The Christian Church of Jerusalem

by Dr. Samuel Lee   05/22/2000     0 reads


Acts 2:1-47

Key Verse: 2:17

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”


1. Read verses 1-4. What is the day of Pentecost? Where were the

believers and what were they doing? What happened? What does this

suggest about the power of the Holy Spirit?

2. What happened to those who were filled with the Holy Spirit? (4-13)

What is the relationship of this event to the missionary command of

Jesus? In what way is it a contrast to Babel in Genesis 11?

3. Read verses 14-21. How did the Holy Spirit change the Apostles? How

did Peter explain? What does it mean for sons and daughters to

prophesy; for young men to see visions and old men to dream dreams?

4. Read verses 22-24. What facts about Jesus did Peter proclaim? How

did he view Jesus' crucifixion? Why is the resurrection so


5. Read verses 25-28. What was King David's resurrection hope? Why was

it important to him? Read verses 29-36. How did Jesus' resurrection

fulfill prophecy? What does this teach us about God?

6. Read verses 37-41. How should we respond to Jesus' crucifixion? To

his resurrection? What is God's promise to all who put their hope in

Jesus and receive forgiveness of sins?

7. Read verses 42-47. Describe the life of the believers after they

received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. What are some of the

changes that take place in people who are filled with the Holy




Acts 2:1-47

Key Verse: 2:17

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”

Acts chapter 2 speaks of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost

after the ascension of Christ (1-21). Virtually, the coming of the Holy

Spirit at Pentecost was an epoch-making event in Bible history. We must

study what happened at the coming of the Holy Spirit. After the coming

of the Holy Spirit, the apostles became bold witnesses before the crowd

of the death and resurrection of Jesus (22-41). After the coming of the

Holy Spirit, the fellowship of the believers turned out to be a model

of the heavenly kingdom, where love and peace ruled (42-47). Today

let's think about what happened when the Holy Spirit came at


I. The coming of the Holy Spirit (1-21)

Look at verse 1. "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all

together in one place." It was ten days after Jesus' ascension. The

Feast of Pentecost was the Feast of the Harvest. Also, it commemorated

the promulgation of the Law at Mt. Sinai. Therefore, the day of

Pentecost was fitting to be the day for the promulgation of the gospel

to the whole world.  They were all together in one place. Obviously

they were together praying, singing songs of praises for Jesus' death

and resurrection. At that moment, something very unusual happened. The

Holy Spirit came where they were.  Here we learn something about the

Holy Spirit.

First, the Holy Spirit came with power. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit

of power.  The Holy Spirit is powerful like a violent wind, which can

shake anything. Look at verse 2. "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of

a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they

were sitting." Also, the Holy Spirit is as powerful as tongues of fire.

Look at verse 3. "They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that

separated and came to rest on each of them." As we know, the power of

fire is great. It can swallow with its tongues all the trees of a huge

mountain and its ranges in the twinkling of an eye. With its tongues,

fire can lick up a huge building in an instant. The Holy Spirit is the

Spirit of power. The Holy Spirit saves man from utter powerlessness.

The Holy Spirit fills man with strength and courage. The Holy Spirit

empowers men to be witnesses of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

In the past, the world long lay under the influence of evil spirits,

the agents of Satan. In the past, so many people tried to be powerful,

powerful enough to control their evil desires and emotions. But the

more they tried, the more they became powerless because they were under

the influence of evil spirits. The influence of evil spirits made young

men like old men, and old men, like little babies in diapers. The world

was sick and empty not because of trees, blooming flowers or men and

women, but because the world was under the influence of evil spirits.

But by the coming of the Holy Spirit, the season of evil spirits was

over and the season of Christ arrived.

Second, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of wisdom. Look at verse 4. "All

of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other

tongues as the Spirit enabled them." The Holy Spirit enabled the

apostles to speak foreign languages freely. To master the basics of a

foreign language requires at least 6 months of diligent study. But the

Holy Spirit enabled them to speak foreign languages freely so that all

the listeners in the crowd could understand them well. The Holy Spirit

is the Spirit of wisdom. Evil spirits make man stupid, stubborn and

selfish. But the Holy Spirit makes man open-hearted, gentle and wise to

understand things in the minds of men, as well as the things of God.

