This is chapter two from the 334-page book, "A Practical & Theological Study of the Book of Acts" by Dr. Samuel Gipp, Th.D. The author says the Book of Acts is the key to understanding the New Testament. He takes you through the Book of Acts, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, with practical application to living in America at the close of the twentieth century, Chapter summeries included. Click here to see his home page, complete with an address on how to obtain a catalog listing his other works.
|Pentecost, the filling of the Holy Spirit (v. 1-4), TheApostles preach (v.5-13), Peter preaches to Israel (v.6-36), Repentant Jews (v.37), Instructions after conversion (v.38-40), The new church grows (v.42-47)|
1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold,
are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
We now delve into one of the most important yet misunderstood and misapplied phenomena of the New Testament, the "gift of tongues." There is a teaching which is prevalent in Christian circles today that the act of "speaking in tongues" recorded in acts chapter 2 is still in force today and that this gift is not a gift of speaking in a foreign language, but in what is called a "heavenly" language which only God can understand.
Today, people of all denominations, including Roman Catholics, practice "speaking in tongues." A returned missionary from Mexico recently told of a Mexican state whose Governor is an atheist and a Communist, yet he "speaks in tongues!" The gift of tongues has become a genuine spiritual "ecumenical movement." Question: If the Charismatic interpretation of "speaking in tongues" is in error, then just what is taught in Scripture concerning the "gift of tongues?"
Upon examining the scriptural evidence concerning the act of "speaking in tongues" we will discover the primary teaching of the book of Acts. That teaching is that Jesus, the man, is also the Lord and Christ. This teaching manifests itself in the epistle to the Philippians, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11).
Notice in verse 10 of Philippians 2 that "every knee shall bow" at the name of Jesus, and that the man, Jesus, will be acknowledged as "Christ" and "Lord."
Here is the explanation. "Jesus" means "Jehovah saves." "Jesus" was a common human name in Bible times. In Colossians 4:11 reference is made to a "Jesus, which is called Justus." Any Jew, alive in New Testament times or today will admit that a man by the name of "Jesus" lived.
"Christ" means "anointed." Christ is the "Messiah" which the lews were instructed to look for. This is why John the Baptist had to explain that he was not "Christ" (John 1:20). Jews in the Old Testament lived with anticipation of the coming Messiah. Orthodox Jews today still await the appearance of their Messiah.
"Lord" is Messiah's very person, in that, "Christ" (the anointed one) will also be "Lord" (LORD or Jehovah in the Old Testament). "Lord" refers to the Creator of the heaven and earth.
Thus every orthodox Jew in Old Testament times was looking for "Christ, the Lord." The problem arises when a Jew is told that "Jesus the man" is also "Christ the Lord." This is the doctrine that the Jew of hrist's day hated. This is the teaching that Jews today refuse to accept. Orthodox Jews in the twentieth century steadfastly refuse to accept the man "Jesus" as their Lord and Christ. They are still waiting for "Christ the Lord" which is why they will be so easily deceived by the Antichrist.
The book of Acts systematically and consistently explains to the Jews of that day that "Jesus," the man, is "Christ the Lord." The passages where this truth is taught will be inspected in two sequences.
First, in relationship to the gift of tongues.
Secondly, those not directly associated with the gift of tongues will be pointed out in our verse by verse study.
Let us then examine what the Scriptures teach concerning the gift of tongues.
We will first notice that the scriptural gift of tongues is indeed the gift of languages.
Acts 2:4 says,". . . began to speak with other tongues . . ."
Acts 2:6 says, ". . . every man heard them speak in his own language . . ."
Acts 2:8 says, "And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
Acts 2:11 says, ". . . we do hear them speak in our own tongues."
Here we see that the English words "tongue" and "language" were used interchangeably when God gave us His word. Thus it is evident that the Apostles were not speaking in "holy gibberish," but were instead speaking in the native tongues of the men who were standing before them. Verses 9-11 give a brief catalog of the regions from which these Jewish proselytes originated. It is plain to see for anyone capable of reading English that the "tongues" spoken in Acts chapter two were languages.
Why, in Acts 2, did God give the Apostles the ability to speak in the native languages which these proselytes had originally spoken?
"For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom" (1 Cor. 1:22).
This is a biblical truth! Jews, as a rule, have always been a very materialistic people. (This is not meant to be derogatory but simply a statement of fact.) Jews have always needed a "sign and a wonder" to be convinced that God was the prime mover of any particular incident which befell them.
Moses was given a sign in the form of his rod being turned into a serpent (Exod. 4:2-4). He w as given the sign of the leprous hand in Exod. 4:6-7. Then God said, "And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither harken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land" (Exod. 4:8-9).
Why these signs? Because "the Jews require a sign."
God sent ten plagues on Egypt starting in Exod. 7:20 and continuing to Exod. 12:30. These were signs.
Even Gideon exhibited the typical Jewish response in demanding the signs of the fleece in Judges 6:36-40. Why? Because "the Jews require a sign."
The second half of 1 Cor. 1:22 is a truth which is evidenced simply by looking at the Gentile world. It was the Gentiles who had the educational and philosophical centers of Alexandria, Athens, Rome and others. Also, the vast number of institutions of higher learning are located in the Gentile nations of the world.
Even Christians fall prey to this innate racial characteristic. Today when a Christian feels "called to preach" the first thing which he is told to do is "get the best education that you can."
