ACTS 2:1-13 JULY 24, 2016
“FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT!”
When God sent the tongues of fire upon the church some in the crowd accused them of being drunk. Whenever God acts in a miraculous way someone will always make a mockery of it. We should not be surprised at what non-Christians say about the faithful followers of Jesus.
Jesus had spoken to the disciples during his resurrection appearances. Acts 1:4-5 (NIV) “4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” In the end of chapter one it mentions a large number of believers had been meeting in the upper room. The early church was being obedient to the command of Jesus and remained in Jerusalem.
Pentecost is one of three Jewish festivals that the faithful were required to go to Jerusalem. The three festivals are: Passover, Tabernacles, and the Feast of the Harvest (weeks) which occur fifty days after the Passover. Pentecost was the celebration of the harvest of barley and just before the arrival of the wheat harvest. Acts 2:1-4 (NIV) “1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
Jesus had told them that the Spirit was like the wind. The Greek and Hebrew words for “Spirit” can also mean wind and breath. (NIV Application Commentary on Acts, page 87) John 3:7-8 (NIV) “7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” The Spirit was promised in the vision of Ezekiel. Ezekiel 37:14 (NIV) “14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'”
Luke also described what was seen as tongues of fire. Every Jew would remember that God appeared to Moses in the burning bush. Exodus 3:2 (NIV) “2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.” Exodus 19:18 (NIV) “18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire.”In past times God appeared before the people in the fire as something to be observed from a distance, but now each person present was touched individually by the fire of God. Acts 2:3-4 “3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
When a person comes to faith in Christ that person immediately receives the Holy Spirit. Paul spoke of this to the church in Ephesus. Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV) “13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.”
Pentecost is the occasion when the Holy Spirit was given to the church of Jesus Christ. It marks the birth of the church. The gifting of the Sprit to the church marks the occasion when the church began its mission to the world. Acts 1:8 (NIV) “8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
In God’s eternal plan the evangelistic mission began in Jerusalem with God-fearing Jews who heard their own native language being spoken. Acts 2:5-12 (NIV) “5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
These fifteen countries were from the nations surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and extended toward Asia (Iran and Iraq). The mission to the world began that day. The gift of tongues that day was in the languages of the people from those fifteen areas. The believers were praising God for what God had gifted them. This manifestation of God’s power was a clear fulfillment of the prophecy in Joel. Joel 2:28-29 (NIV) 28 ‘And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”
The people who heard these Galileans speaking in their own language were amazed. Most people thought Galileans were country hicks. God was again breaking stereotypes. God was using those not well thought of and God used women to proclaim his wonders through the work of the Spirit.
It should come as no surprise that people were mocking these Christian believers, accusing them of being drunk. We too are called to be witnesses of what God has done in our lives. Yet, we will always be mocked and ridiculed for what we believe. Jesus warned his disciples. John 15:18-19 (NIV) 18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
Jesus ascended to reign with his Father. Yet he had to leave so that the Sprit would come into the world to the church. Jesus spoke of this in John. John 16:5-11 (NIV) 5 “Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. 7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” The plan of God continues to unfold. May we rejoice in this marvelous gift of the Spirit that has been gifted to those of us who believe!
Let us pray.