In the first chapter of Acts, Jesus told the Apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the promise. He then ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. In Acts 2 they were gathered in one place and the Holy Spirit filled the entire house. Each one filled with the Spirit began to speak in tongues, and they went out into the streets of Jerusalem. This event is known as Pentecost and is still celebrated 50 days after Easter Sunday. Some in the crowd that day objected that the Apostles were merely drunk and Peter responded with a turning point sermon in the history of the church.
If we began a study of the first century church, 9 times out of 10 we would begin with Acts chapter 2. The Holy Spirit comes as promised, and Peter preaches a fiery message proclaiming Jesus is the Christ. Certainly by the end of Acts 2, we see the first Christian believers come together in an organized way. But if we back up a just a few chapters, Jesus gives the disciples instructions on what will happen next, going beyond his death, burial and resurrection.
Critics of Christianity, as an organized religion (the Church), even claim that Jesus had no intention of starting a new church or movement of any kind, but rather his followers started one in his name. To put it mildly, these critics have not studied the Bible. Continue reading