Christian leaders also exhibit this trait in their unconscious yet never ending desire to be a "Doctor." When a man is ordained to the Gospel ministry, he becomes a "Reverend." This is a heavenly title This shows that his calling is "from above." (However, he should not develop a "holier than thou" attitude.) "Doctor" is merely an educational title, showing the completion of study in any given field. Yet, the majority of Christian leaders today sport "Doctor" in front of their names. Most of these being D.D., Doctor of Divinity; L.H.D., Doctor of Letters; or L.L.D., Doctor of Laws. Since these degrees are honorary and require no academic or financial responsibilities, why would an ordained minister rather be called "Doctor" (educational) than "Reverend" (heavenly)? The answer is "the Greeks seek after wisdom." Basically it is due to an innate and unconscious desire to worship the human mind, just as ancient Greek philosophers did The more education a person has, the more worthy they are of reverence.
So we see then that truly, as the Bible says in 1 Cor. 1:22, "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:"
God knew that the Jews would need a sign to be convinced that He was doing a great work among men. This "great work" was the establishment of a totally new family of people formerly unknown to the world. Until now, there had been only Jews and Gentiles. The Jews had been God's chosen people (Gen. 12). The Gentiles had been, in the eyes of the Jews, dogs (Matt.15:26). Now God was setting up a third group. This group was to be a "peculiar people" (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9). The existence of these three groups is acknowledged by Paul, "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, not to the church of God" (1 Cor. 10:32).
The "church of God" which Paul speaks of is not a denomination but it is the "church of Jesus Christ" or what we know as the "body of Christ." It consists of every person in the world who accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Technically then, when a Jew is saved, he ceases to be a Jew. When a Gentile is saved he ceases to be a Gentile. Both became part of the "church of God." Practically, Paul still used the terms "Jew" and "Gentile" when referring to Christians' national origin. (Gal. 2:12-15) But spiritually saved Jews as well as saved Gentile are in fact part of the "church of God."
The Jews (the Apostles) would not believe that anything different had begun if they did not have a sign (1 Cor. 18:22). So, God gave them the gift of tongues for a sign. Why?
"Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not" (1 Cor. 14:22).
So then, the rule for tongues is that they are languages and are always presented to convince a skeptical, unbelieving, (not meaning "lost") Jew that what is happening before him is truly a work of the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 2 tongues are present to convince both the disciples and the proselytes that this work is of God.
Let us now move to the second occurrence of "speaking in tongues" in the book of Acts.
"And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter" (Acts 10:42-46).
Here we find Peter preaching to Gentiles! Until Acts chapter 10, the saved Jews has been taking the Gospel only to the lost Jewish nation or Jewish proselytes. They did not know that Gentiles could also be saved by faith in Jesus Christ. They still considered Gentiles as dogs.
Why was Peter here? (ford had revealed to him through a vision (Acts 10:9-16) that there was no longer a difference between Jews and Gentiles, because Christ had "cleansed" the indignation of the Gentiles away. Thus, when he was called by Cornelius in verse 22, he went to him (verses 23 and 24).
Peter explained in Acts 10:28 that he had believed it still unlawful for a Jew to associate with Gentiles until his mission.
ln Acts 10:34 Peter begins to preach. He preached "Jesus" as "Lord" in verse 36 and mentions His signs in verse 28. (A Jew would think of mentioning them.) He preaches the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in verses 39-41. At this point, his message is basically finished. He needs to say nothing else to convince these Gentiles that Jesus is Christ the Lord, so he tells them how to be saved in verse 43. That was enough. Cornelius and his household are so moved by the message that they get saved then and there (v. 44). This "astonished" the Christian Jews who had come with Peter (v. 45). But how did these Jews know that the Gentiles had really been saved? "For they heard them speak with tongues." Cornelius and his house had to speak in tongues (probably Hebrew) to prove to Peter and his friends that they too were now part of the "church of God."
Were these "tongues" languages? Yes, for Peter returned to Jerusalem in Acts 11:2. He then rehearsed the proceedings to the Apostles and in Acts 11:15 says, "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning."
How had the Holy Ghost fallen on the Apostles at the beginning"? They had spoken in languages. (Acts 2:4)! In this manner, the nonbelieving (not lost) Christian Jews were convinced that God has also opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles (Acts 11:18). Why? Because "the Jews require a sign" and because "tongues are for a sign."
Now we shall examine the third occurrence of "speaking in tongues" recorded in the book of Acts.
"And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve" (Acts 19:1-7).
Apollos had been to Ephesus earlier (Acts 18:24-25). He was an eloquent man, but he was lost! He knew only the baptism of John the Baptist (Acts 18:24). John did not baptize Christian converts, because Jesus Christ had yet to die and arise from the grave. John baptized in order that Christ "be made manifest to Israel" (John 1:31). Thus, Apollos' Ephesian "converts" were not born again believers. There had been no regeneration, there had been no change.
Paul, formerly Saul the persecutor, knew the life changing power of the gospel. When he arrived at Ephesus he may have been surprised when he was greeted by a group of men who identified themselves as "baptized believers."
Ephesus was famous for its worship of the goddess Diana (Acts 19:35) Paul began to notice that these "baptized believers" had little perception of spiritual matters (1 Cor. 2:14) or Christian separation. He had been told that they were "believers" and had taken it for granted that they had "believed,, on Jesus Christ. Finally he realized that they had a deep spiritual problem, and asked, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" to which they answered "We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost." How could they have believed in Christ and not received the Holy Ghost, Paul wondered. "Unto what then were ye baptized?" And they said, "Unto John's baptism."
