Acts 2:1-4

Sunday Morning Bible Study

 June 8, 1997

Introduction

After rising from the dead, Jesus appeared to His disciples for a period of forty days.

Just before He made His final ascension into heaven, Jesus instructed the disciples to wait around in Jerusalem to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

As we've mentioned before, they would have to wait for seven days before the event occurs.

:1-4 Pentecost arrives

:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come

fully come - sumpleroo - to fill completely; to complete entirely, be fulfilled

The word typically means to "fill completely", but here it's talking about a particular time being "filled", or being "fulfilled".

This is talking about some kind of prophetic fulfillment.

:1 Pentecost

The feast of Pentecost was one of the three feasts each year where all Jewish men were required to come to Jerusalem to celebrate. (Ex.34:23)

This means that Jewish people from all around the world will be in Jerusalem at this time.

It was called "Pentecost" (meaning "fifty") because it was celebrated 50 days after the Passover, and was also known as the "Feast of Weeks", because it occurred on the day after a "week of weeks" (7x7=49 days) from the Passover.

Jewish tradition has it that it was also the date that the Law was given by God to Moses.

It was also known as the "Feast of First Fruits" (Ex.34:22), and was primarily a celebration of the beginning of the summer harvest, where the first sheaves of the harvest were offered up to God as a reminder of Who was providing for the nation.

It's not coincidental that the Holy Spirit fell upon the church that day, bringing in the "first fruits" of the cross, the "first fruits" of the gospel, as 2,000 people will respond to the message preached and be saved, and the church will be born.

It was a prophetic fulfillment of the feast.

:1 they were all with one accord in one place.

with one accord - "with a single passion" - this is the same phrase we looked at a few weeks ago back in chapter one:

(Acts 1:14 KJV) These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

We mentioned back then what an essential part that unity plays with the work of the Holy Spirit.

But here we see an additional element. They weren't just "with one accord", but were also "in one place".

Lesson:

The importance of being together in church.

Some folks like to say that they just worship God out in the mountains.

On the day of Pentecost, all those folks would have missed out, because the Holy Spirit only fell on those that had been gathered together in that place.

Sometimes we can fall into the mindset that going to church is "optional". It really isn't.

(Heb 10:24-25 KJV) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: {25} Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

We need to be together in church because we need to have others who will encourage us in the Lord, provoking us to love and good works.

The catch is, we also have to stick around to get to know each other if we're really going to be encouraging each other.

Illustration

The church is often compared to a body.

How would you feel if your kidneys decided to spend the day on the golf course, when the rest of you was at work?

You'd feel like being in a hospital.

We need each other. We need each other's contributions to the whole.

:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven

Now, how did they do that?

Lesson:

This was a work of God.

I think we do damage to the work of God when we try to whip people up into an emotional frenzy in order to receive some kind of spiritual experience.

Illustration

A traveling evangelist always put on a grand finale at his revival meetings. When he was to preach at a church, he would secretly hire a small boy to sit in the ceiling rafters with a dove in a cage. Toward the end of his sermon, the preacher would shout for the Holy Spirit to come down, and the boy in the rafters would dutifully release the dove. At one revival meeting, however, nothing happened when the preacher called for the Holy Spirit to descend. He again raised his arms and exclaimed: "Come down, Holy Spirit!" Still no sign of the dove.

The preacher then heard the anxious voice of the small boy call down from the rafters: "Sir, a yellow cat just ate the Holy Spirit. Shall I throw down the yellow cat?"

They didn't have to whip themselves up, God just did it.

:2 as of a rushing mighty wind

as of a rushing mighty wind - the sound wasn't a rushing mighty wind, but it just sounded like one.

It's not that everybody's hair started blowing and papers started flying, it just got noisy.

The concept of wind being related to the Holy Spirit is an appropriate one.

The word "spirit" itself can mean "wind" or "breath".

Wind is invisible, yet can also move to demonstrate great power.

Illustration

A week ago, the town of Jarrell Texas was hit by an incredible tornado. "On the Fujita Scale of tornado intensity, an F5 is the worst measurement that can be registered. The twister that hit Jarrell was one of those, with winds estimated at more than 60 m.p.h. that stripped the hides off cows, upended 50,000 lb. garbage trucks, lifted the asphalt off the road and turned the Double Creek Estates subdivision, a community of about 75 homes and small businesses, into a dreary brown plain littered with rain-soaked lumber; jagged, anonymous pieces of metal, and the bare, black bellies of truck frames." (Time, June 9, 1997, pg.35)

But the Spirit doesn't always work as a "rushing mighty wind".

The Spirit can also be seen as a gentle breeze as well -

Elijah had been running from his enemy, Jezebel, and was hiding out in a cave, when God appeared to him -

1Ki 19:9-12 (NAS) Then he came there to a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD [came] to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 10 And he said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." 11 So He said, "Go forth, and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; [but] the LORD [was] not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, [but] the LORD [was] not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, [but] the LORD [was] not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.

It was with the gentle blowing that God began to speak to Elijah.

Lesson:

Be ready to recognize the work of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit doesn't always work the way you think He will.

Sometimes He's a mighty, rushing wind, sometimes just a gentle, blowing breeze.

It's wrong to think that the Holy Spirit is going to work the same way every time.

