Online Bible Commentary
This Perverse Generation
Acts 2:40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (NKJV)
It is the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. The disciples have just received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They are now indwelled by the Holy Spirit and empowered to spread the Gospel. Multitudes of Jews have gathered in Jerusalem from all over the known world for the Feast of Pentecost. Peter addressed them, speaking of Jesus.
Peter reminded the crowds of the resurrection of Jesus which had been witnessed by the disciples and some in the crowd. Peter continued his sermon by claiming that Jesus now sits at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven, having sent the Holy Spirit to indwell believers.
Peter then cut to the heart of his listeners when he said “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (vv. 36-37a). The multitudes were stricken with the enormity of their sin of crucifying the Messiah and responded as every unbeliever should. They asked “what shall we do” (v. 37b)?
Peter’s answer was "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (v. 38).
Now, in this passage, we see the conclusion of Peter’s sermon. He calls for decisions from the Jews. He implores them to "Be saved from this perverse generation", the generation of Jews that crucified Jesus (v. 40). The response of the multitudes was swift and decisive. About three thousand Jews were saved and baptized that day (v. 41).
Thus the church was birthed. The believers continued to go to the temple, but also met in homes. They focused on four practices; “the apostles' doctrine, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayers” (v. 42). The “apostles’ doctrine” was the ministry of Jesus. The “breaking of bread”, in this context, meant the Lord’s Supper since eating together would have been part of “fellowship”.
Miracles, “wonders and signs”, “were done through the apostles”, which amazed and brought “fear” to the new believers (v. 43). For a short time, the new believers lived communally. They shared everything (vv. 44-45). This practice appeared to gradually disappear as the numbers increased leading to logistic issues and abuse (Acts 5:1-11).
As mentioned previously, the new believers continued to meet with the Jews in the temple, but then also met in their homes for fellowship (v. 46). Wherever they met they were “praising God and having favor with all the people and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (v. 47). At this point they were a sect of Judaism. They still had “favor with all the people.” However this soon changed as the church began to grow and was seen as a threat to Judaism.
Peter described the Jewish world of the 30’s A.D. as a “perverse generation.” The world has always been a perverse generation, and always will be until Jesus returns and sets up His kingdom.
So we currently live in a perverse generation. Sin is rampant in our world today, especially sexual sin. Just as the first church, the church today is called to separate themselves from the things of the world. While this does not call for communal living, it does call for obedience to God which means forsaking the ways of the world.
Christians live in the world but are citizens of Heaven. We are aliens in this world. We are just passing through. Our real home is Heaven. Let us not forget this. We Christians have been saved from this perverse generation who will be judged for their sins. Let us remember to live here as one world wide community, united in Christ.