The Establishment of the Church
The Church of the Bible, Lesson 3 of 13
In our last lesson we noticed from Isaiah 2:2-3, Joel 2:28-29, and Daniel 2:44 that the Lord's kingdom (or church) would be established in the last days. It would begin in Jerusalem, at the coming of the Spirit. All nations would flow into it. It would last forever. Then Christ promised that He would build His church (Matthew 16:18). It would come with power (Mark 9:1) and that repentance and remission of sins would be preached in His name among all nations (Luke 24:46-49). Now, by turning to Acts 2, we will see that in this chapter alone all of these prophecies were fulfilled. All of these promises were kept.
As we read Acts 2, we find that the Apostles were in the city of Jerusalem. "And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound was heard, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speaking in his own language." (Acts 2:1-6). The Bible continues to tell of the many nations that were represented, "And they were all amazed, and were perplexed, saying one to another, What meaneth this? But others mocking said, They are filled with new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spake forth unto them, saying, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and give ear unto my words. For these are not drunken, as ye suppose; seeing it is but the third hour of the day; but this is that which hath been spoken through the prophet Joel: And it shall be in the last days, saith God, I will pour forth 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" (Acts 2:12-17). "And it shall be, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21).
All that was happening was in fulfillment of the prophecies of old. Peter begins his sermon. He shows how Jesus was a man approved of God by miracles and wonders and signs. God did these by Him among them. Next he tells how Christ had been taken and delivered up to the council. By wicked hands, He had been crucified and killed. Then he points out that God had raised Him up. He had removed the pains of death. To prove this, he quoted David to show that Christ lived, died and had been buried and resurrected. He then ascended into heaven to sit upon the throne at the right hand of God. Continuing, he said, "This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses. Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear. For David ascended not into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet. Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. And with many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation. They then that received his word were baptized: and there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:32-41). "Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved" (Acts 2:47).
In the verses just mentioned, the Lord's church was established. You will notice that all of it took place in Jerusalem. The power of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Apostles. What took place was in fulfillment of the prophecies of old. Peter plainly said, "but this is that which hath been spoken through the prophet Joel" (Acts 2:16). There can be no doubt about this. The prophets had said these things would happen in the last days. Peter said it was occurring as the prophet had said it would. The church was established in the last days. All nations were present on that day. Repentance and remission of sins were preached, and about 3000 were obedient. They were saved. They were added to the church. Christ established His church in Jerusalem in A.D. 33. It has been in existence ever since.
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