- 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 Holy Spirit.
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 refills.
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 experience.
- 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.
The Spirit Comes Upon Them
Acts 2:1-22 January 19, 2014
Jesus has just ascended to the father, he’s given instruction to them to wait in Jerusalem for what the father had promised and he’s speaking here of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells them that when the Holy Spirit comes upon them that they are going to receive power to be there witnesses even to the remotest part of the earth. This is very important chapter and very important events that were now going to see revealed. Remember also in Matthew 28, just before Jesus ascended to his father that he said also these words, “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 have commanded you.”
In other words, I want you to take the words that I have given you out to the world. They need to hear these words, they need to live by these words and low I am going to be with you, even to the end of the age I’ll be with you. Go, take these words and make disciples of the nations.
I think about the disciples hearing that and wondering to themselves, “How are we going to do that?" That is an amazing charge that he’s given to us also, that’s an amazing commission. How are we going to do that? Were just simply as. But the answer is found right here in Chapter 2 when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. Jesus had said, “You are going to receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” That’s the theme of Acts chapter 2; the Holy Spirit comes upon a gathering of about 120 persons in Jerusalem.
There’s something important we need to observe about when the Holy Spirit comes upon them; suddenly there came from heaven and noise like a violent rushing wind, just the sound of a rushing wind that was very strong. Maybe you have been here in the church when it’s been raining really, really hard. You could be here in the sanctuary in here that and say, “Wow, there’s a major storm coming down.” It’s kind of like that, but much, much greater. There was the sound of a great, violent rushing wind. Such a sound of rushing wind that a great crowds gathered from Jerusalem who heard it. This is important because this is a move of God to the Holy Spirit and so this is that day that the Holy Spirit is poured out upon them and a great multitude gathered. All of this happened on the day that the Jews were celebrating the feast of Pentecost. They are required to be in Jerusalem, therefore a great crowd is there in Jerusalem already.
Then name Pentecost is important to understand. The word penta means 50. This was 50 days after the Passover and this becomes important as we continue to look at this. In fact, Pentecost is sometimes referred to as the birthday of the church because we are seeing here the birth of the church a very exciting moment here at Pentecost.
The word Pentecostal comes from that word Pentecost. Pentecostalism is a renewal movement that emphasizes the personal experience of God to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, emphasizing many times speaking in tongues as evidence of the Holy Spirit.
In the early 1900s there was a revival, a three-year long revival called the Azuza street revival. This was in Los Angeles. Pentecostalism spread from there throughout the United States and throughout the world. Today there are something like 700 denominations that have come out a Pentecostalism.
These events in Acts chapter 2 are very important for us to understand because the relationship that we have with God, our father, is because of the working of the Holy Spirit. We’re going to see this as we see God revealing his heart throughout the Scriptures, the importance of the Holy Spirit given to the church and what it means for us today. After these events, Peter explains, he stands up and explains what’s happening to this great multitude that had gathered. He reminds the crowd of Jesus, saying, “God sent Jesus who was attested to with signs and miracles and wonders and signs with God performed through him in your midst, just as you yourselves know. This Jesus, was nailed to the cross by the predetermined the plan of God, before the foundation of the world, God had predetermined this plan that he would send his son for the redemption of those whom he loves, and we are standing here today because of that.”
This is the explanation that he gives and then he goes on to say, “This same Jesus was crucified and was also raised up from the dead on the third day." Now, when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, the Scripture says, saying, “What shall we do?" Peter responded, “Repent. In other words, turn around, change your heart, turn your life around. Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sin and you will receive the Holy Spirit."
This same Holy Spirit was given to us so we need to understand this promise, because it has everything to do with how we have our relationship to God and whether we live victoriously, whether will grow in our faith and this is what God wants for us that we be victorious. So he gives the Holy Spirit.
When you continue studying to the rest of the New Testament, which were going to do, you’re going to see over and over how important the Holy Spirit is to our spiritual life. God wants us to be victorious. God wants us to walk in the life of God that he pours out to us, God wants more than for us just to be saved. Being saved is amazing and wondrous, miraculous and honors God in every way, but there’s more that God wants. You might say, “What does he want?” He wants us to live victoriously, he wants us to grow in our faith. In other words, we need the Holy Spirit, because it’s by the Holy Spirit that we walk in our relationship. It’s by the Holy Spirit that we are victorious. It’s by the Holy Spirit that we have the life of God. We need to be filled by the Holy Spirit.
Maybe an illustration might be this, last fall my schedule got really busy and I stopped working out and I thought I would just pick it back up after Christmas and the new year. Of course I started eating a bit too much since there was Thanksgiving and all the Christmas cookies and all that comes with that season and I found myself eating more cakes and pies and ice cream on that pie, with a little chocolate on top and you start making compromises and little by little you find yourself kind of going back to the way it was before and soon you feel the results of it. There is lethargy you feel tired. It’s interesting because it reminds me of the story that was in the news a year or so ago, you might have seen it, about this personal trainer who was really fit and who helped everyone get in shape to feel good and be full of energy and all that; so he decided that he was going to gain a lot of weight so that he could have compassion so that he could understand what his clients were going through, so he gained something like 75 pounds or so and he did it by eating junk food. He would get up in the morning, and the Cocoa puffs and Cap’n Crunch for breakfast or lucky charms, even if they are magically delicious. And then for lunch he would have Cheetos and cheeseburgers with fries, chips, but no worries because he would have a Diet Coke afterwards, it’s all good. He just piling on, Oreos with ice cream, pie, cakes, etc. he said at first, it feels exhilarating to eat all this junk. And that it didn’t take long before he started getting old Jews and then felt the lethargy, the lack of motivation and interestingly, then depression came with it. He said he came on the Dubai little, little compromises here and there that began to add up to the point that he became a very different person and then of course he had to lose it all again. Our spiritual life is a lot like that.
