Bible Lesson 3, Acts 2: Lecture

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.

Application:

  1. What are you on fire about?
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

Application:

  1. What paths are you on that take you away from God?
  2. What do you need to stop doing that leads you to sin?
  3. 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.

Application:

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?!?!?!

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Acts: Week 2, Day 6

Read Acts 2.

16. The truth for me to apply is the call from the Holy Spirit spoken through Peter:  Repent and save myself and my children from this corrupt society.  I don’t think the answer is sheltering or trying to hide our families, cloistered in seclusion from the evils of the world.  Instead, I think the the call of the Holy Spirit to is fill ourselves and our next generation up with the love and power of the spirit.  The best defense is a good offense.  If we are full to the brim and overflowing with the spirit, it is much more difficult for the corruption of this day to come creeping in.

Prayer?  That I may keep my tank filled with the word every day.

Acts: Week 2, Day 5

Acts 2:33–47.

The Holy Spirit, speaking through Peter, issues the call to the Jews assembled in Jerusalem for the feast at Pentecost: Repent, be baptized, receive the power of the Spirit.  They are warned, they are pleaded with, “save yourself from this corrupt generation” for your sake and the sake of your children.

13. a. Psalm 110:1

b. Exalted to the right hand of God – Heaven, Acts 2:33

c. The Session of Christ, His position of power and majesty, the demonstration of favor of God the Father, the fact that He not only has the ear of the Father whom He petitions on our behalf, but He also has the annointed and exalted authority as both judge and savior.  By definition, if someone is both your ultimate judge and your savior He is, by that shear fact, your Lord. And, in that position of Lord, He deserves, desires and demands our devotion (note Acts 2:42).  Should that make a difference in my daily situation?  Is this not so clearly self-evident?  When you really think about not only this incredible gift, but the just and righteous position of power it is given from, the only appropriate position for my devotion to Christ is at the very center and heart of everything about my daily situation.

14. Peter issues the altar call: 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.

15. a. Preparation: v 41, To demonstrate their belief they accepted his message and were baptized.  And, v 42, They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, the the breaking of bread and to prayer

1. v 44, they were together and had everything in common

2. v 45, they sold their possessions and goods, giving to anyone as he had need

3. v 46, they continued to meet together in the temple courts

4. v 46, they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people

b. The key word in the question is “evident”.  To me that means not what would I think and say about it, but more importantly, what would others say.  I think others clearly see that things are different in our family, mostly because we truly have so much joy.  But I’m not sure they always know why it is different.  I think breaking more bread with others – i.e., inviting others to eat with us, may be a way to make that difference more apparent.  I know that as others in my work and social circle see the dedication that being active in the church and mission work and being a BSF CL requires, it is evident.  And I know, without any doubt at all that the 17 kids in our BSF class know that I love Jesus.

As I look around me and think about the words of this passage I almost have to laugh out loud (LOL) when I hear Peter calling people of that day to save themselves from the corrupt generation.  I hope the corruptness of a generation is not a contest, but if it were I have no doubt how it would bear out.  The recipients of Peter’s message were attempting to practice what they believed was correct (until their eyes were opened to the real truth), so much so that they had traveled great distances to the temple at Jerusalem for the feast of first fruits.  Now, turn on the TV, take a walk in the mall, listen to the mom’s at soccer practice, read the news – see any evidence of a corrupt generation?   Do you hear the warning and pleading in these words and the promise of salvation and power that is offered?  I do.

Acts: Week 2, Day 4

Read Acts 2:22–32.

Peter “lays it down”!  Who Jesus was, what God did, what you did, what God did, how David wrote about it: the resurrection of the Christ, it happened, we saw it, it is a fact, Jack!

10. a. Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him

b.handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.

c. 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.

