Evening Bible Study
The book of Acts takes up where the gospels leave off. Jesus has died on
the cross for our sins, risen on the third day, and
just before He ascended into heaven He told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem
for the promised Holy Spirit. They would be waiting in an upper room for about
2:1-4 Spirit Baptism
:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they
were all with one accord in one place.
:1 the Day of 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 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 3,000 people will respond to the
message preached and be saved, and the church will be born.
This is a prophetic fulfillment of the
That’s the sense of the day having “fully come”, it’s being prophetically
:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as
of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were
:2 a rushing mighty wind
The language doesn’t say that a mighty rushing wind filled the house, but
the sound filled the house, and the sound was like the sound of a mighty
The concept of “wind” is the root behind the Hebrew and Greek words for
In Hebrew the word is ruach, and in Greek the word is pneuma, but both words mean
“breath, wind, or spirit”.
Recognizing the Spirit
In Acts 2, it’s a “rushing mighty wind”.
For Elijah, it was a “still, small voice”.
(1 Ki 19:12b NKJV)…and after the fire a still small
We need to be careful not to put the Spirit in a box and think that He’s
always going to act in certain ways.
Jesus connected being “born again” with the work of the Holy Spirit:
(Jn 3:8 NKJV) The wind
blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it
comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
In a way we need to learn how to be “balloon pilots”. To
pilot a hot air balloon, you need to learn a lot about wind currents. You can
only go where the wind blows you.
Air Balloon Pilot Training Camp” clip
:3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as
of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
:3 divided tongues … fire
Not only is there an audio thing going on, but something visual occurs as
well. It’s not real flames of fire, but
it looks similar to it.
:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
:4 filled with the Holy Spirit
We talked about this on Sunday morning. This is the Baptism of the Holy
Spirit that Jesus had promised:
1:5 NKJV) for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with
the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
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 (1837–1899)
:4 speak with other tongues
They are being enabled by the Holy Spirit to speak in languages they have
never learned before. They are also speaking words that they themselves do not
While some teach that everyone who is filled with the Spirit must speak in
tongues, the Bible does not teach this.
Not all speak with tongues.
There are indeed several places where people are filled with the Spirit and
speak in tongues, but there are also going to be places in the book of Acts
where tongues are not mentioned.
(1 Co 12:29–30
NKJV) —29 Are all apostles? Are all
prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all
have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
The implied answer for each question in the Greek grammar
The gifts of the Spirit are part of what identifies you as
a “member” or a “part” of the Body of Christ. It takes all the body parts to
make up a body. The only person who has all the gifts is Jesus, because the
Body of Christ is His body. The rest of us are all just parts.
2:5-13 The Crowd Reacts
:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews,
devout men, from every nation under heaven.
This is because Pentecost was one of the yearly feasts that Jews were
required to come to Jerusalem to worship. In Jesus’ day, the Jews not only
lived in Israel, but in just about every other part of the world.
:6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude
came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own
:6 in his own language
Though Paul mentioned that there are “tongues of angels” (1Cor. 13:1), in
this instance all the tongues were recognizable languages. These people from
all over the world were hearing messages in their own languages.
:7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying
to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
:8 And how is it that we hear, each in our
own language in which we were born?
:9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites,
those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews
:11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our
own tongues the wonderful works of God.”
:9-11 Parthians … Arabs
See map of the Diaspora.
These are Jews from all around the world who are in Jerusalem to celebrate
the Feast of Pentecost.
They are all hearing things in their own native language.
:11 the wonderful works of God
The content of “tongues”.
There was content to what they were saying, it wasn’t just gibberish.
The believers speaking in tongues didn’t know what
they were saying, but those who heard it did.
The content had to do with giving God praise.
Paul wrote about who is addressed when someone speaks in tongues:
(1 Co 14:2 NKJV) For he who
speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him;
however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
In Acts 2, the disciples are telling God about His wonderful works.
Tongues can be a way of expressing thanks and praise to God.
Paul told the Corinthians that tongues do not benefit the church unless
there is interpretation. Yet they are still a way of giving thanks “well”.
(1 Co 14:15–17
NKJV) —15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit,
and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I
will also sing with the understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies
the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does
not understand what you say? 17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.
The “uninformed” is the person in the service who doesn’t understand what
you’re saying if you are speaking out loud in tongues. Tongues does not
give the “uninformed” any value. Paul’s
intent is to show that tongues without interpretation does
not help the rest of the church.
But for the person speaking in tongues, they do “give thanks well”.
There are times when English words just cannot express the
love you have towards God. If you have the gift of tongues, this is a great
time to use it. It’s okay during worship to sing in tongues,
thought it might be a good idea to sing a little quieter so you’re just singing
to God and not to the person next to you.
:12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying
to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
This is the main question that Peter is going to address.
