Study no. 3 Chapter 2:1-47 The Coming of the Holy Spirit
Ac 2:1 ¶ When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, ...
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pentecost (Ancient Greek: "the fiftieth [day]") is the Greek name for the Feast of Weeks, a prominent feast in the calendar of ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai. This feast is still celebrated in Judaism as Shavuot. Later, in the Christian liturgical year, it became a feast commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ, (120 in all) as described in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1–31. For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described by some Christians today as the "Birthday of the Church."
Pentecost falls on the tenth day after Ascension Thursday.
As we discover in our scripture portion in this study, this is the Jewish holiday celebrating the giving of the Law. Pentecost happens to be the day that God decided to send the promised Holy Spirit.
Pentecost, as we know it today, marks the empowering of the church. While we often think of power in it’s outward display, think about the power that God gave us on that day as he replaced the old law with his new law, and moved it from being an external document … to an internal writing … upon our hearts.
… they were all with one accord in one place.
Were there still 120 persons present? We are not told. Was it the time they had just spent praying together and ‘dwelling’ together that put them in such close accord?
… suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, (v2)
As the promised Holy Spirit came upon them, these various elements are seen.
1. A loud sound filled the room
2. A visual, individual indication of the ‘infilling’ of the Holy Spirit occurred.
3. An audible evidence of the (now) indwelling Spirit also occurred.
Note that 1:5 calls this a baptism, but 2:4 says they were filled. This may not be an important point, but it will come up later.
2:5-12 ¶ … dwelling … devout men, … from every nation
Dwelling likely means ‘temporarily staying’ because they are from every nation. Why are they here? Because of Passover and Pentecost. They will return after the holiday.
They are drawn to the house where the disciples are … because of the sound. Others come as well as we see in a later verse. (13)
The “wonderful works of God” are preached in multiple languages. (6-11)
Even though these persons are from many nations and have various ‘birth’ languages, they are all Jews. They are referred to as ‘Devout’.
Peter’s explanation. (Read 14-41)
Peter, now Spirit filled, is reminded of a scripture in Joel.
(Remember what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do for us? … John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.)
Peter - Quotes Joel 2:28-32 and in Acts 2:22
- Interprets the prophecy as pertaining to Christ.
- Applies the message to them personally (23) Although these are referred to as ‘devout’, Peter calls them all sinners and charges them with killing Christ.
- Offers Christ (the gospel) as the answer (24-36)
- Gave a clear instruction (38-40)
What about the Baptism of the Spirit … as it occurred there and as it occurs now?
First we will look at the three Pentecosts (actually three stages of Pentecost)
Second, we will talk about the ‘transition period’.
The Threefold occurrence of Pentecost
This unique occurrence with its amazing results unfolded as Jesus said it would.
Ac 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me:
in Jerusalem, and in all Judea
and Samaria, Ac 8:5,16 laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
and to the end of the earth." Ac 10:1,34
Ac 11:15 "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 "Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
The event which we call the baptism of the Spirit was quite different in the book of Acts than the way it is practiced in some circles today.
Notice that Peter, when he was defending his actions to the other apostles did NOT say, “The Holy Spirit fell upon them as it does in our own church meetings.” Rather his language indicates something much more rare. “The Holy Spirit fell upon them, like it fell on us …. a long time ago, remember?
There is a difference between the baptism of the Spirit and the filling of the Spirit which we will address a little later in our notes.
Regarding the ‘transition’
Lu 16:16 "The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.
I do not believe in dividing history up into 7 or 8 eras called dispensations. But I do recognize a couple of natural divisions mentioned in the Bible. The above verse clearly says there was a time or era called the Law and the Prophets. Ever since the fall of mankind in the garden of Eden, people were born sinners in need of salvation. There is and always has been only one message and way of salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith. But with the obvious division in the our bibles (Old Testament and New Testament) we need to be clear about what is the same about our way of Salvation and what is very different.
In the old Testament people were saved by believing that the Saviour would come.
In the New Testament people are saved by believing that the Savior came.
