Preaching Guide Acts 2:41-47
Preached at Hayden Baptist Church May 3, 2009
By Kevin Jordan
41* So those who received his word were baptized, and zthere were added that day about three thousand souls.
42 And athey devoted themselves to the apostles’ bteaching and the cfellowship, to dthe breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe4 came upon every soul, and emany wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and fhad all things in common. 45 And fthey were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, gattending the temple htogether and ibreaking bread in their homes, they received their food jwith glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and khaving favor with all the people. And the Lord ladded to their number mday by day those who nwere being saved.
41 οἱ μὲν οὖν ἀποδεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ ἐβαπτίσθησαν καὶ προσετέθησαν ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ ψυχαὶ ὡσεὶ τρισχίλιαι.
42 ῏Ησαν δὲ προσκαρτεροῦντες τῇ διδαχῇ τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ, τῇ κλάσει τοῦ ἄρτου καὶ ταῖς προσευχαῖς. 43 ἐγίνετο δὲ πάσῃ ψυχῇ φόβος, πολλά τε τέρατα καὶ σημεῖα διὰ τῶν ἀποστόλων ἐγίνετο. 44 πάντες δὲ οἱ πιστεύοντες ἦσαν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ εἶχον ἅπαντα κοινὰ 45 καὶ τὰ κτήματα καὶ τὰς ὑπάρξεις ἐπίπρασκον καὶ διεμέριζον αὐτὰ πᾶσιν καθότι ἄν τις χρείαν εἶχεν· 46 καθʼ ἡμέραν τε προσκαρτεροῦντες ὁμοθυμαδὸν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, κλῶντές τε κατʼ οἶκον ἄρτον, μετελάμβανον τροφῆς ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει καὶ ἀφελότητι καρδίας 47 αἰνοῦντες τὸν θεὸν καὶ ἔχοντες χάριν πρὸς ὅλον τὸν λαόν. ὁ δὲ κύριος προσετίθει τοὺς σῳζομένους καθʼ ἡμέραν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό.
I. Introduction – Acts 2:41
a. 2:41 - those who were saved were baptized by them. aorist passive
i. apodexamenoi tov logon- they received the word graciously, this participle is adjectival
ii. ἀποδέχομαι (1) as giving a friendly reception to someone welcome, receive favorably (LU 8.40);
iii. (2) as understanding and receiving a message favorably receive, accept (AC 2.41);
iv. (3) as being content with what someone has done recognize, acknowledge, praise for (AC 24.3)
1. Friberg, Timothy ; Friberg, Barbara ; Miller, Neva F.: Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, 2000 (Baker's Greek New Testament Library 4), S. 66
v. The word they received translates into the gratitude of the people in vs. 47.
b. ἐβαπτίσθησαν and προσετέθησαν both aorist passive indicative
i. Indicating that God was the unspoken mover of this event.
ii. The apostles and other believers facilitated the water baptism but the people were also baptized in the Spirit. This spirit baptism is the true mark of salvation. Given the passive tense of the verb it is likely that Luke speaks not just of the water symbol but also of the actual Spirit baptism.
iii. Spirit baptism is even more in focus with the addition of the second verb. The passive indicates that it is God who added these sinners to the body. The Spirit did the work on this day. No man took credit.
II. Vs. 42-47
a. 2:42 - Ησαν is the main verb of this section - like the other verbs of the section it is imperfect active.
b. All verbs in 42-47 are imperfect active highlighting the continual nature of the events described.
c. Likewise all the participles in 42-46 are present active indicating there continuous nature.
d. vs. 47 has σῳζομένους which is present passive. Only God could add these souls to the assembly.
i. So the people were saved by God and baptized by the Apostles- v.41
ii. The people were enabled to receive the Word of Peter and the Apostles
iii. The people received the Word graciously and with eager hearts. They were favorable to the preaching of the Apostles.
iv. God added them to the fellowship making them disciples of the ongoing work of the apostles in Jerusalem
The number shows the tremendous impact of the Word and particularly the Spirit's potency
I. The people devoted themselves - the sense is of continual devotion to these things.
a. Apostle's Teaching – dative
i. The usage here indicates that the teaching was not simply a onetime event nor a cognitive experience but rather a discipleship time. .
ii. The combination of devotion and teaching is what makes discipleship possible. Without devotion and teaching there will be no discipleship.
iii. the teaching was not their own but rather the working of the Holy Spirit. The passive use of the ἐβαπτίσθησαν and προσετέθησαν shows the fruit of the Lord's power.
iv. they were making disciples as Jesus had said they would. Acts is a summation of the great Commission revealing that God's power is in place for the work of the Gospel in all the world. Men from all nations were gathered.
b. Fellowship – dative
i. as below - common life, common faith and common salvation. Common in the sense of that which is shared among the disciples. The implication is not economic but rather theological. The apostles introduced the new converts into a whole new life that they themselves where just discovering.
1. D. koinós in the NT.
a. 1. Tit. 1:4 speaks of the “common” faith and Jude 3 of the “common” salvation. In Acts 2:44; 4:32 the disciples live a “common” life, following the example of Jesus (Lk. 8:1ff.) and anticipating the last days (Dt. 15:4). This life in community is not based on economic theory, legal socialization, or philosophical imitation of nature, but expresses the loving fellowship which renounces ownership (cf. Lk. 12:33) in order to help others (Acts 2:45). The phrase in Acts (“having all things or everything in common”) is a Hellenistic one.
i. NT New Testament cf. confer, compare. Kittel, Gerhard ; Friedrich, Gerhard ; Bromiley, Geoffrey William: Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : W.B. Eerdmans, 1995, c1985, S. 448
ii. the focus here is of what is shared and renders in the broadest of terms. κοινωνίᾳ is receiving the action of the participle προσκαρτεροῦντες. The people were devoting themselves as a matter of will and in response to the work of the Spirit.
iii. The fellowship is an extension of the Apostle's teaching. In and of itself the fellowship would have no purpose. The connection τῇ διδαχῇ τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ, between teaching and fellowship is intended. The fellowship flowed from the teaching bourne out in the testimony of the Apostle's own fellowship.