Finally it was clear! Paul realized that these "baptized believers" had "believed" the wrong gospel and been "baptized" unto the wrong baptism. He gave them the gospel and they accepted Jesus as Christ the Lord. Then they are baptized. After this Paul lays hands on them and they "spake with tongues, and prophesied."
Why did they speak in tongues? As a sign to Paul the Jew that they truly had received Christ this time. Why a sign? Because "the Jew requires a sign" and "tongues are for a sign." What was the gift of tongues? It was the gift of languages just as it had been in Acts 2 and Acts 10.
Since we are examining the Bible teaching on the gift of tongues, it is necessary at this point to study 1 Cor. 14.
The fourteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians is the "fortress" of the charismatic movement's "unknown tongue." Yet to even attempt such a twisted theology from this book is suicidal. The Corinthian letter was written by the Apostle Paul to the most carnal, fleshy church to be found in the New Testament. The 14th chapter is written with a negative approach to speaking in "unknown tongues." Any person trying to use this chapter as a proof text for the "charismaticglossalaia" would have to be sadly lacking in elementary Bible knowledge . . . or dishonest.
The Corinthian church was a Gentile church. It was overwhelmed by a carnal, fleshy spirit. This is the same spirit as found today in most "Pentecostal" or "charismatic" circles. It is the desire to be spiritually "above" other Christians. The Corinthian Christians sought this kind of spiritual status. They knew of the "gift of tongues." Being characteristically poor at discerning spiritual things, they desired this gift, not understanding that they could not experience it in their church for there was no need that they should. After much "praying for the baptism of fire" so to speak, the "fire" fell. One of the Corinthians began to speak in a language completely foreign to his world. Rather than admit defeat and accept embarrassment, they called it the "gift of tongues." But what tongue was it a gift of? What could they say? They decided that it should be called an "unknown tongue." They proclaimed that it was a "heavenly" language that only God could understand. Thus amid the confusion of a carnal Gentile church which was seeking a Jewish sign, the "gift of unknown tongues" was born. Please understand that I am not saying that it was faked or just emotionalism. There was definitely a spirit influencing them. But it wasn't God's holy Spirit.
Paul, knowing of this heresy, included a rebuke concerning it in his letter to them. He did not try to refute the "unknown" tongue. He answered the fools according to their folly (Pro. 26:5). This was the method that God calls answering a man "according to the multitude of idols that he had set up in his heart" (Ezek. 14:3- 5). It is the same tactic used by the "certain nobleman" in Luke 19 in dealing with the wicked servant in verses 12-24. When accused by the servant of being "austere" and reaping "that thou didst not sow," the nobleman (a type of Christ), did not defend himself (v. 22) but judged the man as if what he had said had been true (verses 23-24).
Thus Paul did not try to talk the Corinthians "out" of the gift. Instead he compared it to the true gift of tongues. For you see, in 1 Cor. 14, Paul spoke of TWO gifts of tongues. He spoke of the authentic gift of languages (Acts 2,10 and 19) which he always referred to as "speaking in tongues." Then he also addressed himself to the unscriptural satanic counterfeit which the fleshy Corinthian church flaunted This he always referred to as "speaking in an unknown tongue." There are two "tongues" in 1 Corinthians 14! Here we can thank God for our Authorized King James Bible. For only in it did God clearly explain the teaching concerning tongues as Paul meant it by the use of the italicized word "unknown." Pseudo-Bible critics, eager to demonstrate their "great spiritual perception" are quick to recklessly rend the word "unknown" from the text (Rev. 22:19). Rather than believe that God has a perfect Book, and put themselves in subjection to that Book in a difficult passage and wait on the Lord for His answer, these self-appointed judges declare the Bible in error and themselves infallible! Thus the Bible becomes subject to man. This is unjust)fiable. It must also be pointed out that EVERY major translation, heralded by prominent "Fundamentalists" as improvements over the "old archaic" King James, removes the word "unknown" from the text, thus leaving the phenomena unexplainable! This is true of the ASV, NASV, NIV, and the NKJV. None are reliable witnesses to the truth.
Thus, Paul never claimed to speak in "unknown" tongues, but he did claim to speak in tongues (1 Cor. 14:18). While he stated he had no desire to speak in an "unknown" tongue (1 Cor. 14:19). He did not forbid to speak in tongues (1 Cor. 14:39), yet he put such stringent restrictions on speaking in "unknown" tongue that it wasn't "fun" anymore. After all, what good is a "gift" to a carnal Christian if he or she (1 Cor. 14:34) isn't allowed to show it off before the whole church?
So we see that "tongues are for a sign" (1 Cor. 14:22) and "the Jew requires a sign" (1 Cor. 1:22) and no Gentile has any business trying to steal a Jewish sign or he or she (1 Cor. 14:34) may end up speaking a satanic counterfeit and claiming that it is from God.
There is also a great monument to the HYPOCRISY of modern Bible translators. As mentioned earlier, the translators of almost every modern translation have decried the transliteration of "baptizo" as a terrible mistake. They also point to it as a an example of why a new translation (THEIR translation) is needed. They feel that the "confusion" caused by transliteration in the King James Bible can only be corrected with an entirely new translation.
This argument sounds noble and usually sucks in the weaker Christian. But their works speak louder than their words!
