Bible Studies For Life

Unstoppable Love                    Session 9                     30 OCT 16

Dr. Herschel H. Hobbs in his Studying Life and Work Lessons, January-March 1980, pages 50-51 described the setting: "The event … took place in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost in A.D. 30. Pentecost was the Jewish feat of the early or grain harvest. Its name denotes that it came fifty days after the Feast of Passover…. This was ten days after Jesus ascended to the Father (see Acts 1:9)…. During his various appearances to his disciples following the resurrection, Jesus gave them a commission to be a missionary people… The promise of power was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost…. On the night before his death, Jesus had promised that he would pray the Father, and he would send the Comforter whom he identified as the Holy Spirit."

ACTS 2:37 The ones listening to the 120 were convicted of sin by their witnessing. So: "What shall we do?"

ACTS 2:38-40 Too many ignore verse 40! (Acts 2:40 RSV) "And he testified with many other words and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation."" PETER SAID FAR MORE THAN ACTS 2:38! Luke again must condense and hit the highlights. For one thing the "many other words" included what repentance really is. (Acts 20:21 RSV)  "testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance to God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ." The other ignored verse is Matt 28:19. Jesus said first to make a disciple and only then to baptize them. Obviously Peter was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Therefore he would follow Jesus' directions. Thus "for" must be translated "because of" which is a valid Greek meaning. "Repent" is second person plural - All must repent. "Be baptized" is third person singular - Only an individual can be baptized. Many say this verse states that the indwelling comes after water baptism.  But the Bible says (Eph 1:13 RSV) "In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit," So it is faith that saves and allows the indwelling. 1 Cor 12:13. The power of the Spirit is in His guidance. He guided the 120 to witness and gave them the tools to do it. But they had to use the tools. So do we! We have the same power is available to us.

ACTS 2:41-42 Dr. Hobbs quoted A. T. Robertson from his book Word Pictures, III, page 37 "Note that only those who had already received the word and were converted were baptized." THEN, as baptized believers, they joined the "fellowship" of the first New Testament church of Jerusalem. This is the pattern Baptists and some others follow. Note that "they continued" is not limited in time to just the day of Pentecost. It goes into the future. Luke is writing from hindsight here. They became the disciples of Jesus in the true sense. They went earnestly into Discipleship Training. ((Mat 28:20 RSV) "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."") So Discipleship Training was first. "Sunday School was not to come until centuries later. Have you really repented and believed with Luke 14:33. In this passage one sees the pattern which became normative for Christianity. People heard and received the word of God; they followed this with confession and public baptism; then they united in the fellowship of the church, continued in the apostles' doctrine, remained in fellowship with the brethren, and frequently observed the Lord's Supper and prayer as a part of responsible church life. Church fellowship was a privilege granted to those who had experienced genuine conversion followed by believer's baptism. Such fellowship is indeed a privilege and responsibility, not a right. Dr. Hobbs noted in his Studying Adult Life and Work Lessons, April-June 1987, page 62 wrote “These believers did not just get saved and baptized, and then go their separate ways (Smith, BBC, p. 31). Neither did the apostles just “dip ‘em and drapem” as the old preacher said. The apostles carried on a continual program of teaching the new converts. They made certain the new Christians were grounded in sound doctrine.” I wish this was true today, but most churches give little more than lip service to real teaching and learning of “sound doctrine.” (Dr. Hobbs spent the majority of his retirement years stressing and exhorting for more sound doctrinal studies.)

At this moment in the New Testament time the 3000 saved on Pentecost (Acts 2:42) along with the original 120 were a fellowship. Yet the “sound doctrine” wasn’t so sound. It was a Judaizer message that a person had to be a Jew before God would offer the gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ. They assembled to draw only Jews and Gentiles were not on the list visitation list. It was also a message that Christian women were not equal to Christian men. The Jewish men worshipped separate from the Jewish women. The men controlled the service while the women were hidden behind a partition. In the church the men tried for the same thing. Peter was a major Judaizer until God got after him later. So here is a point on proper Bible study. Take the words of any verse in the context of the whole Bible.

ACTS 2:43 (Acts 2:43 RSV) "And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles." The context is still with verse 37! “Every soul” mean the people who were there on Pentecost listening to the apostles! Specifically it means the remaining lost people.

ACTS 2:44-45 (Acts 2:44 RSV) "And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need." This number was 300 + 120. This is NOT a command or example to us on how to run a fellowship today!

You must recognize that any Jew then who accepted Jesus and Lord Messiah became immediately and effectively DEAD to his/her family and all other Jews. They were treated as Gentiles! This means on Pentecost they lost all income from their Jewish ways of making a living. They would now have to make money through Gentiles and other Christians. There was an immediate need to help in the transition period. So the Pentecost Christians set up a welfare system to address this dire situation.

ACTS 2:46-47 The Pentecost Christians had no church buildings. Being Judaizers, they considered themselves first Jews so they worshipped as they had in the past at the temple. It was not until Acts 3 and the zealot Saul that this ended and the Christians turned to worship in various places and some homes. But for now, after temple, they would have fellowship meals together in small groups. There was no one place to assemble over 3000 and its growing number of people being saved (the best translation).

            The message of God’s Loving Grace through Faith was started and will never end as long as there are Christians who will do Matt 28:19.

            The only way the Gospel can be stopped is if Christians fail to witness as we go! (MATT 28:19)!


Marvin Ganote, Hobbs Study Class, Adult Teacher. Home Page: