The Coming of the Promised Holy Spirit: Acts 2:1-4
What was the importance of the Day of Pentecost? Warren Weirsbe, gives us this account:
The Feast of Pentecost took place fifty days after the Feast of First Fruits. (The word Pentecost means fiftieth.) It is outlined in Lev. 23:15-21. Just as Passover is a picture of the death of Jesus (1 Cor 5:7), and First fruits a picture of the resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15;20-23), so Pentecost pictures the coming of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). The loaves of bread with leaven were presented that day, a picture of the Church composed of Jews and Gentiles (In 1 Cor. 10:17 the Church pictured as a loaf of bread). The leaven in the bread speaks of sin yet in the Church. Actually there are two occurrences of the Spirit’s baptism in Acts: upon the Jews in Acts 2, and upon the Gentiles in Acts 10. This illustrates the two loaves presented at Pentecost by the priests.”
The events that took place that day were a fulfillment of Matthew 16:18. There is one interesting fact that should be noted here. No where in Acts 2 does it say, point blank, the Church of Christ began on the Day of Pentecost. We find the inference in Acts 11:5.
It is this writer’s conviction that only the Twelve were present on that day. In the original text there were no chapter or verse breaks. Here is Acts 1:26 followed by Acts 2:1. Read them as if there were no chapter breaks. “And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.” It tells us that Matthias was numbered with the eleven. In the next verse they were all together. Who were the “They?” It refers to the Matthias being numbered with the eleven. Only the Twelve Apostles were present on Pentecost. Jesus, before His ascension, in Acts 1:8, had told them that they would receive the Holy Spirit. This as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and not the Gift of the Holy Spirit that is promised to all believers in verse 38.
As the events in chapter 2 transpired, they were still in the upper room. In all probability they left the upper room in verse 3. The Bible states that God sent from Heaven a sound like a mighty wind. This is how Dr. Luke describes it. It tells us that the tongues of fire appeared over each of the twelve. In the next verse they received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. What Jesus had promised had come to fruition. This event only took place twice in the New Testament; here in Acts 2 and also in Acts 10. There are no instances of this baptism anywhere else in the New Covenant scriptures. All believers are promised the Gift of the Holy Spirit (verse 38-39), but we are not promised or told to seek after the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
It is important that we realize that they were speaking and praising God in known languages. This was not undecipherable gibberish. They were speaking (or at least the hearers were hearing them in their own languages) in the well known languages of the day.
They Heard The Apostles In Their Own Languages (Acts 2:5-13)
Why were there so many different nationalities assembled in Jerusalem? There is a simple answer; they were there to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. The Jewish religion had gained converts from all over the known world. The sound like a mighty wind probably brought the multitudes together. How big was the number? There were at least 3,000 because that many became Christians. Those assembled could not understands how they were hearing the Twelve in their own language. They were very perplexed. The Galileans were not known for their proficiency in speech. They had like, our Southern neighbors, a distinct accent. The Bible tells us they were still confused. They realized that something was happening but could not fathom the importance. In Acts 1:9-11 we have a listing of the people’s and languages represented on Pentecost
“Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes. Cretans and Arabs, we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”
Verse 12 shows us that the multitudes were still at a loss for what was transporting. In verse 13 some said they were drunk.
The First Gospel Message (Acts 2:14-36)
We find Peter acting as the spokesman for the Twelve. Less than two months earlier it was he who denied his Lord. Here we find him possessing blondness and ready to stand up and proclaim that Jesus Christ the only hope of the world. Peter tells them that they were not drunk as it was only the third hour, they is, 9:00 a.m. On feast days the Jews neither ate or drank until 10:00 a.m. or 12:00 p.m.
In verses 16-21, Peter relates that the events transporting we’re prophesied by Joel in Joel 2:28-31. In verses 22-36, he gives them a review of the life and times of Jesus. He says that Jesus proved Himself to be the Messiah by the working of miracles among the people. He also brings out the fact that all Jesus said and did was in the eternal plan of God. Jesus saw us in our sinful condition and loved us so much that He was willing to come to earth to die that we might be redeemed (Rom. 5:8). He died on the cruel cross of Calvary, was buried and arose on the third day according to the scriptures.
