The Ecclesial Dimension of Revival (Acts 2:42-47)


Acts 2 narrates the paradigmatic revival of the Christian church on the Day of Pentecost. There are three dimensions to that revival: (1) experiential, (2) evangelical, and (3) ecclesial. We have already studied the experiential and ecclesial dimensions of revival in some depth, so let us turn to Acts 2:42-47 and begin to explore the ecclesial dimension, that is, how people express their commitment to God through involvement in a local church.   They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders … Continue reading The Ecclesial Dimension of Revival (Acts 2:42-47)

Momentous Decisions (Acts 2:37-41)


Life is filled with momentous decisions, none more momentous than what we decide about Jesus Christ.   In Acts 2:14-36, the Apostle Peter outlines the history of Jesus’ ministry and explains its theological significance. Through his life, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, Jesus fulfills the promise of God to save people who call on his name and to fill them with the Holy Spirit.   According to Acts 2:37-41, the people who hear Peter’s sermon understand the momentousness of Jesus’ actions, but they are uncertain how to respond.   When the people heard this, they were cut to the … Continue reading Momentous Decisions (Acts 2:37-41)

Jesus as the Fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy (Acts 2:25-36)


I have worn glasses since I was two-and-a-half years old. They correct my nearsightedness and help me see things at a distance.   Biblical prophecy is like glasses. In Acts 2:25-36, Peter quotes or alludes to three psalms that speak about the Messiah. These prophetic lenses help us see Jesus clearly. Here’s what Peter said:   David said about [Jesus]:   I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not … Continue reading Jesus as the Fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy (Acts 2:25-36)

The Purpose of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:22-24)


What was the purpose of Jesus Christ?   In Acts 2:22-24, the Apostle Peter offers a succinct answer to this question in his sermon to the Jewish crowd at Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost:   Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. … Continue reading The Purpose of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:22-24)

This Is That (Acts 2:16-21)


We explain what we do not know in terms of what we do.   Consider the word horsepower. James Watt coined that term to market steam engines to people who relied on horses as beasts of burden. They understood how powerful horses were, so Watt explained how powerful steam engines were in terms of how much horsepower they were equivalent to.   In Acts 2:16-21, the Apostle Peter used what his audience knew (Old Testament prophecy) to explain what they did not know (the disciples’ spiritual experience). Here is what Peter said:   No, this is what was spoken by … Continue reading This Is That (Acts 2:16-21)

Answered Questions, Committed Lives (Acts 2:14-15)


When my wife and I started dating, we had to sort out our religious differences. She was raised fundamentalist Baptist; I, evangelical Pentecostal. She believed in once-saved, always-saved; I did not. I believed speaking in tongues was normal; she did not. We worked things out by the time we married. Now we are both Bapticostals.   I mention my personal experience because I think it illuminates a problem facing Christians in modern America. If two Christians with similar beliefs and morals have to explain themselves to one another, imagine how much they need to explain themselves to non-Christians, who do … Continue reading Answered Questions, Committed Lives (Acts 2:14-15)

The Evangelical Dimension of Revival (Acts 2:14-41)


Every Sunday, I preach to my congregation. Sometimes, my sermons are ill-prepared and poorly delivered. Other times—hopefully, more often than not—they are well-prepared, well-delivered, and spiritually effective.   The Apostle Peter preached the first recorded sermon of the Christian church on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41). In it, he proclaimed the gospel or “good news” of Jesus Christ. The English word gospel comes from the Greek word euaggelion, which the Romans transliterated as evangel. Preaching is an evangelical activity. It brings good news to its hearers.   When I read Peter’s sermon, I see four characteristics of a good … Continue reading The Evangelical Dimension of Revival (Acts 2:14-41)

Alternative Explanations of Spiritual Experience (Acts 2:5-13)


What are spiritual experiences?   We Christians believe that authentic spiritual experiences are experiences of God and/or other elements of the supernatural realm (such as angels or demons). We also believe that counterfeit spiritual experiences are possible, however, when people mistakenly attribute to a supernatural cause an event with a natural explanation. Knowing whether a spiritual experience is counterfeit or authentic, and if authentic whether divine or demonic, calls for discernment (1 John 4:1).   Acts 2:1-4 narrates the spiritual experience of the early Christians (speaking in tongues) and attributes it to a supernatural source (the Holy Spirit). But Acts … Continue reading Alternative Explanations of Spiritual Experience (Acts 2:5-13)

The Experiential Dimension of Revival (Acts 2:1-4)


Acts 2 narrates the paradigmatic revival of the Christian church. It has three dimensions: experiential (verses 1-13), evangelical (verses 14-41), and ecclesial (verses 42-47). Over the next few days, I will examine each dimension, pointing out its relevance for today’s church.   First, however, let me explain my use of the term revival to describe the events of Acts 2. The dictionary offers two meanings of revival in a religious context: (1) “an awakening, in a church or community, of interest in and care for matters relating to personal religion”; and (2) “an evangelistic service or a series of services … Continue reading The Experiential Dimension of Revival (Acts 2:1-4)

Organization as a Precondition of Revival (Acts 1:20-26)


In Acts 1:5, 8, Jesus promised his disciples that soon after his ascension they would “be baptized with the Holy Spirit” and “receive power.” Acts 2:1-41 narrates the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise on the Day of Pentecost. Between Jesus’ promise and its Pentecostal fulfillment, Luke narrates two important events: the disciples “all joined together constantly in prayer” (1:12-14), and they chose an apostolic replacement for Judas Iscariot (1:15-26).   If the Day of Pentecost is a paradigm of spiritual revival for the church, then prayer and organization are preconditions for it. I have already written about prayer in my comments … Continue reading Organization as a Precondition of Revival (Acts 1:20-26)