So the Lord died on the cross, the disciples were shell shocked as they didn’t know what to do with themselves. In in that moment of encircling the camps, three women go to the tomb to take spices and perfume for the body and in an instant the Lord turns the world upside down as He rises from the dead. The Lord then spends a significant amount of time with the disciples but knows that his time is coming to an end, for the one who was to come would carry on the work of which He had started. The Holy Spirit! So in knowing this our Lord instructs the disciples to remain in Jerusalem and they will receive the Holy Spirit. After watching the Lord ascend into the heavens the disciples return to Jerusalem and congregate in an upper room. As they come together in this moment, this is where we pick the passage up this morning. So if you would turn with me to Acts chapter 1 and verse 14.
Acts 1:14 (NASB)
These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brothers.
So what does it say here in this verse? It doesn’t say that just the disciples were in this room. In a society predominated by males you would have thought that this room would have been filled with men. However it is evident within this text that there were men, women and potentially even children. It was men, women and children that felt the leading of our Lord on their lives to come into this place and search for his promise as He had commanded. These weren’t the great pillars of faith some have made into saints, these were men and women of God, desiring just to experience the promise God had revealed in their midst. They just desired to experience the promise of God in very real and tangible way, not in the following of men but in the change wrought upon their hearts and lives.
So they had come together and all were of one mind. Some versions of scriptures refer to it as “one accord”. What does it mean to be of one mind or one accord? In the NIV it refers to this as being joined together constantly in prayer. It is described that the people had come together and they weren’t off in different directions. Indicative to what had happened when the Lord had been crucified. Unlike the crucifixion when everyone was running in different directions, people didn’t know what to believe or what to do, instead this moment was an illustration of certainty in faith. These people had come together in this place not to argue about how the church was going to run, who was going to run it or what was going to happen. Instead it was a picture of solitude, where the believers had come together in prayer, in oneness, believing that the Lord would send the one He had promised, the Holy Spirit, to fulfill His promise for His people. This morning, you may have come into this place having had frustration with how our church has changed. Perhaps you have seen person after person come and go and you have become hurt, frustrated and somewhat disarrayed like the followers after the Lord’s crucifixion. This morning however, our Lord desires for us as his children to come in oneness with one another to his cross. Our Lord desires for us to come into His house in prayer, not in division. This year our church is faced with many major decisions that will impact all of us in some way. For some of you, there may be frustration. For some of you, there may be hurt. Our Lord us drawn us to this moment in our life as a church where we will have to face these moments in oneness, trusting in the heart of our Lord to reveal his purpose for us as a people of God. If we desire to see the power of our Lord work in incredible ways amongst us in the days ahead we need to come to Him on our knees. This morning, if you desire to see change in your life, I encourage you to have a life of prayer and watch change happen. If we desire to see change in the life of our church, we need to lead a life of prayer and we will watch change happen.
In this moment of prayer and solitude the power of the Holy Spirit came down upon the people that were in oneness. All of a sudden a rush of wind came through the upper room and in an instant the people were given the gift of tongues, the ability to speak languages they were not even aware of. The people were given this incredible gift and they began to share the gospel to those around them, but the people instead of opening themselves to the gospel they turned to disciples thinking that they were drunk. So what does Peter do in this instant, He gets up and says in verse 15 of chapter 2, These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “ ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. So what happens here, Peter in an instant goes from being the ruffian rugged fisherman, to the powerful preacher that the Lord had called Him to be. Peter says to these naysayers, “come on people these men and women are not drunk at 9am in the morning”. They are examples of what the Lord has promised to his people in the book of Joel. Peter uses Old Testament scripture to illustrate to the people that scripture has been fulfilled today. Peter then preaches his first sermon to the people of Israel and gentiles that morning. In the mighty hand of God, the people realize what they have done. They have not only, not believed in their salvation, but they had crucified the One who came to bring them salvation. It is in this moment that we enter into this passage, so let’s read this morning.
Scripture – Acts 2:37-42
37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 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.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
This morning we begin by looking at the verse 37 and 38 of this passage. The first thing to note is that the people as they realized what they had done, they were at the point of being crushed. They had realized what they had done and now they thought they had no hope. Today, unfortunately our society has become so full of itself that nothing is ever that wrong. We are never wrong, everyone else is wrong. God help us, it’s like the Garden of Eden all over again. It’s not my fault it’s the woman’s fault. It’s not my fault it’s the friends fault, it’s my spouses fault for making me angry, it’s my schools fault. It’s like we are blaming our sin on the dog that ate our homework, instead of just realizing/accepting that we have come short, that we need to turn away from the sin that we have accepted in our lives. This morning if we desire to see miracles in our lives and in the life of our church we need to come to the Lord first in prayer, second in repentance. Going to the feet of our Lord searching for our Lord’s cleansing through and through. If we desire to receive the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the life of our church what does it say in verse 38 to do? Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This morning if you desire see our church more powerful and effective in our community than ever before, then we as its people need to enter everyday beginning with today in prayer and repentance. Our Lord desires to see this moment in the life of the people of Acts active in our lives today. Are you tired of mediocre Christianity? Are you ready for the exceptional, than this morning enter with me into this calling on our lives.
