The Church of the Bible
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.
"When the Day of Pentecost had 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 the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language" (Acts 2:1-6).
The Bible continues to tell of the many nations that were represented,
"So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, 'Whatever could this mean?' Others mocking said, 'They are full of new wine.' But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, 'Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams'" (Acts 2:12-17).
"And it shall come to pass, that whoever calls 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 God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool."' Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.' And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, 'Be saved from this perverse generation.' Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them" (Acts 2:32-41).
"Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being 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 what was spoken by 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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