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The Birth of the Church The Birth of the Church

The Birth of the Church


Some church buildings have a cornerstone inscribed with the year the foundation was laid. As we have seen, the church’s true foundation goes back much further. Its roots stretch back into eternity (see Eph. 1:4). But if we were to choose a birthday for the church, it would be the day of Pentecost.

After the Tower of Babel, God confused human languages and humanity scattered (see Gen. 11:9). The outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost anticipated the regathering of this scattered humanity in Christ. It foreshadowed John’s vision of an innumerable multitude drawn from every tribe, language, people, and nation who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ (see Rev. 7:9). Peter pointed to the prophecy of Joel 2:28–32, which spoke not only of an outpouring of God’s Spirit but also of the advent of the Day of the Lord and the messianic age (vv. 16–17).

The day of Pentecost distinguished the church as a community of the Spirit. Not only are its members united to Jesus Christ by the Spirit, but they are also joined to one another. The church comes together to worship God, and it also does so to minister to one another. The Spirit empowers believers for service by enabling them to carry out their various ministries.

Later in the book of Acts, we read about two subsequent outpourings that resemble this one. One occurred in Samaria (Acts 8:14–17). The other was in the house of the Roman centurion Cornelius (Acts 10:45–48). These confirmed God’s intent to include the Gentiles in the promise of the gospel. This is exactly what Jesus said would happen when He initially commanded the disciples to wait for the outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 1:8).

Pray with Us

Would you lift up to God in prayer Camille Ward and Nicholas Moon in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness? May the Lord bless their service as they conduct research and oversee the accreditation guidelines at Moody.

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

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