- Sermon Notes
The Spirit Comes Upon Them
As we come to Acts chapter 2, Jesus has now ascended to the Father and given instruction for them to wait in Jerusalem for what the Father had promised,
referring to the Holy Spirit.
Remember that Jesus already breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit in John chapter 20, but here, Jesus told them that when the Holy Spirit comes
upon them they would receive power to be His witnesses even to the remotest part of the earth.
Remember also that in Matthew 28 we read that before Jesus ascended He also said to the disciples, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
They must have wondered how they were going to accomplish that, but in Acts chapter 1, Jesus explained that they would receive power when the Holy
Spirit came upon them. And so when we move to chapter 2, we see the Holy Spirit coming upon this gathering of about 120 people gathered all together
in one place.
When the Holy Spirit came upon them, suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and when this sound occurred, a multitude
from the city of Jerusalem gathered together in that place and from that multitude, the church will be born.
All of this happened on the same day on which the Jews were celebrating the Feast of Pentecost. For this reason, sometimes Pentecost is referred to
as the “birthday of the church.” The name Pentecost literally means “the 50th day” because it is celebrated 50 days after the Passover.
The name “Pentecostal” also comes from the word Pentecost, of which you no doubt have heard. Pentecostalism is a renewal movement that emphasizes a
personal experience of God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit that often emphasizes speaking in tongues as the evidence of the baptism of the
In the early 1900s there was a three year long Azuza Street Revival in Los Angeles, California, resulting in the spread of Pentecostalism throughout
the United States and the rest of the world. Today there are over 700 denominations associated with Pentecostalism.
The events here in Acts 2 are very important for us to understand because the relationship we have with God our Father is because of the working of
the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Peter explains what is happening to the multitude gathered there. God sent Jesus, attested to by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God
performed through Him; this Jesus was nailed to the cross by the predetermined plan of God who also raised him from the dead.
This same Jesus whom God raised up again, also poured out the Holy Spirit. When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and wanted to know
what they should do. Peter instructed them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and to receive the
gift of the Holy Spirit.
This same Holy Spirit is given to us and we need to understand this promise because it has everything to do with how we live in our relationship to
God and whether we will live victoriously and whether we will grow in our faith.
As we continue studying through the rest of the New Testament, we’ll see over and over how important the Holy Spirit is to our spiritual life. God
wants more than for us just to be saved, He wants us to grow in our faith and to walk in the life of God victoriously. We need the Holy Spirit.
Illus – Last fall my schedule got busy and I stopped working out. Then came Thanksgiving and Christmas season with all the cakes and pies and cookies. Soon I started feeling the effects and it wasn’t good. That reminds me of a story that was in the news a year or so ago about a personal trainer who decided to gain 75 pounds so he could relate to the people he works with. He ate Coco puffs and Cap’n Crunch for breakfast, cheese burgers and fries, potato chips, etc. At first it was exhilarating, then the bulges and lethargy, lack of motivation and depression. It didn’t happen all at once, but little by little.
Our spiritual life is a lot like that. God wants more than that for us, we need to continually be filled by the Holy Spirit. In other words, God gives
I. The Holy Spirit is the Life of God
- The day of Pentecost is significant. The things that happen in the Scriptures are not coincidental, God is revealing great truths.
A. Serve God in the Life of the Spirit
- The Feast of Pentecost, or Feast of Weeks, was celebrated 50 days after the Passover. Again, the Old Testament points us toward what God is doing for
us through Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.
- You might remember that Passover is about the day the Israelites, who were slaves in Egypt, were told to take the blood of the lamb and apply it to
the doorpost of their house so that death would “pass over” them… Jesus is that Passover lamb.
- Three days after the Passover, Israel found themselves at the Red Sea, the Egyptian army pressing in behind them and the sea before them, God parted
the waters and they came through the sea… On the third day, Jesus was raised from the dead.
- Fifty days after the Passover, Israel came to Mount Sinai where they received the law, the instructions of God for how to live and how to honor Him.
- Fifty days after Jesus was crucified, the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, the power of God poured out so that they might live to honor Him.
2 Corinthians 3:7-8, If the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory… how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?
Romans 7:6, Now we have been released from the Law… so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
B. The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength
- Now instead of the obligation of the law, we have the life of God Himself that ignites our soul so that we desire to honor Him.
