Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

Molalla, Oregon

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Birthday of the Church

January 11th, 2010 by Vic

Acts 2

Jesus had warned his disciples that He was going to be crucified and return to His Father.  But He promised to send His Spirit as a comforter to them and to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.  The Holy Spirit would also teach them and bring to their mind everything Jesus had told them.

Before His final ascension, Jesus commanded them to wait for the Gift the Father would send to them when He was seated on His throne.

How many of us like to wait?  Why is it hard to wait?  Some things we have to wait for.  God has set the time for seeds to grow.  Some things we grab prematurely.  It may look like it’s ready to pick, but it will turn your stomach sour.  Some things we can speed up a little, but every throttle needs to be used the way it was designed.

Satan’s major temptations have to do with instant satisfaction.  He says you can have it now.  That’s a lie.

Jesus told them to wait.  We no longer have to wait for the Holy Spirit.  That Gift is now available to everybody.

2:1-13

2:1 The Day of Pentecost was one of 3 major feasts.  It means 50th in the Greek.  The Jews called it the Feast of Weeks or Feast of Harvest.  It has been 7 weeks plus one day since the Passover Feast.  The Holy Spirit was given on a Sunday.  It was also called the Feast of the joy of the Law because some believed it was the 50th day after the Exodus that the Law was given to Moses.

At the same time the lambs were being slain for Passover, Christ was crucified on the cross.  Now while the Jews are celebrating the giving of the Law to Moses, the Holy Spirit is given to the disciples.  God wrote the first Law on stone.  Now He writes it on our heart.

Lev 23:15 gives the instructions for the feast of weeks.  From the first sheaves of the grain harvest you make 2 bread loaves with yeast as part of your wave offering to the Lord.  Leaven in the OT sacrifice was to remind them of their sin just as the Spirit would convict them of their sin.

2:2 They were in a house (It could mean the temple) sitting, waiting, expecting, worshiping.  Then a sound came.  I sounded like a major wind storm, but there was no dust blowing, no breath of movement, just a violent noise that was filling all the rooms in the house.  Why didn’t they say it sounded like a train, a low flying jet, a helicopter, or thunder?  Spirit and wind are the same word.

The Holy Spirit came like the sound of a wind.  Wind is unpredictable.  We do not schedule its coming, its direction, its destination, its force, or its duration.  It was too noisy to carry on a conversation.

2:3 In the stillness of the violent noise they see something.  Were they holding hands?  It looked like a brush fire moving rapidly in a dry wind.  (They were not to be God’s chosen frozen.)  They saw this light come quickly, separate itself, and rest on each one of them.  The air was still, but the noise continued and each one had a light.

2:4 The Holy Spirit was not in the noise and light, but came as a still small voice to their hearts.  The Spirit of God entered the hearts of man and they were enabled to speak the languages of all the nations represented at this feast.  They could share the light.  The tongue is declaring the praises of God.  They have become witnesses just as Jesus had promised.  Man speaks what the Spirit inspires.  Has the noise faded?  Are all the halos gone?

2:7  Some were amazed.

2:9 The list of nations mentioned are from the far reaches of the Roman Empire.

2:12  Others were perplexed and some mocked.  They did not think about the tower of Babel.  Is this the reversal of the judgment when God confused man’s language (Gen 11:1-9)?  The curse at Babel scattered people, but Pentecost offers a unity of believers in the Spirit.  At Babel the people could not understand each other; but at Pentecost all men heard God’s praises and understood what was said.  Babel was an event caused by man’s arrogance and pride.  Pentecost followed man’s obedience and humble community.

2:14 There are 2 reasons why these believers can’t be drunk.  First, a drunk person loses control of himself and these people are expressing joy decently and in order.  Secondly, its only 9 am.  It is time for morning prayers.  After praying the Jew could have breakfast and then he could have a drink, which was usually after 10 am.  It was just about a sin for a Jew to eat or drink before his morning prayers which were usually at 9 am.

2:17-36 Peter had given a speech in chapter 1, but this is the first sermon every preached.

He explains what has just happened – the Spirit has come

He explains how it happened – prophecies of Jesus

He explains why it happened – Jesus is Lord

2:17 What has just happened?  The Spirit has come like Joel predicted, not on just prophets, priests, and kings, but on men, women, young and old, rich and poor.

2:19 All people will prophecy, speak forth the Word of God, be witnesses.  And God will confirm their witness with signs and wonders on earth and in the sky.

2:21 Salvation has become available to everyone who calls on Jesus as Lord.  Salvation is individual and personal without exception.

2:22 As you know, God has confirmed the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  You are guilty of handing him over, but God had a plan.

2:25 David also prophesied of this event.  He may have thought he was speaking of himself, but Jesus was even then speaking through David.  We know Jesus was speaking because David did not rise up from the dead before his body decayed.

2:34 And David did not ascend to heaven and sit at God’s right hand.

2:36 Why has all of this happened?  Why did Joel and David prophecy?  Why did God work through Jesus with signs, wonders, and miracles?  Why has the Holy Spirit come?  What does all of this mean?

2:36  Jesus is Lord of all and seated at the right hand of the Father!  Jesus had said He would send the Spirit when He returned to the Father.  Jesus is Lord of all.

2:37 The effect of the first sermon was conviction.  They were pierced to the heart and felt condemned.

2:38 The cure for guilt and conviction is repentance and baptism.  Repentance means to change your mind.  Repent so you can be forgiven of your sin and receive the baptism of the Spirit.  This promise is for everyone, men, women, and children.

Many assume Peter means water baptism.  For the Jews, baptism was something you did to yourself.  And it meant you were changing religions.  Jewish proselytes were expected to be circumcised and baptize themselves.  The God-fearing Gentiles were not circumcised, but were baptized.  Jesus allowed Himself to be baptized by John to fulfill the law, but God then anointed Him with the Spirit.  In Ephesians 4:4-6 Paul reminds us that there is only one baptism.

John the Baptist had preached that the Messiah would baptize us with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus told them in Acts 1:5 that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Did you know that the Greek verb ‘to baptize’ occurs 80 times in the NT, eleven occurrences are in 1 Corinthians but only one occurrence is after Galatians 3:27?  The Greek noun ‘baptism’ occurs 22 times, and only 4 of those occur after Acts 19:4.

2:42 Notice what the growing church was doing.

1. They received instruction from those who had walked with Jesus.

2. They fellowshipped and grew together as a community.

3. They ate together and remembered the Lord’s last supper.

4. They devoted themselves to prayer.

2:43-47 When we practice these disciplines, what happens?

1. We develop a child-like spirit of wonder.  There is a divine discontent that hungers and thirsts for righteousness.

2. We build one another up.

3. We are generous.

4. We delight to meet every day together in the Temple

5. We practice hospitality with gladness

6. We praise God with sincere hearts

7. We are a blessing to our neighbors

8. We see the power of God changing lives.

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