Here in Acts 2, where the great charismatic confusion over "tongues" begins, they have an opportunity to "put up or shut up." Verse 11 states that they heard the Apostles speaking, "in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
Wouldn't it seem logical to these modern translators that they can "clear up a lot of confusion" if they have the courage to place the word "languages" in the text instead of the word "tongues"? Yet whatdo they do?
The NASV says, "in our own tongues."
The NKJV says, "in our own tongues."
The NIV says, "in our own tongues."
That's pretty inconsistent for folks who criticize the King James Bible and then fail to "correct" it in a crucial passage.
Why didn't they change "tongues" to "languages" Could it be that there might have been some "tongue speakers" on the translation committee? Could it be that they knew that most Christian bookstores make the majority of their money through the sale of charismatic literature and that the charismatic wouldn't buy their translation if they couldn't use it to teach their mistaken doctrine? Was somebody afraid of the wrath of the charismatic or the financial failure of their translation?
13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come
21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name
of the Lord shall be saved.
"Others mocking . . ." As long as there have been true Christians living dedicated lives for Christ, there have been "others mocking " Christian men and women who will serve the Lord must consciously decide to act for Christ in spite of the "others" who will mock them. If a little ridicule stops you from living for Christ, then "thy strength is small" (Pro. 24:10).
"But Peter . . ." Here Peter lives up to his true personality. When others are silent, Peter speaks up!
Peter was always quick to say exactly what he thought (Matt. 16:16), even if what was on his mind was not always correct (Matt. 16:22-23). Time and again Peter speaks first and thinks later (Acts 4:8, 19; 5:3,9,19). Peter may have to answer for his actions in Matt.26:6975, but he certainly seemed to have made up for his error by being quick to speak up for Christ later. Many Christians who judge Peter harshly for his denial of Christ one time, will have to answer for their own multitude of denials through silence!
". . . full of new wine . . . these are not drunken . . ." The Bible says in Isaiah 65:8 that "new wine is found in the cluster." "New wine" is grape juice. These who were mocking were saying that the disciples were drunk on grape juice. It would be the equivalent today of saying someone got drunk driving a cola.
This may also serve to point out how a person who is "filled with the Spirit" has some things in common with one who is filled with wine."
la. A drunk doesn't care what people think of him.
lb. A Spirit-filled Christian doesn't care about others mocking.
2a. A wine-filled man has boldness that he doesn't ordinarily possess when he is not "under the influence."
2b. A Spirit-filled man has boldness that he doesn't ordinarily have when he is not "under the influence."
3a. A wine-filled man's home life is directly affected by his being filled with wine.
3b. A Spirit-filled man's home life is directly affected by his being Spirit-filled.
4a. A wine-filled man associates with other wine-filled men.
4b. A Spirit-filled man associates with other Spirit-filled men.
5a. When a man is consistently filled with wine his neighbors know it.
5b. When a man is consistently filled with the Holy Spirit his neighbors know it.
6. Both frequent the place of their individual fillings
Is it then no coincidence that Paul would write, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18).
"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Here, Peter alludes to the great truth that "Jesus" is "Christ the Lord." What is the name of the Lord? It is Jesus.
"in the last days" The reference from Joel 2 has a Tribulation application The first eleven verses describe the army of the Lord that will invade the valley of Megiddo. (In spite of C. I. Scofield's note) Verses 28-32, which Peter quotes, speak of the wrath that will be dispensed by God at the Battle of Armageddon.
The phrase, "the day of the Lord" appears twenty-five times in the Bible. Twenty of those are in the Old Testament and every one of them are obvious references to this battle. It is a battle that will take place "in the last days."
Of the five New Testament references, this one in Acts is the first. The second two, 1 Cor. 5:5 and 2 Cor. 1 :14, are reference to the "day of the Lord Jesus" and refer to the "Blessed Hope." The next is in 1 Thess. 5:2 and is also a references to the "Blessed Hope." The final New Testament reference is in 2 Peter 3:10 and is encompasses the "Blessed Hope" at the beginning of the verse and the new Heaven and new Earth at the end.
Peter is obviously still expecting the Lord to set up His kingdom. (Acts 1:6) He was looking for the furfillment of Joel chapter 2.
It is not unheard of that a Bible character figure might be expecting the Lord's return a few centuries too early. We all look for the furfillment of God's next scheduled event in our own life time. Hezekiah was grieved that he would die before he saw the arrival of the prophesied Messiah, (Isa. 38:11) Paul was looking for the Lord's return in Phil. 4:5. While even the passage that Peter quotes from Joel has Joel stating that the events which he is talking about are "at hand." (Joel 1:15; 2:1) If Joel could be off by almost 3000 years. I imagine Peter could miss it by a couple of millenniums.
The key words for us are "in the last days." If "the last days" didn't happen in Joel's lifetime, and Peter was off. Add to that the fact that these occurrences take place almost seven years after the Lord takes us out of this world, We must at least be a closer to them than either Joel or Peter.
"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." The verse in Joel that Peter quotes here says, "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered ...." It is a warning to Tribulation Jews that the only safe place will be in Jerusalem.
Yet we cannot ignore the fact that when Peter quoted Joel 2:32 he changed "delivered" to "saved." Nor can we ignore the fact that it matches Romans 10:13 almost to the word. There is definitely more than just an end time prophetic application here. As we find out as we continue our travels through this book.
22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge
of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."
Peter is preaching! In verses 16-21 he "gives his text." In verses 22-24 he expounds on his text. Notice in verse 14 "Ye men of Judaea," and in verse 22 "Ye men of Israel," that Peter's message is to Jews. He didn't know that Gentiles could be saved by grace until Acts chapter 10.
