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Studies From The Book of Acts

Chapter 2

John Baugh

August, 2009

Acts 2

(New American Standard Bible)

 

Pentecost and the First Days of The New Church:

 

In Jesus' time, there were 3 Jewish holidays that every Jewish male living within 20 miles of Jerusalem was required to attend. They included Passover, Pentecost and the feast of Tabernacles. Passover and Pentecost were spring festivals. Tabernacles occurred in the Fall, at a time similar to our Thanksgiving. The word Pentecost means "the fiftieth", because it fell 50 days after Passover. It was also called the feast of weeks because it fell a "week of weeks after Passover. Tradition held that Pentecost was to commemorate the giving of the Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai and as such was an important historical holiday for Israel. It also held an important agricultural significance in that the bread from the barley harvest was processed into loaves and presented to God in the Temple in gratitude for a safe gathering in of the harvest.

 

Observance of Pentecost was a universal observance for Jews, and there would have been Jews from as far away as Jews lived and had the means to travel. There would have been a large international gathering with thousands of Jews from many foreign nations in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, celebrating the feast and the happy time that it signified. According to the religious historian Josephus, the normal population of Jerusalem of around 150,000 would have grown to perhaps 1 million during Passover. The listing of countries presented in Chapter two of Acts is probably due to the fact that so many foreign Jews had traveled to celebrate the feast in the Temple.

 

We do not really know what happened that day, except that the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples gathered together. Luke describes it as being "like a violent rushing wind" that filled the house where they were staying and tongues like fire appeared to them and settled down upon them. There can be little doubt that these physical manifestations would have drawn a crowd on onlookers to the followers of Christ.

 

At this point, they began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them power of utterance, speaking of the mighty deeds of God in perhaps as many as fifteen different languages. It is important to note that the followers were not preaching repentance of sin and they were not preaching the Gospel. They were praising God, worshiping and glorifying him in the languages of all of those who ere drawn to their location by the sound of the rushing wind.

 

At first, the onlookers were amazed and bewildered. Then they wondered and were perplexed. They began to ask "What does this mean?" It is easy to see why they were so confused. The people speaking all of these foreign languages were commoners. It would have been obvious to everyone observing that there was no understandable reason for the amazing display.

 

When the followers of Christ were questioned as perhaps being drunk, Peter stood up and preached the first sermon to be delivered by the new church. After Peter's sermon, about 3,000 people accepted Christ as Savior and were Baptized.

 

They continued on in the fellowship of the new church and others were being added to their number each day.

 

Significant Occurrences in Acts, Chapter 2:

 

The Day of Pentecost

1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

 

Acts 2: 1-4

 

-          The disciples were all together in a house in Jerusalem.

-          The Holy Spirit came upon them like a violent rushing wind.

-          Tongues of fire appeared and settled down on them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit

-          In this state, began to speak in the tongues of other nations, as led b the Holy Spirit.

 

 

5Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7They were amazed and astonished, saying, "Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8"And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?

9"Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs--we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God."

12And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, "What does this mean?"

13But others were mocking and saying, "They are full of sweet wine."

Acts 2: 5-13

 

-          The Jews from many nations, who were in Jerusalem heard the noise, and came to see what was happening and were confused when they heard their own languages being spoken by men from Galilee, who should not have known their language. The scripture seems to indicate that each foreigner seemed to be hearing his unique language coming from the group of disciples.

-          Luke then lists 15 separate (evidently linguistically distinct) regions represented in the group observing the disciples and each hearing them speaking of the mighty deeds of God.

-          Those observing the disciples were both confused and amazed by what they were witnessing, but others mocked the disciples, saying that they evidently were drunk on sweet wine.

 

Peter's Sermon

14But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: "Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15"For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:


    17'AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,' God says,
         'THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND;
         AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY,
         AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS,
         AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;
    18EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN,
         I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT
         AND THEY SHALL PROPHESY.
    19'AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE
         AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW,
         BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.
    20'THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS
         AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD,
         BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.
    21'AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.'

22"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know-- 23this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24"But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. 25"For David says of Him,

         'I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE;
         FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN.
    26'THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED;
         MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE;
    27BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES,
         NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.
    28'YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE;
         YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.'

29"Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30"And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, 31he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY. 32"This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33"Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34"For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:

         'THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD,
         "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
    35UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET."'

36"Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified."

The Ingathering

37Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"

 

Acts 2: 14-37

 

-          Peter took his stand with the eleven and preached the first sermon of the new church.

-          The disciples are not drunk, as it is still early in the morning.

-          They are fulfilling Joel' prophesy concerning the last days. Peter never mentions speaking in tongues, his message to those drawn to the believers by the rushing wind concerns prophesy.