For Today & Tomorrow
Peter then calls to realize that this promise that was realized in this moment amongst the disciples was not something only for that time. Peter says in verse 39, “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.” There have been discussion and theologians that have said that this occurrence of the Holy Spirit pouring was only for that time, however in verse 39, Luke clearly writes that it was not only for the people of Acts but for their children, their children’s children and their children. In other words, this scripture, this promise is you and me today. The question is, do we desire this promise amongst us today.
Power lifting Example
When I was younger, I used to be in pretty good shape. I didn’t play a whole lot of group sports, but I did sports that were individual in nature. This suited my introvert type of character. One of the sports that I grew up learning to like was power lifting. Power lifting involves three types of exercise, bench press, squats and dead lifting. As I learned to love the sport, I got better and better each day. So at the age of about 14, I began to just pour myself into the sport. I got myself a trainer, I would spend hours upon hours in the gym, working out and studying the art of power lifting. I even changed my diet to best suit the type of lifting that I was doing. One thing led to another and I had the opportunity to lift for the state competition, then the national competition etc. The one thing I noted at this young age was the more I poured myself into something, the better I got at it. The more I learned, the more I understood and the more I changed.
So it is with our Lord. If you desire to see the power of the Holy Spirit work in fantastic ways in your life and in the life of our church, we need to realize real devotion for Him in all things. Our Lord’s promise was for the people of Acts but it is also for you and me today.
Persistence in Jesus
The last three verses I wanted to illustrate what happens as we enter into this Promise. The first thing that you will note in verse 40, is that when we see the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, then we automatically want to share with those around us the promise of what we have in Jesus. Peter desired to reach as many people as possible so he was trying to get the attention of as many people as possible. So he kept on exhorting the people. He was like saying, “come on people, come on, wake up, you are on a train to hell, yet here is the answer.” This morning, is this our response when we are faced with tribulation in our attempts to share the Promise of our Lord? Do we shy away or do we continue to exhort those around us to face the truth in life? Not only does this apply to our response to others when we are trying to save them from themselves, but it also applies in our walk in faith. If we do not see the fruits of the spirit in our lives, we need to continue in fervent prayer and supplication. We need to exhort ourselves to a higher calling that is Jesus Christ. Continued exhortation to a higher calling that is Jesus Christ needs to be a way of life in Jesus.
Receiving the Word
In the verse 41, that the people received his word and were saved. Receiving the word is a requirement in order for us to see the life of our Lord in us and our congregation. Today we have become so cynical that often times we don’t realize it but the truth is right in front of us. Sometimes our fellow brothers and sisters unknowingly speak right into the situation that we are facing. Sometimes a pastor speaks right into a situation that we are facing. But rather than receiving the word, we conclude that the word being is spoken is just an opinion. I realize that our Lord calls us to divide the truth so that we might correctly receive the truth, but sometimes rather than receiving the truth it is easier to conclude that it is just an opinion. This morning, if we desire to see the truth in our lives and our congregation, we need to receive the truth in our lives, not conclude that it is just an opinion.
Finally in verse 42, Luke writes, they continually devoted themselves to teaching, fellowship, breaking of the bread and prayer. There is a closure that I would like to illustrate this morning. This sermon started off this morning with prayer and now it closes off this morning with prayer. Do you see a trend here? This time of the pouring of the Holy Spirit began and ended with prayer. What is prayer? It is devotion to Jesus. Our lives, our church requires devotion. If we desire to see the Holy Spirit fall down upon this place in an incredible way in the days we need to be devoted to the teaching of the Word, to fellowship with one another, to remember what our Lord did for us on Calvary in the breaking of the bread, and in prayer. Devotion does not begin this morning and only happen on Sunday mornings. It is a daily responsibility of you and me to enter into His calling each and every day.
This morning, if you are tired! If you are tired of just coming on Sundays, hearing what I say, listening to some of it and leaving the rest of it here on Sundays. If you desire to see more in your Christian walk, if you desire to see Acts rediscovered in Vallejo. Today is the day to realize it in our lives. I would like for you to all close your eyes this morning. Our Lord has more for us this morning. He has more in your walk with Him. He has more for the people of our church. We are coming into the Easter season, and I don’t know about you but I don’t want this to be just another Easter season for me or for this church. I want, I desire to see Acts in our church this Easter. I desire to see Acts in our church this morning. However, in order for us to see this promise realized in our church, the journey has to begin with you and me this morning.
I would like to open the altars this morning, if you are facing a time in your life where you are tired of struggling with sin in your life. If you desire to realize the Holy Spirit in your life, if you desire to see sanctification in your life, this morning this is your opportunity. This morning our Lord desires to start something incredible in our lives and in the life of our church. This morning if we are ready, our God is ready. Let us pray.