Power For Our Mission

Bible Book: Acts  2 : 1-4
Subject: Holy Spirit

INTRODUCTION: Vance Havner said, “We are not going to move this world by criticism of it nor conformity to it, but by the combination within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God.”

The early church had none of the things that we think are so essential for success today: buildings, money, political influence, social status; and yet the church won multitudes to Christ and saw many churches established throughout the Roman world. Why? Because the church had the power of the Holy Spirit energizing its ministry. The people were those who were ignited by the Spirit of God.

That same Holy Spirit power is available to us today to make us more effective witnesses for Christ. The ministry of the Spirit is to glorify Christ in the life and witness of the believer.

John 16:14, “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”

The second chapter of Acts marks a turning Chapter 1 the disciples are waiting for the Holy Spirit’s coming; in Chapter 2 He comes. In Chapter 1 the disciples were equipped; in Chapter 2 they were empowered. In Chapter 1 they were held back; in Chapter 2 they were sent forth. In Chapter 1 the Savior ascended; in Chapter 2 the Spirit descends. The fulfillment of the promise of the Father is now a reality.

The coming of the Spirit of God marks the beginning of the church age. The mystery of Eph. 3:3-10 of the unity of the Jews and Gentiles in one body is possible because of Pentecost.

The church is the bride of Christ; the branches of the Vine; the flock of the Good Shepherd; the kingdom of God’s dear Son; God’s household; a spiritual temple of which Jesus Christ is the cornerstone; but, uniquely, the body of Christ.

I. THE EVENT OF PENTECOST. v. 1

Pentecost means “fiftieth” because this feast of Lev. 23:15-22 was held 50 days after Passover. Pentecost is the Feast of Weeks (Ex. 34:22-23) or Harvest (Ex. 23:16)

The first great feast was Passover. The killing of the Passover lamb pictured the death of Jesus Christ, the ultimate Passover Lamb.

John 1:29, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

In 1 Cor 5:7, “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”

On the day after Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread or Feast of the Firstfruits was celebrated. This celebration took place on the day after the Sabbath following Passover, which means it was on the first day of the week (The Sabbath is the 7th day)

Jesus rose on the first day of the week and became the firstfruits of those that slept.

1 Cor. 15:20, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

On the Feast of Firstfruits, the priest went into the temple and waved a sheaf of grain before the Lord. This symbolized the resurrection of Christ and His own and their triumph over death.

Firstfruits was originally an Old Testament expression referring to the first and best harvest crops, which God expected as an offering. Giving God that initial crop was an act of faith that He would fulfill His promise of a full harvest to come.

Pro. 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase: so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”

The Word, from the very beginning, gave a biblical view of possessions with demands of using them for honoring God. This is accomplished :

BY TRUSTING GOD. (Prov. 3:5)
BY GIVING THE FIRST AND BEST TO GOD. (Firstfruits).
BY BEING FAIR.

Prov 3:27-28, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come back and tomorrow I will give it.’ when you have it with you.”

BY GIVING GENEROUSLY.

Prov 11:25, “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.”

BY EXPRESSING GRATITUDE FOR ALL HE GIVES.

Deut. 6:10-11, “So it shall be when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build. Houses full of good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant…

BY BELIEVING GOD’S PROMISES.

Malachi 3:10, “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. And try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’”

Put God to the test; here the Lord promises:

a. PROVISIONS.

“I will open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive.”

b. PROTECTION.

“I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes.”

c. PRAISE.

“All nations will call you blessed, for you shall be

a delightful land.”

Passover, Feast of the Firstfruits, and then Pentecost

On Pentecost, the priest presented 2 loaves of bread before the Lord. Leviticus 23:17 says they are to “be baked with leaven.” Leaven in the Old Testament is a type of sin. In the Feast of Firstfruits, also called Feast of Unleavened Bread (it reminded us of the sinlessness of our Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ) there was no leaven. Leaven was included in the loaves of Pentecost, however, because those loaves typified the church, and the church has never been free from sin.

Accompanying the loaves were the burnt offerings, representing Calvary and the peace offering symbolized the ground upon which the believer has perfect peace with God.