Later on in the book of Acts, it's not going to be with a sound of rushing wind, but with an earthquake:

Ac 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Yet even later, people will be filled with the Holy Spirit, without any physical phenomena like wind or earthquakes (Acts 8:17; 10:44-38; 19:6)

Today, some people have the idea that the Spirit is only working in certain situations where certain phenomena are occurring like:

everyone must be speaking with tongues.

people laughing out of control or barking like dogs.

people being "slain" in the Spirit.

Yet there is no single outward phenomena that is going to mark the work of the Spirit.

Perhaps if I spent more time being sensitive to the things of God, He might not have to hit me over the head with a 2x4 to get my attention!

:2 and it filled all the house

The sound was everywhere.

:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

First there was a sound to hear, now there is something to see.

appeared - optanomai - to look at, to appear

There seems to be a visible manifestation going on here. This word speaks of the eyes registering some kind of input.

There have been times when the Holy Spirit has had a physical, visible, manifestation.

John the Baptist was able to see the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus:

(John 1:32-33 KJV) And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. {33} And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

cloven - diamerizo - to cut in pieces; to distribute. This word is used in -

Mt 27:35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments

The sense is that the phenomena came down from the ceiling (from heaven) as a single unit, then divided itself among the individuals in the room.

We might translate the phrase, "there appeared unto them tongues that were distributing themselves"

tongues - glossa - the tongue.

This could be talking about "tongues" as the sounds they were hearing, but it seems that in this verse, the emphasis is on the thing they were seeing.

These "tongues" were the shape of the fire-like manifestations above the heads of the disciples.

like as of fire - wsei puroj - or, "as if, of fire"

Apparently the appearance of these "tongues" was like individual flames settling upon each disciple.

I wonder if it could also refer to the way that the tongues distributed themselves, spreading across the group as a fire spreads.

This could be part of what John the Baptist meant by:

Mt 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire:

Lesson:

Holy Spirit fire.

Fire, as seen in Old Testament worship, was the way the sacrifices were consumed on the altar.

It was the way in which the animal was given to God, as it was totally burnt up in the flames.

The Holy Spirit works in much the same way in our lives, consuming the "me", and leaving only the "Him".

Quote:

Do you want to be filled with a Spirit who, though he is like Jesus in his gentleness and love, will nevertheless demand to be Lord of your life? Are you willing to let your personality be taken over by another, even if that other be the Spirit of God himself? If the Spirit takes charge of your life he will expect unquestioning obedience in everything. He will not tolerate in you the self-sins even though they are permitted and excused by most Christians. You will find the Spirit to be in sharp opposition to the easy ways of the world and of the mixed multitude within the precincts of religion. He will be jealous over you for good. He will not allow you to boast or swagger or show off. He will take the direction of your life away from you. He will reserve the right to test you, to discipline you, to chasten you for your soul's sake. He may strip you of many of those borderline pleasures which other Christians enjoy but which are to you a source of refined evil. Through it all he will enfold you in a love so vast, so mighty, so all-embracing, so wondrous that your very losses will seem like gains and your small pains like pleasure.

A. W. Tozer (18971963)

:4 and began to speak with other tongues

other tongues - they began to speak with languages they did not previously know.

There are two questions I want to address, but in order to have time for communion this week, I'll address them next week.

They are:

1.     Are the gifts like tongues and prophecy for today, or were they just things for the times of the apostles?

2.     Does everybody who is filled with the Holy Spirit speak in tongues?

Let me just point out quickly for today, that while it says that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, it doesn't specifically say that they all spoke in tongues.

But we'll get into that more deeply next week.

:4 as the Spirit gave them utterance.

utterance - apophtheggomai - this isn't a word that means gibberish, but speech "belonging to dignified and elevated discourse"

They started speaking lofty kinds of things.

As we'll see next week, they are speaking of the wonderful works of God.

Note that it was the Holy Spirit that was in control.

It was the Holy Spirit giving out each "utterance", which would then be spoken.

You kind of wonder if it isn't being done one at a time, since later in the chapter, all the peoples of various languages are able to hear and understand what's being spoken in their own language.

:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost

Lesson:

Be filled with the Spirit.

The concept of "being filled" carries the idea that you're either empty to begin with, or at least running dry.

And we're going to see very clearly in the book of Acts that the same individuals are being "filled" over and over and over again:

(Acts 4:31 KJV) And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Perhaps they have to be filled over and over again because they leak.

Or maybe it's that we get filled with something other than the Holy Spirit.

Quote:

If we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and self-seeking and pleasure and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God, and I believe many a man is praying to God to fill him when he is full already with something else.

Dwight Lyman Moody (18371899)

But when we are filled with the Spirit, then there's no room for the other stuff.

Illustration:

A man who drank heavily was converted to Christ and lived victoriously for several weeks. One day as he passed the open door of a tavern, the pungent odor drifting out aroused his old appetite for liquor. Just then he saw this sign in the window of a nearby cafe: "All the buttermilk you can drink -- 25 cents!" Dashing inside, he ordered one glass, then another, and still another. After finishing the third he walked past the saloon and was no longer tempted. He was so full of buttermilk that he had no room for that which would be injurious to him.

Jesus said,

John 7:37b-38 If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. {38} He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Are you ready for more?

Are you ready to be filled?