:13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new
:13 full of new wine
Paul also connected being “drunk” with being “filled”:
(Eph 5:18 NKJV) And do not
be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
They are not “under the influence” of alcohol, but of the Spirit of God.
The Real Deal
I think that part of the appeal of drugs and alcohol is the unrecognized
fact that they are simply substitutes for the real thing, the Spirit of God.
There was a photographer for a national magazine who was assigned to take
pictures of a great forest fire. He was advised that a small plane would be
waiting to fly him over the fire.
The photographer arrived at the airstrip just an hour before sundown. Sure
enough, a small Cessna airplane was waiting. He jumped in with his equipment
and shouted, “Let’s go!” The tense man sitting in the pilot’s seat swung the
plane into the wind and soon they were in the air, though flying erratically.
“Fly over the north side of the fire,” said the photographer, “and make
several low-level passes.” “Why?” asked the nervous pilot. “Because I’m going
to take pictures!” yelled the photographer. “I’m a photographer, and
photographers take pictures.”
After a long pause, the “pilot” replied: “You
mean, you’re not my instructor?”
Sometimes it’s kind of important to
make sure you get in the right plane with a “real” pilot.
Don’t settle for quick substitutes like
alcohol and drugs. The Holy Spirit is the “real deal”. Don’t settle for
2:14-36 Peter’s Message
:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised
his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let
this be known to you, and heed my words.
:15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since
it is only the third hour of the day.
:15 the third hour
It’s only 9:00 in the morning.
:16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet
Peter will start his message by answering their questions with a quote from
:17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That
I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters
shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream
:18 And on My menservants and on My
maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall
Young and old, men and women, God will pour out His Spirit.
:19 I will show wonders in heaven above And
signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
These are things often associate with our future, the Second Coming. Yet
part of this prophecy spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit.
:21 And it shall come to pass That whoever
calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’
:17 in the last days
Peter is saying that Joel’s prophecy was about the last days.
Peter is using this passage to describe what was happening in 33 AD.
We like to think of our current time period as the “last days”, but there
is a technical sense in which the “last days” have been happening since the day
:17 Your sons and your daughters shall
I was talking to Caleb Beller yesterday and he
was sharing with me some of the exciting things that are happening in Hungary
at the Bible College.
This last summer he ran the “Vision for Life” program, taking 30 teens for
six weeks, discipling them, and watching God work
Caleb was reminded of this passage, that God would be using youth in the
:21 whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved
What a great passage, and from the Old Testament at that!
Peter will use this last phrase to encourage the people to call out to God,
to believe in God and be saved.
If you haven’t asked God to save you, it’s not too late.
Isn’t it amazing that this concept of trusting in God for salvation comes
from the OLD TESTAMENT?
:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by
God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your
midst, as you yourselves also know—
:23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose
and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and
put to death;
:24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of
death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
:22 Jesus of Nazareth
This is Peter’s testimony about Jesus.
Peter’s message starts by explaining their questions about the phenomena
taking place through the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
Peter then transitions the message to the real main topic – Jesus.
Jesus said that one of the Holy Spirit’s main jobs was going to be to point
(Jn 15:26 NKJV) “But when
the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth
who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
(Jn 16:14 NKJV) He will glorify
Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it
If you are really filled with the Spirit, this is what you should expect.
You will be pointing people to Jesus, not the Holy Spirit.
:23 you have … put to death
Pretty bold words. They are guilty of having Jesus
put to death.
It’s the same with us.
My sin killed Jesus
Just because we think about God’s love
and how God has taken care of our salvation, we shouldn’t forget that it was
our sin that put Him on the cross.
There’s a t-shirt that has the phrase
on it, “I killed Jesus”. It’s true.
Yet even then, it wasn’t nails that
held Him to the cross, it was love. Love
for us. He did it because He loves us.
:23 determined purpose … of God
Even though Peter is reminding the people that they as a nation had put
Jesus to death, he also acknowledges that it had always been God’s plan for the
Messiah to suffer and die for our sins.
800 years before, Isaiah wrote,
(Is 53:5–6 NKJV)
—5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was
bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our
peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we
like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every
one, to his own way; And the Lord
has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
:24 whom God raised up
When we share with people about Jesus, we never leave Him in the grave.
He rose again.
The central theme of the apostles’ preaching was the resurrection of Jesus
from the dead.
If you examine Peter’s sermons recorded in Acts 3,4,5,
and 11, you will see Peter always bring in the fact of the resurrection.
Not only was Jesus’ death predicted, so was His resurrection…
:25 For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, For He
is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
:26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue
was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
:27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
:28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’
Peter is quoting from the Psalms to show that the resurrection was actually
Peter is quoting from Psalm 16:8-11 (verse 8 is the theme of this year’s
David is talking almost as if he didn’t expect to die and stay dead, as if
he wouldn’t experience the bodily corruption of death. But David isn’t speaking about himself, he is
:29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the
patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to
David can’t be talking about himself because he died and is still buried.