At the Feast of Firstfruits, individual stalks of grain, loosely bound together, were used to symbolize the resurrection of Christ and His own and their triumph over death. On the Day of Pentecost, those individual stalks and grains were replaced by a loaf, to symbolize what would happen when the day of Pentecost would be “fully come.”

On that day 120 individual believers, loosely bound together by the bonds of Christ, ascended the stairs to the upper room “with one accord.” One Body of believers came down. Individuals went up; a church came down; one mystical body.

Some believe that the reason 2 loaves were used is that some years later, in the house of Cornelius, God would bring Gentiles into that one Body on an equal basis with the Jews.

II. THE ENDUEMENT OF POWER. 2-4

THE SAVIOR’S PROMISE. 2

John 14:16-20, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

Through the coming and indwelling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Jesus would be back with His children.

John 16:16, “A little while, and you will not see Me: and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.”

Refers to the Ascension and Pentecost.

Three signs that accompanied the Coming of the Spirit:

1. THE SOUND OF A RUSHING MIGHTY WIND

2. TONGUES OF FIRE

3. BELIEVERS SPEAKING WITH OTHER TONGUES

There was Sound, Sight, and Speech or Wind, Fire, and Tongues. They used their Ears, Eyes, and Mouths

In the Greek and Hebrew, wind and spirit are the same word.

Acts 2:2 is the fulfillment of Acts 1:5 that had been spoken 10 days earlier. “But you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

To be baptized with the Spirit is a figurative meaning to be “identified with.” The baptism of the Spirit is that act of God b y which He identified believers with the exalted Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, and formed the spiritual body of Christ on earth. Historically, this took place at Pentecost; today, it takes place whenever a sinner trusts Jesus Christ and is born again. (1 Cor. 12:12-14)

Therefore, baptism of the Spirit is defined as that act of Christ by which He places believers into His body. It is a sovereign, simple, unrepentable act on God’s part. The purpose of the baptism of the Spirit is not to divide the body of Christ, but to unify it.

Within the body, there is a unity, since all are indwelt by Jesus Christ and all possess the same Spirit (Rom. 8:9). Note Paul’s clarity in Gal. 3:26-28, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

THE SPIRIT’S PRESENCE. 3

Fire in scripture speaks of judgment at times, but here it represents presence.

Exodus 3:2, “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.”

The audible manifestation of the Spirit’s arrival came next with a visual one: “tongues as of fire.” The tongues rested on each of them, showing that all who were present received the Spirit. By the baptism of the Spirit, they were all made into one spiritual body, the body of Christ.

This mysterious baptism in symbolic flame embraced them all equally. The humblest, unknown, unnamed believer in that company had just as much of this baptism and filling as the foremost among the disciples.

THE SPIRIT’S POWER. 4

“filled with the Holy Spirit” – the baptism of the Spirit grants the power that the filling with the Spirit unleashes.

The filling of the Spirit is repeated according to the book of Acts and Eph. 5:18. Peter and others were filled with the Spirit again in Acts 4:8, 31. Being filled with the Spirit is an experience and should be continuous.

NOTE: There is no command to be baptized with the Spirit, there is a command to be filled with the Spirit

(Eph. 5:18). If were are to be filled with the Spirit, we must be emptied of ourselves by confession of sin and dying to self-centeredness.

“and began to speak with other tongues” (glossa);

other languages. What was the purpose?

1 Cor. 14:21-22, “In the law it is written: ‘With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people: and yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,’ says the Lord. Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.”

(Quotes Isaiah 28:11-12)

The purpose of the gift of languages (tongues) was a sign of judgment to unbelieving Israel, showing that the church would encompass people from all nations and languages. The gift of tongues was, therefore, a sign of the transition between the Old and New Covenants.

In the book of Acts, tongues would be used to show that Jews, Gentiles, and Samaritans were all equal in the church. For 2,000 years, the Jews were a specially chosen and privileged people.

From now on God was going to bring Gentiles into the place of religious privilege and would reach out to every kindred, people, and tongue.

Having rejected the Savior, the Jews were to be given another chance, to accept the Spirit. That also being rejected, they could expect nothing but judgment.

The miracle of tongues allowed the disciples to speak to people from all over the world in their language.

CONCLUSION

Pentecost: The Church is born. The Spirit is given. The Body of Christ is now a reality.