianity was in its beginning. It describes what the 1st Christians did. It shows us Christianity in its purest form before there were any alterations, before there were any denominations. It describes simple pure genuine Christianity as God intended it.
We’re not going to have time to look at the whole chapter this morning, but most of it.
Let’s first get a little background that will help us. Let’s turn to the last chapter of gospel of Luke, which is volume 1 of the 2 volume set. Volume 2 is the book of Acts. Both books were written by a man of God named Luke with God’s help. Volume 1 tells us the story of Jesus until He was take up to heaven. Volume 2, the book of Acts, picks up from there and tells of the spread of His gospel and His church.
Background from Luke 24:44-53
In Luke 24 beginning with v44 Jesus is speaking to His apostles after His resurrection. v44, “Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Now, if you’re not too familiar with the Bible, “The Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms” is referring to all the books of the Old Testament section of the Bible. It’s the first 39 books from Genesis through Malachi. They were grouped under those 3 headings. And they are ancient books; the last one of them to be written was completed 400 years before Jesus was even born. And yet in them are written many things about Jesus.
v45, “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures…” I think that means He walked them through a systematic study of the OT Scriptures like He just did a little earlier with the 2 fellas on the road to Emmaus earlier in the chapter. He took them through the prophecies about Himself in the OT and explained them.
v46, “and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written [here’s the conclusion of their Bible study], that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day…” Now, it’s important, especially for our study today, to understand what the phrase “the Christ” means. “Christ” was not Jesus’ last name. “Christ” is a title. It is an englishy way of saying a Greek word. And an englishy way of saying the equivalent Hebrew word is “Messiah”. Messiah and Christ are the same thing in 2 different languages. Both terms mean anointed one. And in the OT Scriptures “messiah” referred to a king or a priest or a prophet that God had chosen and put in that position. In the OT there were several individuals who were called a messiah. King Saul and King David and King Solomon were messiahs. And the priests and prophets of Israel were messiahs. But the OT Scriptures spoke often of a particular Messiah/Christ/anointed one who was to come, a particular king who would be great to the ends of the earth like no king ever before, who would also be a great priest and prophet. He would rule the world and deliver His people from their enemies and bring them peace and He would reign forever and His kingdom would never be destroyed. And so Jesus explained to His apostles that the OT Scriptures said that the Christ, the promised king, would suffer and die and then rise from the dead. The Jewish people had missed that in the Scriptures. They weren’t at all expecting a Christ who would suffer, die and rise. They were just expecting a mighty man who would lead them in war against the Romans and they would overthrow the Romans and then the Jews would become the world dominating power, and they would live in great prosperity. Their expectation was an earthly king and earthly kingdom and deliverance from their earthly enemies. They misunderstood the nature of the coming king and the nature of His kingdom and the nature of the deliverance He would bring. And death and resurrection wasn’t part of the picture they had in mind for the Christ.
v47 Jesus also explained to them that the Scriptures foretold “that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” See, the deliverance that He brings is much greater than deliverance from the Romans. He brings deliverance from sin. And the message of His deliverance from sin would be proclaimed to all the world beginning from Jerusalem.
v48, “You are witnesses of these things.” Which indicates “you are the ones who are going to take my message to the world.”
Notice v49 especially, “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” So these apostles are to stay in the city of Jerusalem until they are clothed with power from on high. On other occasions Jesus told them that the Holy Spirit of God would come upon them and empower and teach and equip them for their work of spreading and confirming the message of Christ to the world.
Then v50-53, “And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising God.”
Now, when we come to Acts 2 the apostles are still there in Jerusalem like Jesus told them to be, waiting for what Jesus promised would happen to them, waiting to be clothed with power from on high. In the first 4 verses of Acts 2 it happens.
