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Sermon24-26 Acts2 Guide

Acts 2:1-13, theme verse Acts 2:38

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

In the first Sunday after the Pentecost, I pray that His grace of the application of all the benefits which Jesus earned for our salvation and also the glorious ministry of the proclamation of His kingdom by the power of the Holy Spirit may be full in our life. While the Gospel of Luke records the story of the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Acts records the evangelism story of His disciples who received Great Commission from their Lord to proclaim His good news to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and then to the end of the earth with the power of the Holy Spirit. As we looked into how they prepared this coming of the Holy Spirit last week, this week we would like to see what the coming of the Holy Spirit means through Acts 2 together.

1)    The “Acts” as the sequel to the Gospel of Luke, written around AD 80-90 after the Gospel of Luke, was written by Luke also on the ministries of the first church, who proclaim the Good News to all over the world, I mean, geologically from Jerusalem to Samaria, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome and ethnically not only to Jews, but now embracing Gentiles of every nationality. And briefly speaking, in chapter 1 through 12, Luke recorded the ministry of Peter, while recording the ministry of Paul in the chapter 13 through the end, chapter 28.

2)    And the Acts is composed of introduction and three church planting movements; I mean,

a)     In 1:1-26, Luke summarized again Jesus’ ministries after His resurrection to ascension, as the bridge between the Gospel of Luke and Acts,

b)    In 1:12-6:7, Luke recorded the story of the church in Jerusalem from its birth through the coming of the Holy Spirit to its expansion by the power of the Holy Spirit,

c)     and in 6:8-9:31, it was recorded the story of church in Judea and Samaria, after being scattered through the persecution after the Martyr of Stephen. 

d)    And then in 9:32-28:31, it was recorded the story of church expansion to the end of the earth in which Paul who joined with Barnabas in church in Antioch went spread the Gospel to the end of the earth, I mean, to Turkey, Asia Minor, Greece and even to Rome.

3)    Specially in Acts chapter 2, Luke said that the coming of the Holy Spirit which empowered His disciples to spread the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth, happened on the 10th day after Jesus ascension, I mean, on the day of Pentecost. Among Israel's many feasts, while Passover symbolizes Christ's death on the cross, and the Feast of Firstfruits, the first day after the Passover Sabbath, when the first sheaf of the harvest was offered to God as thanksgiving, symbolizes the resurrection of Christ, the Pentecost celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church, as it was a feast in the Old Testament era, which people offered some of what they had gathered as an offering to God. And the place where the Holy Spirit descended on this day is said to be Mark's upper room, where they prayed, as mentioned in Acts 1:13, or the temple based on Luke 24:53, and at the time, those who were filled with the Holy Spirit were said 120 people based on Acts 1:15 while others say it was over 500 people based on 1 Corinthians 15:6, but I believe there will be no major problem whichever you choose. And when the Holy Spirit descended, two phenomena was the sound of a strong, rushing wind and tongues of fire appeared to them, coming down on each person one by one. And after those phenomena, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance.

4)    Yet, there are some theological significances in those various phenomena that occurred during the coming of the Holy Spirit. First, the wind mainly symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit, as the Hebrew word for Holy Spirit, ruach, and the Greek word pneuma both mean the Holy Spirit or the wind. While the fire mainly symbolizes the presence of God, as in Ex 19:18 God came down to the Mount Sinai in the midst of the fire. Yet, in particular, we have to pay attention that the expression “one came upon each person” since it means that in the age of the Holy Spirit or of the church, this expression symbolizes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in all indwell all believers.

5)    And then all who were filled with the Holy Spirit began to speak in each language as the Holy Spirit gave them the ability to speak so that it was recorded that all the Jews and Proslytes from all over the countries who visited Jerusalem in the Pentecost as they obeyed to God’s commandment in Ex 34 that all the Israelites had to go up and see God in the three major feasts of Israel, namely Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Booths, were amazed to hear the disciples speak about the great works of God in their own language.

6)    And also in this happening of speaking in all languages, there’s theological significance too. I mean, in the Babel tower incident in Chapter 11, when God saved Noah and his family from the flood and tried to fill the entire earth with His new, godly people, but as generations passed, they built a tower with bricks with its top in the heaven, and made their name, lest they be dispersed over the face of the whole earth, against God’s cultural mandate to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth so that God scattered them through the earth after confusing their language and making them not communicate each other to stop the building of the tower. But, this speaking in other languages symbolizes that in the consummate kingdom of God, which was inaugurated with the coming of the Holy Spirit, this language barriers will be destroyed so that all races, ethnicities, and languages will be able to communicate with each other.