1. Aland, Barbara ; Aland, Kurt ; Black, Matthew ; Martini, Carlo M. ; Metzger, Bruce M. ; Wikgren, Allen: The Greek New Testament. 4th ed. Federal Republic of Germany : United Bible Societies, 1993, c1979, S. 326.
iv. Ultimately this fellowship enjoyed at this time will face the same assault as other areas of Christian life. From this fellowship we know where to move, how to live together in common faith, that we are expected to have this fellowship among ourselves and that only God can create that fellowship.
c. Breaking of Bread – dative
i. sharing of a common meal for the sake of community togetherness
ii. This is not the Passover or even the cultic Lord's Supper practice which would come later. It was simply a meal in the home given with the addition of the Lord's Supper. They came to be called Love Feasts.
iii. Is it surprising that one of the requirements of the pastor would be hospitality? They met in homes and probably often in the home of the pastor. 1 Tim. 3:2
1. these meetings were an opening for discipleship
2. they were devoting themselves to the meeting in homes as a method of discipleship. There meetings had the purpose of expounding the doctrine of the Apostles and the fellowship of the commission.
iv. This is the small group setting of discipleship combined with the public proclamation of the Gospel and the individual spontaneous work of the Spirit.
d. Prayers – dative
i. The sense here is somewhat cumulative. As a part of the doctrine, fellowship and community, they offered prayers. The word also indicates place of prayer and prayers. In this case the ESV is specific to prayers not nessecarily the place of prayers.
ii. The prayers occured together with the other disciples. The people together were devoting themselves to the prayers. These prayers were not exclusive to the Apostles nor were they more important for the Apostles to pray. The prayers were for one another and for the work of the common brothers and sisters.
iii. Prayer is doctrinal, corporate, and communal. It is the defining action of the people connected with the meeting of the community.
While not told what the prayers are offered for it must be presumed that they were united together in their prayer efforts.
a. Church consists of those sinners who are saved and baptized under the authority of Jesus Christ given to the Apostles and given to the church as ordinance and entrance rite.
i. Salvation is only given by God through faith in Jesus Christ by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit and his Spirit baptism
ii. Proclamation of the Word by faithful witnesses is intended to bring about the continual devotion of those who are present and active in the gathering.
iii. The true believer is him who has been baptized by the Spirit and been added to the church. V.41
b. Active, continual devotion is subject first of all to the work of inclusion performed by the Spirit. No one is added to the fellowship except by the Spirit.
i. Thus among the congregation there is evidence of those who do not belong. Some are not devoting themselves to that which they claim. Other aspects of life crowd out the work of the Spirit or simply they are not regenerate.
ii. Those not devoting themselves to the four items given are not displaying the gracious and happy reception of the message of the Gospel. Vv. 41-47.
c. Four items receive the continual devotion of the believer
i. Apostles teaching – doctrine
1. A life devoted to the doctrine of the Apostles will be a life that finds the teaching of scripture sufficient.
2. Scripture has the governing role in all intellectual and moral decisions along with being commandments of God. The scripture is right.
3. Like good soldiers, the devoted are committed to keeping the truth close to their hearts, hiding it there for meditation and edification of self and one another
4. Devotion to doctrine is the first object of discipleship.
5. The Great Commission is fulfilled when personal devotion meets proper doctrine
1. Life in the devoted church shares common purpose. The church is given a message to carry. It must be taken to every part of the world and the church is charged with the accomplishment of this task. Fellowship is the partnership of faith for the carrying of the gospel.
2. If doctrine is the head then fellowship is the feet. That which is preached must be carried by those who hear it.
3. The life of faith is a whole new existence before which we did not know. It is common life, common faith, common salvation.
4. The church is to have a common experience of faith, ministering to one another, sharing wealth as others have need, building others up in persevering faith, holding the mantle of Christ high against the adversaries faced.
iii. Breaking of Bread
1. Common meal together for the purpose of discipleship.
a. Coffee or any other gathering is the acceptable. The image is that of personal ministry through the home
2. If the home fails church discipleship will be extremely difficult. The image of breaking bread is that of time spent dealing with the hard work of growing in faith.
3. The community of the church is to be an object of devotion and also a product of fellowship.
1. Prayer is offered most effectively when it is in accord with others.
2. Christian prayer is to be key to the practice of faith and worship.
3. Hand and hand with breaking bread, prayers are offered for those we are building up and for those building us up.
4. Prayers are a product of doctrine –Apostles teaching.
5. All believers are to devote themselves to prayer.
a. At the cost of one million dollars, Pepperdine College of Los Angeles decided that neither its honor nor its honorary degrees are for sale. The will of the late D. B. Lewis, wealthy manufacturer of “Dr. Ross” cat and dogs food, left $1 million to the John Birch Society, $1.5 million to found Defenders of American Liberty as a counterpart of the American Civil Liberties Union, and $1 million to Pepperdine College. The will stipulated that the Pepperdine bequest depended on the College’s granting an honorary doctorate to Dan Smoot within six months.
According to President M. Norvel Young, the school’s board of trustees unanimously rejected the bequest because “whatever the merits of the proposed recipient, the academic process precludes awarding a degree based on the contingency of any gift.”
Norvel issued a statement declaring that Pepperdine, “as an independent, Christian, liberal arts institution of higher learning is committed to the virtues of integrity, sincerity, morality, reverence of God, and respect for our fellow men.”