Acts 2:41-42, Pentecost

"Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.  42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer," (Acts 2:41-42).


Pentecost is a term meaning fiftieth, which was applied to the fiftieth day after the Passover.  It was the culmination of the "feast of weeks" (Ex. 24:22; Deut. 16:10), which began on the third day after the Passover with the presentation of the first harvest sheaves to God, and which concluded with the offering of two loaves of unleavened bread, representing the first products of the harvest (Lev. 23:17, 20; Deut. 16:9-10).

  • When Jesus ascended into heaven He instructed his disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they should receive power from on high.  As a group of 120 were praying in an upper room in Jerusalem fifty days after his death, the Holy Spirit descended upon them with the sound of a great wind and with tongues of fire which settled upon each one of them.  They began to speak with other languages and to preach boldly in the name of Christ, with the result that three thousand were converted.  In rebuttal to criticism by devout Jews, Peter stood up and, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gave a wonderful sermon.  After the sermon Luke wrote in verses 41 and 42.  Then read Acts 2:41-42
  • This incredible manifestation of divine power marked the beginning of the church which has ever since regarded Pentecost as its birthday.
    1. Pentecost, then, is the anniversary of the coming of the Holy Spirit.
  • This day was not the beginning of a denomination.  It was the beginning of the one church: The One True Church.
    1. The Church that is bought with the blood of Christ.
    2. The Church that is united by the indwelling Spirit.
    3. The Church that is taught with the inspired Word.
    4. The world did not know what happened at Pentecost.
    5. The world did not know that God had come to live with His people forever.
  1. Holy Spirit before the conversion
    1. Phrase "Holy Spirit" occurs 90 times in the NT and 3 in the OT.
    2. The phrase occurs 41 times in Acts
      1. Acts 1:1-2, "The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen."
      2. Acts 1:5, "for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
      3. Acts 1:8, "but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
      4. Acts 1:16, "Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus."
      5. Acts 2:4, "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance."
      6. Acts 2:33, "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear."
      7. Acts 2:38, "And Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
  2. Praying before the conversion
    1. "Pray," "Praying", "Prayed", occurs 29 times in Acts
    2. Acts 1:14, "These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers."
    3. Acts 1:24-26, "And they prayed, and said, "Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two Thou hast chosen 25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place."  26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."
    1. Acts 2:41: "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day" (NIV).
    2. "So then, those who had received his word..."
      1. Three thousand who had come for the feast.
      2. Three thousand who had not known Jesus.
        1. 3,000 sinners who were changed by God's word, by the preaching of the truth, by the work of the Holy Spirit.
      3. No matter where you are, in or out of Christ, the Holy Spirit can touch your heart.
    3. What was this message (NASB 'word') of Peter that they accepted (v. 41)?
      1. It was a message of conviction (v. 22).
        1. Acts 2:22: "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. (NIV)
          1. Do you have this belief about Jesus?
      2. It was a message of the cross (v. 23).
        1. Acts 2:23: A This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross" (NIV).
      3. It was a message of the resurrection (v. 24).
        1. Acts 2:24: A But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. (NIV)
      4. It was the gospel!
        1. It is interesting to not that when the gospel was given 3000 were saved.
        2. In Exodus 32 when Moses returned from the mountain of God to the people of Israel who had made the golden calf, he threw down the tablets of the ten commandments.  3000 died.
        3. When the law was given 3000 perished; when the gospel was given 3000 were saved.
    4. All real conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit.
      1. The case of Nicodemus (John 3:1-8).
        1. In John 3:5, Jesus tells Nicodemus that one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit" (NIV).
      2. The testimony of Paul to Titus (Titus 3:5).
        1. Titus 3:5 says, "He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit," (NIV)
      3. True conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit.  But the Holy Spirit does not stop there.  He continues to work in your life.
    1. In verse 41 it says they were baptized.
    2. Salvation takes place in the heart, but you confess Him publicly.
    3. Baptism is a public witness, a public identification with Christ.
      1. Even Jesus made a public confession of faith when He was baptized.
      2. Think of the hostile atmosphere at that time.
        1. The corrupt Pharisees were the spiritual leaders.
        2. The harsh Roman Government was the political leader.
      3. The Holy Spirit will move you also to this act of obedience... and other acts of obedience.
        1. Standing for Jesus
        2. Being a witness for Him.
        3. Remaining morally pure.
    4. The Holy Spirit gives public expression to the Gospel through you.
    5. (Incidentally, why was Jesus baptized into John's baptism which was a baptism of repentance. Jesus was sinless, so why did He need John's baptism?  Some say it was to identify with the believer.  This is true, but more importantly, Jesus was entering into the ministry at this time by becoming a priest after the order of Melchizedek.  According to Leviticus 8 and Exodus 29, a priest had to be anointed with oil, washed, and received a blessing.  All three were there for Jesus.  He was entering into the High Priesthood in order to be a sacrifice to God for the sins of the world.)
    1. Acts 2:42: "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." (NIV)
    2. "They devoted themselves..."
      1. To the teaching of the word - which is anointed by the Holy Spirit.
      2. To fellowship with one another - which is sharing in the Holy Spirit.
      3. To the breaking of bread or communion - which is the partaking of Christ's body through the experience of the Holy Spirit.
      4. To prayer - which is guided by the Holy Spirit.
    3. In these, as you hear the word, as you fellowship, as you break bread, and as you pray, the Holy Spirit leads you to higher ground.  He leads you to the Rock that is higher than you.  He lead you to holiness, to fellowship, and to communion.  He leads you to Jesus.
  6. Conclusion
    1. Pentecost is about the birth of the church.  It is also about the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit in you.  You are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
    2. How will you continue to respond to His indwelling, to His ministry?
      1. Will you stand for Jesus in public and in private?
      2. Will you grow in grace the grace of Christ by trusting the Holy Spirit to warm your heart, illumine your mind, bring you to fellowship with Christ?
    3. To trust God is to trust His work in you through the Holy Spirit.
    4. To trust the work of the Holy Spirit is to acknowledge and accept the blessings of the cross of Christ. 
      1. It is to continue to grow in Christ's church.
      2. It is to continue to grow in grace
      3. It is to recapture Pentecost.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.