God wants us to be victorious. God doesn’t want us to be defeated, full of, or lack of in the lethargy and the lack of life, no, we need the Holy Spirit. In other words, you could say it this way, God gives refills. We need life, we need his presence in our lives and that’s what we learn that me look at acts chapter 2 when we see God’s heart for the church.
Acts 2:1 when the Day of Pentecost had come, they were all gathered together in one place. Suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.
Visibly they could see tongues of fire, which were little aspects of fire over each one of them. There was not one large claim over the whole group of them, but individually there were flames of fire visible to the eye. This is important which were going to see in a bid and then we continue from verse four
and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
This would’ve been normal at this time because it was Pentecost so Jews from all over with, celebrate the feast at Jerusalem.
And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were bewildered, because they were each one hearing them speak in his own language. Literally, his own native dialect. And they were amazed and marveled, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and
Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around sightreading, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs – we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”
So when they were speaking in tongues, they were speaking of the mighty deeds of God, they were praising and worshiping and honoring and the multitudes heard them in their own native dialect.
12 And the continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” This is a marvel, this is a wonderful thing, what possibly could this mean? Others however were mocking and saying, “I’ll pay you what this is, they are full of sweet wine.” Which is the say, they’re drunk, that’s what’s happening.
14 that Peter, taking his stand with the 11, raised his voice and declared to them; “Men of Judea, and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give heed to my words.”
Let’s stop just for a moment and ask ourselves, is this the same Peter who not that long ago was so afraid and so filled with fear that in the middle of the night under the cover of darkness would not own up to the fact that he was a disciple of Jesus Christ? In fact, one of the young maidens even said to him, “I think you are with him, you are one of his disciples.” And he began to deny it, even with cussing. He was cussing like a fisherman, like a sailor, just to be convincing he started cussing, “I don’t know the man, costs, costs, costs" but here in Acts two, there is a different Peter, he’s standing up in the middle of broad daylight and declaring to the whole city of Jerusalem, “Hey, listen up all you you people of Jerusalem…” This is the same Peter? Yes, but is different, he is now being filled by the power of the holy spirit, what a difference, a change that is come into his life and so this is what he says…
15 "for these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for this is only the third hour of the day, it was morning, but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel. These men in Jerusalem would’ve known this prophecy, they were Jews, this was the Scripture and he brings it out to them… This is the fulfillment of God’s word through Joel, "And it shall be in the last days,” God says, “That I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even upon my bond servants, both men and women, I will be in those days pour forth of my spirit and they will prophesy. And I will grant wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke, the son shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come." And he’s referring here to some of the things that will happen in the latter days when Jesus returns. He’s combining all of this together in this great prophecy.
And it shall be, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Men of Israel, listen to these words; Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you I God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through him in your midst, just as you yourselves know – this man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put them to death. And God raised him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for him to be held in its power.”
I want us to see the significance of what’s happening for our own lives today. One of the things we have to see of course is about the Holy Spirit being poured out upon the church. The Holy Spirit is the life of God. And this is for us to understand. The day of Pentecost is so important so significant. The things happening in the Scriptures are not equal incidence. God is revealing a great truth. One of the things we need to remember is that as you study for the Old Testament which is what were doing on Wednesday services, right now were in the book of Jeremiah, but we started some time ago in the book of Genesis. When you go to the Old Testament you see something important and that is that all those events and all the things that were happening there are all pointing toward Jesus Christ. Descending of God’s son commands so that men would know how to live before him and so you can back over it and you see something important. He’s calling us to serve God by the life of the spirit, even from back then he was pointing toward serving God, honoring God and how to live before the Lord and we need the life of the spirit to do it. And you see this interesting thing. The feast of Pentecost, also known as the feast of weeks, was celebrated 50 days after the Passover. Again, the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is pointing us to what God is doing for us through his son, through the Holy Spirit. You might remember that the Passover was about the day when Israel was in Egypt. The Israelites were in Egypt and they were told to take the blood of the Lamb. Jesus is this Lamb, we understand. They were to take the blood of this Lamb to the doorpost of the house so that death would pass over that house. The Scripture makes it so clear to us that that Lamb is Jesus. He is the Passover lamb. That’s why Jesus than in the Passover. Three days after the Passover, Israel find themselves standing in front of the Red Sea. The Egyptian army was pressing in from behind them the sea was in front of them and this was the day that Moses took his staff, remember the story of course, he lifted up his staff and declared, watch the salvation of God, the waters parted and Israel went through on dry land and then the Egypt army followed them and was destroyed.
It’s interesting that three days after the Passover Jesus is raised from the dead.
Now what happened 50 days after the Passover in the history of Israel? It was interesting thing. I’m glad you asked. 50 days after the Passover, they were at mount Sinai. This is where God gave the law to Israel through Moses. The law was given on the day of Pentecost, what amazing coincidence. If you believe in coincidences. Know God he is here on the move telling us something important. The giving of the law was to help them understand how to honor God and how to live before God, honoring him as righteous. So 50 days after the Passover here, is Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is given to us, really for the same thing, to live holy and to live honorably, to live in a way that honors God and all that we do, by the life of God. Let’s look at some scriptures.
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?
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—