"Jesus of Nazareth, a man . . ." No one there would argue with this. All Jews believed that Jesus, the man, had lived.
". . . approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs . . ." Here Peter is closing in on them. He knows that "the Jews require a sign" and he reminds these Jews that Jesus (the man) had "miracles and wonders and signs" which should be enough to at least convince a Jew that God "approved" of Him.
". . . which God did by him in the midst of you . . ." These men had seenJesus' miracles. They could not refute what Peter was saying, "as ye yourselves know." Basically Peter had a morally captive audience.
". . . ye have taken . . . and crucified . . ." No preacher has ever preached a message as hard as this to an audience which was as potentially dangerous as this one. Yet Peter pressed on because he, and they, knew it was the truth.
Many standing there had probably been at Christ's crucifixion. Most had been there to watch. Many of them may have cursed and mocked and goaded Christ with cruel jeers. Some may have even gotten close enough to spit on Him, or to pluck a piece of His beard. They had watched as the spikes were driven through his hands and feet. Within them the conviction of the Holy Spirit was rising
About this time, they probably remembered the terrible darkness and earthquake that followed.
Peter continues his exhortation.
"Whom God hath raised up . . ." This was amazing! They had heard of Jesus' resurrection and that He had walked the earth for forty days and nights. After that time, He had physically ascended into Heaven. That ascension, in fact, had taken place a mere ten days previous to all that they had seen happen on this particular Pentecost.
Peter realized that he has stated that God had raised Jesus from the dead, but he had not given any Scripture to back up his claim. This leads to his second Scripture text.
25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he IS on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer shine Holy One to see corruption.
28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
". . . for he is on my right hand . . ." Here is an amazing thing! Peter is not only quoting the Old Testament. But he's quoting it from a King James Bible! I know that sounds ridiculous since the KingJames wouldn't be around for approximately 1600 years. But Peter's quote still torpedoes its critics.
Note that I've underlined the words "he is." When you look at Psalm 16:8 you will notice that the words "he is" are in italics. "I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved" (Psalm 16:8). We have all heard the critics of the King James Bible weep and wail about how "the italicized words in the King James Bible weren't in the original autographs." Well, if they weren't in the originals, Where did Peter get them from! He quoted Ps. 16:8 just like you'll find it in God's Authorized Version. (I guess, "If it's good enough for the Apostle Peter. It's good enough for me!" As they say.)
The Apostle Paul does the very same thing several times. In Romans 10:20 he quotes Isa. 65:1 with those "uninspired" italicized words intact. He does this again when quoting Ps. 94:11 in 1 Cor. 3:20. Yet again in 1 Cor 9:9 he pulls his "old KJV" down off the shelf to see what Deut. 25:4 says. ("If it's good enough for the Apostle Paul . . .")
Where would Paul get a King James Bible from? Maybe he had the one that Jesus had in Mat. 4:4 when He quoted Deut. 8:3 to the devil, italics and all! ( "If it's good enough .... )
Bible critics say that the italics aren't necessary and that their removal doesn't change the meaning of the verse where they're found. Try reading 2 Sam. 21:19 or Deut. 33:6 without the italics and see if the meaning is altered at all!
It should also be noted that there are many places where the NIV leaves the King James italics in the text, but doesn't put them in italics. Check it out for yourself. Don't expect a Bible commentary to do all of your work for you!
". . . thou wilt not leave my soul in hell . . ." We can be confident that Satan will always attack or try to cloud a Bible truth. Here, he and his score of "modern translations" follow the expected trend.
As stated earlier, our modern revisionists bemoan the transliteration of "baptize" in the Authorized 1611 King James Bible. Whenever they happen upon the word, they are full of disrespectful and rank criticism for its translators. Yet, ignoring that, they commit the same "error" while knowing better. They double their sin by transliterating "hades" instead of translating it!
Here is how the stable of confusion fares in acts 2:27. The Revised Standard Version, accepted by all to be corrupt, reads, "thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades." If the RSV is Aholah, then the NASV is her vile sister Aholibah, (Ezek. 23), for it reads "Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades." The Good News for Modern Man, which is equal to the two previous translations for quality and accuracy, reads, "you will not abandon my soul in the world of the dead." The New King James Version makes the above trio a quartet with "you will not leave my soul in Hades." The New International Version backslides to the point of reading "you will not abandon me to the grave," and the New Scofield Version, which claims to be a King James, when it is not, follows the "majority" of false witnesses with "thou wilt not leave my soul in (hades)."
Humorously enough, the "modern translation" which most NeoFundamentalists make their whipping boy in order to show their "dedication" to "defending the faith" translates the verse correctly. The Living Bible reads "You will not leave my soul in hell." I would not even infer to make a defense of the Living Bible, for it is as corrupt as the above mentioned "improvements on the King James" are. Yet it is embarrassingly more accurate in Acts 2:27 than every new translation on the "Bible business market."
The correct, reliable and most accurate translation of Acts 2:27 is "thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.
David's statement of Ps. 16:10 is plainly a prophetic reference to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus mentions this in Matthew.
"For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matt.12:40).
Jesus Christ bore our sins on Him. It's been said of the three crosses on Calvary that day that; the repentant thief had sin in him but not on him. Jesus had sin on Him but not in Him. The unrepentant thief had sin in and on him.
