BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
THE HOLY SPIRIT COMES
In Acts chapter 2 Luke chronicles events that took place during the “Pentecost” observance, which was celebrated fifty days following the resurrection of CHRIST JESUS, or traditionally, seven weeks after the final day of “Passover” (Leviticus 23:15-22). Pentecost, which means, “fiftieth”, is also known as the “Festival of Harvest”, and the “Feast of Weeks”. In New Testament times, Pentecost also commemorated Moses’ receiving and giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.
In Acts 2:1-4, as Christians met in a house somewhere in Jerusalem, we see three great phenomenal occurrences unfolding, which will forever serve to make the coming of the HOLY SPIRIT, on that Pentecost day, an unmistakable and unique event;
· First we see the “roaring of a mighty windstorm” come down and fill the house that the Apostles and the others occupied (Acts 2:2).
· Secondly, we see the “flames of fire” appear and settle on each person in the house (Acts 2:3).
· And finally, we see that they began speaking in “other tongues” (“heterais glossais” in the Greek), which means “various learned languages or dialects”, as the HOLY SPIRIT instantly gave them these abilities (Acts 2:4).
Here in this passage, we see GOD’s offer of salvation is to be extended to all people, Jews and Gentiles, who were willing to believe and put their faith and hope in CHRIST JESUS. At the time of this miraculous event there were GODly Jews and foreigners (Gentiles) from many different nations who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Pentecost. And so on this wonderful occasion they were able to hear the new Gospel of CHRIST being taught and spoken in their own language or dialect, no matter where they came from, to Jerusalem that day. These “visible signs” are unique in that, in all of recorded Scripture, this is the only time when these three things occur together during a distinctive act of GOD.
Since that day, the HOLY SPIRIT has come to indwell every person that believes in their hearts in CHRIST JESUS, and we, as a result, can belong to the family of GOD. GOD has bought us at a high price by sacrificing the life of HIS only begotten SON as a ransom for our release from the bondage of sin and death. As we live in fellowship with GOD, HE will fill us and keep us filled, and when HE does, we will be able to serve and grow, and conform more fully to HIS Word and will.
The HOLY SPIRIT adds “supernatural power” to the “shared nature of GOD” that we have in us already from birth, and HE enables us to win the battles within ourselves, between “reason” and “passion”, that, without HIM, we would not otherwise win, a great deal of the times. HE further enables us to resist the temptations of life, that, without HIM, we’ve already proven to be too weak spiritually to resist. In fact, HE actually makes us more aware of those times when we are about to move out of the will of GOD, and will prevent us from doing so, IF we listen, or heed to HIS prompting.
PETER’S PENTECOST SERMON
Taking up at verse 14 the Apostle Peter steps forward along with the eleven other apostles, and he begins to preach the good news using several references from the Old Testament Scriptures, explaining in his “kerugma style” how they foretell the first advent of JESUS CHRIST, and the HOLY SPIRIT. He tells them that the people in the assembly were not drunk with wine, as many on the outside of the temple were suggesting, but rather, what they were witnessing instead had actually already been foretold by the Old Testament prophet, Joel, for example, who said, “In the last days, GOD said, I will pour out MY SPIRIT upon all people” (Joel 2:28), and also that, at that time “anyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved” (Joel 2:32).
Peter goes on to tell the crowd that GOD publically showed HIS endorsement of JESUS by doing wonderful miracles, wonders, and signs through HIM, and that they had all, Jews and Gentiles, followed GOD’s prearranged plan by nailing HIS SON to the cross. GOD then released HIM from the horrors of death and raised HIM back to life again, and so we see, death could not keep JESUS in its grip (Vs.14-22).
In verses 25-33 Peter cites the first of two Psalms by King David (Psalm 16:8-11) to prove his doctrinal point about GOD’s promise to raise CHRIST JESUS from the dead. In verse 27 of this passage Peter cites these words from King David, where he himself is prophetically referencing JESUS’ resurrection. There David says, “For YOU will not leave my soul among the dead or allow YOUR HOLY ONE to rot in the grave”.
In verses 34-36 peter makes the third and final point of his, now famous, Pentecost Sermon by again referencing King David. Here he cites the words of “the man after GOD’s OWN heart” in Psalm 110:1 where he prophetically states, “The LORD said to my LORD, sit in honor at MY right hand until I humble YOUR enemies, making them a footstool under YOUR feet”. And so if GOD said this, through David, as a clear reference to JESUS, then the Scriptures themselves testify that JESUS is both LORD and MESSIAH.
In Acts 2:37, we see the HOLY SPIRIT convicting those members of the first Christian Church, through Peter’s words to them, regarding the wrong that was perpetrated on JESUS, by way of their role in HIS death on the cross. Peter goes on to tell them, that, the promise of the HOLY SPIRIT was not only for those present in the room that day, but it is a promise that extends to all who come to know CHRIST, and answer the call of GOD, in all future generations.
In Acts 2:41-47 we see quite vividly, the spiritual characteristics of the early Christian Church on display. We see quite clearly a picture of what the term “United by the SPIRIT” really means, and, we can see that the power of the HOLY SPIRIT transcends race, gender, and nationally, and, HE unifies us with GOD, through CHRIST JESUS. Here in this passage lies, perhaps, one of Scripture’s greatest examples of “Christian Unity” actually being lived out by the original Christian Church through their behavior. Here we see spotlighted, their;
(1). “teaching and learning”- (verse 42)
(2). “prayer and fellowship”- (verse 42).
(3). “fear and reverence for GOD”- (verse 43).
(4). “sharing in the Church”- (verse 44-45).
(5). “worshipping GOD together daily”- (verse 46-47).
(6). “being filled with joy”, - (verse 46).
(7). All in all, they were a church where “good things were happening constantly”,
and, “new people were receiving Salvation daily”- (verse 47).
What a wonderful example for modern-day churches to emulate. We see here in this passage, an example of “Christian Unity” that has been placed before us, and available to us, since the very birth of the Christian Church in Jerusalem. And even though this all first occurred on that memorable day of Pentecost, way back in the first century A.D, still, to this very day, in a very real sense, we’ve never shown an ability to duplicate GOD’s great example that we see here. In fact, we have failed, as GOD’s greatest creation, to follow suit in too many other biblical examples also, simply because, too often, we only seem to place value on our own “human ingenuity”, and thereby, we de-value the things of GOD, even in “the Church House”.
I’ve often stated that, it seems as if GOD has placed a hunger and thirst inside of each of us, innately from birth, and the only way to satisfy that hunger or thirst is by seeking and ultimately finding HIM. It is for the purpose of GOD that mankind was ever created in the first place, and just as no man has ever created anything that wasn’t for his own purpose or benefit, so it is with GOD. Man was created to serve GOD, and until we are able to grasp and understand that, we’ll just continue to meander around, looking for physical answers, to problems, that have always been spiritual.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website