The Christian Church of Jerusalem

by Dr. Samuel Lee   09/10/2000     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. Read verses 4-13. What happened to those who were filled with the

Holy Spirit? 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 important?

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 did the people respond to Jesus' crucifixion

and resurrection? How should we? What is God's purpose 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 Spirit?



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 of the death and

resurrection of Jesus before the crowd (22-41). After the coming of the

Holy Spirit, the fellowship of 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 Pentecost.

First, the Holy Spirit came with power (1-3). 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. 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." Here we learn something about the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit

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

which can shake anything. Look at verse 3.  "They saw what seemed to be

tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." The

Holy Spirit is as powerful as tongues of fire. As we know, the power of

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

mountain range 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. Many people tried to be powerful, powerful enough

to control their evil desires and emotions. But the more they tried,

the more powerless they became 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 (4-11). 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 instantly 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,

wise enough 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 first scratched their heads 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 at least

fifteen 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 (11-12).

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

own tongues." In the past, the apostles were slaves of their own egos;

they were fearful of everything. 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. We must

earnestly seek the coming of the Holy Spirit. Then we 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 up and said, "These

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

(15). Peter began to explain that this was the fulfillment of God's

prophecy by Joel. Verses 17-21 are a quotation from Joel 2:28-32. Look

at verse 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." 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. Many

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, 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."

Fifth, 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


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

of Christ were the fulfillment of prophecy, and 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." Look at verses 34-35. "For David did not ascend

to heaven, and yet he said, ‘"The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right

hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.'"'" The Risen

Jesus ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God. He poured

out the Holy Spirit on all people. He is the victorious Ruler over all of

God's enemies. 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).

Sixth, 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 to the death and resurrection

of Jesus.