Monday, February 28, 2022

2022.02.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 2:40–47

Read Acts 2:40–47

Questions from the Scripture text: What did Peter add to this original response (Acts 2:40)? How had some received this word of response (Acts 2:41a)? What happened to them? What was added (Acts 2:41b, cf. Acts 1:15)? How did they continue (Acts 2:42)? In what four things of the apostles did they continue? Then what came upon whom (Acts 2:43a)? And what were done through whom (verse 43b)? How many of those who believed were together (Acts 2:44a)? What did they have in common (verse 44b)? But what did they do as needs arose (Acts 2:45)? How often did they continue where with one accord (Acts 2:46)? And what did they do from house to house? What effect did this have upon their meal times? What was their general attitude toward God (Acts 2:47)? And reputation with others? And what did Who do daily?

What are they like, who are saved from out of a crooked generation (Acts 2:40)? Christ shows that His church is not full of the worthy but of the repentant by making the first iteration of it almost entirely out of those (Acts 2:41) who were complicit in His murder! Truly, by His Spirit, our Redeemer is a great Giver not only of remission but of repentance.

What did the new believers’ repentant, Spirit-filled lives look like? This is an important question for everyone who wishes to be repentant and Spirit-filled—which is to say, for every true Christian. And what we see in this passage is that this repentance, this change of mind, reorders believers’ life priorities, financial (material) priorities, time priorities, and heart priorities.

First, repentance unto life reorders believers’ life priorities. The apostles’ doctrine (theology/ teaching), the apostles’ fellowship, the apostles’ breaking of bread, and the apostles’ prayers are all public exercises of the ordinary means of grace… i.e., exercises of public worship. These are the things in which they continue steadfastly (i.e., to which they are devoted). It was this public worship, in particular, to which God responded by bringing fear upon every soul. 

Only through the apostles were wondrous signs done (Acts 2:43b), but the rest of the three thousand exhibited the Spirit in this tangible way: they prioritized the public worship of God above all else. We too should exhibit the Spirit in this tangible way. A repentant, Spirit-filled life will be expressed in devotion to public worship via the ordinary means of grace.

Second, repentance unto life reorders believers’ financial priorities. “All who believed were together and had all things in common” (Acts 2:44). This is marvelous, since earlier in the chapter much was made of the different ethnicities and backgrounds of those who heard and responded to the pouring out of the Spirit. But now it was that very Spirit Whom they had in common, and Who had given them Christ in common, so that they considered any gift from the Lord to have been given for the purpose of the good of His people.

In our original nature from Adam, we are selfish, but when we receive a new nature from the Last Adam, we come to prefer others to ourselves (cf. Philippians 2:2–5). Thieves no longer steal, but work hard with their hands so that they may have something to give to others in their time of need (cf. Ephesians 4:28). This was not some form of communism—or else there would be nothing to sell as needs arose in the manner described in Acts 2:45 (cf. Acts 5:4).

Third, repentance unto life reorders believers’ time priorities. There was only one day per week that they were required to be gathered. This is established in the fourth commandment, which gives us six days for all that labor and work that is ours, and reserves only one day not for work exertion but for worship exertion. But one wonderful side-effect of being eager to meet one another’s needs is that they were able to meet together more often.

In fact, Acts 2:46 tells us that they met daily with one accord in the temple. We do not imagine that they had to pressure one another to do so, or that there was any question about what they would spend their extra time upon. They were glad to meet whenever they could. Now, believers in this era—especially in what we sometimes call the first world—have much more discretionary time than before. If our churches are full of repentant, Spirit-filled believers, we will find them desiring to gather as often as possible in these congregational exercises of the means of grace.

Finally, repentance unto life reorders believers’ heart priorities. One who has not been satisfied with God in Christ finds his heart inhabited by the hideous conjoined twins of covetousness and grumbling. He desires and does not have; he neither gives God thanks nor glory (cf. Romans 1:21), and he is continuously in conflict with others (cf. James 4:1–3). 

But these believers were delighted with the fellowship that they had in Christ Himself in the public worship (Acts 2:46a), and when they returned home that fellowship would continue even over simple meals (verse 46b–c). No longer did they crave more and more material or fleshly things, and this simplicity (“humility”) of heart went hand in hand with gladness.

Glad and thankful hearts overflowed in words and songs of praise (Acts 2:47). And as one might expect of someone who is cheerful and thankful and content and generous, all who knew them thought graciously (and gratefully) of them. 

The Lord responded to their praise of Him by using their praiseworthily worshipful lives to add daily to the church those who were being saved. Surely, we who believe desire to live such lives and to see Him respond and use us as He continues to save. Let us seek from Him repentant, Spirit-filled lives.

Which of these four aspects above do you find most needful of growth/improvement in your life? Who can cause this to happen? What does He use to do so? What is your plan for availing yourself of this as you look to Him grow you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, what a blessed effect You produced in that first great congregation that You began to gather at Pentecost. And we thank You that You grant unto us the same repentance by the same Spirit even today. Forgive us for when we aim at less than a repentant, Spirit-filled life. Grant unto us to work out our own salvation, by Your Spirit’s working in us the desire for such a life and the practice of such a life, for we ask it through Christ, Who is our Life, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP15 “Within Your Tent Who Will Reside?” or TPH429 “Come Thou Fount”

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