The coming of the Holy Spirit on the apostles (Acts 2:1-4)
2:1 tells us it’s the Day of Pentecost. This is a Jewish annual holiday. Pentekoste is a Greek word that means 50th. It was held on the 50th day after the Passover feast. This was a time like the Passover when Jews from all over the world would come to Jerusalem to make offerings to God at the temple and to celebrate. It’s estimated that there would have been between 2 and 3 million in the city during these annual Jewish holidays. At the last Jewish festival in Jerusalem, at Passover time, some big things happened. Jesus was crucified, this strange darkness came over the land of Judea from noon until 3 in the afternoon as Jesus hung on the cross, and then at the moment He died there was a powerful earthquake that split rocks and broke open tombs. And then on the third day, the empty tomb. And now at this next holiday when the city is full again some more big things are going to happen.
v1, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” “They” appears to mean the apostles that were mentioned in previous verse. And apparently this place they are in is next to a big open area where a bunch of people can gather, because a whole bunch of people are about to be gathered to them to hear a sermon.
v2, “And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.” Can you imagine it? Out of nowhere, all the sudden, the roar of a hurricane inside the house, but nobody feels any wind, and then fiery tongues appear in the air and rest on the heads of each one of them.
v4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” The word “tongues” could also be translated languages. The word in the Greek text can mean the muscle in your mouth, the tongue, or speech produced by that muscle, language. It can mean tongue or language. And we’re going see in the verses that follow that this speaking in other tongues was not an ecstatic gibberish kind of thing that nobody could understand. These men were speaking coherent words in human languages that they had never learned before.
The reaction of the crowd (Acts 2:5-13)
v5, “Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.” Clearly many of them were devout, very committed to obeying God’s commands to them, because they’ve traveled hundreds of miles, some of them maybe even thousands of miles, to be here at Jerusalem for this feast in obedience to the Law that God had given them.
v6, “And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them [the apostles] speak his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes [converts to Judaism], 11 Cretans and Arabs — we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” The whole city could hear this noise like a violent rushing wind. They could tell where it was coming from. Thousands gathered to see what was going on. And there were the 12 apostles proclaiming the mighty deeds of God in every language of every nation. Somebody from Cyrene said, “Hey that guy is speaking in the language we speak back home.” And another from Egypt said, “And this one is speaking the language of my home.” And somebody from island of Crete said, “And that one is speaking my language.” And every one of these Jews from every nation under heaven heard an apostle speak their own native language fluently. And the people noticed that they’re just Galileans. They could tell perhaps by the way they dressed and by their accent. I’ve read that the Galilean accent was very strong and distinct. You remember when Peter was in the courtyard on the night of Jesus’ trial and he was denying that he knew Jesus, and they said “Certainly, you know Jesus. You’re a Galilean. The way you talk gives you away.” So if they heard their accent sometime they would know they’re Galileans. And Galilee was considered to be culturally backward and filled with uneducated people. And so when these men speak fluently in every language, it says the crowd is amazed, astonished, bewildered, perplexed.
Many were asking, v12, “What does this mean?” But others were mocking and saying, ‘They are full of sweet wine.’” Maybe these guys who were mocking wandered on to the scene and only heard languages that they did not understand and concluded that these guys are just speaking drunken nonsense. Though it’s possible that they knew they were speaking actual languages but still tried to say something derogatory. The world is full of people who are like that, who will mock at anything different.
So God has brought an audience to the apostles, an audience that is prepared to listen to an explanation of what’s going on. And v14 says, “Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them…” I imagine that Peter in addressing all of them spoke in the Greek language of the day that virtually everyone in the 1st century could understand. It was the universal language. The first chunk of his sermon, v14-21, is about…
A prophecy from the prophet Joel (Acts 2:14-21)
Peter said to them, continuing in v14, “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;” In other words, it’s only 9:00 in the morning. The Jews started counting the hours at dawn which was about 6 am. So it’s only 9. It’s too early for drinking. “but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel” They were devout Jews. They knew their Bibles. They were familiar with the book of the prophet Joel. And Peter quotes here from Joel 2 to explain that this incredible phenomenon that they’ve just witnessed is not the result of the pouring of fermented wine but is a result of the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon them.
Now, the prophecy from Joel that Peter quotes is about events that will occur in the last days. That phrase “the last days” to the Jewish mind referred to the age of the Messiah, the age of the Christ, the promised King. It referred to the last period of time that begins with the advent of the Christ, the 1st coming of Christ, and ends at the end of the world, at the 2nd coming of Christ. It is the age of the Messiah. Peter is in effect saying to Jews, “The age that you have been anticipating for centuries is here. The age of the Christ has arrived.”
