Summary: The Holy Spirit gives us power to accomplish His plans.
Holy Spirit Power
Rev. Brian Bill
October 5-6, 2019
Read Acts 2:1-13 while playing sounds of wind and showing video of Fire
This weekend, we’re encountering some of the most important words ever written because this passage describes something entirely new and amazing. Here we see the birth of the church, the giving of the Holy Spirit, and the power for worldwide gospel proclamation.
During our journey through the Book of Acts we’re learning what it means to live on mission. BTW, there are now over 2600 names up on the wall in the worship center! These are people you’re praying will follow Christ. My understanding is this wall will be available for another week before it’s covered with acoustic panels. I love being part of a church that longs for lost people to become faithful followers of Christ. Our text today is Acts 2:1-13. Here’s what I’m hoping we learn: The Holy Spirit gives us power to accomplish His plans.
Acts 2:1 establishes the setting: “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.” Over the last couple weeks we discovered these first followers were told to wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them before they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the end of the earth. They had just returned from the Mount of Olives were they watched Jesus ascend into heaven and now they’re back in Jerusalem waiting for the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
Pentecost, means “fiftieth” in Greek and refers to the Jewish feast called Shavuot (shuh-voo-owt), held fifty days after the second day of Passover. It’s also called the Feast of Weeks (Exodus 34:22) and Feast of Harvest (Exodus 23:16). Pentecost was one of three Old Testament festivals when people were to travel to Jerusalem with gifts and offerings. This feast celebrated the harvest and was filled with great rejoicing. Held in mid-June, it was the largest pilgrimage feast, filling Jerusalem with visitors.
It’s fascinating how the calendar of Jewish feasts in Leviticus 23 outlines the work of Christ. I won’t take a lot of time on this but consider just three:
• Passover pictures the sacrificial death of Jesus as the Lamb of God. 1 Corinthians 5:7: “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” Jesus died on Passover.
• The Feast of First Fruits pictures His resurrection from the dead as seen in 1 Corinthians 15:20: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
• The Feast of Pentecost, which was celebrated fifty days later, marks the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church.
My friend Gerad Hall is leading a team from Edgewood to Israel next June. Gerad is a Moody grad and works as a Development Director for Moody. He serves on a Jewish evangelism ministry board and has led many trips to Israel. This week I asked for his insight into why God sent the Holy Spirit on this particular feast day.
• Two loaves of wheat bread were waved before the Lord, which represents the Jewish and Gentile components of the church.
• During the first century a tradition developed that the Torah was given on Pentecost so it’s appropriate the Spirit was given on the same day.
• Another tradition said David was born and died on Pentecost. Peter quotes extensively from David later in this chapter.
I’ll add, since Pentecost is a harvest festival, it’s appropriate we read of a great harvest of souls as a result of Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:41: “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” This harvest of souls has continued for almost 2,000 years. Jesus put it like this in John 4:35: “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”
The phrase, “when the day of Pentecost arrived” literally means, “Had been completely fulfilled.” It’s similar to the thought found in Galatians 4:4: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son…” The idea is not that Pentecost just happened but rather this particular Pentecost fulfilled its eternally determined destiny.
Notice also the believers “were all together in one place.” Other translations say they gathered “with one accord,” which means to “have one mind.” It’s a musical term meaning to strike the same notes together. These first followers understood the importance of gathering together. They had made a commitment to the community and nothing was going to get in their way. This was obviously a value because we see it three other times in the first two chapters.
Acts 1:14: “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer…”