11. In my own words (or how1st and 2nd grade – ok, maybe 4th/5th – might say it while talking a bit of smack): “Let’s be clear, doooodes, you all may have thought you were pulling one over. But the big G had this as His plan since day 1! And, by day 1, I mean, literally, Genesis 1, day 1.  Booyah!  In ya’ face!  Remember David?  Yeah, he got it and wrote about it… wanna see the book? Psalm 16, check it out! Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t make what you did holy, or even right.  Murdering the Son of God, even though part of the plan, is most definitely in the “not good to do” category.  But, bam… back from the dead.  Who is looking good now, huh? huh?… huh? (snap in z formation – talk to the hand)”

I’m not sure Peter had exactly the same emphasis, but he was probably thinking it!

12. a. you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.

b. Why? They actually did: John 19:7 – “The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.””

Why? They were men (people) who had committed sin: 1 Peter 2:24, “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”

However, lest we fall into the blame game trap: John 10:17-18
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” No one did it to Jesus, or God.  At no point in time was He not in control of the situation or the universe.

Conclusion:

Clear, concise, compelling.  Jesus was a man.  In that human body He took on all of the wrath and punishment justly earned by all the sin of the world, past and present.  If you and I have sinned (which we have), we were part and party to that murder on the cross.  But, in fulfillment of scripture, He is Alive and ascended to heaven.  And in fulfillment of His promise, He has sent the Holy Spirit to give us power to witness.  What a powerful sermon.  And, what, maybe 5 minutes?  Who said a great sermon has to last 20-30 minutes? <grin>

Acts: Week 2, Day 3

Acts 2:14–21 with Joel 2:28–32.

Upon receiving the Holy Spirit at pentecost, Peter stands up, with the 11 and begins to deliver his first alter call by quoting from Joel 2: 28-32.

5. a. Peter stood up with the Eleven

b. What a difference the simple act of standing up, and thus showing support and unity, would make all around us, today.  In contrast, most of us spend much more time standing back, waiting or just getting out of the way. Notice that the 11 weren’t doing anything at this point other than standing up, but by the sheer act of showing unity, the power of Peter’s words is magnified 12-fold.  Not to get too deep, but notice also that Peter stood up with the Eleven, not the other way around.  They weren’t backing him, like we see people on a stage at a political rally, they were together, unified, Peter was just the rock that the holy spirit put words into.

6. (Challenge) It began with Jesus sending the Holy Spirit to baptize the believers on earth now that the price of sin has been paid.  Isa 2:2, Hsa 3:5 and Mic 4:1 all speak of the “last days” as a time of conviction, repentance and a regathering of the flock to Zion.  John 16:7-8: 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. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.

7. The culmination of the “last days” is: the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

8. According to these verses, I believe the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is only for special people (like evangelists, pastors, and missionaries) who have choosen to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and obey His will.  BUT, I also believe that all who choose to accept Jesus as savior are called to be special people.  I think we all have someone we are to evangelize to, we all have someone we are supposed to care for as a shepherd, and I am absolutely convinced we are all called into mission work, to further the kingdom.  That mission work may be across the globe or it may be, literally, in our own backyard. By the sheer fact that we are a new creation when we accept Christ, baptized in the spirit, by my definition – we are special people with a mission.  As I read the bible, I don’t see a lot of calling for believers to sit back – we are to stand up.

9. The day of the Lord is the judgment day, when the wrath of a just God is unleashed on the sins of the world.  Zep 1:18 – Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD’s wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth.

With all of this eschatalogical discussion (that’s a wow word meaning “the end days”) I think it is critically important to read 2 Peter 3:3-18.  Even at the time of the Apostles there were scoffers who said, I don’t see anything different, life just goes on. 

In these verses Peter explains that God isn’t slow, He is patient, wanting to give each person an opportunity to hear the word, repent and accept the gift.  But mistake not, for the 3000+ hearing Peter’s sermon that day, they had heard the word and the opportunity to repent and accept the gift had arrived. 

The same can be said for me an you – there is no time to delay.  As the stock broker commercials say, past performance does not accurately predict future results:  The fact that Jesus did not return yesterday, does not mean that He will not return, today.  Is your house in order?

