Acts 2:37-47 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Brothers, What Shall We Do?
Comments for Study 4

Acts 2:37-47
Memory Verse: 37


I. Brothers, What Shall We Do? (37-41)

>1. What is the response of the people? (37; 16:30)

"When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" -Acts 2:37

* Later an apostle was asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" -Acts 16:30

* Three important steps:
    1) "When the people heard this" -they listened carefully to Peter's message. They thought about its meaning and its content.
    2) "cut to the heart" -after listening carefully to Peter's message it sunk down and they were convicted. The Holy Spirit convicted the people of the word of God spoken through Peter. (John 16:8-11, 13)
    3) "and said to Peter and the other apostles" -the people asked questions about what to do. When the Holy Spirit moves our heart when we read or hear the word of God we should seek a response, getting help if needed.

>Why is their question important?

* They accepted Peter's message however they did not know what to do.

* We need practical directions in our life of faith. Situations come that we need practical advice. At times like this it is good to asked spiritual elders about what to do.

* God needs to reveal to sinners, who do not know him because of their sins, the way of salvation.

>2. What is Peter's counsel for them (38) and what are God's promises for the repentant? (39)


"Peter replied, "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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call." -Acts 2:38-39

* "Peter replied" -a good messenger should be ready and eager to give counsel after a message. Peter truly had a shepherd heart for the people for he counselled them and planted hope of God's promises.
    1) "Repent" -to turn from our old life (self) and turn to God and a life of faith in his name.
    2) "and be baptized" -outward sign of an inner cleansing. It reflects a commitment made. It is a sign that one is participating in Jesus death.

* "every one of you" -Peter did not exclude anyone. In fact he talked to each one personally, even though he was addressing a crowd. There is no restrictions regardless of race, gender, age, handicap, ect) in participating in Jesus' death.

* "in the name of Jesus Christ" -specific to both repenting and baptizing. This phrase is the qualifier of both. It specifies what is the repenting and baptizing that brings salvation.

* "for the forgiveness of your sins" -this is the type of repentance and baptizing the people where looking for and what God offers. Not that baptism effects forgiveness. Rather, forgiveness comes through that which is symbolized by baptism (Rom. 6:3-4)


* "And" -connected to the earlier statement. No one can receive these promises without going through the former.

* "you will receive" -this is an absolute truth of God.

* "the gift of the Holy Spirit" -Two gifts are now given; the forgiveness of sins (22:16) and the Holy Spirit. The promise of the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit is given to all Christians (Rom 8:9-11; and 1 Cor. 12:13)

* "all who are far off" -both in distance from Jerusalem which included the Gentiles (Most of them where from far off (9-11), as well as those who were far off in time, like me.

* "all who the Lord our God will call" -God's omnipotent hand of pure grace.

* "our God" -Peter and all the disciples called God their own by absolute and deep faith. He could have also been include the crowd because they were "God fearing Jews". (5)

>3. In what ways did Peter help the people who are convicted with the Word of God? (40)

"With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." -Acts 2:40

* Peter delivered his message as an objective truth. Then he helped them accept God's words personally. He helped them have application. Both are important.

* "With many other words" -he didn't stop. Peter knew this was the right time for them to be converted.

* "warned" -tells of danger (turn away from).

* "pleaded" -urged them to accept (go to).

* "Save yourselves" -By accepting Jesus, both Lord and Christ and repenting according to the direction of Peter.

* "this corrupt generation" -not that others weren't or are not now. Rather he was stating that they belonged to it.

>How is a greater Christian community formed? (41)

"Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. -Acts 2:41

* Formation of a Christian community is with
    1) "accepted his message" -this included the main body as well as the counsel. The greater Christian community is formed according to God's word.
    2) "were baptized" -they made a clear decision.
    3) "added to their number" -visible joined the community of believers.

* "that day" -the people did not wait to join.