In Jerusalem, there were staying God-fearing Jews from every nation

under heaven. Obviously, they came to Jerusalem to observe the Feast of

Pentecost (5). At the sound of international languages, all the people

there scratched their heads first to try to understand what was

happening. Then they stood bewildered and amazed and asked, "Are not

all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of

us hears them in his own native language?" There were 15 kinds of

nationals who witnessed this event (9-11). Both Jews and proselytes

from these nations heard the apostles speaking in their own native

languages. This event declares that since the coming of the Holy

Spirit, there are no more human barriers. By the coming of the Holy

Spirit, man can communicate with God and with others as well.  The fact

that the apostles were enabled to speak in foreign languages has deep

spiritual meaning in it.

When God made man and the world, there was only one language through

which all could praise God and comfort one another. But since Adam

sinned, mankind began to use language at random; with language they

expressed their proud minds; with language they rebelled against God by

building the Tower of Babel, which symbolized human civilization

without God.  God saw that people had become proud. So he confused

their language so that they could not express their proud minds. This

was the beginning of the language barrier and confusion and

misunderstanding in human history. But by the coming of the Holy

Spirit, the language barrier is gone.

Third, the Holy Spirit enabled them to declare the wonders of God.

Verse 11b says, "...we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our

own languages." In the past, the apostles were slaves of their own

egos; they were fearful of everything. In the past, whenever they

opened their mouths, they expressed their despair and complaints. But

now, when the Holy Spirit came upon them, they began to speak "the

wonders of God." The Holy Spirit enabled them to open their minds to

see the wonders of God. The Holy Spirit made them so bold that they

began to witness without fear to the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The coming of the Holy Spirit was the dawn of a new age. The coming

of the Holy Spirit proved that the ascension of Jesus is the hinge of

human history. The coming of the Holy Spirit proved that God had

entered the human arena; therefore, to mankind, life and the world

would never be the same. The real cause of people's suffering is not

their bad human conditions, but the influence of evil spirits. For

example, one young woman was proud. So she suffered unbearably. She

used to say, "If I get a good job, the kind I want, then I will be a

nice person." But since she got the job she wanted, she became worse

than before. Man can be happy when he is under the influence of the

Holy Spirit. So we must earnestly seek the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Then we will experience that we can never be the same.

Fourth, the influence of the Holy Spirit (13-21). There was a wonderful

work of God among the apostles. Still, some made fun of them and said,

"They have had too much wine" (13). Peter stood and said in verse 15,

"These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the

morning." Peter began to explain that this was the fulfillment of God's

prophecy by Joel. Verses 16-21 are a quotation from Joel 2:28-32. God

promised that in the last days he would pour out his Spirit on all

people. He does not pour out his Spirit on certain people; he pours out

his Spirit on all people. What a great prophecy it is! What happens

when he pours out his Spirit on all people?

In the first place, "your young men will see visions." Verse 17b

says, "Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see

visions..." What a remarkable prophecy it is! Most parents worry about

how their children will survive in the world. Mostly, their

anticipation is pessimistic. Most young people are fearful about their

future. Most young people are just drifting with the current of world

trends, like dead fish. Generally, they are pessimistic about the

future, even though they work hard. They have no prophetic insight or

vision into the glorious future. But God promised that when he pours

out his Spirit, our sons and daughters will prophesy. They will speak

about what God will do for them, not about what congressmen will do.

When the Holy Spirit comes on them they will never say, "I don't know."

Instead, they will prophesy and see visions about the glorious future

world God is going to establish.

In the time of President Kennedy, many American young people were

filled with vision and frontier spirit. They were full of vision for

world peace by means of goodwill diplomacy. Nowadays, there is an

impression that young people struggle only to survive, with no

prophetic insight or vision. They seem to be blocked mentally because

of their worries. Let's pray that the Holy Spirit may come to us, that

each of us may have prophetic insight and glorious vision.

