As Many as He Calls

After completing his sermon on Pentecost, Peter summoned his audience to repent and be baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ,” though something more than just a call to accept the Gospel was transpiring. He concluded his words on a note of fulfillment and with a foretaste of things to come. He began with a citation from the Book of Joel, and he finished with a clause from the same passage, thus neatly bracketing his message.

With the advent of the “Last Days,” the Gift of the Spirit was poured out on the Assembly, equipping believers to preach the Gospel throughout the Earth as “rivers of living water” began to burst forth from them – (John 7:37, Acts 1:7).

River Rapids - Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash
[Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash]

What began on the Day of Pentecost was the era of fulfillment that must continue until the consummation of all things on the “
Day of the LORD.” What the Jewish pilgrims “saw and heard” in Jerusalem was none other than the promised outpouring of the Spirit prophesied by Joel.

With the Death, Resurrection, and Exaltation of Jesus, the “Last Days” had begun in earnest, and the Spirit was bestowed on his people, starting with the young Assembly in Jerusalem, but certainly not ending there - (Joel 2:28-32).

Considering the events of Pentecost, the “Day of the LORD” was more imminent than ever, therefore, everyone who heard Peter’s words needed to repent while the opportunity remained:

  • (Acts 2:37-38) - “… Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, EVEN AS MANY AS THE LORD OUR GOD WILL CALL TO HIM.”

The “promise” was the “Gift of the Spirit” foretold in the Hebrew Bible, and by Jesus before his Ascension when he commanded his disciples to “wait in Jerusalem” until they received power from on high, the “Promise of the Father.”

John baptized “in water,” but the “Coming one” would baptize “in the Holy Spirit.” Afterward, his followers would become his witnesses and take the Gospel to the “uttermost corners of the Earth” - (Acts 1:4-5, Luke 3:16, 24:49).

The setting of the sermon must be kept in view. The sights and sounds that accompanied the Spirit caused confusion among the pilgrims gathered near the Temple, “Jews and proselytes” from at least fifteen nations.

As the editor of Acts, Luke does not list these nations simply for literary effect, but to make a theological point. The granting of the Gift of the Spirit marked the start of the mission to announce the Kingdom to all nations (“Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven”).

The covenant of Abraham always envisioned a people consisting of more than just his biological descendants. At one point, Yahweh showed the Patriarch the stars of heaven and challenged him to number them if he could. So would be the number of his “seed” - (Genesis 15:5, 17:4-6).

However, his physical descendants failed to keep to the covenant. That did not mean God had rejected Israel. On the contrary, to facilitate their redemption, He promised to provide a New Covenant relationship that would include His Spirit.

COVENANT FULFILLMENT


The day would come when God would “gather you from among the nations and bring you into your own land,” and He would put a “new Spirit within you… And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes” - (Ezekiel 36:24-27).

The fulfillment of the promise began on Pentecost, not only with the outpouring of the Spirit but also with the addition of three thousand converts from the Jewish pilgrims. That was only the beginning since the “promise” was “to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to him.”

The proclamation of the Gospel began in Jerusalem, but the Book of Acts presents it as progressing from there to “Judea, Samaria,” and even to Rome, the heart of the World Empire.

At the end of Acts, Paul is in Rome under house arrest. Despite his circumstances, he “received all that went to him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness,” both to Jews and Gentiles alike - (Acts 28:30-31).

Church under Stars - Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash
[Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash]

Thus, the Gift of the Spirit and the proclamation of the “
Good News” do not represent the modification or rejection of the covenant promises made to Abraham, but their FULFILLMENT. What began on the Day of Pentecost was only the first stage in taking the Good News “to the uttermost parts of the Earth.”

The “Promise of the Father” was and remains for “you and your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” The summons to repent and receive the Spirit is being made to all men and women as the Body of Christ proclaims the Gospel, a process that will continue until the arrival of the “Day of the Lord” and the appearance of Jesus “on the clouds of Heaven.”



RELATED POSTS:
  • The Age of the Spirit - (The Gift of the Spirit is part of the New Covenant, and the first fruits of the New Creation and the gathering of the nations)
  • The Promise of the Spirit - (The Promise of the Spirit is one of the blessings of Abraham promised by God for the nations and the children of the Patriarch)
  • The Spirit of Life - (The Spirit of God imparts life, especially the everlasting life of which the Gift of the Spirit is the foretaste and guarantee)

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