Pentecost: Promise Fulfilled
Read Acts 2
Good morning, Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers and grandmothers out there. Perhaps there is no greater text than the one before us today Mother’s as we can all affirm that it takes the very Spirit of God to nurture and train up and disciple your precious children. Even though there are days when you seem perplexed and you want to burst out like you are speaking in some unknown tongue. 🙂
As we look at this portion of scripture I would like for us to look at it in three points.
- Pentecost: Promise Fulfilled (vs. 1-13)
- Peter’s Sermon (vs. 14-41)
- Partnership in the Gospel (vs. 42-47)
Pentecost: Promise Fulfilled (vs. 1-13)
Jesus had taught the disciples what is recorded in John 14 concerning the person, purpose, and power of the promised Holy Spirit to be given them. It was expected, anticipated, and welcomed as we saw in chapter one that they gathered together in one accord to pray and wait upon the coming of God the Holy Spirit. Jesus had promised not to leave them as orphans but to help them.
And so, our text opens on the day of Pentecost. “Pentecost” simply meaning “50 days”, that is 50 days from Passover but specifically the feast of weeks celebrating the receiving of the 10 commandments on Sinai by Moses. Lev. 23:16 told Israel to “count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath.” So, right here reveals the importance of understanding the Bible’s redemptive story as it draws on these ancient texts and reveals their fulfillment just as Peter does with the Psalms and the book of Joel later in this chapter. Leviticus 23 chronicles these feasts. This is significant because Jesus Himself constantly referred to the Law and Prophets otherwise known to us as the Old Testament for the purpose of revealing who He was, what He would accomplish and what would take place concerning Him. If you remember, Passover was the celebration of the deliverance from the angel of death the night that God pronounced the final plague upon Egypt by the means of the blood of specific first born lambs to be chosen amongst the people and the blood placed over their doors. In the same way and on the same day Jesus “the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world” was slain to deliver His people for His purposes. For John, in the book of Revelation
5:12 says, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
and later in Revelation 13:8, “…everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”
While the events of Exodus happened they also were a shadow of things to come. So the feast of firstfruits and pentecost were fulfilled in Jesus as He was the first to raise from the dead and stay alive and ushering in a New Covenant in fulfillment to prophecy of the Old Testament. Jesus sent His Spirit as prophesied by the prophet Joel, and that which takes place in this chapter before us was planned by God according to His excellent purposes.
Notice also in vs. 1 a repeated phrase. “They were all together in one place.” 1:3 Jesus appeared to them collectively, 1:6 “when they had come together” 1:14 they were in one accord” and now here in 2:1 they “were all together in one place” One of the driving principles in the book of Acts is the unity of the church and its cohesiveness concerning their mission! Brothers and sisters, we are not to try to do this alone! It grieves me to meet so many people today that say they are done with “organized church”. While I listen and sometimes agree with the pains and abuses in our local assemblies these days my heart breaks that we would come to such an unbiblical conclusion as to proclaim separation from each other as a way to obey the Great Commission and to somehow find unity in such behavior. While lives are busy with work and school and travel, this church is why attendance is necessary for membership in a local church. If we fail to gather together, are we really together? If a believer constantly separates themselves from other believers are they in fact a believer? I am not saying they are not, it just begs the question. Is togetherness an essential for the church? I think Acts is clearly saying, “yes”. In fact this is the foundation of our church name “The Gathering”. We believe these truths, we gather together to worship and read His word and then we leave this place to fulfill His commands as His co-laborers.
Now, it is within the context of this gathering that “suddenly” something happened. This is awesome because God reveals that our lives and events of life happen in His timing rarely our own. It suddenly happened…… When He decided to create the world, He created, when He desired to reveal Himself to Abraham He did! When He delivered Israel He decided to confront Moses in the burning bush. It was His timing to bring David to the throne of Israel and in the fullness of time God sent His Son. In this event, it was time to send His Holy Spirit, for it was time. His time, to fill these humbled men and women with power from on high to continue exalting Himself to all creation through the preaching of the gospel to all people. Notice Luke’s description verse 2 “like a rushing wind” perhaps no one else knows that sound like Ashe County residents. 🙂 Remember Jesus Himself likens the Holy Spirit to wind.John 3:8 in His conversation with Nicodemus,
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
But accompanying this awesome sound was the appearing of tongues on fire that rested upon them. But this was not all, look at verse 4 they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now we may ask why the Lord was doing this and what was the purpose? After all it seem strange right? Well if you remember Genesis 11 it says that God confused their languages so that they abandoned the Babel project. Now in a time where God desires His message to spread quickly and efficiently we find Him gifting those present with the ability to communicate His gospel and display His power over even the tongues of men.
