#06 (Acts 2:37-47) Three Thousand New Believers
As Peter began preaching on that first Pentecost Sunday, the crowd
fell silent. His voice could be heard all over the temple mount. Peter
was quoting their beloved prophets. As he spoke, it was as if Joel, and
David, and Isaiah were present with them. Their hearts were being
pierced with the message of God's Messiah. It is at this point that
someone cries cry out, with perhaps others picking up the cry,
"Brethren, what shall we do?"
Let's pick up at this point with our next study. This is Acts06 - Acts
2:37-47 Three Thousand New Believers.
Once again you may want to read this portion in its completeness
before beginning the study. (Why not say a short prayer, asking the
Lord to open your eyes to behold wonderful things from His book.)
A Piercing Message
Vs37; "Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart,
said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brethren, what shall we
We need to remember that while the gospel is a message of life, it is
first a piercing message. It is designed to expose the heart, and to
render the sinner with no excuse for his sins. Remember what Simeon
said to Mary?
"Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in
and for a sign to be opposed--and a sword will pierce even your own
soul-- to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."
The statement Simeon made to Mary about a sword piercing her own
soul is a parenthetical statement. Simeon was simply saying, 'And you,
Mary, are not excluded from the sword.' The revealing of thoughts has
to do with God's gospel doing a work of searching out our whole being.
This is where we need to understand the word 'conviction.' Speaking
of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, "And He, when He comes, will convict
the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning
sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness,
because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning
judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged." (John
The word 'convict', or, elegcho in Greek, speaks of a judicial
where we are found guilty with no defense to hide behind. It carries the
thought of a moral conquest of the mind.
This is what the gospel is designed to do in the case of a sinner. And
this is why these Jewish peoples from the lands begin to cry out,
"What shall we do!?"
Repentance As Worship
Vs38: "Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in
name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"
'Repent,' (metanoeo) means to change one's mind or purpose. When
you couple it with the Hebrew word 'nacham', which means to be
or to suffer grief, then you have the idea behind Biblical repentance.
Biblical repentance is to have sorrow over sin which results in a
change of direction.
The interesting thing about repentance is that the ancient Hebrews
considered repentance as a form of worship. For the righteous man it
mean to make continual course adjustments, or repentances, in order
to keep on a path of righteousness. They believed that these course
adjustments, or repentances, were received by God as worship.
Be Baptized in the Name of ...
.... each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the
forgiveness of your sins..."
Behind this statement is the issue of receiving Jesus Christ as Lord
and Messiah of Israel, and in doing this their sins have already been
forgiven. The command to repent is an active imperative. It means 'to
it now!' Or, 'Turn to Jesus now!' "Each of you" makes it very
"Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ." In early Jewish
the person generally baptized themselves with witnesses standing by.
In doing this the new believer would express his faith by calling upon
the name of the Lord. Let's reach forward to see this Paul was
baptized. Ananias said to him, "Now why do you delay? Get up and be
baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name." (Acts 22:16
Remember that both Ananias and Paul are from the same culture as
As for baptizing in the name of Jesus, this was the only form of
baptism known by the earliest of believers. However, it wasn't too long
afterward that baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
began to take hold.
Note: Rather than get into the 'whys' of Jesus name baptism, I want to
recommend that the membership go to the Christian Challenge web
site; http://www.ChristianChallenge.org/. Click
on Hebraic Foundations, and
then scale down to study HF056 - The Name Above
An Unconditional Promise
... and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Notice the promise is unconditional. "Will receive" is the
Greek word 'lambano' which means to take to yourself, or, take into
Therefore, in their turning to the Lord and baptism, they will be the
recipients of the covenant Spirit. Peter meant this in the sense of new
covenant salvation. Receiving the Spirit takes place in salvation. It is
not something that takes place further down the road.
Vs39: "For the promise is for you and your children and for all
far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself."
Peter is still going with the prophets. Since we have already covered
this, l'll leave further comment off. The Jews well understood that the
promised Spirit came with the new covenant.
