Acts 2 Aim: Being saved, (accepting Christ and being baptized in the spirit), creates a changed life both in activity and quality.
I want you to picture the earth in your mind. The entire earth. Got it? Ok, using one hand I want you to make a shape showing me what you picture. (Everyone makes a fist). Look around, notice anyone holding up a flat hand? But even just a few generations ago, everyone would be doing that. But notice how that small revelation changes so many things about how you think about stuff. If someone goes out in a boat, do you worry about them falling off the end of the earth? Do you have spend time thinking about what happens to the sun at night? No. Simple understandings completely change the way we look at things.
Tonight we are going to learn from a very large group of faithful jews who completely had their understanding of things rocked upside down by the truth spoken through a fisherman.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s go back where we left things last week.
(at this point I’ll go back over Acts 1,40 days post resurrection, the final command of Jesus, the ascension, the MIW’s, the obedience to the command, the prayer and bible study that went on while waiting, the selecting of the 12 apostle)
1st division: Acts 2:1-13. As promised by the bible and Christ, the Holy Spirit comes
Principle: The H/S is given to God’s adopted children
Seriously, do we need better illustrations that tongues of fire and speaking in tongues? I plan on pointing out some of the background about pentecost as a Jewish Holy Day, both in terms of the festival of first fruits as well as the day Moses was given the 10 commandments (see my earlier post about pentecost). In studying this, I found it interesting that the emphasis is on the giving of the law as opposed to the receiving of it. It is about the grace of God and His desire to save, over my want and need of salvation. (probalby too deep for level 1, but I’ll work it in because it is so cool). The law through moses was an outside thing – there was the structure of the temple, the sacrifices, all the various offerings and observances. The spirit is an inside thing – no longer are we outsiders, we are adopted children.
- What are you on fire about?
- If God gave you the ability to speak in another language that you didn’t know to communicate with people you didn’t know – what would you say?
- Are you truly thankful for this gift? Not just focused on receiving it, but understanding the grace with which it is given?
Division 2: Actions 2:14-41
Peter preaches and calls for repentance.
At this point I’m supposed to give a lecture (aka. sermon) about a sermon formulated by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and delivered through the Apostle Peter. I’m taking the safest route and literally reading the sermon he gave.
Principle: Repent and accept Christ
Illustration: I have a nephew named James who is a toddler. When James was an infant, the doctors noticed that his cranium (head bones) were not forming or shaping just right (very common condition called Plagiocephaly), so they gave him this device to wear on his head to help shape things. It basically was like a baby helmet. So, when baby James he would crawl and bump into something or fall backwards, it wouldn’t hurt – he was wearing a helmet. Now he is fine and doesn’t wear it anymore, but he also seems to have absolutely no fear. He will walk right up to the edge of stairs, or a tall drop-off, and just keep going, stepping out into space. The adults watching him, jump to his rescue, but for the rest of us, it is terrifying.
I think this is how it was for Peter and the Apostles. Filled with the H/S, they were compelled to warn those around them, just as adults do with James, of the impending doom. Stop – repent – you are on the wrong path. We need to see that the path we are on is leading to a cliff and we may be only one step away from the ledge. Stop, turn the other way and take Christs hand for guidance to the correct path.
- What paths are you on that take you away from God?
- What do you need to stop doing that leads you to sin?
- Are you willing to take Christ’s hand and go a different direction?
Division 3: Changed Lives: Acts 2:42-47
Having their eyes opened to the true meaning of the scriptures and the fact that they pointed to Jesus Christ, the gathered Jews cannot look at things the same way any longer. The earth is no longer flat. 3000 immediately accept the gift and the spirit fills them up. They are no longer the same people and they can no longer act the same way. They eat together, they share, they help each other, they tell others and their numbers grow and grow.
When someone at school or in your neighborhood sees you and your family, the way you act, the way you talk to each other, the way you treat each other and other people. Does it look different? Does it look like something they would want? You can use a million words, but the biggest testimony is in how you act and live as a changed person – as a child of God.
I’m closing with a big prayer: I’m going to pray that God bring a mighty wind of the H/S and light up each of these kids. I’ll ask that He give them 11 ofther friends who, no matter what anyone says, will always stand up together. But even bigger, I am going to pray that God give each of them 3000 people to see the way they live, to hear the words they have to say and who, as a result, see things in a completely new and holy way.
Can I get an amen to that one?!?!?!