How about old men? They cannot prophesy about the future like young

men, because they are too old to do so. But they can dream dreams,

instead of suffering from arthritis. God includes people in the servant

class, both men and women, in the work of the Holy Spirit.

In the second place, many wonders and signs will be done. When the

Holy Spirit works we can see many wonders and miracles. Wonders and

signs are so great and fantastic that they are like the sun turning to

darkness and the moon to blood. Where the Holy Spirit works, the world

is not boring at all.  The work of the Holy Spirit will be continuous

until the great and glorious day of the Lord (19,20). The most glorious

wonder and sign is not the change of natural phenomena, but salvation

work among men. Verse 21 says, "And everyone who calls on the name of

the Lord will be saved."

 II. Peter's witness (22-41)

Peter addressed the crowd further concerning the resurrection of

Jesus.  Look at verse 22. "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of

Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and

signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know."

Here Peter explains that God had done great work through his Son Jesus

during his life on earth. In spite of his good work through healing the

sick and preaching the good news of the kingdom of God, what did his

own people do to him? Look at verse 23.  "This man was handed over to

you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of

wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross." What did God

do about this good Jesus? Look at verse 24. "But God raised him from

the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was

impossible for death to keep its hold on him."

The crucifixion of Jesus is the greatest crime man has ever

committed against God in history. It also shows supremely what sin can

do. But Peter says that it was God's set purpose, and not merely evil

man's action. It was God who had planned Jesus' coming into the world

to be crucified on a cross for the sin of the world.

Why is the resurrection of Jesus so important? Without the hope of

resurrection, people are fearful and become shaky. King David had

everything.  He was a musician, a poet, a warrior and a king. Above

all, he was a man after God's own heart. But he was sorry whenever he

thought about the fact that he would die and be abandoned to the grave.

He was even more sorry that he would be eaten by worms and maggots

after his burial. But when he saw God at his right hand, who had made

known to him the path of life, his heart was glad and his tongue

rejoiced. In brief, when he had resurrection faith in God, he could

breathe a sigh of relief (25-28).

In verses 29-35 Peter is out to prove that the death and

resurrection of Christ were the fulfillment of prophecy, and that they

are the final proof that Jesus is the Son of God. For example, David

died and was buried, and his tomb remains to this day. But he died in

peace, believing God's promise that he would raise one of his

descendants from the dead (30,31). Jesus died on the cross, but he was

not kept in the tomb. According to his promises, God raised Jesus from

the dead and exalted him to his right hand. Look at verses 32,33. "God

has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.

Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the

promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear." As

Christians, we must believe the resurrection of Christ. Look at verse

36.  "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this

Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

How should we respond to the good news of the resurrection of

Christ?  We must repent that we only had worldly hopes. We must put our

hope in the resurrection of Jesus and receive the forgiveness of sins.

We must also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit so that we may be

saved from this corrupt generation (38-40).

III. The fellowship of the believers (42-47)

After the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples were gripped with

fear. Their lives were shattered, their hearts broken. But the coming

of the Holy Spirit changed these hopeless men into men pulsating with

confidence, from cowards into men of courageous faith. In the past, the

followers of Jesus, including the apostles, were individualistic and

pragmatic in many ways.  Probably their catchphrase was, "That's none

of my business." Most of all, their hearts were ruled by despair and

selfishness. But after the resurrection of Christ and the coming of the

Holy Spirit, they became changed men. In the past, they were not

willing to listen to others. Probably they would say, "Are you talking

to me?" But now they were eager to listen to the apostles' teaching.

They were eager to share their sandwiches. They were eager to pray

instead of sleeping. They were filled with many "wows." They were able

to perform miraculous signs. They shared what they had with others in

Jesus.  This part inspired Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to write

their communist theory, leaving God out. But Christians at the coming

of the Holy Spirit shared what they had in God, singing songs of

praises. In brief, they were no more selfish and fearful; they were

joyful. Above all, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus' people

must receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the Christian church

must be a fellowship of witnesses of the death and resurrection of