“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”-Luke 24:46-47
Jesus rose from the dead to give life to all those who trust and serve him (John 3:16, 36). For forty-days he appeared to his followers and taught them. Before he ascended into heaven, Jesus instructed his disciples to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit would come to usher in the kingdom of heaven (Luke 24:36-49; Acts 1:3-8). Jesus’ work on earth was completed and he returned to heaven to make ready our heavenly home (Luke 24:51; John 14:1-4; Philippians 3:20-21).
The Church Doors Open: A few days after Jesus was taken into heaven, on the Israelite feast day of Pentecost, the sound of a mighty rushing wind and divided tongues as of fire announced the Holy Spirit had arrived. During his ministry on earth, Jesus had selected twelve men to be apostles (Mark 3:13-19). On Pentecost Jesus baptized these men in the Spirit to enable them to speak in foreign languages, perform miracles, and preach through the inspiration of God (Acts 1:5; 2:4; Hebrews 2:1-4). The fifth book of the New Testament tells the stories (Acts) of the apostles of Jesus as they traveled the world preaching the gospel, baptizing believers, and organizing local churches (Acts 8:4-14; 10:47-48; 14:21-23).
On the same day the Holy Spirit descended on them, the apostle Peter preached the first gospel sermon (Acts 2:14-36). Peter proclaimed Jesus to be the prophesied Messiah (Christ), the son of David who would sit on an eternal throne. He used Old Testament verses to show the Christ would suffer and die but God would not let him decay in a tomb. Peter and the other apostles confessed they had seen Jesus resurrected in the flesh. He closed his sermon declaring Jesus was at the right hand of God as the glorified Lord and Christ.
The gospel convicts people of their sin and need for a Savior (Acts 2:37; Romans 3:20-23). Praise God he sacrificed his Son as an act of unfathomable grace (Romans 3:24-26; II Corinthians 5:21) to pay the price for my forgiveness! The gospel produces faith and obedience that leads to eternal life (Romans 1:5, 16-17; 6:23). On Pentecost, Peter opened the doors to the church by telling believers, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”-Acts 2:38. The Lord added those who are born again to the body of Christ (Acts 2:41, 47; Galatians 3:26-28). The gospel call of salvation and the promises to baptized believers were true then and they are true today!
The Life Of The Church: A local church is simply a group of believers who join together to seek the lost and encourage the saved. Just before his crucifixion, Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20). Early Christians conquered the world for Christ with two simple ceremonies that both rely on the cross for meaning. Sinners are saved when they are baptized into the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:3-4). Once saved, Christians remember Jesus’ sacrifice when they come together as a church to eat the bread and drink the cup (I Corinthians 11:23-26).
Sound Doctrine For Christians: The New Testament books of Romans through Jude are letters to churches and individuals. These inspired writings contain, “all things that pertain to life and godliness,”-II Peter 1:3. Christians are taught to avoid sin and live godly lives (Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 5:1-21). These letters lay out instructions for the worship and organization of churches (I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 3:12-17; I Timothy 2:1-3:15). A lifetime of study will never mine all the jewels of God’s love to be found in the New Testament.
Then Comes The End: The Bible closes with a prophetic vision of Christ and his church. This Revelation was delivered to John to remind Christians no matter what trials come, Jesus is victorious! The final scenes of the New Testament show us the judgment day where those written in the Lamb’s book enter into eternal life and the unrepentant are cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).
The Bible tells us: God created the world. He promised to bless all people through Abraham, the nation of Israel, and the Son of David. God sent his Son to die on the cross for my sins and fulfill that promise. Jesus rose to prove his power over death and ascended to heaven to live an eternal life. Jesus is coming again to reward obedient believers with a crown of life (I Thessalonians 4:13-5:11; II Timothy 4:8). Let his faithful servants say, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”-Revelation 22:20.