37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
When the gospel is preached and the Holy Spirit changes hearts, the church springs into being: people are born again and they become, together, the people of God. But what is church? In Acts 2, we see the church is a group of people devoted to Jesus, one another, and the world in at least 10 ways:
(1) through faith and baptism,
(2) by having called and qualified leaders,
(3) by gathering regularly for preaching and corporate worship,
(4) by gathering regularly for Bible study, prayer, and meals,
(5) by having rightly administered sacraments,
(6) by living in unity, empowered by the Holy Spirit,
(7) by taking holiness seriously,
(8) by giving generously of time, talent, and treasure,
(9) by being grace-saturated people, seeking to love the world like Jesus,
(10) by taking the Great Commission seriously—to get the gospel message to everyone, everywhere.
Although the church is a devoted people, our hope and joy is not found in our devotion to Jesus. Rather, our hope and joy is found in Jesus’ devotion to us. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:10) and “This is how we know love, that he laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16). Jesus loves the church. Do you? Jesus is devoted to the church. Are you?
1. What would you say is our cultures’ typical view of what a church is and does? Is this different than what we see in Acts 2? If so, how?
2. Was there anything from the sermon, the big idea, or Acts 2:37-47 that stood out to you, challenged you, or confused you?
3. Why is it important to remember our hope is found not in our devotion to Jesus but in His devotion to us?
4. What would you say that Ekklesia is good at? In contrast, what would you say we need to improve on?
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