Think, for a moment, of your sins being like the old dead leaves you see blowing in the wind each Fall. Every time you sin you pick a leaf and put it in a sack that you carry with you. Imagine that you have died and are now standing at the gate of Heaven. You request admission. You are, "Sorry. We can't let you in because of your sins."
You ask, "But can"t you forgive them?" (The act of picking them up).
"Yes!" You are told. "We can forgive the act of picking them up, but you still have them on you and we can't let allow in Heaven."
Lost man not only needs his sins forgiven. He needs to have removed from his soul.
Jesus Christ physically bore our sins on His body. They were a commodity that had to be dispensed with. Therefore He went to Hell to dispose of them. We know that He wasn't in Hell long because He told the repentant thief that he would be with Jesus "today" in Paradise.
Apparently when Jesus died He first went to Hell where He deposited our and preach a message of condemnation to the soul there. (1 Pet. 3:19)
Then He passed over the great gulf (Luke 16:26) and met the repentant and comforted him and the others there of His coming resurrection.
Three days and three nights later He "led captivity captive" and the soul of the Old Testament saints, and Paradise, were transferred to Heaven. The next time we see Paradise it is in the third Heaven, not the heart of the earth. (2 Cor. 12:1-4).
". . . his soul was not left in hell . . ." Here again, the Fundamentalist and the Liberal agree. The word "hades" is transliterated or mistranslated just as it is in verse 27 of all of the above "improvements." They dabble with the text.
". . . his sepulchre is with us . . ." It is interesting to note that after over 1000 years the Jews still knew the location of David's tomb at the time of Christ. With the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and 1900 years of Arab occupation, its location has long been forgotten.
Peter has now finished the third portion of his sermon. The first portion
was his introductory Scripture, Acts 2:16-22. Next came his explanation
of those verses in Acts 2:22-24. He refers again to his written authority
in verses 25-31. Now he will proceed to "put it all together"
and bring the convicting power of the Holy Spirit right down on top of his
32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
"This Jesus . . ." Peter attacks the crux of the matter. He "takes the bull by the horns" so to speak. He is about to urge them to give in to the plain teaching of Scripture and accept Jesus (the man) as Christ the Lord. (their Messiah)
". . . hath God raised up . . ." If these Jews really wanted a sign. Here's their chance! Jesus had said, "But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas" (Matt. 12:39).
Then He predicts that He will be resurrected after three days and nights just as Jonah was.
"For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matt. 12:40).
They had all heard of Jesus' resurrection. Could it be . . .?
"Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost . . ."
As Peter speaks, it is plain to see that the act of having God raised Him from the dead is a great honor for God to bestow on a mere man, if "Jesus" is not the Christ. In fact, Peter claims that "Jesus" is sitting at the right hand of God (v. 34). If "Jesus" is not the Messiah, then it is going to be quite embarrassing when the "real" Messiah comes along and doesn't have a place to sit! Jesus had taken his place. The extraordinary coincidence is that when a "christ" finally appears whom the nation of Israel will accept (Antichrist), he will cure the problem by not trying to set at the right hand of God at all. Instead he will proceed to the Temple, which will then be standing in Jerusalem, and take his seat on the mercy seat in the Holy of holies (2 Thess.2:34)!
Thus we see that Peter awarded the man "Jesus" a position which, if He was not the Messiah, would be a precarious position to be in when the "true" Messiah showed up. We, of course, looking back at Acts 2:33, simply understand that Jesus is Christ and Lord. But these Jews had not yet reached that conclusion, so Peter must continue.
". . . he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear . . ." Now Peter is found to be giving credit to Jesus, the man, for what this group of Jews has seen. He is giving Jesus credit for the descending of the Holy Ghost, and the disciples' act of speaking in tongues. Why does Peter attribute this work to Christ? It is because he remembers the words which Jesus Christ spoke in John 14:16,26 and 15:26. When reading these Scriptures please note that John 14:26 mentions the fact that the Comforter will be sent "in my name." So we see that Peter wisely attributes these things which happened in acts 2 as being done by Jesus, not Christ.
"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." What a message! Peter unravels Scripture and the truth comes crashing down on his listeners like a mountain falling on them. ". . . that same Jesus . . ." Yes, the Jesus which Peter had been preaching about The Jesus whom they all knew about. The Jesus whom they had crucified!
"God hath made that same Jesus . . . both lord and Christ." There it is! It has taken Peter twenty verses, 468 words, to bring him to this point. Now, by every orthodox Jewish standpoint, the rocks should have started flying! Peter had made one of the most dynamic statements of all time, and he made it in front of the crowd that desperately needed to accept it. "Jesus is both Lord and Christ."
The magnificent truth that "Jesus, the man," is also the "Lord and Christ" is a truth which we shall see repeated over and over again in the book of the Acts of the Apostles. It is the truth which every Jew and Gentile must confess someday. It will either be done now while we are under grace, or it will be done before all of the universe, yet too late to help the unbelievers (Philippians 2:9-11).
With verse 36, Peter finishes his message. He can tell them no more. It is up to his hearers to decide to accept what he has said, or to reject it. Peter does not have to wait long.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
"Now when they heard this . . ." When they heard what? When they heard that the Messiah that they had been waiting for had finally showed up . . . and they had KILLED Him! This thirty year old "kid" that they had killed had not only been their Messiah, but He had risen from the dead!