Peter then quotes from Psalm 110:1. This passage refers to the present ministry of the Lord Jesus, that of sitting at the right hand of the Father.
The Results of Gospel Preaching. (Acts 2:37-47)
Peter got to the main point of his message in verse 36. He informed them that they had killed the Christ of God, as Luke refers to Jesus in the account of the good confession in Luke 9:20. The One that they had killed, God raised up to conquer death. This was a strong charge, but a true one. Perhaps some of the people assembled were present when Jesus was brought out by Pilate and called on him to execute Jesus.
These people were now ready to make a complete reversal in their lives. Just weeks ago, they rejected the Messiah, now they were willing to put their trust in Him. They had been convinced by the overwhelming evidence that the apostles presented. Because they were convinced of His resurrection they were willing to accept Him as Lord of their lives.
They had recognized their sins and wanted to know if there was any way to remedy the dark deed that they had done. They wanted to know if their was anyway they could turn to Jesus. They wanted to know if their sins could be forgiven. Next we have the question of the ages: “What shall we do?” They had come the place where they were willing to put their trust in Jesus as Lord of their lives. They believed that He was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. In verse 38, Peter gave the answer that should be given today to a lost and dying world: “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
We want to break down the different phrases of the passage. Repentance meant a complete reversal in their lives. We must be willing to live for Him who died for us. In Galatians 3:26-27, Paul says that all who are in Christ have been baptized. In the Name of Jesus Christ means by His authority. For the forgiveness of sins: Jesus promises that He will forget your past sins; He promises you a new life. The Gift of the Holy Spirit: All who are baptized into Christ are promised the Gift of the Holy Spirit. It is given at the time of the new birth. The Holy Spirit enables us to live the Christian life. In verse 40 the Gift of the Holy Spirit is promised to all who accept God’s saving grace and seek to obey His commandments.
Peter continued teaching the people. The record tells us that on that day 3,000 souls were added to the Church of Christ, being baptized into Christ for the remission of their sins.
Verse 42 gives us some of things the early church shared in.
- They devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching. The 3,000 continued to learn from the apostles the things God wanted them to hear. The Apostles were expounding the Word of God to eager converts.
- Fellowship. Christian fellowship is wonderful. Christian fellowship is sharing the common life. J. W. McGarvey gives this account “For the purpose of being taught by the apostles, they must have assembled together, and this was the occasion for manifesting their fellowship, which term expresses their common participation in religious privileges. It has been urged by some writers, that the term koinonia should here be rendered contribution, instead of fellowship, and that it refers to contributions which were regularly made in the public assemblies, for the poor. That the term is used in this limited sense in at least two places in the New Testament, must be admitted, viz.: in Romans 15:26, “It hath pleased them of Macedonia to make a certain contribution for the poor of the saints in Jerusalem;” and in 2 Corinthians 9:13, where Paul says the saints “glorify God for your liberal contribution to them and to all men.” But such is not, by any means, its common usage. It usually occurs in such connections as the following: “You were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ.” [1 Corinthians 1:9.] “The favor of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.” [2 Corinthians 13:14.] “And truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” [1 John 1:3.] “We have fellowship with one another.” [1:7.]”
- The early church practiced the observance of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
- They were a praying church; they believed in the power of prayer.
The Apostles were continually performing wonders and confirming their office by these signs. Verse 45-46 do not teach “spiritual communism,” as some teach. The pilgrims that were converted on Pentecost, at least some of them, we believe, stayed on to be further taught the Word of God. The Christians in Jerusalem undoubtedly helped them with lodging and good. Communism says “what is yours is mine.” Christianity says “What is mine is yours.” There is a vast difference.
The early Jewish Christians still went to the Temple. They were now complete Jews. But they were also followers of Jesus Christ. They met on the first day of the week to break bread in commemoration of His death, looking forward to His return. The record tells us there were souls added each day. The early church experienced phenomenal growth. May we seek to preach the Gospel to the lost, expecting God to bring forth the increase.
Next lesson will come from chapter 3. The lesson will be titled “The Healing of the Lame Man and It’s Results.”