Category: D.L. Lowrie

Acts 2:42-47

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on May 7, 2017.

The heart of every churchman will warm as he or she reads this paragraph that closes this remarkable chapter. It begins with the new generation being baptized in the Holy Spirit early in the morning. When the Spirit moves into their hearts, he energizes them in worship and witness. The church of Jesus Christ takes its place in history.

In response to the Spirit-empowered preaching of the Gospel by Peter, while being supported by the rest of the Apostles, the number in the church multiplied from 120 to 3120 in that one day. In the immediate days ahead Luke reports with descriptive words what life was like for these new believers. It is a remarkable beginning. Not one to be imitated, but a good description of what we should prayerfully expect in our churches. We should allow this passage to mold our expectations of the church where we serve. As we study this description of life in the church, we must always be mindful that these are people in whom God dwells by His Spirit. This is not a movement of men, but a movement of the Living Christ.

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Acts 2:36-41

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on April 30, 2017.

Have you wondered how a person becomes a member of a church? This section of Acts 2 documents how the first members became a part of the movement.

A new generation of humans was introduced in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. They became a new generation that morning when their prayers were interrupted by the coming of the Holy Spirit. 120 believers were gathered in a room in the Temple waiting. The Holy Spirit came with the sound of a mighty wind, and a display of fire. A tongue of fire was seen over the head of the disciples. The group was under the leadership of the surviving Apostles that Jesus of Nazareth had appointed before his return to heaven. Simon Peter was the spokesman for the group that day with the support of the eleven other Apostles. Every member was suddenly endowed with a gift of speaking in a foreign language that they had not learned.

The noise of the wind and the worship of the new generation attracts a large gathering. When the attendees want to know what is happening, Peter explains to them that the prophecy of Joel is being fulfilled right before their eyes. Then Peter gives the first proclamation of the Christian Gospel. He concludes the declaration, which included an announcement of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, with a word about what it all means. Peter declares that the man from Nazareth that they crucified has been raised from the dead, and is exalted. He is now both Lord and Christ. The crowd was made up of Jews, many of the proselytes came from all over the Roman world, so they understand the implication of Peter’s declaration. They are involved in the death of the Lord of glory, the One sent to be the Messiah of Israel. His blood is on their hands.

The words of Peter penetrate to the heart, leaving them very troubled. The Holy Spirit is already performing his mission of convicting humans of their sins. The fear of judgment to come falls upon them immediately. They humbly cry out to the Apostles for help; “What shall we do?”

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Acts 2:14a, 22-32

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on April 23, 2017.

The Christian historian Luke records for us the first Christian sermon ever preached. It is of interest to all of us who have the calling to be preachers of the Good News.

Not surprisingly Simon Peter is the spokesman for the early Christians on the Day of Pentecost. He spoke after the remarkable display of the presence of God as the Risen Lord baptized his “little flock” in the Holy Spirit and then inspired them to offer a public display of spiritual worship in which they spoke of “the wonderful works of God.” And in a grand reversal of Babel, everyone was able to hear what was said in his own native language.

It became the assignment of Peter to explain what was happening. He declares that the New Age has broken into history, fulfilling the prophecy of Joel. At last, all who believe are filled with the Spirit—young and old, male a female—so they are all speaking as prophets. A special age of salvation has come so that “whosoever will” may call upon the name of the Lord and be saved before the final Day of the Lord comes in judgment.

Most of the basic elements of the Christian Gospel (the Kerugma) are found in this first Christian sermon. Much that happened in his life fulfilled Old Testament prophecies and types found in the worship rituals. “Jesus of Nazareth” has been “made” both “Lord and Christ.” He has ascended to a place of authority in the heavens. When the men of Israel heard “Lord,” they thought of deity. This name was reserved for God as the supreme one in their faith. When they heard “Christ,” they immediately think of the Promised One, the Messiah, the Anointed One.

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Acts 10:34-43

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on Easter, April 16, 2017.

We will study an inspired historical account of the message that opened the door for Gentiles to become Christians. Things have never been the same in the church.

It happens like this:  God Himself arranged for the Roman Cornelius to have the Apostle Peter in his home as a guest. Prepared by an unforgettable vision on the housetop in Joppa, he accompanied the messengers sent by Cornelius to his home in Caesarea.

The first words of Peter set forth the theme of the message, “God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” Up to this point, Peter had held the Jewish tradition that to know and worship the God of Abraham, a Gentile must become a Jew—be circumcised and begin to live under the law of Moses. But God has shown him that he must stop looking at Gentiles as unclean and impure. His message for the Gentiles was that Jesus of Nazareth is Lord of all and through him, they can have a saving relationship with God.

Peter’s prior experiences as an Apostle of Christ had been primarily among those known as the “elect,” though he had ventured down to Samaria along with John.  Now he has the opportunity to share the Gospel with a group outside of the “elect,” Gentiles, Romans. They were not “sons of Abraham” after the flesh.  Since God is impartial, Peter cannot deny them the gospel because of ethnic or religious background. The Gospel has a “whosoever will” note in it.

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