Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.…
The actions of the converts proved that they had passed into a new spiritual state, and we may regard them as models for every age. They —
I. OPENLY CONFESSED CHRIST. Opinions vary, and will vary, as to the mode of baptism; but all are agreed as to its symbolic meaning. The words appointed to be used in baptism declare the relation of the candidate to each person in the Godhead; the water symbolises the need of Divine purification, and the gracious provision which has made that purification possible; while the application of the water represents the process and conditions of personal salvation. In this baptism Christ was openly confessed. And He must be openly confessed in some way by all who are His.
II. DILIGENTLY ATTENDED TO APOSTOLIC TEACHING. They were careful to hear what the apostles had to say, that their knowledge of the truth might increase. Instruction, then, followed baptism. We have not the apostles, but we have their writings, by which they still teach. Diligent attention to the New Testament is calculated to save men from infidelity and much mischief of other kinds.
III. ASSOCIATED WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS. How would people who were drawn together by a common attachment to Christ act when together? All their conduct would be affected by their Christianity. When professing Christians, of choice, associate with the god-less, their conduct belies their profession. And when they meet Without any reference to the Master, they neglect a means of grace, and give ground for suspicion as to their sincerity or zeal.
IV. DILIGENTLY USED THE MEANS OF GRACE.
1. "Breaking of bread" reminds us of the institution of the Eucharist.
2. "Prayers" show us that they were devout people, in which respect their example is important. When professors are too busy to pray, or indulge in conduct which makes prayer irksome, they are in great danger. If the first Christians had so lived, they would never have been charged with turning the world upside down. And since their day great wonders have been wrought by men and women of much prayer.
V. MADE A DEEP AND SALUTARY IMPRESSION ON THEIR OBSERVERS. "Fear came on every soul." Those who had not become Christians were filled with solemn dread. They felt that God had sent among them a wonderful thing, which no creature could have produced. They seem also to have been afraid lest they should be smitten for standing in an improper relation to what was transpiring. Recollection of the past history of their nation would tend to deepen the fear. And ought not all Christians to make on those who watch them impressions of the presence of God? A holy man often makes the self-condemning observer miserable by his very silence. When will all professors thus give counsel and rebuke by the spirit which they manifest? Were they to do so, how soon would Christianity diffuse itself through all the world!
VI. GOD DIRECTED PUBLIC ATTENTION TO THE RELIGIOUS SYSTEM WHICH THESE CONVERTS HAD EMBRACED. "Many wonders and signs," etc. Attention was called by miracles to the doctrine and personal conduct of the first propagators of Christianity. Repeatedly we find in the Acts first a miracle, then a sermon. If the time for miracles has passed away, attention has already been called to Christianity. What is now wanted is the fearless preaching of the gospel, with that best of all commentaries, Christlike living. In using such means, Christianity is its own witness.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.