“The Day of Pentecost”
From Jerusalem to Pennsylvania: The Book of Acts
September 25, 2011
Acts 2 is one of the most important and amazing chapters in the whole Bible.
It is “The Day of Pentecost.”
Pentecost came every year. It was one of the Jewish religious festivals established in the Old Testament. But this was the most important Pentecost ever.
This was the Pentecost after Jesus died and rose again.
This was the day of Pentecost that the Spirit came, the gospel went forth, and the church was born.
Two weeks ago, we started our new sermon series on the book of Acts entitled “From Jerusalem to Pennsylvania,” and we’re learning how the mission of the church progressed as the Lord, before His ascension, told His apostles that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and then to the ends of the earth.
But first, he told them to wait.
And last week, we were still waiting, as we saw what happened before Pentecost.
Waiting. Waiting for what? For the coming of the Spirit.
And then (v.1), “When the day of Pentecost came...” the waiting was over and the excitement was about to begin!
We’re going to divide up our time in this passage into three parts this morning.
Verses 1-13, The Spirit
Verses 14-40, The Gospel
And verses 41-47, The Church.
The Spirit, the Gospel, the Church.
First, #1. THE SPIRIT. Verse 1.
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Let’s stop there for just a second.
Ten days have passed since the Lord ascended into heaven.
For ten days the twelve apostles (including, now Matthias) and the rest of the disciples have been gathering for constant prayer, both men and women and including Mary, Jesus’ mother and his brothers.
And now on this day, the day of Pentecost, they are all together again. We’re not sure if they’re in the upper room still, that’s possible and likely.
But they are all together and then a miracle happens. V.2
They hear a sound LIKE the blowing of a violent wind. It doesn’t say that there is a wind, it’s like a wind. A violent wind. Have you ever heard a tornado coming?
And the sound filled the whole house were they were sitting.
But that was nothing! V.3 “They saw WHAT SEEMED TO BE tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.”
What’s that? Fiery tongues. Little? Large? Individualized flames that came to rest on each of them. We’ve all seen pictures of this, but noone really knows what it was like.
It must have been spooky!
And then something else happened. V.4
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to SPEAK in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Tongues are a figure of speech for languages.
All of them (at least the twelve and maybe more) began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them.
And speak they did! V.5
“Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven [it’s the feast of Pentecost so everyone’s in town]. When they heard this sound [the sound of the wind?], a crowd came together in bewilderment, [bewildered] because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? [Aren’t they unlearned people from up north?] Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?”
Check out how many languages. V.9
“Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!’ Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’ Some, however, made fun of them and said, ‘They have had too much wine.’”
“What does this mean?” That’s a good question.
What just happened?
Well, here’s three things.
1. God just kept a promise.
The Lord said that He would send His Spirit.
And here the Spirit is.
The waiting is over and the Gift of the Father has been given.
God just kept a promise.
Don’t forget that. Often, we take that for granted, but it’s important to remember God always keeps His promises.
Not always on the timeline that we want!
But always and ever, God is faithful to His promises.
You trust Him.
He promised the Spirit, and here the Spirit is.
2. God is undoing the curse of Babel.
Remember the Tower of Bablel back in Genesis 11?
They sinfully wanted to build a tower to reach up to heaven?
And God frustrated their project and confused their languages.
Well, now heaven has come down to earth.
And when the Spirit came, He undid the confusion of language and made all of the languages serve the good news of Jesus.
These Christians were speaking human languages that they had never learned.
How amazing is that?!
And they are all saying one thing with those different languages. V.11
“We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues.”
And it means at least one more thing.
3. A new era has dawned.
The Holy Spirit has come in fullness, and God is doing something new in human history starting now on the Day of Pentecost.
Some scoffed at this and (v.13) made fun of the saying that they have had too much wine.
They didn’t know that those were other languages. Sounded like drunkspeak to them.
So the apostle Peter stands up boldly and dispels the misperceptions and begins to preach the gospel for the first time in the new era.
#2. THE GOSPEL. V.14 [slide]
“Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ‘Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning!”
Nobody is drunk yet. There is something else going on here. Something BIG. V.16
“No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”
That’s a new Peter, isn’t it?
How bold and strong he is in the gospel?! That’s the power of the Holy Spirit.
Peter proclaims that what they are hearing is the fulfillment of Joel chapter 2.
God promised to pour out His Spirit on all people–all kinds of people, regardless of gender, age, or social status.
And He promised to do this in the last days. The last days are here. The Spirit has come.
Amazing things are going to happen. Great signs and wonders in the earth.
And some of that happened when Jesus was crucified and raised again.
And the great and glorious day of the Lord is approaching.
A day of judgment. And there is only one way to be saved.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Are you saved?
The coming of the Holy Spirit has inaugurated a new era and brought near the coming of the day of the Lord, a day of judgment.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
What is the name of the Lord that he’s talking about?
It is Jesus. V.22
“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. [Don’t forget what has happened these last three years in our nation!] This man [Jesus] was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge [God’s plan]; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”
That’s the gospel!
Peter is forcefully preaching the gospel.
Jesus lived a perfect life and had dynamic ministry.
And God allowed in His perfect plan for Him to be handed over to the Jews.
And they with other wicked men put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
Remember how we studied that back in the Spring?
We had four messages titled:
But (v.24), “God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him!”
Jesus is alive!
We’re going to see that again and again and again.
The resurrection changes everything.
Jesus is alive. “It was impossible for death to keep its hold on him!”