Romans 7:7-8, I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind;
Illus – Food is a good illustration. Going hungry on a diet only makes you want it more, but eating healthy makes you feel vibrant and alive. After a while, you crave healthy things.
- Many people are spiritually empty and it’s that emptiness, loneliness, despair and longing for love that gets people into so much trouble, because they are looking for love and life in all the wrong places.
Nehemiah 8:10, He said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is our strength.”
Galatians 5:22, 25, The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace… If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
II. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
- Jesus told them to wait for the Holy Spirit which would soon come upon them, saying, “Which, you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
- The day of Pentecost then, is the fulfillment of what Jesus promised. But we need to look at these things carefully and understand what they mean for
- I have to tell you at this point that this is one of the reasons I’m a Calvary Chapel pastor. There are many in the body of Christ who believe that
some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased. I am not in that camp; I believe all gifts are available today.
- However, having said that, I’ve also experienced the other extreme where churches, who believe they are exercising the gifts of the Spirit do things
that I don’t see in the scriptures.
- I remember visiting a church when I was young where the pastor instructed everyone to speak in their tongue at the same time. I went home and looked
it up and that’s not what the scripture says.
- In another church someone would speak in a tongue and then it was interpreted something like, “Thus says the Lord to you this and that…” But
the scripture says that if someone speaks in a tongue, he is speaking to God which should be interpreted so that others can say “amen” to the giving
A. Pentecost was a special day
- It’s important to say it that way because many seek for another Pentecost experience, but the day of Pentecost was unique. You never read of anything
like it in the rest of the scriptures.
- Jesus said they would receive ‘power’ when the Holy Spirit came upon them. That word in the Greek is dynamos from which we get the word dynamite.
- This was the explosion that set the early church in motion.
Illus – An interesting side note is that Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite, actually named it after this New Testament word. When his brother died, the newspaper erroneously printed his eulogy, calling him “The merchant of death.” This grieved him so deeply that he set aside 94% of his wealth in his will to establish the Nobel Prizes.
- What’s unique about Pentecost is that there was at first the noise of a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
- Interestingly, Jesus referred to the Spirit as the wind and in fact, the word ‘spirit’ in Greek literally means ‘wind.’ There was the sound of a violent,
John 3:8, “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
- Also, there appeared to them “cloven tongues of fire” resting on each of them. This is also unique. The Greek word is “fire”
which appeared. This would not be considered your standard Pentecostal experience.
- They also spoke with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. A multitude gathered and they were each one hearing them speak in his
own dialect, or native tongue. What’s unique is that everyone in the crowd heard their own native dialect. That’s also not your standard Pentecostal
- There were some mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine,” which has to be one of the lamest explanations ever heard.
Illus – I have been around many who were drunk and I can tell you that drunk people don’t speak in tongues. Can you imagine? Having one too many and then breaking out in French?
- Peter then stood up and explained that these things are the fulfillment of what was spoken through the prophet Joel.
- While I do believe the events in Acts 2 were unique, I do believe that all the gifts of the Spirit are available today. However, the gift of tongues Paul speaks of to the church at Corinth, is different than what happened in Acts 2.
- The fruit of the Spirit is love and His first and highest desire is that we love God. An expression of that relationship is our experience of God in
Jude 1:20-21, But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God…
1 Corinthians 14:14-15, If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful… I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.
Romans 8:26, In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
- Having said that, we encourage those who have that gift to do so at home or small gatherings for prayer. The scripture says that such a gift edifies
- There is also so much misunderstanding today that we would otherwise have to regularly correct those who don’t use it correctly.
Illus – Some are waiting on the Lord for a fresh word. The Lord gently knocked on my heart; there are more than 700,000 words in the Bible to be heard, feed my sheep.
Acts 2:1-22 NASB
1 When 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 distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, language. 7 Why, are not all these who are speaking language to which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and sweet wine.”
14 But Peter, taking his stand with third hour of the day; 16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
And your young men shall see visions,
And your old men shall dream dreams;
18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women,
I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit
And they shall prophesy.
19 ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above
And signs on the earth below,
Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.
20 ‘The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood,
Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.
21 ‘And it shall be that attested to you by God with miracles and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—