The apostles were excited and anxious. Jesus had gone back to heaven only a few days before. He left instructions for His apostles to wait in Jerusalem until they received power from heaven. On the Day of Pentecost (a Jewish feast) the 12 apostles were gathered together. Suddenly, a loud noise came from heaven that sounded like a mighty wind and filled the whole house where they had gathered. Then small tongues of fire appeared over each of the apostles’ heads. It was the power from heaven that Jesus had promised. The apostles were given the miraculous ability to speak in languages that they had never studies.
Using this amazing power of speaking in tongues, the apostles stood in the middle of the city of Jerusalem and began to preach about Jesus. Men from many different countries, who spoke different languages, all heard the apostles speak in their native languages. The people were amazed, and wondered what was happening.
Acts chapter 2 records that Peter stood up with the others and began to explain to the people of Jerusalem that this amazing event was the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy. Peter went on to preach to the people about Jesus. He told those in Jerusalem that Jesus was the Son of God. He also told them that the citizens of Jerusalem had falsely accused Jesus and murdered Him unjustly. Some of the people realized what they had done, and wanted to make things right with God.
Those people who realized their sin came to Peter and the other apostles and said, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter then explained to them exactly what they needed to do to make things right with God. Peter said, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). After hearing the story of Jesus, believing that He is the Son of God, and confessing that belief, Peter’s listeners followed the commandment to repent of their sins and be immersed (baptized) in water. In fact, the Bible says that about 3,000 people that day were saved from their sins by God when they obeyed the commandments as given by Peter.
What is interesting is the fact that the Bible says, “And the lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). When those people obeyed Peter’s instructions, God Himself added them to “the church.”
It is here in the book of Acts that the church of Christ was established. While Jesus was on the Earth, He often talked about His kingdom that was “at hand”- which meant it would be established soon. In Mark 9:1, He told His listeners that some of them would not die until they saw His kingdom come with power. In Matthew 16:16-18, we discover that the kingdom about which Jesus spoke was the church. It was established with the power of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost almost 2,000 years ago.
In the Old Testament, many of God’s prophets spoke about God’s kingdom that would come someday in the future. This kingdom would be great and would last forever, outliving all other kingdoms of the world. After the Day of Pentecost when the apostles received the power from the Holy Spirit and 3,000 people became Christians, the kingdom that the prophets spoke about had come. The books of the Bible that are written after that day no longer spoke about a kingdom that would one day come. Rather, they spoke about the church that had been established by God on the Day of Pentecost.
Since that day, God has been adding millions of people to His church. Anyone who learns and understands the story of Jesus, and obeys the commandments in the New Testament, can be added by God to His church. It is important to remember that a person does not “join” Jesus’ church. In fact, many humans have made their own rules and established their own churches that people can join. But joining a church that a human established will never get a person to heaven. Only when a person obeys God is that person “added” to the church by God. We should be thankful to God for establishing His Son’s wonderful church. And we should be thankful that He has shown us through the New Testament how to be added to that church.