Like the song say, “Death in vain forbids him rise!”
Peter has been reading his Bible, and he has come to understand how the Old Testament predicted this. He pulls out Psalm 16. V.25
“David said about him: ‘'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.' ‘Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.”
Do you see what Peter is doing with this sermon?
Where he’s going?
He knows that David wrote Psalm 16, but Peter sees some things in Psalm 16 that were more true for Jesus than they ever would be for David.
Jesus is the ultimate “Holy One” of Psalm 16:10! V.29
‘Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne [2 Samuel 7]. Seeing what was ahead, [David] spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.”
There is that word “witnesses” again. The book of Acts is about witnessing.
The apostles are eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.
Jesus is alive!
His body did not decay. In fact, it came out of the tomb better than it had ever been.
And now (v.33), “Exalted to the right hand of God, [Jesus] has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” Stop there.
You want to know what just happened? What this all means?
The Father has given the Holy Spirit to the Son, Jesus, the Resurrected One, and Jesus has now poured out the Spirit on us.
That’s the Day of Pentecost.
That’s what’s happened: A Spiritual Downpour by Jesus Himself.
And then Peter turns to Psalm 110. V.34
“For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ‘'The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’' ‘Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’”
That’s one of the most amazing things ever said.
They crucified Him, but God has made Jesus both Lord (master, king) and Christ (messiah, savior, annointed one).
That’s what all of this wind, and flame, and tongues mean!
We can get caught up in debates about speaking in tongues and be amazed at the wonders of the day of Pentecost.
But David says that the whole point of it all is that “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
That’s the gospel.
And the people listening to David GOT IT! V.37
“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’”
We crucified Him?!!!
He is Lord and Christ and we crucified Him?!!
Let that sink in.
The 3-6 grade classes in Kids For Christ this Fall have a mystery they are trying to solve.
Who Killed Jesus?
They have a list of suspects, I’ve heard the kids talking about the suspects and who they think did it.
When we think about it for long, we realize that we are all guilty.
Verse 36 is addressed to Israel, but it’s true for all of us.
“God made this Jesus, whom YOU CRUCIFIED, both Lord and Christ.”
Does that cut you to the heart?
What shall we do?!
We crucified Him?!!!
He is Lord and Christ and we crucified Him?!!
What shall we do? V.38
“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.’ With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’”
What shall we do?
Believe the Gospel!
Turn from your sins (repent) and trust in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
And do that publically taking on the sign and symbol of that repentance, water baptism.
Repent and believe!
This is for everyone.
Not just one generation, but everyone who will believe.
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
And will get the gift of the Holy Spirit.
People who killed the Messiah now get His Spirit.
V.39 “The promise [of the gospel] is for you and for your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Even those people who will live in Pennsylvania some day?
Even them? That far off! Really far off?! Gentiles like them?
Yes, even for them.
Are you saved?
Have you repented and put your faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?
Or are you still FAR OFF?
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Turn from your sins and trust in the crucified and risen Savior, the one God made both Lord and Christ.
And then tell the world by water baptism.
Have you been baptized?
Baptism is not for extraordinary Christians or for mature Christians.
Sometimes, people tell me that they’re not ready to get baptized because they haven’t grown much as Christians.
Baptism is for new Christians, ordinary Christians. Look at verse 41.
“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
They didn’t wait for maturity in Christ to get baptized. They didn’t delay.
They heard the call, “Repent and be baptized, everyone one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”
Baptism symbolizes the washing away, the forgiveness of your sins.
And they had 3,000 dunkings that day!
I wonder how they did it. Those apostles would have been tired by the end of the day!
Maybe they had newly baptized follower baptizing others.
Anyway about it, they had 3,000 new believers baptized on the Day of Pentecost.
Because they believed the gospel. V.41, “Those who accepted his message were baptized.”
Do you believe the gospel? Are you saved? Have you called upon the name of the Lord?
If you have, are you witnessing to others about it?
The bulletin has those 6 gospel outreach events in it that are coming up for our church.
Are you praying, helping, inviting, sharing the Lord?
The point of the Spirit’s coming is not a pyrotechnic show.
It is a powerful witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Repent and Believe and Bear Witness.
And be the church.
#3. THE CHURCH.
Something new started that day, a dynamic community of disciplemakers was born. V.42
“They [these new converts] devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
What an amazing time!
Our church’s purpose statement came, in large part, from an indepth study of this passage on the birth of the church.
We exist to glorify God by bringing people into a love relationship with Jesus Christ through worship, instruction, fellowship, evangelism, and service.
The newborn church was devoted to learning about the gospel from the apostles.
And we have the apostle’s writings, the Bible.
They were devoted to fellowship, which is more than potluck dinners. They were in each others’ lives in genuine community.
They were devoted to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
I think that means the Lord’s supper and prayer. So, they were devoted to regular worship and prayer times and observing the ordinances the Lord had given.
It was a time of great miracles and wonder and awe.
The newborn church was generous. They sold items and gave it to the poor and to those within the church that were needy.
They worshipped God and shared Jesus with others. They didn’t just look inward. They looked outward and reached out.
“And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
God’s blessing was on the newborn church.
Starting on the Day of Pentecost.
Are you and I living our lives like they were living theirs?
We don’t have to wait for the Spirit to come.
He’s already here.
Ever since the Day of Pentecost.
Messages So Far In this Series:
You Will Be My Witnesses
Sunday, September 25, 2011
“The Day of Pentecost”