II. The Fellowship of the Believers (42-47)

>4. What are the four main activities of the early Christians? (42)

"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. -Acts 2:42

* "devoted" -Greek "proskartereo". Pronounced, "pros-kar-ter-eh'-o". Meaning: to be earnest towards, i.e. (to a thing) to persevere, be constantly diligent, or (in a place) to attend assiduously all the exercises, or (to a person) to adhere closely to (as a servitor):-attend (give self) continually (upon), continue (in, instant in, with), wait on (continually).

* 1) "to the apostles' teaching" -doctrine. Bible study.

* 2) "to the fellowship" -love relationship; being together.

* 3) "to the breaking of bread" -eating fellowship; intimate fellowship; holy communion but not in the sense that modern church does. Rather it is more like a Passover meal such as the last supper or the fish breakfast in Galilee. (1 Corinthians)

* 4) "to prayer" -joint prayer meetings; two-by-two, small groups and as a whole.

>What is their attitude toward God's mighty work among them? (43)

"Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. -Acts 2:43

* "Everyone was" -no exclusions.

* "filled with awe" -Greek "phobos". Pronounced, "fob'-os;" From a prim. "phebomai" (to be put in fear); alarm or fright:-be afraid, + exceedingly, fear, terror.

* "filled with awe" -they saw the hand of God through the power of the Holy Spirit among them and in them. They were not just a social club.

* "many wonders and miraculous signs" -as a symbol of the presents and favor of God.

* Without devotion to God by all the believers these are not possible in a church.

>5. How do they handle material matters among them? (44)

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. -Acts 2:44

* "All the believers" -repented many times in this study.

* "were together" -fellowship

* "everything in common" -Greek "koinos". Pronounced, "koy-nos'". Meaning; common, i.e. (lit.) shared by all or several.

>In what sense did they go far beyond God's commands in the Old Testament? (Ex. 23:14-15; Mal. 3:8-12; Dt. 15:1-11)

* ""Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me. "Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt. "No one is to appear before me empty-handed. -Exodus 23:14-15

* "At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelite. He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the LORD'S time for cancelling debts has been proclaimed. You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your brother owes you. However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. For the LORD your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you. If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your poor brother. Rather be open-handed and freely lend him whatever he needs. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: "The seventh year, the year for cancelling debts, is near," so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land. -Deut 15:1-11

* ""Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty. -Malachi 3:8-12

* "Three times a year" -was costly.

* "No one is to appear before me empty-handed" -poor not excluded.

* "Seven years...cancel debts" -was costly.

* "do not be hard-hearted of tight-fisted...give generously" -love your brother practically.

* "You rob tithes and offering" -the tithe is God's, not ours.

* "Test me in this" -God will bless even though the tithe is his and we are doing only our duty.

* The new church followed by the Spirit of the Law and thus more than the law. They were not legalistic. They therefore, nullified the law not by ignoring the law but by doing more than the law.

>Is handling materials properly a spiritual matter? (Mt. 6:24; Lk. 16:10-15)

* ""No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. -Matthew 6:24

* "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own? "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight. -Luke 16:10-15

* It is an outward sign of an inward heart attitude.

>6. What is their distinct lifestyle? (46)

"Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, -Acts 2:46

* "Every day" -one to one, in small groups, in large groups, as a whole, by friendship, by occupation, by gifts, by service.

* "continued" -they did not stop.

* "temple courts" -temple centered life; for us this is congregation centered life.

* "in their homes" -house churches.

* "ate together" -corporate service

* "with glad and sincere hearts" -joy, honesty, and closeness

>What are the fruits of their devoted life? (47a)

"praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people." -Acts 2:47a

* "praising God" -Everyone worship the source of the work amongst them.

* "enjoying the favor of all the people" -the common folk in Jerusalem. Those who did not believe saw and liked what they saw. This no doubt led to more conversions.

>How does God bless their life of devotion to God and to one another? (47b)

"And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." -Acts 2:47b

* "the Lord added" -It was the work of God as all acknowledged.

* "added" -The work of the Holy Spirit did not stop on the first day.

* "their number" -the number of believers.

* "daily" -again continual work of the holy Spirit.

* "were being saved" -qualifying statement of those that where added. They did not just grow in numbers but the numbers added where quality people.


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