Acts 2:36-41 – The Acts Of The Holy Spirit – Baptized Believers

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Lesson Video

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The Resurrection And Ascension Of Christ; The Holy Spirit Falls On Jerusalem At Pentecost

Acts 2:36-41 – The Acts Of The Holy Spirit – Baptized Believers

Introduction – Present

The topic passage of scripture is one from which a great deal of controversy has developed, as it relates to the need for people to be baptized in order for them to be saved. In order for us to properly address this subject, in particular verse thirty-eight, we must address a similar setting that relates to baptism, as well as a statement that our Lord made that makes clear that which is necessary for a person to be saved. There are also words in Acts Chapter 2 that answer the question, before the words of controversy are spoken.

Before we travel further in this post, let’s consider the Words of Christ, as they relate to a person being saved. We can say that the following verse provides the answer to the “gate-keeper” question of what is necessary for anyone to be granted access to heaven, the kingdom of God, eternity with Christ and all others who will have gained access to heaven.

John 3:3, Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

It is very clear that in order for anyone to go to heaven, that person must be born again. To be born again is to have our flawed spirits regenerated, cleansed from the effects of the fall of Adam and Eve and the following curse upon all of God’s creation.The question may be raised about how the born again process takes place. The answer is provided in verse 8.

John 3:8, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

The way that a person is born again is not by being baptized, but is a spiritual cleansing that takes place by God’s Holy Spirit (verses 3-8). Verse 8 relates the work of the Holy Spirit to the movement of the wind. No one can see the wind, which can go to the left, to the right, to the front of us, or to the rear of us. The wind may go fast or slow, and it may even come to a stop. The wind’s movement can not be seen but, its effect can easily be determined by other verses of scripture, as follows:

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John 14:19-20, 19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Consider belief in Christ and the born again spirit. Simply stated, if we believe n Christ we have been born again. If we have been born again, we believe in Christ. If we have been born again, we have a spiritual presence and indwelling of the spirit of the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) dwelling within our born again spirit. Such an indwelling includes the born again spirits of every one of whom has ever been born again. But, if we do not have that spiritual relationship of “born again belief” in Christ, we face the eternal condemnation that comes from not being born again (See Revelation 20:11-15 below).

2 Corinthians 5:17,”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Whenever a person has been born again, such a person’s spirit dwells within the Spirit of Christ, and can only take up residence in Christ if that person’s spirit has been cleansed and becomes as pure as the Spirit of Christ. A born again spirit becomes new, and becomes as perfect as the Spirit of Christ. A born again spirit influences a person’s soul (mind) by the indwelling influence of the righteousness of Christ. The words, “in Christ,” mean that our born again spirits are literally dwelling inside of the Spirit of Christ, to include the Godhead of “Father, Son, Holy Spirit.”

Colossians 1:27, “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

When anyone has been born again, the Spirit of Christ dwells within that person’s spirit, which is the expectant hope of spending eternity with Christ.

Ephesians 5:8, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

1 John 1:5, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

Until we have been born again, our spiritual existence is one of spiritual darkness. In order for us to find our spiritual presence within the Spirit of God, we must no longer have a spiritual state of darkness, but be like God, and have a spiritual born again state of “light,” as opposed to darkness. If we have not been born again, we can never appear before God, except at the Great White Throne Judgment (for unbelievers) which is the last place where an unbeliever will stand before being cast into the lake of fire, per the following scripture.

Revelation 20:11-15, 11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Now that we have learned that we must be born again, in order for us to “go to heaven,” let’s consider verses of scripture that relate to baptism. It is amazing that we will go back to Matthew’s Gospel.

Matthew 3:1-12

1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’”

4 Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

There are people who teach, and believe, that baptism is essential for the purposes of salvation. But, either baptism is essential, or it is not; we can’t have it both ways. There are many situations where baptism is not possible (You can think about that statement). It is also a fact that upon conception that an embryo has a spirit that has been cursed by the fall of Adam and Eve, and needs a Savior, who is Christ! Embryos can not be baptized. The need for salvation, through the new birth, is a need that is met only by the work of God’s Holy Spirit. A miscarriage or stillbirth of a child fits into the same argument as that of the embryo. What can we say about the death of an infant or small child? They all have spirits that need to be born again so that their spirits can dwell within the Spirit of God (1 John 1:5). Consider a person having an inability to understand the words of the Bible; their spirit also needs to be born again. Every embryo, since the time of the fall of Adam and Eve, has been flawed and needs the perfection of the new birth than can only come from the work of God’s Holy Spirit. Children are not born righteous and become unrighteous, and then need to become righteous again; such an illusion is just that,”an illusion”of spiritual truth. Need I “beat this poor horse any further?” I think not. It is also false to say that there is an age of accountability. Do a word search. Such an age is not to be found in God’s Word. Consider the remainder of this post. Anyone’s conclusion about baptism is that it is not essential for salvation, but is a visual statement by a person that they have come to saving faith in Christ and are following Him by the evidence of a changed, “repented,” life style.

