The second chapter of Acts is when we see the Holy Spirit coming upon the church and the church begins to fulfill it's mission. There are a few things that I notice in this chapter about the early church.  First thing, just as in the first chapter, the disciples wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them (this is discussed in my last post).

The second thing that I observed is that the tongues of fire rested on all of the disciples (Acts 2:3). All of the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and started to speak in tongues (Acts 2:4). This is all the Christians, not some, but all of them. There is a few very important words here in verse four. The NIV reads: "as the Spirit enabled them." This is saying that it was not by the power of the people, but by the power of the Holy Spirit were they able to speak in tongues. These tongues were not a spiritual language, but the tongues of other languages as we see evidance of in verses 8-11. The people knew that these were Jews and specifically Galileans. These Christians did not speak or understand the languages there were speaking. Now the Holy Spirit had a purpose for this occurance. It wasn't to make a big spectical, it was to provide an opportunity to share the gospel with the crowd.

My third observation on this passage is the opportunity to present the gospel. Peter takes the opportunity to stand up before the crowd and presents the gospel. Peter speaks plainly and boldly about the gospel. The result of this is the people see their need for salvation and ask Peter what they should do. Peter tells them that they must repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38). That is exactly what happens. This crowd repents and are baptized the same day. Verse 41 tells us that 3,000 were added to the church that day. What an incredable story; a great day of ministry. There is one point I need to make here. We see that Peter says to repent and be baptized. Peter didn't say they needed to repent, take a baptism course, prove their fruitfulness and then get baptized. No, He said repent and be baptized. Sometimes we as humans complicate things. There are some in the church that say that we need to see the fruit of a Christian and do a baptism course before we baptize the new believer. This is completely wrong and robes new Christians of acting in obedience by lying to them. When a person becomes saved and wants to obey through baptism how can we keep them from what they are commanded to do in scripture. Scripture doesn't say that we have to understand baptism before being baptized. No, they are to act in obedience and be baptized as soon as possible. And that may mean before next sunday. The fact that the new believer wants to be baptized is a sign of spiritual fruit, because they want to obey God. How dare we facilitate disobedience when we talk about fearing and obeying God.

My fourth observation is in the section of verses 42-47. We see here that the Christians devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread together and the selling of possessions to help each who was in need. From this we learn that the church focused on knowing God and caring for each other. What a beautiful sight, to see the church growing in their faith and connecting together.

The things we learn from this passage about the early church is that it obeyed Jesus and submitted to the Holy Spirit's leading, preached the gospel, devoted to Godly teaching, fellowship and care for the brethern. From chapter 1 and 2 we are already seeing a pattern of right Biblical teaching, fellowship and waiting on God. We as the church must follow this biblical pattern.

I had started reading Allan Hirsch's book "The Forgotten Ways."  I don't fully agree with all that he is saying, but it sparked me to study the early church in scripture, particularly looking at the book of Acts. I have read over the first chapter several times and here is what I see the first chapter saying about the early church.

The main point is that the church was to wait for the Holy Spirit. Jesus commanded the believers to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come (Acts 1:4). So they did just that, they waited for the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:1 we see that it was on the day of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit came to the believers. Pentecost is fifty days after Passover. We know that Jesus spent forty days with His disciples before ascending into Heaven. We also know that Jesus rose from the dead three days after dying. This means that from the time Jesus ascended into heaven to the time that the Holy Spirit came upon the Christians is seven days. This is not a short time to wait. Nonetheless, they waited the seven days.

What did they do for the seven days while waiting for the Holy Spirit to come upon them? There are three things they did. The first was that they prayed together (Acts 1:14). We don't know what they prayed about, but it was time that they spent together with God through prayer. Prayer is a vital part of listening to God and communing with God. So the church must also spend time in prayer together while waiting for God to give the church direction.

 The second thing we see the disciples do, while waiting for the Holy Spirit is they consulted the scriptures. Peter stands up before the people and begins to give the believers a lesson in prophecy about Judas (Acts 1:16) He talks about how the scriptures said that another person was to take Judas' office. This leads us to the third thing they did while waiting for the Holy Spirit .

The third thing they did was obeyed the scriptures and acted upon the scriptures. They appoint two men who had been with them throughout Christ's ministry. Then they asked God who His choice was and then cast lots. The lot fell on Matthias and so he became Judas' replacement. It is interesting that they cast lots to see who God was choosing to be the replacement of Judas. The word lot in verse 26 comes from the Greek wordkleros which means an object used in casting or drawing lots, which was either a pebble, or a potsherd, or a bit of wood. It's kind of like two or more people coming together and drawing straws. The person with the shortest straw is the person who is selected. This is where we get the saying, "he got the short end of the stick." This seems odd that the disciples would leave the choosing Judas' replacement by a game of chance. But let us not forget that the disciples did pray and ask God who what to be chosen. Then they left it up to God.

This is the fourth thing we learn, while waiting for the Holy Spirit they left the answer up to God. That is what it all comes down to, leaving the answer to God and letting Him be God.

So we learn that as a church we are to wait on God for His direction. As we wait we are to spend time, substantial time in prayer as a community of believers. We are to search what the scriptures tell us and act in obedience to what it says and then step out of the way so God can do His work.