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The Birth of the New Testament Christian Church:
Acts 2:1-14

Acts 2:1-14, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost [the Holy Spirit], and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?-Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Capadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphilia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: for these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.’”

[This is a transcript of a sermon (it will eventually be three sermons covering Acts 2) given by Pastor Joe Focht, Copyright © Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA ( ).] “Father, we settle our hearts and thank you that we can gather publicly like this. And no doubt Lord, before we know it, our lives may change, Lord, never to be the same again. [This sermon given in 1996, 5 years before September 11, 2001.] No doubt this nation, guilty of so many things, Father, no doubt has judgment looming over it, even if there’s a Josiah or a reprieve, Lord, before you come. And we pray, Lord, that there be a great awakening and a great revival. We all know so many, Father, friends and relatives we love, that still stand at a distance, unyielding, still blinded. But Father, as we sense the urgency of the hour, Lord, we pray for peace in Jerusalem. Father we pray, send Jesus to set up his kingdom, to usher in that age that all the prophets have spoken of. Father, as we have privilege and time together in your presence, Lord, fill us afresh with your Spirit. Speak to us Lord. Change us, Lord. Take away from every one of us in this room the excuse of just being the way we are, knowing Lord, that you are changing us and conforming us into the image of your Son. And Lord, hasten that work, as there is urgency in the day that we live, Lord. Now that there would be urgency Father of the Work of your Spirit in our hearts, that we might decrease and your Son might increase in each of us. Lord, we thank you, Lord we pray for peace, Lord, in that city, in Jerusalem, Lord, according to your Word. We pray Lord that you would allow us to see Him, to settle in your presence as we continue, and that your Word would be alive. Bless our fellowship, Father, we pray in Jesus name, Amen.’

Acts chapter 2, the day of Pentecost, an interesting and important study for us, because on this day 3,000 people are saved. So it’s important for us to take note of what happened. Interesting contrast, by the way, to the day the Law was given [on the same day of Pentecost over 1000 years before], that tells of when Moses descended from Sinai, when he broke the two tables of stone, on that day 3,000 died. On this day, when the Spirit descends upon the church, 3,000 are born eternally, saved. [i.e. born-again, cf. John 3.] And it was because of an experience in the life of a believer, they had seen Christ, they had walked with Christ, they had many of them reaped the benefits of his ministry. When I think of the 120 that were there in the upper room, no doubt Lazarus was there. He received of the benefit of Christ’s ministry, being raised from the dead [John 11] I would say is receiving of the benefit of Christ’s ministry. Or Simon, that used to be a leper. No doubt he was among the disciples. Think of those that were there, that received the benefit of his ministry. And the 12 that were there had been taught by Jesus for 40 days concerning the things of the kingdom. They were already believers--in John 20 he had breathed on them and said “Receive the Spirit”--and yet all of them were not yet ready to do the work that God had set before them [cf. Acts 1:6-9] with all they had seen of Christ with their eyes, with all of the conviction that was in their heart, with those few that had already believed, so that he might instruct them and open the Scripture to them and prepare them for their ministry. Yet their was still something else to take place before they were ready. That’s important for us, because many of us, in one sense in our hearts, have seen Christ, many of us have grown up in a Christian home, many of us have a heart about Jesus, but there’s always something of the reality of Christ, that each one of us needs in our lives, or it’s phony. We need the reality of his Presence. We need the fulness of his Spirit. It isn’t just an intellectual exercise, categorizing the things we believe into particular categories. We can be so right that we’re dead right. [He’s talking about dead orthodoxy, churches and Christians that are spiritually dead--nominal Christians in spiritually dead churches--a scary thing.] But it’s a living relationship, and it’s an experience of his presence and reality. And it’s much more than goose-bumps. Interesting, as I look at this scene, there’s 120 [the Greek indicates 120 family names, so this may equate to the 500 referred to in 1 Corinthians 15 by Paul] in the upper room. And I think, ‘Where are the thousands that were fed when he divided the loaves and the fishes, the five thousand men and women and children? Where were the innumerable masses that followed from Decapolis and Tyre and Sidon and all of Judea--and saw him heal the sick and open the eyes of the blind, and cleanse the lepers and raise the dead? Where are the multitudes from Capernaum, where it tells us at Peter’s mother-in-law’s house that Jesus there, as the Sabbath ended and the sun went down healed all that were in the entire village at Capernaum and all that were brought? Where are the thousands upon thousands that had heard, that had seen?’ Isn’t it interesting that there’s 120 out of those multitudes? That this was enough to change the world. Of the thousands that come here, 120, 180, how many are necessary to set the rest of us on fire? Ten of us? One of us? Pray for me, because I want more of what God has for me. I want to change. I think of the things in my life that stand in the way of a fuller experience of his power, of his holiness and joy. All I’m saying, that’s not it at all. It’s just as I look at the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, meekness, temperance, I think how desperately I need more of that. And I think, directly relational to that, to the personality of Christ being reflected in us, there is a greater openness when those things are manifest then for him to flow through us in power. And I’m longing for that, an outpouring of the Spirit in my own life. In my own time with him if I get up early in the morning or I sit up late at night, or I’m sitting somewhere in the park, I’m longing for a greater measure of his presence, a greater fulness of God’s Spirit. And don’t let anybody say “Oh, we don’t need what they needed then.” I don’t know about you, but I need what they needed then. I don’t know about the city you live in, but the city I live in needs what they had then. And I don’t know about the church that you attend, but the church I attend needs what they needed then. And the world that you live in may not be the same world I live in (my wife tells me I’m in a different world sometimes), so I guess that’s possible. But the world I live in needs what the world needed then, and that is a church made up of believers and a pastor that reflects Jesus as much with their lives as they do with their mouths in love, in power, in joy, in service. So this chapter [Acts 2] is important to us. And maybe, no matter what your position is, we’ll offend you before we are through, but don’t feel alone because we’re out to offend everybody--that is, everybody who would seek to restrict the work of God’s Spirit because of some petrified and atrophied position they hold theologically.

Chapter 2 says, “When the day of Pentecost was fully come they were all with one accord in one place, and suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty rushing wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit] and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). It said “When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all together in one place.” It says “in a house.” We’re not sure whether that is a house joined to the temple or when it says “in a house” it’s speaking of a portion of the temple itself. We know that in the end of Luke it tells us “and they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.” We know that over in Acts 2 it says “They continued daily with one accord in the temple, and in breaking of bread and house to house they did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” (Acts 2:46). They must have been in location to the temple precincts, because there will be 3,000 people that will be saved. That means there will be many more thousands that will hear. But they had to be somewhere where thousands would have been, probably somewhere, I would imagine, in the area of Solomon’s Portico, in the southern side of the temple, with its many pillars in that day. It tells us that within six months earlier, Jesus at Hanukkah, it says, at the Feast of Lights, the feast that was in the winter, that Jesus was walking alone in Solomon’s Portico. And I think, you know it says “For the glory that was set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame.” And I think, you know, here’s Jesus, who within six months will be crucified, risen and ascended to heaven, wandering alone in Solomon’s Portico, thinking, ‘It won’t be long before 3,000 will be born [again] in one day, here in the precincts, and then thousands more.’ They were all to gather together in one place, regardless, somewhere in conjunction to the temple where thousands upon thousands upon thousands could gather.

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