With our youth graduated and off into the summer let’s take a short series of notes to look at the Church with respect to Pentecost. What did Church look like before Pentecost, after Pentecost and where is it today?
Acts 2 that we reviewed is considered the birth of the Church in this new age with the provision of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ resurrection and the presence of the Holy Spirit fulfills God’s promise in the plan of salvation for the world. Faith in the resurrection and our confession of that Faith in that Jesus died as a sacrifice for our sins and was raised on the 3rd day to fulfill the promise of God in eternal life with Him. Sometimes we get really involved in the details of these activities to try and satisfy our logical and physical needs of understanding the Gospel.
This physical connection is what Peter tries to connect in Acts 2,3 & 4. The physical connection was initially vital for the Israelites. They had followed the process according to the law as given to them by Moses in Deuteronomy. The physical process of a priest to intercede on their behalf for forgiveness, which was required because no one could keep the law, was what they understood.
Peter who had struggled with the physical and spiritual during his time with Jesus now got it, but he would struggle again trying to get it across to Israel. In Acts 2, he recounts the history of Israel and God’s plan of salvation fulfilled in Jesus Christ and points the results of the resurrection right at the nation of Israel.
This was a radical step forward in the belief system of God’s chosen people the nation of Israel. If we separate for a minute the whole discussion of the Messiah and His role in both politics and government to simply look at the actual real-world day-to-day Truth that it brought to the Church it may help us in our lives.
In the fulfillment of any life-altering event, there is usually a state of conception where long before anything was done a vision was spoken or thought. I.E., long before there is a wedding to be celebrated with family and friends there is a simple, often quiet declaration of faith and purpose between two people. The same is true for the Church – before the Death, Resurrection, and Arrival of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, there was a simple discussion and a declaration of faith set forward.
Peter’s Declaration about Jesus
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” 15 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. 18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.Matthew 16:13-20 (NLT)
The confession of faith that Peter made that day is the confession that Jesus built the Church on, and it is still the foundation of the Church today. There is nothing here about a particular city, area, building, government entity or any other physical identifying marker for Church.
Only a confession of Faith in who Jesus Christ is …
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