Thursday, March 17, 2016

March 17 - Acts 2

Today's reading in our daily plan is Acts 2. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • In Acts 1, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would arrive to fill the believers. The Holy Spirit is the invisible presence of God given to believers to empower them to live for God and carry out his mission.
  • In this chapter we see that promise fulfilled. People from all around the world were in Jerusalem celebrating Pentecost, a Jewish harvest festival.  So, the Holy Spirit filled the believers, giving them the ability to speak in other languages. This was essential because every believer in the world, all 120 of them, spoke just one language.  This gift of tongues allowed them to communicate in all languages, drawing crowds from all over in amazement. 
  • Peter explains to the visitors what they are seeing and hearing. He quotes the prophet Joel who prophesied that God would pour his spirit out in the last days (Joel 2:28-31). He shares the message that Jesus died and resurrected from the dead for them. Twice he reminds them that they were eyewitnesses of both Jesus's miracles and his resurrection. They felt convicted by what they heard and asked him what they should do. Peter tells them to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. By doing this in faith, God will then give them the gift of the Holy Spirit. He explains that this same response will apply to everyone who ever says yes to God's call. In all, over 3,000 people came to Jesus that day.
  • Verses 42-47 give us the first picture of the new church.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The way you say yes to God's offer of Jesus is by repenting and being baptized. Repenting means to turn away from your old life and turn towards God. Baptism is when a person is lowered under water, symbolizing the death of their old life, and raised out of the water, symbolizing their new life with God.
  • As a result, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would come as a gift to all believers. This still holds true for us today. The Holy Spirit should be an active presence in our lives if we are living for Christ. You can read more about all the different ways the Holy Spirit can be seen in our life in I Corinthians 12:4-11
  • The believers who made up the first church devoted themselves to four things that we should as well:
    1. Teaching: Learning about Jesus and the life he has for us. This is why attending church every week is helpful for us. In addition, we should be reading the Bible as well. 
    2. Fellowship: Sharing time with others in a way that encourages following Jesus. One of the key ways we do this at Verve is through Micro Groups.
    3. The breaking of bread: Remembering Jesus by taking communion (see Luke 22:17-19) or just having meals together.
    4. Prayer: Talking with God.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Have you repented and been baptized? Have you made a decision to turn away from your old life and a direction which takes you away from God and to turn and move towards God? Have you been baptized (immersed in water because of your faith and as a response to the call of God)? If not, let us know at the Velcro Bar if you'd like to be baptized.
  • Do you live your life with the power of the Holy Spirit? Do you recognize the great gift Jesus left for us? We are not alone. If the Holy Spirit could give the disciples the strength to speak a language they didn't know, think of what he can do with your life if you just release it to him.
  • Which of these do you need to focus more on: Devoting yourself to teaching, or to fellowship, or the breaking of bread, or prayer? Commit to it today, knowing that the Holy Spirit will give you strength to stand by your commitment.