Compare Matthew 2:2, “repent,” with Acts 2:38, also “repent.”

Compare Matthew 2: 2, 5, and 6, “Jews were going to Jerusalem, being baptized in the Jordan, “confessing their sins,” which was a baptism of repentance, with Acts 2:38, “being baptized for the remission of sin.” The better definition of “for the remission of sin,” is similar to that of Matthew 2:2, where those Jews, of four years earlier, were going to John the Baptist (not John the Apostle, the author of the Gospel of John) to be baptized “confessing their sins.” John said for the Jews to repent. Peter, on the Day of Pentecost, said for the Jews to repent. Still, there was no salvation in repentance or baptism (John 3:3). A person’s sinful actions do not keep them from going to heaven, or cause them to be unsaved and prevent them from going to heaven (John 10:28, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”) A person’s lack of a “born again” spirit keeps such a person out of heaven. A person who has been born again can never have their spirit “unborn,” and can never be pulled out of heaven, or out of that person’s “internal and eternal” dwelling in “Father, Son, Holy Spirit.” Earlier in Acts 2, we see the words that the Apostle Peter spoke to the Pentecost observing Jews, as follows:

Acts 2:21, And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’

Calling on the Name of the Lord is due to the prompting of the calling of God’s Spirit on unsaved people. A response to that call results in belief and being born again.

“Repent” means a change of mind, and not a spiritually cleansed and born again spirit. A decision of the mind can be changed, but a born again spirit can not be changed or unborn.

See the MacArthur Study Bible notes on Matthew 3:2 and Acts 2:38.

Matthew 3:2 Repent. This is no mere academic change of mind, nor mere regret or remorse. John the Baptist spoke of repentance as a radical turning from sin that inevitably became manifest in the fruit of righteousness (v. 8). Jesus’ first sermon began with the same imperative (4:17). For a discussion of the nature of repentance, see notes on 2 Cor. 7:8–11.

Acts 2:38 Repent. This refers to a change of mind and purpose that turns an individual from sin to God (1 Thess. 1:9). Such change involves more than fearing the consequences of God’s judgment. Genuine repentance knows that the evil of sin must be forsaken and the person and work of Christ totally and singularly embraced. Peter exhorted his hearers to repent, otherwise they would not experience true conversion (see note on Matt. 3:2; cf. 3:19; 5:31; 8:22; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; Matt. 4:17).

See the Strong’s Lexicon explanation of repentance, as follows, Acts 2:38.

[said] to them, “Repent, μετανοήσατε metanoēsate 3340 to change one’s mind or purpose from meta and noeó

3340. metanoeó
metanoeó: to change one’s mind or purpose
Original Word: μετανοέω
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: metanoeó
Phonetic Spelling: (met-an-o-eh’-o)
Short Definition: I repent, change my mind
Definition: I repent, change my mind, change the inner man (particularly with reference to acceptance of the will of God), repent

Consider the past introductions. Just as Jews were being drawn by God’s Holy Spirit to the preaching and baptism of John the Baptist, in Matthew Chapter 3, we see the same drawing of Jews to Jerusalem, by the same Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. In both cases, Jews were the target of God’s Holy Spirit. In Matthew 3, John told the Pharisees and Sadducees to show by a changed lifestyle that they were truly undergoing a baptism of repentance. In Acts 2, the Apostle Peter told those Jews to show a change in their attitude toward Christ. One additional benefit for the Pentecost Jews is that they would have “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” in that they would have spiritual gifts given to them for their ministry purposes. Upon their new birth, the Holy Spirit took up residence within their spirits, just as with any other person, of whom has: “called upon the Name of the Lord; has placed their belief in Christ as Lord and Savior; has been born again, with God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within their spirits.” So, what do we say about baptism, as it relates to the sermon that the Apostle Peter preached on the day of Pentecost? We see that answer, as follows.

Acts 2:37 “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

The question to Peter was not,”what shall we do to be saved?” A direct answer to such a question can be found in Acts 16, as follows, and has no requirement of baptism, only a belief in Christ.

Acts 16:30-31 (A discussion among Paul, Silas and a Philippian jailer)

30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…”

Acts 2:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized;and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
Those who were baptized, were Jews who had received the words of the Apostle Peter about Christ being their Lord and Savior.