Notice vs. 5, (read vs. 5-11)
So it is clear that these are human languages meant to display God’s authority over every tongue tribe and nation. Notice vs 5 that these are devout Jews speaking, however, God was not just speaking to Hebrews, or in Aramaic, but all languages though these Jewish mouths.
In bible school one of my professors prior to teaching this passage (without the rest of the class knowing) had gathered students in our class that spoke another language besides english, and he had them on cue stand up in the middle of our study and begin speaking in their language. German, Danish, Vietnamese, Spanish, Russian, and a few others. It sounded quite chaotic but beautiful at the same time. These was their heart languages and yet when spoken at the same time it seemed to cause confusion. Perhaps this is what it was like. Nevertheless, vs. 1 tells us that they heard them speaking the works of God in their own tongues. Have you ever experienced being in a foreign culture and hearing foreign languages and you seem to just tune them out but what happens when you hear someone speaking english? You perk up and all the sudden you are focused on what is being said. These people are hearing the Word in their own language. We have had the Bible in English for over 500 years and yet there are many people groups around the globe who have never had God’s word in their own language let alone heard the Gospel in their language. This right here in this text reminds us that the mission is not yet complete. While it is exciting to see the advancement of the gospel through technology and that we hope in our generation to have Bible projects started in every known people group on the planet, it is also grievous that the majority of the church is unengaged in this great commission of our Lord. Christ does not just desire a mere communication here and there but our lives! It could take your whole life to learn, study and put into print a Bible for a particular people group, that is dedication! It involves a life commitment and endurance even through trials and adversity. What are we doing with our lives individually and corporately to advance the gospel. I am thoroughly encouraged that God has seen fit to use us in Ashe County and in Central America as we seek to distribute His Word and aid in planting churches as He sees fit.
So, these people are hearing these languages vs. 12 and they are amazed and perplexed. And rightly so they ask, “what do these things mean?” while others mocked says, “They are filled with new wine.” So the promise of the sending of the Helper, The Holy Spirit was accomplished and now to answer this question of those present Peter now preaches His first sermon in a pentecostal church. So the second point in my sermon contains a sermon in itself.
Peter’s Sermon (vs. 14-41)
Look at verse 14 (read 14-15)
Peter quickly stuffs the idea that they are drunk with new wine after all it is only 9 am. The day began at 6am and referred to each consecutive hour after that, so the 3rd hour would have been 9am. So, after explaining that they indeed were not drunk although confusing to hear different languages all at once, Peter refers them to the prophet Joel. Again, these are Jews, they knew the law and the prophets.
So Peter chooses Joel 2:28-32 as his sermon text as Caision did a couple of weeks ago and begins quoting it to them. Look at verse 17 (read 17-21) Just as we looked at in the Prophet Joel we see a “near” and “far” aspect of prophecy and it is no different here. The Holy Spirit has been sent and He has arrived as prophesied here by the prophet Joel. Peter continues
Vs. 22 Peter now transitions to Christ.
Peter preaches the gospel in short form here. Notice he says, he was a man (vs. 22) He performed wonders and works and signs that God did through Him in their midst, He was delivered up as planned by God (not man…..Jesus had foretold this in the book of John chapter 10 vs 18,
“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
Vs. 24 God raised Him up , loosing the pangs of death, because it was impossible for Him to be held by it. What glorious news Peter has just shared of the coming of Jesus, the life and identity of Jesus and His mission to come and die and rise again.
Remember at the time the Old Testament was all the early church had and so he goes to Psalm 16 and 110. We know the Psalms were on the mind of Peter for he used the Psalms as his prooftext for finding a replacement for Judas in chapter 1. Look at verse 25. (read 25-28)
Psalm 16 not only speaks of David’s life and reign but points beyond it as Peters explains starting in verse 29.