Vs40: "And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on
exhorting them, saying, 'Be saved from this perverse generation!'"
At this point Peter is still dealing with the message. He has told them
what they must do to be saved, but God has more to say to the people,
and this statement of being 'saved from this perverse generation' is
very important to the message of Pentecost. (Especially to the Jewish
The Song of Moses
Peter is now drawing from Moses. As a prophet, Moses spoke down
through the ages, and in the song of Moses we have the history of
Israel laid out. (Past and future.) I want to highlight a couple parts of
the song of Moses, so you will see where Peter is coming from. (When
Revelation speaks of the Song of Moses and the Lamb, this is the
song in view.)
The song is found in Deuteronomy 32:
Vs1: "Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak..." (Moses is
prophesying over Israel by the Spirit.)
Vs4: "The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are
The Rock was one of God's Old Testament names. When Jesus used
that expression, his Jewish apostles knew exactly what He meant.
"Upon this Rock I will build My Church. Peter wasn't the rock. That
would make Peter God. Jesus Christ is the Rock. He is God with us.
Vs5: "They have acted corruptly toward Him, they are not His
because of their defect; but are a perverse and crooked generation."
Did you catch it? The rejecters of God's Messiah have acted corruptly
towards Him. When Peter spoke by the Spirit, he was telling the crowd
to escape from the Christ rejecters. But he is speaking from Moses.
Also notice that Moses says, "They are not His children." The
of God are only those who receive Jesus Christ. And this is important
to understand. No Jew will be saved because he or she is a Jew.
Jesus said to them, "Unless you believe I am He, you will did in your
Why not take time at some point to meditate on the song of Moses.
There is much there for the Spirit to share with you.
3000 Added in One Day
Back to Acts 2:
Vs41: "So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and
that day there were added about three thousand souls."
Recall earlier what I shared about the mikvehs on the temple
There were a great number of these 'step down' pools, where various
Jewish holiness rituals took place. But now they are being used for a
different purpose. The apostles would not have have gone into these
pools with the new believers. Each believer baptized himself or herself.
Can you imagine the activity on the temple mount that day. Peoples
were lined up at the mikvehs for baptism. The apostles and others
the one hundred twenty original believers were bearing witness.
Three thousand souls added in one day! This would bring the
company of believers upward to four thousand Jewish folk.
(Remember that Jesus had appeared to over five hundred believers
during His forty days on earth.)
An Overflow of Pentecost
Let's read our remaining Scriptures as a group, then I'll make brief
comments on portions of the reading. What happens next is a
description of the overflow of Pentecost. No one wants to leave
Jerusalem. The temple mount still remains very much in focus. After
all the prophet said that Messiah would come to His temple.
Vss43-47: "Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders
and signs were taking place through the apostles."
.... notice where the miracles and signs are taking place. The apostles
are the witnesses of Messiah. They need to take center place in the
forming of the Church.
"And all those who had believed were together and had all things
common; and they began selling their property and possessions and
were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need."
This is a very Jewish thing. But for these new believers it is enjoined
with a sense of expectation they had never before known. It is likely
that they expected Jesus to return soon.
"Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple ..."
The temple area continues to be the center of activity. At this point
there is no resistance from the authorities. What can they do? We will
soon see that many of the priests are turning to Jesus.
" ... praising God and having favor with all the people."
Notice how this is affecting all of Jerusalem.
"And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were
And here is one of the great mysteries of our salvation. Jesus said,
that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to
Me I will certainly not cast out." (John 6:37)
Let's stop the study at this point. Feel free to make your responses
and ask questions.
Previous: #05a Curiosities in Acts
Next: #07 (Acts 3) The Miracle at the Gate Called Beautiful
This study on
Acts was originally part of a
series on the book of Acts given to members of
Hebraic Foundations from July 10, 2002 through January 19, 2003.
They were written by Pastor Buddy Martin, Founder and Senior Pastor of
Christian Challenge International.