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Apostolic Strategy

written by Asher Intrater
July 15, 2000

I have been asked to continue writing on “apostolic” strategy.  To me, this means simply looking with an analytical eye at the events in the book of Acts and seeing what practical spiritual lessons we can learn for how we go about serving in the kingdom of God.

I was thinking about this recently as I read through Peter’s sermon in the second half of chapter two of the book of Acts. Here we see several simple elements of his preaching and the community response, which were part of the revival there.

I. Charismatic/Supernatural Experience
The first part of Peter’s sermon (verses 14-21) is actually an explanation of what the not-yet-believers saw and heard in the outbreak of the Spirit on the new believers. There were tongues and interpretation, praise, and an exterior appearance that appeared as though the people were drunk.

Peter explained first of all that the people were not crazy or drunk; that this was, in fact, something spiritual from God. He had an interesting theological explanation. He claimed that this was the continuation of the “prophetic” experiences of the bands of the prophets during the Old Testament period in Israel. Think about that. He is claiming that the gifts of the Spirit among believers in Jesus throughout the body of Christ are an extension of the prophetic manifestations in ancient Israel.

His second theological explanation was that the experience in Acts 2 was an initial fulfillment of the kind of end times outpouring of the Spirit as prophesied by the prophet Joel. In this way he again connected the modern charismatic experience with the prophetic experience of ancient Israel.

II. The Death and Resurrection of Jesus
After giving this rationale for the strange experience that confronted these not- yet believers, Peter began to tell them the simple story of the life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Yeshua (verses 22-35). We cannot emphasize this enough. If we want revival, we must keep the focus of our messages on Yeshua Himself. We must fight against the ever present tendency to slip off into other theological issues or programs.

Every issue of purity, faith, and discipleship can be taught, but they must be done with the basic story of Yeshua at the center.

It is interesting to note that Peter placed special emphasis in this first archetypal gospel message on Yeshua’s descending into hell between the time of the crucifixion and the resurrection.

It is also interesting to note Peter’s method of exegesis in quoting the Psalms. He quotes Psalms 16 to explain the death, descent, and resurrection of Yeshua. He quotes Psalm 110 to explain the ascension of Yeshua.

III. Confrontation of Sin
Peter sums up his message with a knife stab to the heart of his listeners. He calls them personally responsible for the crucifixion of the long awaited divine king Messiah (verses 36-37).

Of course, this applies to all of us, not just those Jews and Romans who took part in the crucifixion itself physically. There must be something in our messages today that always puts the spear point to our hearts for moral conviction and change. Our messages should never be theoretical only. Every message must at least at some part be pointed enough to demand a real life change in the heart of the hearers.

Peter’s hearers were aware that a  personal change was being demanded of them. Their prayer for salvation was voiced in the words, “What should we do?”

IV. The Three Responses
Here is another key element. Peter called his listeners to respond in three ways (verse 38). These three ways are the correct response to the gospel. These three responses are the goal of our preaching. These three responses are the essence of a salvation experience.

The first response is to repent of sin. We must, of our own will, change in our actions and attitude what we are able humanly to change.

The second response is a complete dedication to the Lordship of Yeshua. Peter expressed this in a call for them to be immersed. Of course, I believe that a person needs to be immersed in water, but I am emphasizing here a personal heart immersion to the life and person of Yeshua. We are called to be totally saturated and immersed in Yeshua Himself.

This personal dedication to Yeshua involves accepting Him as Lord, as our authority, and thereby submitting to Him and obeying Him. It involves a loyalty and love of Yeshua in a personal relationship to Him. It involves a complete identification with Yeshua in His death and resurrection. It involves conforming ourselves to Yeshua’s character and personality. And it also involves having our conscience cleansed from guilt by a revelation of the power of the blood of Yeshua.

The third response is to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Not only does God want to forgive us of past sins, He also gives us power to repair the damage of those sins. The Holy Spirit heals us and restores us. In addition, our victory over sin is not just forgiveness, but also the power not to sin. That power comes from the Spirit of holiness who lives within us.

V. A Sharing Community
The conclusion to the message of Peter was that the people were saved and baptized (verses 41-47). As they were saved and baptized, they were immediately absorbed into a community of faith. This community of faith involved lots of time spent together, total commitment one to another, and the sharing of material goods.

The joining into this community represents the congealing and completion of the salvation experience.

There were many elements in the activities of this community of faith, including daily teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s supper, prayer, the fear of God, miracles, signs and wonders, sharing possessions, sharing money, meeting in the temple, meeting in homes, eating together, joy among the believers, generosity to the poor, constant praise, favor with those around them, and continual growth in numbers.

Hallelujah! May God grant us the same.

Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.

He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.

Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.

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