And Peter said to them, “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. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. — Acts 2:38–41 ESV
The book of Acts recounts the incredible growth of the early church—how the Lord sustained these new churches through persecution and furthered His gospel through people who were gifted in all the ways we are gifted today.
Acts 2 takes place during the Jewish celebration of Pentecost. The disciples are in Jerusalem for the celebration when the Holy Spirit descends on them, enabling them to speak of the goodness of God in the languages of other festivalgoers who had come to Jerusalem from around the Roman Empire. Peter explained the phenomena to the crowd with a gospel message, and today’s passage comes at its conclusion: Peter challenges the people and says, “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.” Well, they did just that. And 3,000 ‘souls’ were added that day—3,000 people were saved and given eternal life. That’s a pretty good start for the ancient church!
As amazing as this is, remember: the God who saved 3,000 people in Acts 2 is the same God we serve today. He doesn’t change—His motives and character are consistent. If the Lord could do it then, He can do it now. Since the time of the New Testament, God has continued to grow his church, sometimes in big bursts, in movements and revivals, and sometimes in smaller increments. I want to encourage you today, pray and ask the Lord to work in your place. During this period of cultural upheaval, instead of shrinking back in fear, let’s boldly go forth, fulfilling the mission He has given us. Let’s join Him in the growth of the church, of Christian schools, of Christian influence, for His glory. He has not changed. He is still on the throne. All is well.