Acts: Week 2, Day 2 – Pentecost

It wasn’t part of a question, but I think it is amazing to understand more of the significance of the “why pentecost?”  I think many christians are under the false impression that this 50th day was a new holiday (holy day) formed by christianity because of the significance of the spirit creating the “birthday of the church” as some have called it.  In fact it dates back to Exodus and Leviticus and was long part of God’s design.

The following is from Judaism 101:

Shavu’ot
Shavu'ot (in Hebrew)

Level: Basic

Significance: Remembers the giving of the Torah; also a harvest festival
Observances: Studying Torah
Length: 2 days (Some: 1 day)
Customs: Eating dairy foods

You shall count for yourselves — from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving — seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days… You shall convoke on this very day — there shall be a holy convocation for yourselves — you shall do no laborious work; it is an eternal decree in your dwelling places for your generations. -Leviticus 21:15-16, 21

Shavu’ot, the Festival of Weeks, is the second of the three major festivals with both historical and agricultural significance (the other two are Passover and Sukkot). Agriculturally, it commemorates the time when the first fruits were harvested and brought to the Temple, and is known as Hag ha-Bikkurim (the Festival of the First Fruits). Historically, it celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and is also known as Hag Matan Torateinu (the Festival of the Giving of Our Torah).

The period from Passover to Shavu’ot is a time of great anticipation. We count each of the days from the second day of Passover to the day before Shavu’ot, 49 days or 7 full weeks, hence the name of the festival. See The Counting of the Omer. The counting reminds us of the important connection between Passover and Shavu’ot: Passover freed us physically from bondage, but the giving of the Torah on Shavu’ot redeemed us spiritually from our bondage to idolatry and immorality. Shavu’ot is also known as Pentecost, because it falls on the 50th day; however, Shavu’ot has no particular similarity to the Christian holiday of Pentecost, which occurs 50 days after their Spring holiday.

It is noteworthy that the holiday is called the time of the giving of the Torah, rather than the time of the receiving of the Torah. The sages point out that we are constantly in the process of receiving the Torah, that we receive it every day, but it was first given at this time. Thus it is the giving, not the receiving, that makes this holiday significant.

While the authors of jewfaq.org may not recognize a particular similarity, I think the message of picking this day for the coming of the Holy Spirit screams to us.  We are the first fruits!  On passover, Christ, the lamb, freed us from spiritual bondage and 50 days later the spirit came to redeem us from our physical limitations to obey – marking us and buying us for the Father for all time.  It was a day of the giving of the spirit, which, in turn, immediately caused those receiving to “give witness” to others.

Understanding the old testament, not just the stories, but digging deeper to understand how the feasts and festivals, prescribed by the law, were celebrated and the meaning they held, is so amazing.  Everything in the bible points to Christ.  Sometimes we need to look a little deeper to see the treasure that is revealed in further study.

Acts: Week 2, Day 2

Acts 2:1–13.

On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descends on the 120 gathered, taking the form of a violent wind filling the whole house and tongues of fire that come to rest on each of them.  They are filled with the spirit and speak in other languages and dialects, clearly, as if native speakers.  There are others present who hear and understand clearly, causing many to hear to be convicted to seek meaning in what they hear, but others made fun.

2. a. a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting

b. tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them

c. to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

d. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit (And baptized of the spirit)

3. a. The Holy Spirit provided the equivalent of 1 language (all present heard in their native tongue) for the speaking of truth.  In Gen 11, God confused their language so as to inhibit sin.

b. Language is a tool.  How you use it is what matters and what God either equips or hinders

4. If God wanted everyone present to clearly understand the words spoken He could have taken 2 different paths:

He could have changed the speakers, so they spoke in each of the different tongues, or

He could have changed the listeners, so they understood a foreign dialect. 

I think it is significant that He did the first because it shows two things: First, that God reaches out to us where we are – He doesn’t require us to change before He loves us or reaches out to us.  Second, that He does change those baptized of the spirit (believers) providing the words, language and power needed to light others on fire as well.