Peter simply preaches the text of Ps. 16:8-11. This does not mean that what David wrote did not apply to him as far as taking joy in God alone and having the hope of resurrection but here again is the “near-far” Prophetic genre of the Psalms. Peter explains for us in vs. 29 that David while having hope in God died and was buried. His tomb present to that present day. Vs 30 that Jesus fulfills the prophecy that a descendants of David would sit on the throne, that he would not stay in the grave but would rise again vs. 31, that Jesus would be raised by God and that the disciples sitting there were witnesses of the fulfillment of Psalm 16! He goes on vs. 33 that Christ has been exalted at the right hand of the Father and has sent the Holy Spirit which they all just experienced, then in vs 34 he quotes Ps. 111:1 saying that God’s ultimate plan is to put His enemies under Christ’s feet. It is at this point vs 36 that He brings the sermon to a close by giving some application. He says that they are to know that Christ indeed is the Messiah they had been waiting for! This indeed is not a morning drinking party, it was the real thing, scripture fulfilled in their hearing!
Isn’t this cool? We are seeing Peter preach a sermon from the Old Testament, explain it leaving the results of this sermon to God. This is a huge encouragement to us as we share God’s Word…..It is sufficient. “Preach the Word be ready in season and out of season”
Look at the response to his sermon. Vs 37
“They were cut to the heart” does this not remind us of what all sermons should do? Often our hearts are calloused against God and His Word a people trying to hide the need and yet desire of our souls. As Hebrews 4:12 states:
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
So vs 37 as they were cut to the heart as the Word of God does, hey asked the following question, “what shall we do?” Great question! What ought we to do when faced with the wondrous reality of who Christ is what He has done and that He is alive seated at Christ’s right hand? What does Peter say to this? “Vs 38 Repent and be baptized. two very practical things. Repentance is to literally change one’s mind and turn decisively toward that which has convinced the mind. If you indeed have come to the knowledge that Christ is indeed both Lord and Christ and you believe on Him, it will show in your change of thinking, behavior and lifestyle. Notice it began with hearing God’s word, then understanding God’s word and then responding to it in faith and repentance. What was the practical way they could obey? Baptism in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sin and then to receive the Spirit!
So while Peter preached his first sermon in a Pentecostal Church in fact, the first pentecostal church was a baptist church as we will see here in vs. 38 the response to the sermon was to repent and be baptized. So for the record Baptists are Spirit filled because they preach even from The Old Testament as Peter did in a clear human language expositionally, they trust God at His word not to return void and then are ready to baptize those who repent encouraging dependence upon the Holy Spirit for life and ministry! What an awesome definition of a Reformed Baptist!
Look at vs.39 This promise is for all whom God calls to Himself. Believer, know this, God gives to all His children the Helper they need. Be encouraged and of good cheer if He has called you unto Himself.
Vs. 40 Peter encourages them with other words exhorting them to save themselves from this crooked generation, that is separating themselves from those who mock concerning these things and would desire to silence God from speaking as in putting Jesus to death.
So, what happened further? Vs. 41 those who received his word were baptized, and 3,000 souls were added to the confessing number. Before we think this in normative as far as evangelism goes,let us not be discouraged when only one repents! As Jesus said in Luke 15:10 “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
This is also encouragement to us that not only is the Word of God sufficient, but also God is sufficient to draw the sinner unto Himself.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:44
So we have seen the Promise Fulfilled in the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we have heard Peter’s sermon and now the partnership or fellowship of the believers in the Gospel.
Partnership in the Gospel (vs. 42-47)
Look at vs. 42
What did these believers do? Notice the following:
- Believers built up by the clear teaching of scripture.(42)
- Believers ate together (42)
- Believers praying fervently together. (42)
- Believers in awe of the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.(43)
- Believers not allowing class distinction to divide them. (44)
- Believers sharing their possessions with those in need (45)
- Believers living life together in community with glad and generous hearts (46)
- Praising God (47)
- Unbelievers attracted and converted to Christ. (47)
And God continues this in our day as many continue to be drawn to Him.
- Believer – is your life oriented and leveraged in such a way as to make the Gospel known to those around you? Is it your priority? Are you depending on the Holy Spirit? Are you living in community or hiding from the family of God?
- To those who have never placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no better time than now to respond to His amazing love. He has died in our place for sin, has rose again giving us hope and a future and invites us to co-labor with Him in the spreading of His excellencies. Do as Peter commanded in response, repent and be baptized.
- Perhaps you are here this morning and you are rejoicing that you know Christ and your life is set apart to serve His kingdom purposes but in some ways you follow at a distance. Perhaps you have not joined us as a church family and for whatever reason you have not made that commitment as we are challenged here at the end of Chapter 2. Next week we are hosting starting point and you will have a perfect opportunity to begin that process of understanding who we are as a church and have the opportunity to ask questions and learn what it means to be a church member here at the Gathering.
Respond to the Lord this morning, you need no invitation, it has already been given, let’s pray.
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