". . . they were pricked in their hearts . . ." Good start! Peter's words had not been in vain! The truth that "Jesus" was both "Lord and Christ" explodes within their hearts. Yet there was no rejoicing. Why? Because they realized that they had murdered their own MESSIAH. But if Jesus was both Lord and Christ, and they had murdered Him, and had accepted these facts? Then they must find out what they should do to rectify their former actions.
". . . Men and brethren, what shall we do?" No, NOT "what must we do to be saved?" If they had not accepted Jesus as Lord and Christ, including His death, burial and resurrection as preached by Peter, they would not have asked this question. If they had not already accepted Jesus (the man) as Christ and Lord, they would have responded to Peter in the same manner that their brethren responded to Stephen in Acts 7:54 60. They would have killed him!
". . . Men and brethren, what shall we do?" This question reflected a change of heart. In fact, it reflected a changed heart. These Jewish listeners, who only minutes earlier had been mocking the disciples (Acts 2:13), accepted Jesus as their Messiah between verse 36 and verse 37. They now wanted to "set things straight" for their great wrong of crucifying their own God sent Messiah.
". . . Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Seeing that they had accepted his message (and Christ) Peter was left with only one recourse. If they accept it would ruin them in the Jewish community. To reject it would disclose a true attitude of unbelief.
". . . Repent, and be baptized . . . in the name of Jesus Christ" If these Jews were to be baptized in the name of Jesus, the man, they would be outcasts. But if they were to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, they would be totally ruined in their Jewish community. Their baptism, after salvation, would serve to sever them from the "old life" leaving them with nothing but the "new life" (2 Cor. 5:17) found in Jesus Christ. Thus, their baptism was their "public profession" that they had accepted the dead, buried, and risen "Jesus" as Christ and Lord. They would be ostracized from their Jewish society Thus, they are immediately forced to "take a stand" for Jesus Christ.
u Save yourselves from this untoward generation." The Greek word "skolios" appears four times in the New Testament. Twice it is translated "crooked" (Luke 3:5; Phil.2:15) and once "froward" (I Peter 2:18).
Why then is it translated here as "untoward?" A Greek Lexicon does not hold the answer to our question for it only gives us other options on translating "skolios." A concordance serves to tell us the locations where "skolios" is used, but little else. The answer to why God led the King James translators to translate "skolios" as "untoward" in Acts 2:40 is found in a most unexpected place. A simple English dictionary (Webster's Seventh New Collegiate, in this case) defines "untoward" in this manner: "difficult to guide, manage or work with: unruly." It also states, "marked for trouble or unhappiness." What better word could God use to completely describe the nation of Israel? This was the generation which would be "cut off" of the olive tree (Israel) so that branches of the "wild olive tree" (Gentiles) could be grafted into their place (Rom. 11:16- 25) This is the generation that would nearly wiped out in just thirty- four more years when Antiochus Epiphanes destroys Jerusalem.
Would you say that Israel was "marked for trouble"? The Catholic Church would murder Jews along with Christians during the Inquisition. Then along would come Adolf Hitler. They would see 70,000 die in Bergen-Belsen, 100,000 in Mathausu, 250,000 in Majdanek, 340,000 in Chelmno, 800,000 in Treblinka and 3,000,000 in Auschwitz!
Thus we see that there was no better choice of a word than that which the King James translators had chosen. Go ahead and check the "Unholy trinity," The NASV, the NIV and the NKJV.
It is to the advantage of any true Bible believer to give God the benefit of any doubt and accept the King James text as their final authority!
". . . they that gladly received . . ." This implies that some chose not to receive Jesus (the man) as "Lord and Christ." Thus they were not baptized and did not associate themselves with the early Christians. But they that gladly received Peter's words trusted Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour. They were transformed by the Holy Spirit of God. They left Judaism and joined themselves to this new group, the "church of God" (1 Cor. 10:32).
". . . three thousand souls . . ." This was quite a great number of "new converts." The conversion and resultant change in this great a number of people undoubtedly caused quite a stir in Jerusalem.
42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking
bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and
singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
"And they continued steadfastly . . ." These were men who eagerly took to their new way of living. They quickly separated themselves from their previous surroundings and clung to the teaching of the Apostles.
Any pastor of today would rejoice to have a congregation which "continued steadfastly" in the teachings of the Word of God.
u in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer . . ." These are the things which these new Christians continued steadfastly in.
The very first to be mentioned is "doctrine." That God would see it as being important enough to mention it first should enlighten us to a few truths.
First is that God is interested in doctrine. He is interested in His people knowing the teachings of His Book. That "God is love" we know. But this God of love desires for us to learn doctrine.
We are told to "give attendance" to it in 1 Tim. 4:13. Many Christians boast that they attend a church that "doesn't stress doctrine." They are attending the wrong church! Some whimper, "But doctrine divides." It is supposed to divide!
In 1 Tim. 4:16 we are told to "heed" it. That is why some cowardly Christians hide off in an interdenominational "love" church. They probably know of a church that teaches doctrine but they won't go because they know that they will be expected by the Holy Spirit to act on what they hear.
Doctrine is bound inseparably to Scripture as is indicated by 1 Tim. 5:17, 2 Tim. 3:16 and 4:2. That is why churches that "don't stress doctrine" also don't stress the Bible!
They cover their infidelity to the word of God by overstressing something else. Usually what they stress is a truth, such as "love" or soul winning. But they put too much emphasis on it to keep their people from noticing the lack of doctrine.
In America when a congregation agrees with what they hear they call out, "Amen!" In Australia they cry, "Sound Doctrine!"
