Summary: The Day of Pentecost was a day when God revealed a great deal about his purpose in giving believers the Holy Spirit. This passage, surprisingly, is not about the gift of tongues.
Passage: Acts 2:1-13
Intro: Every week our church receives a number of offers to help us market the gospel.
1. to take our message and put it into an attractive format that will appeal to people.
2. glossy publications, better sound, nicer pulpit, and of course, professional graphics.
3. nothing wrong with presenting a nice image, as long as that does not become the primary task.
4. the apostles, obediently waiting for the Holy Spirit, might have had some marketing questions.
5. hostile audience who had a month and a half killed their leader, led by an entrenched resistance in political and religious control
6. “what’s the plan? Has to be a good one. And who’s going to pay for it?”
7. God’s plan is found in the events of Pentecost.
8. these events expose the heart of God, the plan of God for taking the gospel to the world.
9. These events expose what God knows we need, but there is a progression that we cannot overlook.
10. we can come up with our own plan, but here is what God believes we need.
I. We Need the Undeniable Presence of God
1. the disciples waited and prayed for 10 days after Jesus ascended to heaven.
2. and they were all together on that Sunday that was called Pentecost.
3. we need to understand the system here so we can see the hand of God.
4. turn to Leviticus 23:4. I put some verses up so you can follow as well
5. dealing with two festivals here, Passover and Feast of Weeks or Pentecost
PP Chronology of these feasts, especially concerning “firstfruits”
-Passover when Jesus died and rose as firstfruits of the harvest which was to come. Sheaf of grainthat was waved promised a future harvest
PP Lev 23:10-12
6. I believe this represents the death and resurrection of Jesus, the “firstfruits” from the dead during Passover week
7. but how does this tie to Pentecost?
PP chronology slide #2, dealing with Feast of Pentecost
"harvest" of the believers, proof of the harvest being the giving of the Holy Spirit into their now justified lives.
8. its clear that the Holy Spirits coming to fill the believers that day was the ingathering of the “firstfruits” of the harvest of people now made possible by the death and resurrection of our Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ.
PP James 1:18
9. What a day of celebration! These 120 people, once captive to sin and death, are now so acceptable to God that He permanently fills them with His very Holy Spirit!
10. God’s plan, dramatized thousands of years earlier, now manifested in flesh and blood!
11. and this filling by the Spirit is attended by two other undeniable signs of God’s presence, wind and fire.
PP Ezekiel 37:9 the breath of God
PP Exodus 3:2
12. during this experience, on this specific day, could anyone there doubt that God was present?
13. but notice the God’s presence was not the end, but the beginning.
14. He was undeniably there for a reason, because…
II. We Need the Undeniable Power of God
1. the task Jesus gave was huge…”you will be my witnesses to the very ends of the earth” This is the context of this passage.
2. hostile territory, filled with people who are predisposed to reject God’s truth and believe Satan’s lie.
3. God’s solution? A demonstration of power that cannot be denied.
4. the wind and fire probably not witnessed by anyone else.
5. but something else amazing was taking place.
6. v3, “tongues of fire separated” means individual interaction, individual transformation
7. “all of them” (v4) experienced this filling of the Spirit which caused them to speak fluently in a language they had never spoken
8. this passage is not about “speaking in tongues”
9. it is about the transforming power of God exhibited to the world through believing people
10. God did it this way because He had filled the city with people from all over the world. V5
11. they heard something strange that drew them to the source.
12. they went “because they heard in the cacophony of different languages their own language.
Il) this is called by researchers “Auditory Scene Analysis”, which is the mysterious ability to focus on one speaker in the midst of competing sounds.
Il) experienced this on my first trip to Russia. At gate in JFK, heard three guys speaking “my language”, theology! They were the men I would teach with.
13. great technique God used to get individual attention
14. five different Greek words for “amazed, perplexed, confused”
15. further investigation revealed the speakers were from a area well-known for its ignorance.
Il) someone had tried to start a Hebrew school there, but it failed.