:30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath
to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up
the Christ to sit on his throne,
:31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the
resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His
flesh see corruption.
:32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are
:33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of
God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He
poured out this which you now see and hear.
:34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens,
but he says himself: ‘The Lord
said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand,
:35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’
:34 The Lord said to my Lord
Peter is quoting from Psalm 110:1,
which speaks of Jesus (“my Lord”) sitting at the right hand of God (“The
In other words, Jesus had to ascend
:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know
assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and
2:37-41 Message Response
:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut
to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and
brethren, what shall we do?”
:37 they were cut to the heart
As the people were listening to these words of Peter, inspired by the Holy
Spirit, they were “cut to the heart”.
One of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to bring “conviction”
(Jn 16:8 NKJV) And when
He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of
Conviction is the sense that you are guilty before God and that you are
It is not something that we can manufacture, it’s
something that the Holy Spirit does.
He will use our words (like He used Peter’s), but He is
the one who penetrates hearts and convicts.
In particular, He likes to use the word of God:
(Heb 4:12 NKJV) For the word
of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and
is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Share God’s Word with people, whether they believe it’s God’s Word or not.
It is powerful and it is what the Holy Spirit can use to bring
You might say to me,
“But how can I use the Bible to tell my friends about Jesus when they don’t
believe in the Bible!”
The fact that they
don’t believe in the Bible isn’t really all that relevant.
A robber comes into a
bank and tells the teller to give him all the money.
As he pulls out his
gun to show the teller, the teller responds, “But I don’t believe in guns!” “I’ve never seen a gun hurt anybody, and I
don’t believe that yours can hurt me!”
What will happen if
the robber decides to show the teller that his gun actually works? Will the teller’s disbelief keep him from
hurt when the robber pulls the trigger?
The Bible is the
“sword of the Spirit”, and it is going to work in people’s hearts, whether or
not they believe in it.
Just use it.
:38 Then Peter said to them, “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.
Don’t forget that Peter has already told them from Joel 2 to “call on the
name of the Lord”. He’s already told
them to believe.
Now we see that “calling on the name” will involve repentance.
Repentance means to “turn around”.
Instead of doing things that take you away from God, you change your
behavior and turn toward God.
We are not saved by works (like repenting) but we are saved by faith.
(Eph 2:8–9 NKJV) —8 For by
grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is
the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
But if the faith is real, then it will result in repentance.
(Jas 2:14 NLT) What good
is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it
by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?
It is important to realize that if a person says they want to believe in
Jesus to be saved, that they need to be willing to repent.
God loves you enough to accept you just the way you are.
God loves you enough to not leave you like you are, but to encourage you to
:39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar
off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
: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.
2:42-47 Early Church Habits
:42 And they continued steadfastly in the
apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
:42 continued steadfastly …
The early church was known to practice these things on a regular basis:
1. The apostles’ doctrine
The early church was about teaching.
The apostles would have been teaching things from the Old Testament.
They would have shared the teachings of Jesus.
They would have shared the things taught them by the Holy Spirit, the
things we have recorded in their letters in our New Testament.
The Greek word is koinonia
– the word means “sharing” or having things in “common”. Potlucks and going out
for Starbucks after church can be a part of that. But
it’s not just having “coffee” as the thing that we have in common, it’s having
Jesus be the center of everything. It’s becoming a part of each
others’ lives to encourage, support, and build up one another.
3. Breaking of bread
It could be that Luke was just elaborating on “koinonia”, but it seems more
likely talking about communion, the bread and wine that represent what Jesus
did for us. Jesus wanted us to remember what He did.
Too often we think church is the place for “preaching”. In the early church it was also a place of
:43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many
wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
:43 fear came upon every soul
When we are experiencing a true work of God in our midst, there ought to be
a sense of fear.
Seeing God’s work is not “look what cool things happen in my church”.
Seeing God’s work brings a sense of accountability to God. God is here.
God sees us. I better start taking
: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.
:45 as anyone had need
To be honest, the early church in Jerusalem practiced a form of communism.
I’ve seen folks take this wrongly over the years and expect the church to
pay all their bills. Paul wrote,
(2 Th 3:10–12 NKJV) —10 For even
when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither
shall he eat. 11
For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly
manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command
and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat
their own bread.
: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.
:46 continuing daily … in the temple
They met every day. Wow.
:47 the Lord added … daily
It seems to me that “church growth” is God’s responsibility.
I think we need to do our part – we need to be close to the Lord, we need
to be sensitive to the Lord, we need to be filled with the Spirit, we need to
be living like the church is supposed to live. We need to be open to what God
would want to do.
Are we open to people being saved? Do we want to be used by God?
But what happens from there seems to be God’s job.