This coming Sunday at church, I am going to get to teach my 2nd graders about the coming of the Holy Spirit. Over the past month, we have dug down deep into some very important spiritual truths in the life of Jesus Christ.
It has been really neat to see the kids have these aha moments as we are digging into the text together. I teach the kids according to the inductive method of study. We go to the text and dig the truths out from the text. In fact, the kids are the ones putting the work in and discovering what is there. I just facilitate the process. It is neat to see the power of the Word of God at work. In the past year, 3 kids from the class have accepted Christ and been baptized.
This week, as I mentioned earlier, we are going to turn our focus to the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples that He would send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, after He ascended to His Father in heaven. Before the Helper comes, Jesus gave His final commands to His disciples before ascending. Now, they need the Holy Spirit to be able to carry out these commands. In order to better understand the coming of the Holy Spirit, let’s take a moment to read parts of Acts 2.
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.
6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.
7 They 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,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans and Arabs -we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”
12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”
13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”
The disciples stayed in Jerusalem just as Jesus told them to do. Ten days after His ascension, the Promised Helper finally comes. In Acts 1, we see the believers sticking close together and not really accomplishing much for the Lord. They venture out on their own and choose who they think the 12 apostle should be. Christ has in mind who the 12th will be but He never told the disciples to choose. Jesus chose the original 12 and He will choose the newest member in His time. Let’s see what we can learn from Acts 2 about how the Holy Spirit changed everything.
I. Jesus chose the best time possible
The Day of Pentecost is 50 days after the feast of first fruits. This is a Jewish feast that is celebrated annually. On the Feast of Pentecost, everyone came to Jerusalem and they celebrated with bread baked from the wheat of the first fruits’ offering. Two loaves of bread were baked and waved before the Lord. The Jews celebrated this annually for many many centuries. They did not know the significance of it completely until the day of Pentecost when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit and the church age began. In human history, God divided people into two different groups. The first 2,000 years of human history is all about God’s dealing with the Gentiles. Then, about 2,000 years before the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, God carves out a people group known as the Jews. On the Day of Pentecost, the two different groups were going to become 1 body known as the Church of Jesus Christ. Jews from all over the known world had to come to Jerusalem. Converted Gentiles also came to Jerusalem from all over the known world. They were all there to worship God. God’s presence joined them by coming upon the believers. A rushing wind produced a mighty sound and drew everyone’s attention to where the believers were located. All of Jerusalem followed the sound and they were drawn together in one place, exactly where the disciples were. It was time to reveal God’s plan. The waive offering of the two loves coming together as one was pointing to this moment for about 1,600 years. The Jews and Gentiles were going to form the body of Christ, the Church.
Historically, this was the perfect time because of the Greek language and the Roman road system. People from all over the known world could communicate in the same language and travel from every corner of the Roman Empire was relatively easy because of the road system that the Romans had build to transport their armies. Today, we have even greater grace, especially for those of us who speak English. We have the internet and most of the world is desperately trying to learn the English language. If we know the Word of God and have experienced Jesus, are we witnessing to the world around us via the internet and the English language? The time is perfect. What keeps you from doing it? What are you waiting for?
II. Every believer received the Holy Spirit
Every single disciple/follower of Jesus Christ, all 120 of them, was filled with the Holy Spirit. The coming of the Holy Spirit is manifested clearly for all to see. Each believer testifies openly about his or her faith in Jesus Christ. Each believer shares the mighty deeds of God. They had all been well trained in the teachings of Jesus Christ and now they had the Spirit to embolden them to share what they had experienced. Jesus said that they would witness about Him in Jerusalem first and we see this happening. The miracle in this passage is not that the disciples were speaking in different languages. By the way, the Greek language makes it very clear that the disciples were speaking in know languages. People from 16 different ethnic groups heard the message of God in their hear languages. The miracle here is that the message of the mighty deeds of God was being communicated by each believer to the nonbelievers. Just imagine if every believer alive today were to communicate the mighty deeds of God to just 1 nonbeliever. How different do you think the world would be tomorrow if we all did this today? Not everyone will believe. We know this from Acts 2. Not everyone there believed. Some were intrigued while others began to mock. The message of the mighty deeds of God began to penetrate their hearts so they tried to discredit the messengers saying that they were drunk at 9 A.M. The focus of the narrative is the sharing of the Gospel. As the naysayers began to mock, Peter takes his stand and begins to preach the message of the Gospel using many Old Testament quotes to make his point. By the end of the message 3,000 people accept Christ as their Lord and Savior and are saved. They profess their allegiance by publicly being baptized.
III. The new believers embrace their “first” love
In Revelation 2, Jesus mentions that one of the churches has left its first love. There is much debate on what that means. I believe it means what I am about to explain. I have written on this subject in a precious article.
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
46 Day 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,
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
The first church/first converts learned of their first love through the apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost when they heard the Gospel of Christ in their heart language. After accepting Him as Lord and Savior and being baptized publicly, they began to learn from the apostles on a daily basis. What did the apostles teach? They taught the commands of Jesus Christ as Matthew 28:20 teach us. The new believers were taught to observe the Word of God. They became students. The temple and their homes were the classrooms. The Old Testament and the teachings of Christ were the textbooks. The new believers were studying together, praying together, taking the Lord’s supper together, and sharing what they were learning with the other members of society. The Lord began to add to the number of new believers because the new believers were active in sharing what they were learning. This was their first love. As they learned more about Christ, they shared more about Christ. This turned Jerusalem upside down. This ultimately turned the known world upside down. Are you a student of the Word of God? Do you meet with others on a daily basis to study and pray? Are you sharing what you are learning with others? Do you see new believers being added to the family of God? If not, maybe you have left your first love like the church mentioned in Revelation 2.
May the Lord use the Holy Spirit within us to stir us up to share the Good News of the message of the Gospel will anyone who will listen and to disciple those who are interested!