The Charismatics de-emphasize the importance of doctrine and instead expounds the attributes of "Christian brotherhood" and "the gifts of the Holy Spirit." By teaching that doctrine is unimportant, they deceive their adherents into forsaking their only means of discovering the truth, the Bible. A Charismatic would gladly ignore the doctrinal teaching on the gift of tongues as discussed earlier under Acts 2:1-12. They would rather not attempt to "think" about what the Bible teaches concerning the gift of tongues. They would rather trust in the smiling face of their charismatic preacher. When facing Scripture which plainly teaches contrary to their own beliefs, they resort to the final hiding place of "But I experienced it!" Thus the Bible as the final authority is forsaken. In it's place is exalted the word of a man! This is not only unscriptural, it is anti-scriptural.
Another group which is slowly losing it's once strong position on doctrinal teaching is the group called the "independent Baptists."
There was a time when godly, faithful Christians calling themselves "independent Baptists" were strong on doctrine. They were extreme separatists, being separated from groups whose stand was not doctrinally sound. In some cases this even meant other Baptist organizations such as the liberal American and Southern Baptists. They were men who held God's doctrinal truths uncompromisingly.
Today this is changing. Independent Baptists are still around, but many exist in name only. (Of course, there are exceptions.) Today's "independent" Baptist has dropped a few convictions from his list of Bible doctrines and been "ecumenicized" into a movement called "fundamentalism." When first approached, Fundamentalism looks fine and even commendable. This is true until one question is asked. "What does a 'fundamentalist' believe?" The "Independent," "Fundamental" Baptist will be quick to answer, as he begins to correctly read off from the Bible important doctrines such as the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, Christ's death, burial and resurrection.
He will go on to include truths such as salvation by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ. He will not forget to mention baptism by immersion following salvation, eternal security, and the premillenial return of Jesus Christ. He will then sit down, being confident that he has just successfully defended the "fundamental" position. He has not! He has successfully portrayed what the Bible teaches He has correctly expounded what the Scriptural Baptist position is. But, he has NOT defined what a twentieth century "Fundamentalist" believes. For you see, all "Fundamentalists" are not "independent, soul winning, Bible believing "Baptists!" There are today groups known and accepted bv these Baptist fundamentalists which do not even claim to believe the aforementioned doctrines. There are "fundamental" Presbyterians who believe in baptizing babies There are "fundamental" Methodists who believe a Christian can lose his salvation. There are "fundamental" Pentecostals who believe in speaking in tongues. There is even a "fundamental" University in the South whose President will not state his school's convictions concerning baptism, eternal security or the premillenial return of Christ. This "Big Jolly University heralds itself as a defender of "Fundamentalism" while behind its walls the faculty as well as the student body come from such diverse groupings as Assembly of God, Baptist, Brethren, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Christian, Church of God, Congregational, Evangelical Free, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Mission Covenant, Pentecostal, Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterian, Reformed, and Evangelical Reformed. This same University advertises itself as "Interdenominational," "Nondenominational" and "Fundamental" all on one page of its college catalog! How is this just)fied? That is simple. This school accepts only "fundamental" Methodists, "fundamental" Pentecostals, "fundamental" Mennonites, "fundamental" Interdenominationalists, and "fundamental" Nondenominationalists. This all leads back to the question, "What does a Fundamentalist believe?" Any God honoring independent Baptist who jumps onto the "fundamentalist" bandwagon is going to learn too late what "Fundamentalism" really is: Neo-Ecumenicism! (An "interdenominational" school gets to tap its financial resources from many wells!)
There are even a few independent Baptists who are removing the name "Baptist" from their church name. They claim that this action will open their doors to more visitors. I've seen several things happen as a result of this.
1. Most of their "new visitors" are Charismatics who will leave as soon as they see that the church does support speaking in tongues.
2. To keep their "new visitors" they end up watering down their position on the King James Bible and holy living.
3. Though the church may remain "Baptistic," when a member leaves the church, they often end up in an interdenominational church that is farther from the truth.
Don't get me wrong. I am not a "Baptist Brider" nor an "ultraseparationist." But I do understand the need for biblical doctrine.
". . . fellowship . . ." After seventeen paragraphs about "doctrine" you might think that there is no room left for fellowship. Wrong!
One of the sweetest experiences in Christianity is that of fellowship. As Christians we should get together with each other. We should enjoy the testimonies and spiritual encouragement we experience when we are with other Christians. Why don't you invite another Christian out for a bite to eat and enjoy the fellowship?
". . . breaking of bread . . ." It has been said that this refers to the Lord's supper. It may. Or it may refer to Christians getting together for fellowship outside the church.
". . . and in prayers . . ." Prayer is an integral part of the Christian's life. There should be public prayer such as thanking God at a restaurant for your food and private prayer such as asking God direction for each new day. There should be group prayer such as a midweek church prayer meeting and single "closet" prayers. There should be prayers of thanksgiving for deliverance from some trial of life and there should be heartbroken entreaties for the salvation or circumstances of a loved one. "Ye have not because ye ask not." We should spend more time praying for the needs of others than our own personal burdens.
Why don't you take time right now to go to God on behalf of some Christian brother or sister?
"And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need." Verses 44 and 45 are sometimes feared to be teaching Communism. They are not. They are teaching "born-again" Judaism! There is little that is closer to a Jew than his material possessions. The fact that these saved Jews were willing to sell all that they had and have all things common was definite evidence to the world that something had changed.
Verses 46 and 47 exhibit the joy and Christian fellowship which was so alive in this early church.
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