Baptism is not a step “toward” salvation, but is an act of obedience for anyone who has come to belief in Christ as their Lord and Savior. Christian baptism is a “believer’s” baptism. Baptism is only for people who have “believed in Christ.” If there are people who do not have a belief in Christ as their Savior, baptism means nothing to them; they are only “getting dunked” in water;they are only getting wet. If we are not a believer in Christ, we can not follow Christ. Unbelievers can not follow Christ. Baptism makes no one a believer in Christ. Only by a person being born again, into Christ, will a person follow Christ.

Consider that which happens after a person has been born again, and has the Spirit of Christ dwelling within their spirit.

John 16:5-11

The Work of the Holy Spirit

5 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

After we have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within our spirits, we begin to be taught by the Holy Spirit of everything that Christ personally taught His disciples. Such instruction involves the teaching of: vs 8, “sin, and righteousness and of judgment.” No person who has not been born again has the influence of the Holy Spirit dwelling within their spirit and teaching them things of righteousness.

A final word: “You must be born again,” (John 3:3). Then, you should be baptized (immersed), as an act of obedience.

Introduction – Past – Important for review, especially for the reason of the large numbers of Jews being in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, which occurred fifty days after the feast of Passover.

The year was 1491 B.C. God instructed the Jews, while they were in the Egyptian desert, that there were three major feasts in which all males of Israel were required to observe. Those feasts were: “Unleavened Bread; Pentecost (Harvest or Weeks); and Tabernacles (Booths or Ingathering).”The future location where those feasts would be observed would the temple in Jerusalem. (Exodus 23:14-10; Leviticus Chapter 23, and Deuteronomy 16:1-16) (MacArthur Study Bible Chart Leviticus 23).

In 722 B.C., the Jews of Samaria, (the northern kingdom) were captured and taken away by Assyria’s King Shalmaneser to exile in Assyria (2 Kings 17:6, Ryrie Study Bible). As a recognizable group, the Jews of Samaria never returned to their homeland. From 597 B.C. to 586 B.C., through three deportations, the Jews in Judah (the southern kingdom) were taken captive to Babylon by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:1-11, 21; 2 Chronicles 36:1-21) The Jews from Judah were kept in exile for 70 years (2 Chronicles 36:21; Ezra 3:8) (Ryrie Study Bible). Ezekiel 36:24-28 tells us that dispersed Jews who are still living around the world at the time of the end of the tribulation, who are known as “true Israel,” will be spiritually transported back to their homeland. (Matthew 24:29-31, ‘Israel is the elect.’ Deuteronomy 7:6; Romans 2:28-29; 6:6-7)

In Acts 2:5-11, per Exodus 23:16, Leviticus 23, and Deuteronomy 16:10,16, local Jews, and Jews from all of the dispersed lands had returned to Jerusalem for the observance of the Feast Of Pentecost, also known as the feast of Harvest and Weeks (Ryrie Study Bible). Even during the diaspora, dispersed Jews would return to Jerusalem to celebrate the three designated feasts (Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Tabernacles). The miracle of Pentecost is shown in Acts 2:11, “we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” It is important to know that this occurrence was a miracle of understanding unknown languages. This interpretation is similar to the United Nations where one speaker’s words are made understandable to all of the attendees regardless of their nationalities.

It was since 722 B.C. that the dispersed Jews were living in lands of people who spoke languages that were not Hebrew. The Greek Empire lasted from approximately 336 B.C. until 146 B.C. It was during that time that the Jews “were sucked into the Greek culture,” per Judaism Online:

(http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/greek_persecution/)

Also, it was during the times of the four world empires of “Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome” (Daniel 7:4-7) that the Jews were living in the lands of other cultures and were subject to those cultures, and oppressive actions, and attitudes toward the Jews.

On this Day of Pentecost, all of the Jews who were in Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover, “heard them speak in his own language” (vs 6). The Pentecost Jews heard the disciple Jews speaking in the upper room (vs 13), 120 in number, including 12 Apostles (vs 15) speaking in their Galilean dialect (vs 7) to at least 3,000 Pentecost Jews (2:41) who were from many far-away lands; “And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?” (vs 8).

This discussion on “tongues” is not in the same in this chapter context as that of the discussion on spiritual gifts in Romans 12, and 1 Corinthians 12-14. The teaching here is that 120 Galileans spoke in their own Galilean language, and that more than 3,000 Passover Jews, of other languages, could hear the 120 disciples speaking words that were understandable to the Passover Jews.

