The people of God are devoted – a sermon on Acts 2:42-47 by Rev. Colin Pretorius.
It was just after Pentecost. The disciples had been filled with the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit rested on them and filled them. And then, filled with the Holy Spirit and with words anointed by Him, Peter started preaching. It was his first sermon and it was unlike any other first sermon! 3000 souls were convicted, 3000 people came to Christ! From the small group of a 120 followers, God’s church blossomed. Can you imagine the scene as 3000 people were baptised! And we need to realise that for them baptism signified a break with their old culture. It showed them that their old lives were a thing of the past. It was a break with their old culture. It was a break with the past. It was the washing away of their uncleanliness before God and it was the beginning of a new life. To be baptised was a huge deal, because in Jewish life baptism was reserved for those who came from the Gentiles. But these people gave themselves to Christ and were baptised. They gave themselves to Christ for as Peter said:
the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.
And so about 3000 people were added to God’s church on that day. Many of them would have been in Jerusalem because it was Pentecost. They would have come from all over the country and even further afield. And not all the converts would have remained in Jerusalem but would have returned to their homes, there to spread the good news of the Gospel. But the church in Jerusalem itself saw significant growth, and it is to this group that our passage today refers. And our text tells us how these believers, this first church, did things – how they learnt, how they fellowshipped, and how they lived out their faith practically.
Next Sunday, at the budget meeting after the service, we’ll be taking stock of where we are at as a church in terms of our finances. Our ministry reports have already been sent out, and later this week you’ll also get a copy of the session report. In a sense these reports give us a bit of a picture of how we did as a church over the past year. And as we read those reports and look at the financial stuff, we also have to think about what we need to do in the next year. What are we supposed to be like as a church? How should we be acting towards each other? What is our church life supposed to look like? And when we ask questions like these it would serve us well to ask or look at what the new Testament Church was like. How does the Bible describe the early church?
Our passage in Acts tells us that the early church was noted for its devotion. God’s people were devoted to learning more about God’s Word. They were devoted to prayer, and they were devoted to fellowship.
• Devoted to God’s Word.
• Devoted to prayer.
• Devoted to fellowship.
These early Christians certainly knew what was important as a church!