What did Joel say would happen in this age of the Christ? Let’s look at it. v17, “And it shall be in the last days,” God says, “That I will pour forth My Spirit on all mankind [or literally “on all flesh.” That doesn’t mean on every single human being. It means on all different kinds of people. Male and female, young and old, slave and free, Jew and Gentile. It further explains]; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy.” The Jews understood that since the prophet Malachi, the last prophet of the OT, no one had received the Spirit of God to prophesy. They understood that for 400 years since Malachi, there had been no miraculous empowering or miraculous communication of God’s Spirit. That’s why we have no books in our Bible that were written in that 400 year gap of time between the close of the OT and the 1st century, because there were no prophets. But the Jews were looking forward to the age of the Messiah, when the Spirit of God would be poured out and speak through people again. And it started to happen, not just here on the day of Pentecost, but really at the incarnation of Jesus in womb of Mary. When Jesus was in the womb of Mary God’s Spirit began to be poured out on all different kinds of people as Joel had said would happen. The author Luke has brought that out in volume 1, in the gospel of Luke. In Luke 1 after Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary, you read that Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. Mary prophesied. And then Zacharias the father of John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. And then in Luke 2 when Jesus’ parents take Him to the temple as a baby, there’s the old man Simeon. And it says the Holy Spirit was upon him, and had revealed things to him. And he takes the baby Jesus in his arms and prophesies and says “Now Lord You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to your word for my eyes have seen Your salvation.” He’s prophesying. And then an old woman named Anna in the temple also prophesies. Then in ch3 there’s John the Baptist who is a prophet of God. And then the Spirit of God comes upon Jesus at His baptism and He speaks for God and does miracles. And now here on the day of Pentecost the Spirit of God has come upon these 12 men and is giving them utterance in other languages. And so clearly what Joel said was going to happen in the last days has been happening and it’s happening here with the apostles. We’re in the last days, Peter is saying. We’re in the age of the Christ. The Christ has come.
And the prophecy goes on to mention some other things that will happen in last days. v19, “And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below…” Some of those wonders and signs would be the miracles that Jesus did on earth and the miracles that His apostles would do that you read about in the rest of the book of Acts.
Then he says, “There will be blood, fire and vapor of smoke.” I think that’s the kind of stuff Jesus told His disciples was going to happen in this period of time. Luke 21:10-11, He told them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom [there will be wars, lots of bloodshed], and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.” That’s like saying, “blood, fire and vapor of smoke.”
And the prophecy goes on, “The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.” And the sun was literally turned into darkness at the crucifixion of Jesus. And there have been solar eclipses. But the prophecy also may be figurative, because the language of sun into darkness and moon into blood was also used in the OT of times when God punished nations (Is. 13:6-11; Ez 32:2-8; Am 5:18-20). These events are identifying marks that we are in the days of the Messiah.
And then the Joel prophecy contains this wonderful promise. v21, “And it shall be [that is in this period of time that we have now entered] that everyone [meaning whether they’re Jew or Gentile, man or woman, slave or free, rich or poor, everyone] who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Now, the rest of Peter’s sermon is going to be to show who that is, who the Lord is. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord” – that might need a little clarification, because I think it’s very misunderstood today. This is not talking about anyone who at just one point in their life calls out to Jesus. Do you remember what Jesus clarified in the sermon on the mount. Matthew 7:21-23 in very plain words, He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” Those who call on the name of the Lord are not just anybody who says, “Lord, Jesus” or who says “Lord, save me,” at one point in their life. This is talking about people who are characterized as “those who call on the name of Jesus.” It’s talking about people who honestly from their hearts trust Jesus and they worship Him and depend on Him and try to honor Him in their lives. In the NT, like in I Corinthians 1:2, faithful Christians are referred to as “those who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It’s not something they just did one day. It is who they are. They are those who worship and pray to and serve Jesus. Calling on Him is characteristic of them. And in these last days those who are that, those who call on His name, those who keep in touch with Jesus, those who maintain a relationship with Jesus, will be saved. (See in Psalm 145:18-20 that “those who call upon Him” are the same as “those who fear Him” and “those who love Him,” and they are contrasted with “the wicked.”)
