God Working in the World
God working in the World
We are looking at Acts 2 again this week, studying the last half of the chapter. Last week we saw how God fills people with his Spirit, bringing joy, hope, gladness, and power. This week we see the continuance of that.
What would it look like for God to show up in the world? If God were to show up in power and accomplish his purposes what would it look like? What would the church look like? Would certain people be obliterated and never again seen? Tithing goes through the roof! People voting a certain way? More people with Christian bumper stickers. Less cursing. Would everyone be healthy? Corruption in the world disappear?
That is a big question to reflect on. Because it probably gets at what you think we most need. It probably gets at what you long for and are praying for.
We are in a passage of Scripture that shows God working in powerful ways. He pours out his spirit on the church and a sequence of events unfolds in which we see the marks of God truly moving and working in the world.
We are in the middle of the chapter with Peter explaining the outpouring of the Spirit that the people have seen and heard.
“Brothers, I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David: he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing this in advance, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not left in Hades, and His flesh did not experience decay. 32 “God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this. 33 Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear. 34 For it was not David who ascended into the heavens, but he himself says: The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand 35 until I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ 36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!” 37 When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what must we do?” 38 “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah 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, as many as the Lord our God will call.” 40 And with many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, “Be saved from this corrupt generation!” 41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayers. 43 Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 So they sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. 46 And every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved. (Acts 2:29-47 CSB)
When you are in a mess you need to know that there is a way out. Do you feel the mess that is all around? People doing things that are wrong, not caring about their actions, blaming each other. How do we get out of this? You can’t leave the darkness if you do not know there is light. Turning to Jesus begins with knowing and hearing there is a another way. You have to be told.
V 40 be saved from this corrupt generation. Skolia, where we get word scoliosis. Crooked, bent. It’s is not right. We feel that.
Result of corruption is death. King David spoke about the Messiah overcoming death. King David is dead and in the ground. But David spoke of one who would overcome death. Peter is a witness of Jesus’ resurrection. Now he is telling them that this outpouring of the spirit, moving of the spirit of God to give power to their testimony, that is bringing joy, and gladness, and fullness is a result of Jesus.
31 Seeing this in advance, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not left in Hades, and His flesh did not experience decay. 32 “God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this. 33 Therefore, since He has been exalted to
Christ is proclaimed as the one and only one that can save us. He is unique in all the world. We have a Savior whos saves us from death! This week for Discovery Group we were reading Luke 2, “I bring you good news of great joy.” If I had not read my Bible I would have gone all week without hearing the words “good news” or “great joy.”
Death is the perennial problem of people. Death is a result of the fall. We need saving from death. All our work on vaccines. Billions of dollars to work on a vaccine that might help with one virus. It might prevent you from dying in one particular way. Only Jesus can save you!
A lot of debate with Christians on politics, Corona, masks. Heard the number one divisive issue today in church is masks. I get it. People are concerned about their health and different ways to stay healthy. Concern for freedom. But the thing that keeps that in perspective is this: Jesus is the resurrection. Masks can’t do that, vaccines can’t do that, lower taxes can’t do that. Freedom of speech and anything else. What is bringing you peace right now, the fact there is a vaccine or the fact that you have a savior. Sickness is in the world because of sin, and it will not be removed until Jesus comes.
Peter is proclaiming to thousands of people what Jesus has done. To proclaim is to have a conviction about something.
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!”
There is a conviction about the uniqueness of Christ and a desire for others to know with certainty that God has made Jesus the Lord and Messiah.
The church has to have this, and it is not just me that needs to have this conviction. It is you. What is the greatest need the people around you have? It is to know Jesus. Don’t just need career advice, or medical guidance, don’t need to do better. Need a Savior.
The vision of God moving in power begins with his people having a conviction about what he has done. There is not another alternative.
Not just nice people. People who are forgiven, saved! We have this message to share!
They receive the message. It’s one thing to know you are in darkness and there is light; it is another to actually walk out of the darkness and into the light.
The people who heard the message were cut to the heart. v36
be pierced through, be stabbed, be pricked deeply; idiomatically, of the sharp pain felt in the heart from conviction or remorse, literally be pierced through the heart, i.e. be greatly distressed, be very troubled
-concern and regret.
-Opposite of hardness of heart. Hardness of heart is something that has plagued God’s people. It is to be unaffected by wrongs and offenses to God, it is to be unmoved by our wrongs.
I heard on the news this week a Nashville lawyer began giving advice to people on how to commit murder and get away with it. A lady was looking for advice on Facebook on how to get rid of her ex-boyfriend. The lawyer said, “Lure him into your apartment and then shoot him and say he broke in and it was self defense… If you do this be sure to delete this post.” The ex saw the post and reported both of them. The lawyer was suspended for practicing law because he showed no remorse for his actions. Said he was being sarcastic and it was part of his dark humor.
Simply made excuses. No concern for his offense. Murder. But the rejection of God. Our sins crucified Jesus. “…God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified…”v36
Every sin we commit is a nail in the hands and feet of Jesus. Have we owned it. Not just dark humor or a way to make a dollar. Abortions are now called by medical professional “care.” ie “We want people to get the care they need.” It is a rejection of God.