It is important to know that many Jews who had been dispersed to foreign lands, many of which were far away from Jerusalem, had forgotten how to speak their native Hebrew language. They had learned to speak other languages, including Aramaic and Greek. When Saul (Apostle Paul) received the heavenly message from the risen Christ, Saul heard the words of our Lord in Aramaic, which was the common tongue of the first century Jew (Scofield Study Bible, MacArthur Study Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Acts 26:14). It is also important to know that the New Testament was written in the Greek language. Can we not say that “Divine” intervention was involved in choosing the Greek language for the writing of the New Testament? The preciseness of the Greek language provides us with the words for the New Testament that are far superior to those of any other language.

Consider the sermon that the Apostle Peter preached to the Jews who were present in Jerusalem. Consider the effectiveness of God’s Holy Spirit, in that one hundred and twenty Jews, who were born again believers in Christ, had devoted themselves to prayer for a period of ten days, from the time of the ascension of Christ into Heaven until the Day of Pentecost. Consider that God’s Holy Spirit led the Apostles to appoint a successor to replace Judas Iscariot during that ten-day period. Also, consider that at the end of Peter’s sermon to the Pentecost observing Jews, three thousand Jews believed in Christ as their Lord and Savior, and were Baptized (immersed) as a sign of their belief in Christ as their Lord and Savior (Acts 2:41-43)

Lesson Series – The Acts Of The Holy Spirit

Study Text – Baptized Believers

Aftermath To Peter’s Sermon

Acts 2:36-41

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

A Vital Church Grows

40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

Study Notes

The following study notes come from the MacArthur Study Bible, and are provided by Biblgateway.com

Acts 2:36-41

2:36 Peter summarizes his sermon with a powerful statement of certainty: The OT prophecies of resurrection and exaltation provide evidence that overwhelmingly points to the crucified Jesus as the Messiah. both Lord and Christ. Jesus is God as well as anointed Messiah (cf. Rom. 1:4; 10:9; 1 Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:9, 11).

2:37 cut to the heart. The Gr. word for “cut” means “pierce” or “stab,” and thus denotes something sudden and unexpected. In grief, remorse, and intense spiritual conviction, Peter’s listeners were stunned by his indictment that they had killed their Messiah.

2:38 Repent. This refers to a change of mind and purpose that turns an individual from sin to God (1 Thess. 1:9). Such change involves more than fearing the consequences of God’s judgment. Genuine repentance knows that the evil of sin must be forsaken and the person and work of Christ totally and singularly embraced. Peter exhorted his hearers to repent, otherwise they would not experience true conversion (see note on Matt. 3:2; cf. 3:19; 5:31; 8:22; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; Matt. 4:17). be baptized. This Gr. word lit. means “be dipped or immersed” in water. Peter was obeying Christ’s command from Matt. 28:19 and urging the people who repented and turned to the Lord Christ for salvation to identify, through the waters of baptism, with His death, burial, and resurrection (cf. 19:5; Rom. 6:3, 4; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; see notes on Matt. 3:2). This is the first time the apostles publicly enjoined people to obey that ceremony. Prior to this, many Jews had experienced the baptism of John the Baptist, (see notes on Matt. 3:1–3) and were also familiar with the baptism of Gentile converts to Judaism (proselytes). in the name of Jesus Christ. For the new believer, it was a crucial but costly identification to accept. for the remission of sins. This might better be translated “because of the remission of sins.” Baptism does not produce forgiveness and cleansing from sin. See notes on 1 Pet. 3:20, 21. The reality of forgiveness precedes the rite of baptism (v. 41). Genuine repentance brings from God the forgiveness (remission) of sins (cf. Eph. 1:7), and because of that the new believer was to be baptized. Baptism, however, was to be the ever-present act of obedience, so that it became synonymous with salvation. Thus to say one was baptized for forgiveness was the same as saying one was saved. See note on “one baptism” in Eph. 4:5. Every believer enjoys the complete remission of sins (Matt. 26:28; Luke 24:47; Eph. 1:7; Col. 2:13; 1 John 2:12). the gift of the Holy Spirit. See notes on 1:5, 8.

2:39 the promise. See note on 1:4. all who are afar off. Gentiles, who would also share in the blessings of salvation (cf. Eph. 2:11–13). as many as the Lord our God will call. Salvation is ultimately from the Lord. See note on Rom. 3:24.

2:41 those who…received his word were baptized. See note on v. 38. three thousand. Luke’s use of a specific number suggests records were kept of conversions and baptisms (see note on v. 38). Archeological work on the S side of the temple mount has uncovered numerous Jewish mikvahs, large baptistry-like facilities where Jewish worshipers would immerse themselves in ritual purification before entering the temple. More than enough existed to facilitate the large number of baptisms in a short amount of time.

Comments related to this post

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The scripture text was taken from Biblegateway.com

The translation of the text is from The New King James Version.

Unless otherwise noted, scripture notes were taken from The MacArthur Study Bible notes that are contained in Biblegateway.com

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