In the old testament people lived in an era where their sins were not ACTUALLY removed. (the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin, Heb 10:4). Therefore they could not go straight to heaven when they died, even though they were believers. They had to wait in a paradise called ‘Abraham’s bosom’ until Christ actually shed his blood and washed their sins away.
So here is where the transition comes in.
All of the Old Testament believers (devout people) living at the time of Jesus crucifixion were faced with the requirement to change from
-believing He would come
- to believing He did come.
If they refused to believe that … they would now be lost. Peter is saying there are large numbers of you who have been believing He would come … but when He came you did not believe Him and instead, you killed Him.
So what we are seeing is – believers … according to the Old system … who must transition to believing in the risen Christ. Also in this crowd of people were those who mocked and did not talk about the wonderful things of God. These were Jews also, but we would say by their action and attitude that they are not genuinely believers … even in the Old Testament way. They were not in transition at all.
But there is yet another transition.
John 14:17 "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
We believe that at least 120 persons had the Spirit, not only empower them on the day of Pentecost, but He also indwelled them. What we do not know is when the others (over 500 brethren saw the resurrected Christ at one time I Cor. 15:6) became indwelt. There is no mention that others in remote areas suddenly were baptized in the Spirit. If they suddenly were indwelt … how would they know?
At any rate … the only people who were indwelt by the Spirit were Christ-believing Jews. When Peter preached to Cornelius and his company and later shared the news with the Jerusalem disciples, their surprised remark was, “Ac 11:18 … "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life." They equated receiving the Holy Spirit with receiving eternal life.
What does this picture look like today?
Today we say that ALL believers have the indwelling of the Spirit. We believe this happens the moment of salvation.
Ro 8:9b ….. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
Some Christians make a serious error when they use certain phrases interchangeably. Phrases such as:
Being a Spirit-filled Christian
Baptized in the Spirit
These are two very different things.
We told in Ephesians 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine,… but be filled with the Spirit.
Jesus taught us to ask for regular filling of the Spirit. Lu 11:13 …. how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Just like drinking wine is not a ‘one-time’ thing, so also being filled with the Spirit is an ongoing thing.
The evidence of being filled with the Spirit is a life that portrays the fruit of the Spirit.
It is important to listen only to God’s word on this subject. He says through the Apostle Paul in Eph 4:5 that there is: “one Lord, one faith, one baptism;”
You may be thinking ‘Just a minute! There is water baptism and there is Spirit Baptism. Already that’s two baptisms’
Let’s suppose for a moment that God’s word means exactly what it says.
Peter has just said to this crowd, Repent and be baptized … What did he mean. Water Baptism or Spirit Baptism? When we read further (2:38) repent and be baptized … and (THEN) receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. So Peter was talking about water baptism.
In order to fully understand that there is only one baptism we need to ask a few more questions:
When a person becomes wet in the water of Baptism, do we believe that an invisible work has taken place inside our heart? Consider these verses:
Ro 6:1 – 4
While we do not see the water here nor the word Spirit, what we do see is a description of a baptism that actually does something invisible and yet real.
Consider one more passage:
1Co 12:13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
How did we come to be part of the body? We were baptized into the body. Water baptism? No, it says ‘by one Spirit we are baptized.’
So here is how it looks:
There is only one baptism and that is Spirit baptism. It happens at the moment of salvation. It makes you a part of the body of Christ.
Therefore water baptism is not a real baptism. ‘What! That sounds sacrilegious!’
Just a moment … on your Driver’s license … who is that person? You? No. It is only a picture of you. There is only one real you. And there is only one real baptism. Water baptism in only a picture of the real one.
So are you Spirit Baptized? Yes, if you have trusted Christ as your personal Savior. You were Spirit Baptized into the body of Christ. That is the ONE baptism that is real. That is the one referred to in Eph. Have you been water baptized … that is have you stepped forward to boldly paint the picture of the real baptism that happened inside of you?
On the day of Pentecost a young and lonely church received power. Christ came to live inside of them. He came to write his law on their hearts. He enabled them to do miraculous things in order to get the gospel into the whole world.
Extra study –
Read verses 44 and 45 of this chapter. What do you think of the wisdom in this?