7)    Anyway, when the Holy Spirit descended and the disciples, who were filled with the Holy Spirit, began to talk about the great works of God in different languages as the Holy Spirit gave them, people were amazed and asked, “What is this?” so that Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, stood up and boldly proclaimed that these great things of the kingdom of God was the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophesy by the death and resurrection of Christ. And then again those who were pricked in the heart by Peter’s sermon and respond asking, “Then what shall we do?” So as Peter testified, “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. This promise is for those whom God has called; be saved,” those who received this message were baptized so it is recorded that on that day, 3,000 more believers were added to the number of believers and they received the apostle's teachings, devoted themselves to the Word, prayer, and worship, while fellowshipping with one another, I mean, the rich sold their possession and shared with the poor, having favor with all the people. In these words, we can find a very special phenomena, as we look into details. I mean, after the power of the Holy Spirit was revealed first after the Holy Spirit came down through the disciples to speak in other languages, and then, when Crowds gathered and asked, “What on earth is going on?” so Peter then explained that a new era of the Holy Spirit was arrived because of the life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. And then those who heard this message were pricked in their hearts and asked, “Then what should we do?” So when Peter declared, “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,” as many as 3,000 people were baptized and the Jerusalem church was born.

8)    Regarding this special phenomena, Leslie Newbigin wrote in his book “The Gospel in the Pluralist Society” sharply that “It is a striking fact, moreover, that almost all the proclamations of the gospel which are described in Acts are in response to questions asked by those outside the Church. This is so in the case of Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, of the testimonies given by the apostles and by Stephen under interrogation, and of the preaching of Paul in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia. In every case there is something present, a new reality, which calls for explanation and so prompts the question to which the preaching of the gospel is the answer.” And he continued that “Where the Church is faithful to its Lord, there the powers of the kingdom are present and people begin to ask the question to which the gospel is the answer and that is why the letters of St. Paul contain so many exhortations to faithfulness but no exhortations to be active in mission and I noticed that I was called to equip His people to live faithfully in the power of the kingdom in the world where they are called so that the people in this parish may ask us for a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Pt. 3:15) to which the gospel is the answer.”

9)    Through today’s Bible verses, we would like to learn few things. Firstly, in this way, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is mainly focusing on the power of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts as it was focusing on the missions with the power of the Holy Spirit as I talked already last week. And we can know that this is in line with the fact that Jesus was also filled with the power of the Holy Spirit after He was baptized as the sign of His public ministry and the empowerment of His humanity with the power of the Holy Spirit even though He had been filled with the Holy Spirit from the time He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary. Secondly, there is one point we need to understand in the incident that His disciples spoke in other tongues after being filled with the Holy Spirit. In verse 4, it was recorded that “They began to speak in other languages as the Holy Spirit enabled them to speak.” Here we can see the difference between general possession by a demon and being filled with the Holy Spirit. I mean, when someone was possessed by a demon, while demon does not treat this person personally, yet, the Holy Spirit treats them personally to expect the person’s obedience. In this way, we have to obey when the the Holy Spirit guides and waits, whether the filling of the Holy Spirit is temporary as Holy Spirit wants to work through them or gradual as the Holy Spirit sanctifies us gradually. works within us, treats each of us personally, and waits until we make the decision to obey. That’s why the professor YoungDon Park in his book “The Grace for those who failed in the filling of the Holy Spirit” that the filling of the Holy Spirit belongs to God’s Sovereignty, yet the obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit is human responsibility” so that I pray that we all may obey to the leading of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. And finally, what we would like to see is that “The mission is His mission,” as Leslie Newbigin said and also “As Jesus said His words, works and teachings were all those of the Father. Also so with the disciples. I mean, it is the Holy Spirit who would give them power and the Spirit who would bear witness,” therefore, we who inherited this great commission, just live faithfully where we were called, to obey to the leading of the Holy Spirit, then the Holy Spirit will say and work through us as His instruments. Then when people who saw our life and His kingdom ask what the reason for our hope is, then we just proclaim the Gospel which is the answer to their question. So, I pray that the Holy Spirit who dwells in us may help us to obey to His leading to make us take after Jesus, while enjoying the righteousness, peace and joy in the process of sanctification after regenerating and also to make us proclaim with the power of the Holy Spirit as His instruments to the glory of God.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 According to today’s sermon, the fullness of the Holy Spirit is the Sovereign grace of God which is given to the poor heart who strive for this grace and we have the responsibility of obedience. So for a moment after reviewing our life to check whether we obey to the leading of the Holy Spirit, I hope you could share your thought and idea experience with your team members together.

Q2 And then, in order to obey to His leading, we can know that we have to recognize His leading. So after reviewing whether we seek and discern His leading, I hope you could share your thoughts and experience with your team members.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or  even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized   ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon                                    )

Please help me to live in that (  learned way of life                                                )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.

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