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April 5, 2017

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They Continued Steadfastly

"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and breaking of bread, and in prayers." Acts 2:42

The disciples and the others who were gathered in the "upper room" had just experienced being "filled with the Holy Ghost." Jerusalem was filled with devout men from every nation under heaven, and they were all amazed as they heard these men of God speaking in their own language. Peter seizes this unique gathering and begins to preach to them. You need to notice that this tremendous gathering was composed of many who only days had before railed at Christ, and were shouting "Crucify Him, crucify Him," and were responsible for His crucifixion. When Peter finished his sermon, "They were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' And Peter said unto them, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name Jesus Christ for the remission for your sins.' And there were added unto them 3,000 souls." Can you imagine the reaction Peter must have had?

What an amazing manifestation of the power of God! These new believers were staunch enemies of Christ and everything the apostles stood for. Their hate had turned to love, their animosity had turned to contrition, their pride had turned to humility, and their anger had been replaced with the peace of God. Their desire to disrupt and destroy had become a determination to share, not only their possessions but also their lives in a "unity of spirit and a love one to another." Only the Holy Spirit could have accomplished this. What an incredible scene! This was truly a MIRACLE! God had come upon this gathering and worked in the hearts of both the apostles and these new believers, and had turned their relationship to "unconditional love" for each other and for God. Wow! What a sight! Broken in heart, with tears of repentance, confession of soul, and embraces of love, they were receptive and responsive to the Holy Spirit drawing them to God.

Four things followed that confirmed the sincerity of their faith: They continued steadfastly in the apostles' teachings, they continued daily with one accord in fellowship, they gathered together in the breaking of bread, and they devoted themselves to prayer. What a remarkable transformation took place in the lives of these new believers. Here were enemies of Christ now coming into the "very presence of God," laying bare their hearts in prayer, praise, and thanksgiving for the work of grace, which radically changed their life! Did you know the same thing is taking place today in lives that are open to God's mercy and grace?

I'm sure Peter, along with the other apostles, prayed for these new believers that they might see the full range of their redemption and the full measure of God's grace. Listen to Paul's prayer for them: "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the 'eyes of your heart may be enlightened,' in order that you may 'know the hope to which He has called you,' the 'riches of His glorious inheritance' in the saints, and 'His incomparably great power' for us who believe" (Ephesians 1:17-19). Oh that we might respond with openness of heart and soul, as those new believers did, and seek to live and serve in the power of the Holy Spirit where God's love prevails and abounds.

© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.


This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2017-04-05


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