The Church That Exploded
By Joe Keim
November 1, 2007
We learned from our previous study that Jesus called a meeting with his 12 apostles and in that meeting He introduced a brand new concept, called the church. All throughout the Old Testament, the church had not been mentioned once. But as we know from before, the New Testament mentions the church 128 times.
Upon hearing Peter's words in Matthew 16:16-17, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God", Jesus made a very important announcement in vs. 18-"I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it".
Please note that at this point, Jesus had ONLY introduced the church-that's it! The church would not go into action until some time later-the book of Acts. And without further a-do, let's just go there now and listen in on Jesus' words as he addresses over 500 believers in one final meeting before lift off and going back to heaven.
Acts 1:4 says, And, [Jesus] being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father...
In a sense Jesus was saying. Dear believers, this is what I want you to do-I want you to go back to Jerusalem, and now please listen closely, don't you leave Jerusalem until the promise appears.
So what was the promise? Verse 5b tells us...
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.
Christ knew that man needed a super natural power-the power of God Himself. He knew that the very presence of God's Spirit had to enter into the very heart of man and...
- Pass on the divine (heavenly) nature of God (2 Peter 1:4)
- Completely re-create man's being (2 Cor. 5:17)
- Live within his body (1 Cor 3:16), giving the believer the power to control his life for God and to boldly proclaim the gospel to a world that would consider it foolishness and often react in violence
Ok, let's keep moving on. It is getting more and more exciting now because the church is getting closer to the point of being born.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
And then the Bible says,
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. (Acts 1:9)
Next we are told that 120 people returned back to Jerusalem where the eleven apostles (Judas was dead), men, women and some of Jesus' earthly family gathered together to pray in the upper room. And just like Jesus had asked them to do, they waited for the promise of God to come.
AND ... THE CHURCH IS BORN!
Before we go any further in the book of Acts, let me draw your attention way back to the beginning of time-the book of Genesis. Genesis 2:7 tells us how God created the first man, Adam. If you are asking, what in the world does this have to do with the church-hang tight, we will come back to that.
Genesis 2:7a And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground...
At this point in Gen 2:7 we have a completely formed body that is totally lifeless, lying in front of us. In the second half of verse 7 we are told that God breathes into the lifeless form and when He does, it comes to life. Look what it says.
2:7b ...and [God] breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
In some sense you could compare the creation of man to the creation of the church. You see, by now-the church was in it's complete form. It had a real head-JESUS CHRIST and it had a real body-BELIEVERS but it was lifeless. God had not yet breathed LIFE into the church. But wait, that is all about to change. He is going to breath LIFE into the church and it is going to become a LIVING organism. Look what happens as the believers are waiting, watching and praying in the upper room.
Acts 2:1-4 says, 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, and began to speak with other tongues [languages], as the Spirit gave them utterance.
THE CHURCH HAD BECOME ALIVE!
Note the word "suddenly." The Holy Spirit came suddenly, abruptly, unexpectedly, the kind of abrupt happening that jolts and startles a person.
1. There was a mighty sound that filled the room.
a. The sound was from heaven, that is, from God.
b. The sound was not a rushing wind but like a mighty rushing wind.
c. The sound filled all the house, that is, it was localized upon the house where they were sitting.
A friend of mine once shared his experience of a tornado. It did not destroy their home but came within two blocks of it. He said, "The first thing we noticed was a sound like a thousand freight trains coming into town." Friend, that was a rushing, mighty wind, and that was the sound. It was that kind of sound that they heard on the Day of Pentecost.
2. There was the appearance of cloven tongues
a. The tongues were not fire, but like fire; that is, they only looked like fire.
b. The tongue of fire that first appeared, pictured the presence of the Holy Spirit which was to dwell in the midst of God's people as a whole. (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19-20.)
3. The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit
a. When a man understands the gospel and believes, really believes, the Holy Spirit enters his life. He comes upon, falls upon, pours, fills, baptizes (immerses) Himself into the life of the believer. This is a personal experience.
b. When a man grasps the gospel and believes, really believes, the Holy Spirit takes him and baptizes or immerses, and places him into the body of Christ, which is God's Church. It is an act of God that takes place in heaven. The believer is counted as a child of God. He is counted as a member of the body, of the church. This is a position, not an experience, which the believer feels. The believer is adopted as a child of God and might I add, it is an eternal position.
Galatians 4:5-6 says, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
It get's even better, my friend. The Bible tells us that the believer becomes a member of God's Church when the Holy Ghost enters in-and are you ready for this? Are you sure? Ok, here goes... God is not concerned about your color, race, background, sex or denomination. He does not care if you were born Amish or English; He is not concerned whether you drive a horse and buggy or fly an airplane. Look what Paul writes...
1 Corinthians 12:13 says, For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Ok, back to Acts chapter 2 where the church has now been born and is in full operation. The Bible says...
Acts 2:5, And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
In Acts 2:6-13, we are told that at least 16 different language speaking nations were present in Jerusalem when all this stuff from heaven started happening. And every man heard and understood in his own language.
Acts 2:6-8 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?
THE CHURCH EXPLODES IN ALL DIRECTIONS
In Acts 2:14-36, the same Peter who had several months earlier, lied about Jesus three times before the rooster crowed, got up and filled with the Holy Spirit, preached his very first sermon. It was in that very same sermon that Peter preached the following words...
Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Saved from what? Sin and the lake of fire.
Vs. 41: Then they that gladly received his word (or became believers) were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Vss. 46-47: 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, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
True to his word, Jesus is continuing to build His church even to this very day. And might I add, His church is not limited to only one group of people. It is made up of all people, from all over this world who have called on His name and were saved.
HOW MUCH IS THE CHURCH WORTH TO CHRIST?
Ephesians 5 tells us that His love for the church was/is so great that He gave Himself for it. Another words, He gave "A-L-L" He had to give. Look what Paul had to say.
Ephesians 5:25-29: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.
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