-          God will pour forth His spirit on all mankind

-          Sons and Daughters will prophesy

-          Young men shall see visions

-          Old men will dream dreams

-          The spirit will be poured out on everyone, even bond slaves will prophesy.

-          And God will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below - blood, fire vapor of smoke, the sun will be turned into darkness and the moon to blood (events that occurred the day of Jesus' crucifixion that all of the people present would have remembered had they been in Jerusalem on that day.

-          The day these things happen will be the Great and Glorious Day of the Lord and everyone who calls on his name will be saved.

-          Jesus performed miracles and wonders and signs from God in your midst, and following the predetermined plan of God, you delivered him over to be nailed to the cross by godless men.

-          But God raised Him up again.

-          Through Him, God put an end to the agony of Death, because death had no power over him.

-          About Him, David said, I saw the Lord always on my presence. He is at my right hand and my heart was glad and my tongue exulted. My flesh will live in hope because my soul will not be abandoned to Hades.

-          Nor will you allow your Holy one to undergo decay.

-          The one that David spoke of was to come from his house, by oath of God and would sit upon His throne.

-          When God made this oath to David, He was looking ahead to Jesus

-          We are witnesses that God raised Jesus up again and Jesus, exulted to the right hand of God and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit caused what you have seen here today to occur.

-          Everyone in Israel should know for certain that God has made Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah (Christ),

 

 

38Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39"For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself."

40And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!"

Acts 2: 37-40

 

-          The ingathering of the Church.

-          Peter answers the "What shall we do question with the offer of Christ.

-          When they heard Peter's sermon, they asked "Brethren, what shall we do?"

-          Peter told then to:

1-     Repent (Turn away - toward God). Repentance has nothing to do with weeping and crying over our sins. Repent means to change your mind and your thinking, from what you thought in the past, to a new way of thinking.

2-     Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Baptism is an outward declaration - a symbolic gesture of the change of mind that comes through repentance. When we are baptized, we are telling everyone that we have died to our old ways and that from that point on, we belong to Christ. That as he died for us, so we are willing to die to self and to unite with Him. Through the symbolism of death, we enter into a new life.

3-     Receive the Holy Spirit - Here, Peter says that if we Repent and are baptized, that the third person of the Trinity - God the Holy Spirit will come and live within us. In Peter's mind, the work of the Holy Spirit will be to make Christ real and visible to us, within us and through us. The power of the Holy Spirit is to keep Christ with us for today and for as long as we will have Him in our lives. That is receiving the Holy Spirit.

-          Peter indicated that the promise of Jesus was for them and their children and for all who are far off, as many as God calls to Himself. The promise of Jesus is available to everyone (anyone). It is available to the Jews and their children and to the Gentiles (Those who are far off). For anyone willing to repent, The promise of Christ (The Holy Spirit) will be given.

-          Peter says that this is available to those to whom God calls to Himself. We do not really find God. He calls us to Himself - He finds us. Those who decide to seek out God are acting on their own will, but it is God's desire that they come to him. In John 6:44, Jesus says "No man can come unto me except my Father draw him," Even today, God is drawing people form all over the world to Him. What is the will of God? - That is the will of God - That we come to Him.

-          I am thankful that Peter knew that we were created by a God big enough to seek out all of us.

-          This is not all Peter preached that day. He spoke other words (evidently many words - not recorded by Luke) and exhorted them to be saved from this perverse generation. This links the will of God (that we come to Him) with our human will. We feel Him drawing us. There is a pull on our hearts straight from God, but it is our human will to respond or not. Stepping over from where we are (the sinful nature of mankind) to God is our decision and our act (response to His call). Repentance is very much a stepping over from our old self to Him. The minute we do that, we receive the Holy Spirit - quietly gently, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us.

 

41So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

43Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.44And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47praising God and having favor with all the people And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 2: 41-47

 

-          About 3000 people heard Peter's words and received them. They were baptized and about 3,000 souls were added to the Church.

-          They continually devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. The teaching of the Apostles was the scripture. Fellowship, which means sharing together, is a common joy of Christianity. In fellowship, we share our joys, concerns and burdens. We show love for each other talk to each other and pray for each other as a part of fellowship. Fellowship provides us with a feeling of community, commonality and belonging. It has always been that way and continues in the same way today. In addition to fellowship, they worshiped (broke bread and prayed) together. When we break bread and pray together, we relate ourselves to God and to each other - we identify to Him and with Him.

-          Many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

-          All who believed were together and had all things in common. They began selling their property and possessions and sharing them with any who were in need.

-          They continued going to the Temple and fellowshipping together with gladness and sincerity and praising God.

-          "And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved."

 

 

Copyright 2009, by ToBeLikeHim Ministries

 

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