V36 They are cut to the heart and experience a deep change. Not superficial. It is in the core of their being. Not just about vote this way, talk this way, don’t smoke, drink chew or date girls that do. It is a life altering belief that one rose from the dead and has secured the forgiveness of our sins and resurrection life. This one is Lord and we are to follow him every day of our lives!
Kids, your parents want you to obey them and your teachers. That is a way you can honor God. But God didn’t send Jesus so you could do what everyone tells you. He sent Jesus so you could be forgiven. So you could be set on fire for your purpose!
For a Christian their life is to be a life of repentance. A constant shedding of the old and putting on the new. Are you experiencing this.
-V38. Repent; Can realize you are going against God and his plans for you.
-2:41. You can accept God’s plan for you. as giving a friendly reception to someone welcome, receive favorably ( LU 8.40); (2) as understanding and receiving a message favorably receive, accept (AC 2.41); (3) as being content with what someone has done recognize, acknowledge, praise for (AC 24.3)
God moves here. People trust in him and this also seems to be what the church had been praying for. They have been praying for power to make Jesus known. There have been days and weeks of prayer leading up to this.
It is a miracle for a heart to be softened. How do you see your hardness of heart? Are you resisting God? Do you care?
If you want salvation it comes by trusting in Jesus. You stop going your own way and you follow him. You believe he has power over death and you surrender your life to him. You repent of going your own way. You hand the steering wheel over to him. You plug his word into the GPS of your life.
Church, are you praying for hearts to be softened? We have not seen many conversions. Are we praying for it?
Repentance is a change in the way one thinks and acts, it’s a change of mind and direction. If someone repents it follows that their life is different. Here people are baptized to follow Jesus, but following Jesus doesn’t end with baptism. It doesn’t end with confessing your sins. People will say Believe in Jesus and you can go to heaven. That was the promise to the thief on the cross. And it is true. But we also see that true faith gets lived out. Here it leads to devotion to the Savior and to the message.
Their repentance and faith is demonstrated not just through baptism but by the fact that Jesus reprioritized their lives. You look at how they live and they are different. Christian faith leads to a lifestyle that is seen.
Why doesn’t this end with the statement,
V41-42 “and about three thousand were added to their number, and the believers went their own way and did their own thing.” The American Gospel.
God’s intent has always been to redeem himself a people, a nation. This is what you see in heaven. But we have somehow found ways to go about our lives not praying, not learning, not discipling, not talking about what Jesus has done.
Devote: to continue to do something with intense effort, with the possible implication of despite difficulty.
What is something you have done and achieved with intense effort: calculus 2, moving wood piles, graven for house foundation, two a days at football, organic chemistry final, Going to church, reading your Bible, being in fellowship.
Devotion is necessary if you are going to continue on God’s plan. Shake the obstacles of life: work schedule, baseball practice. About priorities. Like the incredible hulk breaking through obstacles.
Have you been hurt? Get up and go after it. Too many people give up on loving others, they show they are not that interested in following Jesus. Having others disappoint, let you down, hurt you is one of the ways we grow in knowing how deep and profound is the love of Christ. All other loves will stop once we have been offended. Only the love of Christ will motivate you to continue.
This devotion reflects the habits of Christians. We need healthy habits. We need to believe right things about God, about oursleves and about the world, but we also need to align our lives with that.
Friend who was sick and on the couch. He is weak, tired, in pain on the couch, not going to class. Christians are depressed, lonely, ineffective in their faith, and don’t know why God isn’t blessing them. Because you have ignored his commands. You are not living a spiritually healthy lifestyle.
- Reading praying obeying God’s word.
- Attending and serving regularly on Sundays.
- Participating in life with believers.
- Inviting people to discover and follow Jesus.
- Giving sacrificially (tithing) to the mission.
Healthy habits: People spoke of the half reformation, their doctrines had been reformed but not their lives.
The gospel will never grow where the habits of our lives are not changed. Impossible to grow tomatoes where there is no sunlight. Can you grow as a believer when you are indifferent to the people around you. When you are disconnected from the body of Christ. When you are not reading the word and inviting others to come read and know Jesus.
They were experiencing Jesus in their lives! They are going to have mess ups and set backs. They are glad. They are generous. They are impacting others. Significance to their lives. Get into a stream of a body of believers on fire for Jesus. Praying for God to work. Excited about his purposes in our lives. Longing for people to be saved. Longing for him to use me.
But don’t miss this. They learned how to be devoted, how to overcome hurts and offenses, they found a purpose for their life they were willing to give up other things for, they found the ability to give rather than constantly worried about getting,
Simplicity. humility associated with simplicity of life – ‘humility, humbleness, simplicity.’ metela,mbanon trofh/j evn avgallia,sei kai. avfelo,thti kardi,aj ‘eating their food with gladness and humbleness of heart’
Simplicity that is freeing.
Church, I believe we can experience the same thing that happened in Acts. But we have to separate from the world. We have to have our beliefs and habits in line with Jesus’ teaching.
Are you praying for God to move like this? Do you long to see people coming to know him, accepting him. Do you long to share what he has done with others? Do you long for friendships and lifestyle like this? You have to separate yourself from the world. You have to separate from those who are not doing it. And I think we need to pray for God to work in our lives.