Summary: Lessons about the Day of Pentecost
Acts 2 - The Power of Pentecost - 1/22/17
Turn with me this morning to Acts 2. M, M, L, J, Acts. The full name is the Acts of the Apostles. So what is an apostle? Someone sent on a mission. In the more specific sense, the apostles are the 12 disciples of Jesus. Look back in 1:26. Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. Jesus had many disciples, followers, those who not only listened to Him, but who believed in Him and wanted to be just like Him. That’s what a disciple is - not just someone who prays a prayer, but someone who wants to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. But the 12 KEY disciples are also called apostles. So in the gospels, we see Jesus training them. In the book of Acts, we see them going out and sharing the truth about Jesus. It is a transitional book. It describes how the apostles went about fulfilling their mission: they took the truth of the resurrected Christ and shared it with the world. It is not really a book that prescribes daily practices for Christians - we find those in the epistles - the letters that follow Acts. But Acts records for us that transitional period. It’s really more of a historical account to give us an understanding of how the church was built.
We saw in chapter 1 the ascension of Jesus. After the resurrection, Jesus appears many times to his followers and gives them - 1:3 - many convincing proofs that He was alive. He is with them 40 days, and then He ascends back to heaven. As He leaves, Acts 1:11 tells us, two angelic beings appear and say “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky?” Put in modern terms, they are telling the disciples “Stop standing around - get on with life!” And that’s something that we all need to take to heart. We have a task that has been given to us: to make disciples. Jesus left His disciples with a commission - Matthew 28 - Therefore go and make disciples of all nations. So our job as a church, as Christians, as followers of Christ, is simply put: Make disciples! We ARE to be studying the scriptures, praying, worshiping - but we do it all so we can reach others! We want others to follow our Savior, just as we are following Him.
We saw in the end of chapter 1, until they received the Holy Spirit, the disciples were to wait at Jerusalem. But as they wait, they also worship. Today in chapter 2, their waiting is over. We see the arrival of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. It’s a famous chapter in the bible. But let’s take a quick quiz:
• What is the Day of Pentecost? and • Why is it important?
Now most Christians would say the Day of Pentecost is when the Holy Spirit came, and it’s important because people spoke in tongues on that day. And if you said that, you’d get a D- on the quiz. So let’s look a little deeper. And as we come to the scriptures, let’s pray for God to give His insight: Let’s pray! First,
• What is the Day of Pentecost? Let’s look in Acts 2, starting in verse 1. Read 2:1-13.
Verse 1 starts out, “When the day of Pentecost came.” This isn’t a special day because of what happened in this chapter. This had been a special day for thousands of years. But because we weren’t raised in a Jewish home, and because we don’t know our Old Testament well, we aren’t familiar with it. So let’s do a little OT review.
If you search the OT, you won’t find the Day of Pentecost. The word Pentecost literally means 50 - it is a celebration that comes fifty days after the harvest comes in. In the OT, it was referred to as the Feast of Weeks. We find the instructions for it in Leviticus 23. In that chapter we see various festivals: Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Weeks, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. So in Leviticus 23:15 -“‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.
Let’s review what we saw at Easter. Christ is sacrificed at the Passover festival - the time we celebrate the death angel “passing over” the homes of the Jews in Egypt. 1 Corinthians 5:7 tells us, For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. So Christ is sacrificed as the passover, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. In fact, in Hebrews 10 it tells us that all the lambs sacrificed in the thousands of years leading up to Jesus NEVER took away ANY sin. It says, it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. . . . we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. All those OT sacrifices were acts of faith done looking forward to the day when Jesus would die as the ONE perfect sacrifice. How are our sins atoned for? By the sacrifice of the perfect Son of God.