Proof that Jesus is Lord and Christ (Acts 2:22-36)
v22, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know-” So he reminds them of Jesus’ miracles. They all knew Jesus could do actual miracles, give sight to the blind, make the lame walk, instantly cure leprosy and withered hands, multiple a little boy’s lunch to feed thousands, cast out demons, raise the dead and so forth. Even Jesus’ enemies could not deny that He did those things. They wish they could have. But they couldn’t. So they tried to explain it away. Remember the Scribes and Pharisees said, “Well, the way Jesus cast out demons is by the power of Beelzebul, by the power of Satan, not God.” Which was ridiculous to say that Satan was casting out his own demons. But all the Jews knew Jesus could actually do miracles. And folks, did you know we have ancient writings from the first few centuries written by anti-Christian people who still admit that Jesus did supernatural things. In writings like those of the Jewish Talmud and Josephus and this 2nd century pagan philosopher named Celsus. They say Jesus did supernatural things. They just explain it as either that He practiced sorcery or He acquired certain magical powers in Egypt. But certainly the most reasonable explanation is what Nicodemus said to Jesus in John 3. “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
v23, “this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” The death of this man Jesus was all part of God’s plan from the very beginning.
v24, “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for him to held in its power.” And they knew they couldn’t prove Peter wrong. They knew the tomb was empty.
v25, “For David says of Him…” David, a thousand years ago, spoke of this man Jesus and His resurrection. Where? Peter quotes from a Psalm that David wrote. Psalm 16:8-11. “I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE;FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. 26 ‘THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; 27 BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. 28 ‘YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.’” So the Psalm speaks of someone who has a great relationship with God. God’s presence is always with Him, at his right hand. He is called God’s holy one. And his soul is not abandoned to Hades. Hades is the unseen realm of the dead. And his body will not undergo decay. So he’s going to go into Hades, into the realm of the dead, but he’s not going to be abandoned there. He’s going to be brought out. And he will be brought out before his body decays. Well, who in the world could that be talking about? Was David talking about himself?
v29, Peter says, “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.” And they knew it. There was a monument that king Herod had built around David’s tomb. It can’t be talking about David because he has been left in Hades and his body has decayed.
v30, “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY. 32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we [we, the twelve of us who have received the Holy Spirit, we] are all witnesses.” Thomas may have looked around at the doubt evident in many faces and said, “I know exactly how you feel. I’ve been there. I didn’t want to believe it either when people told me ‘He’s alive.’ But then He came right up to me, the One I had followed for 3 years, holding out His hands with the nail holes and dried blood, removing His outer garment so I could see the gaping hole in His side. There was nothing I could say but, “My Lord and my God!” Clearly we’re in the last days, the age of the Christ, since the Holy Spirit has been poured out. You know Jesus worked undeniable miracles. You know His tomb is empty. David prophesied that the Christ would rise from the dead before His flesh suffered decay. And here are 12 eye witnesses of Him alive after His death, and maybe Peter also pointed to Mary and James the Lord’s brother and others who were around as well who also saw Him after the resurrection. That is an overwhelming amount of evidence that Jesus is the Christ, the King and Savior who was promised to come.
But there’s more. v33, “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.” Maybe the crowd not only heard the sound of the violent rushing wind and heard these 12 Galileans speak fluently in every language. Maybe they also saw the tongues as of fire that rested on each of them. And Peter says that Jesus has poured forth this which you both see and hear. He can do that because He’s Lord of all. He’s been exalted to the right hand of God. He’s co-ruler with God. Surely they had to ask themselves, “Would God send forth the Holy Spirit on these men, if they were then just going to turn around and give the credit to a dead man?” Certainly God would not give them the Holy Spirit in an obvious undeniable way if they were immediately going to blaspheme about who sent the Holy Spirit upon them.
Then Peter gives one more bit of evidence. Another prophecy from David. v34, “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: [this is from Psalm 110:1] ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, 35 UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”‘” And so King David, the most powerful king in the world in his day said that he has a Lord, a ruler, a master, aside from the heavenly Father. Who could that possibly be? That has to be the Christ. No ruler on earth will ever be king David’s Lord. But the Christ is. He is Lord of the living and the dead. And David spoke of Him as being given God’s right hand position.
Here’s the point, v36, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified.” Many of these people were probably in that crowd pressuring Pontus Pilate, shouting “Crucify Him! Crucify him!” But you know what, folks, if Peter were standing here today he could say the same thing to us. “This Jesus whom you crucified,” because it was our sins that put Him on the cross just as much as it was theirs. He died for our sins just as much as He died for their sins.
