Writings on Christianity

Pentecost Acts 2:1-13 Sermon

Here’s the sermon notes for my “Pentecost” sermon on Acts 2:1-13, preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville, IL. You can find the audio here.

Acts 2:1-13 “The Day of Pentecost”
Some events change your life (marriage, birth, injury, move); Some change the world (July 4, 1776, electricity, internet, smart phone).
         -In today’s passage, we hear of an event that transformed God’s people & impacted the world, and we still feel the effects of it today!
                     -Today we consider the wonderful day of Pentecost when the H.S. came and powerfully filled God’s people for ministry
                                 -This was an extraordinary event, and because of it, we have fresh reasons for joy and hope in Jesus.

-Book of Acts is PART 2 of Luke’s Work
         -Gospel of Luke is part 1 (life, death, and resurrection of Jesus: Repent and believe in Jesus & your will be saved!)
         -Acts is the about the continued works of Jesus by His Spirit through the church.
                     -It tells us about how God’s kingdom was established and expanded through the church by HS in the Early Church
-So far, in ch 1:
         -40 days of resurrected Jesus with the apostles, instructing them about ‘kingdom of God’
                     -Jesus made a promise and gave a commission in 1:8: H.S. is coming and you will be my witnesses!
                                 -Jesus ascended into heaven, new apostle chosen to replace Judas, and apostles wait in Jerusalem.

Today: We see the arrival of God the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, filling Christians and empowering them for ministry!
         -This was a wonderful day, and we still experience the effects of it day.
                     -It changed the church and world forever, and it renews our hope for gospel ministry today.

I. The Arrival of the Holy Spirit (1-4)
-The Setting (1)
         -“day of Pentecost” (Jewish Feast that took place 50 days after Passover)
                     -Jews from all over the world came to Jerusalem to celebrate every year.
         -“all together in one place”
                     -120 believers, all in one place in Jerusalem, waiting for the promised Holy Spirit
                                 -10 days after Jesus’ ascension
-The Arrival of the Holy Spirit (2-4)
Jesus promised a time when the Holy Spirit would come and fill Christians and empower them for gospel ministry. And this was that day! Amazing signs took place to authenticate the reality of this special and wonderful moment.
         –GREAT SOUND (2): And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
-“mighty rushing wind”= in OT the Spirit is compared to wind (Ezek 37); See also Job 38:1; NT in John 3:8
                                 -Commentators think the sound of the wind may have symbolized “power”
                                             -Imagine sound of a great tornado: awesome power of God.
         -TONGUES OF FIRE (3): And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
-“tongues of fire” appearing and resting upon them.
                                 -Strange image to us. But fire in OT: burning bush (Ex 3); God compared to it Hebrews 12:29
                                             -Commentators think fire symbolizes purifying.
                                                         -See also John the Baptist statement in Luke 3:16-17
         -CHRISTIANS FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT (4a) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
                     -“filling with the Holy Spirit” is the fulfillment of Acts 1:4-5, 8.
                                 -THIS is a KEY moment for book and church history! The church & world have never been the same!
                                             -The promised arrival of the Holy Spirit in power in believers has arrived!
                                                         -Peter explains this as fulfillment of Joel 2 (Acts 1:14-21)
                     -GOSPEL ministry happens today through the Holy Spirit.
                                 -Whenever a person becomes a Christian, it due to H.S. (regenerates, seals, fills, convicts, empowers)
                                             -HS gives believers power to live a holy life (NCC 37: ‘how does the HS help us?’)
         -SPEAKING IN OTHER LANGUAGES (4b) and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
-“speak in other tongues”=speak in other human languages they did not know.
                     -“as the Spirit gave them utterance”=this act was empowered and led by the Holy Spirit.
                                 WHAT DID THEY SPEAK ABOUT?
v 11:mighty works of God
                                                         -Probably telling about Jesus and the mighty work of his death and resurrection.

II. The Astonished and Bewildered Crowd (5-13)
In the next scene we see a crowd gather, and they are astonished and bewildered. They also are very diverse, which Luke wants us to see.
-Diverse Gathering of Jews present (5): Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.
          –“from every nation under heaven” =not meant to be taken overly literal, but from Luke’s viewpoint
                      -Jewish people from almost everywhere in Roman empire had come to Jerusalem for Pentecost festival.

