Acts 2:41, 42
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.…
Then they that gladly received his word, etc. Trace the instrumentality from the shore of Lake Gennesaret, through the fail and restoration of Peter, to the day of Pentecost. One man standing up in that multitude endowed with spiritual gifts - with the proclamation of the gospel, or the sling and stone with which to conquer.
I. A WONDERFUL TESTIMONY TO THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST.
1. The victory over prejudice, indifference, fear - all the evil of heart and life. Full-grown men - Jews. Jews of that degenerate age, in the midst of anti-Christian influences, accepting a Word which condemned themselves - which incited them to forsake their old life, and count all things loss for Christ. Not only moved and partially changed, but wholly converted; ready to be put, by baptism, into the new life opened to them.
2. The vastness of the work accomplished. Not here and there one, but three thousand souls, which, as representatives of families and connections, may be reckoned as at least twenty thousand. Scarcely possible that every one should be individually solicited. The work was spiritual, miraculous. While there is much in the effect of numbers - the rapid spread of a common sentiment by contact of soul with soul, there is in the narrative no appearance of undue excitement. We must regard the fact as specially ordained, that there might be a mighty impetus given to the gospel at its starting-point. Many of the three thousand would become messengers to prepare the way of the Lord in heathen lands.
3. The signs of a new creation. In that multitude of converts there is no chaotic confusion, but the order of a new world rising into view. The leadership of apostles; the fellowship; the observance of the two ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper; the recognition of prayer as an expression of faith and dependence on the continual outpouring of the Spirit. The apostolic commencement of the Church must be the model to which we continually refer for the corrections of those natural errors of development which, if not so called back to the ideal of the kingdom, will, by mixture with the world, destroy the fundamental conception of Christianity.
II. A GREAT EXAMPLE OF ABIDING SUCCESS IN SPIRITUAL ENTERPRISE.
1. Remark the entire simplicity and sincerity of the agents. Much of our failure caused by mixing up mere human schemes and inventions with the gospel. Danger of reactions. The Word was clearly, boldly, and fully preached, with direct personal appeal to the conscience as well as to the heart.
2. The steadfastness was the result of a continued use of the means of grace - teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, prayers. We lose many whom we reach with our word by not throwing round them quickly the net of our Christian community and institutions.
3. A great lesson on the importance of waiting for God's time, and being ready to receive the Spirit. All mere got-up revivals result in failure. God's Spirit will himself teach us how and when to expect the success. Follow the leadings of Providence. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.