The conversion of 3,000 (Acts 2:37-41)
I imagine there was some stunned silence for a moment after Peter concluded that sermon. And as his words began to register in their minds and make so much sense, v37 says, “they were pierced to the heart“. They felt like a knife was sticking inside them. They felt so guilty, so ashamed, so afraid of the wrath of God that they must kindled by crucifying the Son of God.
Then these people asked Peter and the rest of the apostles the most logical question, “Brethren, what shall we do?” “We understand what you’re saying Peter and you’ve convinced us. Now what do we do about the fact that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus is the King and we have crucified Him?”
Now, Peter did not tell them to just ask Jesus to save them. Peter did not tell them to just ask Jesus into their heart. I know that’s what’s commonly preached today when somebody asks, “What shall I do to be saved?” But that’s not what Peter, an apostle of Christ, preached. And that’s not what any of the other apostles preached.
Peter told them to do 2 things. #1, “Repent.” As devout Jews who knew their Scriptures they knew what repent means. Repents means you turn or change from where you were wrong. This included that they needed to change their minds about Jesus from what they used to think about Him. They need to see Him as Lord and the only means of salvation. And it meant they needed to change their lives, their behaviors and habits and attitudes to be in harmony with the will of the Lord Jesus. This meant a commitment to let Jesus rule their lives, a commitment to listen and follow the example and teachings of Jesus. And that has big implications. It means a commitment to treat people like you want to be treated as Jesus teaches us. It’s a commitment to control your passions and respect marriage, a commitment to forgive those who wrong you, to be honest, to be unselfish with your money and your time. That’s what repent means. And secondly Peter said, “and each of you be baptized in the name of the Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” “Be baptized,” baptistheto in the Greek text, it means be immersed. He is telling them to be immersed in water. “In the name of Jesus Christ” – in other words because of who He is and His authority and this is His command. And do this “for the forgiveness of your sins.” It’s unfortunate if you’ve been led on to believe that this little preposition “for” here means “because of.” It does not. It’s the Greek word eis. It occurs hundreds of times in the NT and means into, unto, toward, for. In other words, Peter is saying, “Here’s what you do to come into a state where your sins are forgiven. You repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”
And then Peter makes a great promise to them. He says, “and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit of God will also be with you to empower and help and work through you in whatever ways He wills.
Peter didn’t want anybody to think that he wasn’t talking to them. So v39, “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” God calls people to Himself through the preaching of the gospel (II Thess 2:14). When a person hears the gospel God is calling that person into a relationship with Himself. The Lord our God has called you to Himself today. This salvation is for you.
Maybe for some of them the message was too good to be true. Maybe some of them weren’t quite comprehending the incredible gift that was being offered to them for the taking. And so v40, “And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation!’ So then, those who had received his word were baptized…” All over Jerusalem and around the temple there were immersing pools called mikvehs, because ritual immersion was a regular practice of Judaism. They would immerse themselves for ceremonial cleanness. So there were all these pools around and so that very day they heard the message they were baptized. “and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” 3,000 souls were added to the number of the saved.
The rest of the chapter, which gives a summary description of what the first Christians did, we will have to study another time. Let me end here by asking you a few questions. Do you, whoever you are here today, really believe like these people did? Have you been convicted by the overwhelming amount of evidence as these people were, that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified? Do you yourself see that Jesus is the one in charge, that He is our Lawgiver and Judge, that He holds our fate in His hands, and He died for our sins and we owe Him our lives? Do you have the same faith that these people came to have on that day of Pentecost? Have you repented? Have you honestly decided “I’m going to let Jesus rule my life now. I am going to learn His will and live according to it?” Have you made that decision? And with that faith and that commitment, have you been baptized in His name? It’s what Christ had His apostles preach that people do for the forgiveness of their sins. In every example of conversion throughout the whole book of Acts it says when they heard and believed the gospel, they were baptized. If you’ve done that, then the word of God says that you have been added to the number of the saved, because the promise was not just to them, but to all in this last age of time that the Lord our God will call to Himself. And as long as you keep that commitment you made to let Jesus be Lord of your life, to try to follow His example and teachings in your life, then you will always be saved.
– James Williams