-Crowd Bewildered (6): And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered,
                                     because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.
         –“at this sound”: Sound of speaking in differently languages all at once altered them
         -“They were bewildered”: astonished, amazed.
                     –REASON: because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.
-Something Extraordinary Taking Place (7-8): And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
                                                                     8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?
         -They recognized that Jesus’ followers were Galileans (northern accent) and could not have known these foreign languages.
                     –Amazed and astonished”=Something amazing is taking place here. Something supernatural!
-Diversity of the Crowd (9-11) 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians–we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”
         -16 groups of peoples, many with different native languages.
                     -All these people were hearing Jesus’ followers “telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God”
WHY THIS DETAIL ABOUT DIVERSITY? This is the beginning of the fulfillment of Acts 1:8!
         -Here the nations are gathered, and some hearers will become Christians and go there.
                     -As the book progresses, the gospel goes out to these nations.
WHY TONGUES?         -Supernatural SIGN confirming that what was happening really was from God! This was of God!
                     -H.S. really must be the one empowering Christians if they are speaking in foreign languages the gospel.
                                 -Speaking in tongues happens at key moments in Acts (gospel reaches Samaritans [Acts 10:46; 19:6])
*QUESTION TODAY: What about this gift today? And can we be sure we have the Holy Spirit if we do not speak in togues?
         -Some Christians believe this gift continues today—continuationists, Pentecostals, Assemblies of God.
                     -Some even say you do NOT actually have the fullness of the Holy Spirit until you start to speak in tongues yourself.
                                      HOW SHOULD ONE THINK ABOUT THIS QUESTION?

1. Speaking in tongues refers to speaking in another human dialect. Not a non-human (angelic) dialect—this is clear in our passage.
          –Stott: to understand what tongues refers to in NT, this passage is clearest in stating what is happening (more than 1 Cor)
                     -If we see it today, then we should expect miraculous foreign language  
                                 -We do not see it today: Foreign Missions Org (like IMB) train mission in speaking foreign languages.
2. Apostles taught that not every Christian is gifted to speak in tongues, but different gifts to different people (1 Cor 12:8-11)
                     -It is false to say you do not have the Holy Spirit if you fail to speak in tongues due to diversity of gifts.
3. Anyone who becomes a Christian has experienced what is called the ‘baptism of the Holy’: TITUS 3:4-7
-Evidence that you have experienced ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’ is faith in Jesus, repentance, and a holy life.
MY PERSONAL VIEW: Cessationism. TONGUES was unique to apostolic age, and we don’t see what is happening in Acts 2 today.
         -It was a unique sign God gave to Early Church, to authenticate the reality of the gospel and arrival of Holy Spirit.
                     -What you see in more charismatic churches is something different.

How did the CROWD RESPOND? (12-13)
         -ALL were “amazed and perplexed” (12a)
                     -Something extraordinary was happening! (12b) “, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”
         -Some were skeptical (13): But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
-It was assumed that the apostles were drunk.
                                 -Same today: some say Christianity is just ‘religious enthusiasm’ and ‘product of man’
                                             -STORY from when I was a new Christian at home church.
                                 -Of course the skeptics were wrong: this was real! The Holy Spirit really did come!
1 Because the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost…we have another reason to rejoice in Jesus—what he said came to pass!
         -Jesus promised that the HS would come and fill believers, and He did!  
                     -All of Jesus’ promises are true: promise to forgive you of sins and give you eternal life are true.
                                 -His warnings of hell for those who reject him are true.
                     -Let’s delight in Jesus together and trust that his promises are true.
2 Because the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost…we can have hope in our own gospel ministry.
-All of the ministry that took place in Acts was because of the Holy Spirit.
                     -All gospel ministry today—and through age of church—is possible only because and through the Holy Spirit.
         -Let’s remember this and let it give us confidence in our ministry and church plant TODAY!
                                 -Our hope is not programs, gimmicks, or human effort, but God, who through the HS, changes hearts!
 CLOSE: Praise God for the arrival of the Holy Spirit! We’ve been changed by it and the world has been changed by it.

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