Someone has said that the average Christian and the average church are bogged down somewhere between Calvary and Pentecost. They have been to Calvary for pardon, but they have not been to Pentecost for power. We need to recapture the power that was working in that upper room on the day of Pentecost so that we can be the church Jesus desires us to be, and do the work Jesus desires us to do.
As those 120 disciples in the upper room were sitting and waiting, the Holy Spirit – like a rushing, mighty wind – filled them! They got up from their seats, left the building, and began to testify and praise the Lord in the streets. These newly Spirit-filled disciples were given the supernatural gift to speak in the languages of those who were assembled in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. We learn from verse 5 that God had timed this power surge for His people on the exact week that their community was filled with people from every nation under heaven. The Lord had planned to “jump start” the Great Commission!
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, presented the Man: Jesus, the Son of God who was prophesied in Scripture, proven by miracles, put to death, and presented alive. And then he presented the Plan: Jesus came according to the plan of God to die as our Savior and our Substitute. Peter “testified and exhorted” (v.40): he told what he knew as an eye-witness of Jesus (one whose life had been changed by Jesus), pleading with the people to “Be saved from this perverse generation.” The grammar here indicates that Peter said that over and over again; he was going through the crowd testifying and exhorting, witnessing and pleading that people would be saved. (What would it be like if every Christian in America witnessed with that level of urgency tomorrow?)
Many of the people who heard Peter were “cut to the heart” (v.37) by the conviction of the Holy Spirit and “received his word” (v.41) — they were saved! Three thousand of them! And it was no private thing; it was a public profession of faith. They were all baptized, an act that publicly identified them with Jesus and with His disciples. I cannot pinpoint the exact time the church was born, but by the end of the day of Pentecost it was alive and growing, and it has never stopped!
Verses 42-47 record the first of seven “summary passages” in the book of Acts, times when Luke stops and gives an overview, a progress report on the church:
They were learning together, as the apostles taught the new believers what Jesus had taught them. They were praying together — their fellowship with each other intersected and overlapped their fellowship with God in a beautiful atmosphere of corporate prayer. The were “breaking bread” together, enjoying the special blessing of sanctified table fellowship. They were sharing together — they were attentive to one another’s needs and they found a way to meet those needs. They were worshiping together — not a weekly routine, but a daily reality.
That is church as it should be, and every true believer desires to be a part of something like that. It is in our spiritual DNA. We can not and should not be satisfied with anything less.