Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg

with Tom Fuller


Meet the Real Holy Spirit

Acts 2:1-41

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Why is this significant? In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon individuals for a prescribed period of time. Here the Spirit is being poured out on everyone who believes in Jesus permanently.

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The Spirit?s purpose is to bring truth to the world about Jesus Christ. To the believer He brings comfort. To the ?pre-believer? He brings conviction about sin and unbelief. It is not, as we have seen all too often in the church today, a show?like a Las Vegas headliner. ?Come see amazing things and people acting strangely on this very stage!? The church acts like the Holy Spirit is a captive lion who performs for our entertainment and to give us ?Holy Ghost Goose Bumps.? Wrong wrong wrong!

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The Spirit was given to fulfill what Jesus said in chapter 1: so that we might be His witnesses.

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1 ? 4

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It was the ?sound? of a mighty wind, not an actual wind itself. Today in the United States, people describe the mighty wind of a tornado like the sound of a freight train. In fact, in a recent tornado in the Midwest, a woman described it as a dead silence, then an instant horrendously loud noise. It was probably like that in Jerusalem that day.

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This noise was not confined to the upper room apparently and became a focal point for people to gather. The word for ?wind? by the way, is very similar to the word for ?spirit? ? and the two are alike in other ways: you can?t see the wind but you feel its effects. You can?t see the Spirit, but you see what He does.

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Oh ? another thing ? the Jews believed a mighty wind from God would bring in the Messianic age.

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So now is added a visual element: tongues of fire settling on each of them. How frightening that would be! God sent fire to confirme the validity of the Law by sending fire on Mt Sinai. Here He confirms the validity of the New Covenant by sending fire on all believers. Fire also represents purifying, as the Spirit helps believers become more like Jesus.

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All present are ?filled? with the Holy Spirit. This can be distinguished from being ?baptized? by the Holy Spirit, which happens when a person receives Jesus Christ. We are baptized once (Acts 11:15-16, Romans 6:3, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Colossians 2:12). But we need to be filled repeatedly to do God?s work. (Acts 4:8, 31, 6:3,5, 7:55, 9:17, 13:9, 52, Galatians 5:17, Ephesians 4:30).

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The Spirit gives you the power to live the life of a Christian and communicate the truth of Christ in a way that penetrates hearts. He ties our lives together in unity as the body of Christ

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Add to that, they suddenly found themselves speaking in other languages. Imagine your surprise if you were to open your mouth and suddenly French came out instead of English?

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This is known as Speaking in Tongues. And it has caused quite a bit of controversy in the church. I personally think that this gift of the Holy Spirit has been widely misused in the church and it has turned off many people to the gospel.

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The point of this gift was to communicate the love and majesty of God to people in such a way that they would come to know Him through Jesus Christ. It, like all the gifts, is a tool for the gospel, not a trick for the believer.

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5 ? 13

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The Feast of First Fruits, known as Pentecost because it was 50 weeks after Passover (which means ?50?), was one of the three great feasts during the Jewish year. So Jews from all over the world would have come to Jerusalem to celebrate it. It was the perfect time to announce the gospel to more than just Israeli Jews. It starts, not with a message of sin and repentance, but of ?the mighty works of God.? I think that is a good starting place. It is God who has brought about our salvation, not anything that we can or could do.

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Plus, many Jews who had been dispersed to other nations, had moved back but now spoke other languages.

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These were known languages, or dialects. So this isn?t the same as the heavenly language that some believers will utter that Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.

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Luke then lists where these people came from: it moves geographically from east to south and west of the Roman Empire. After this day, surely some of these people would have returned to these lands with the gospel in their own language.

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This is kind of Babel in reverse. Back in Genesis 11 God confused the language of man to keep his rebellion in check, but here God countermands that edict for a message that is so important everyone must hear it!

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Two reactions: 1) confusion and curiosity, and 2) mocking. Aren?t those typical reactions to the gospel even today?

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So it prompts Peter to explain. I?m not sure Peter knew at all what he was about to say, he just stood up into a need and what came out was what had gone into his head and heart and was coming out via the power of the Holy Spirit.

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By the way, that?s how it works with us too. We read and study the Bible and learn to think like Jesus, then when a curious or even mocking person comes along we start speaking into that need and what comes out is through the power of the Spirit instead of us!

?Matthew 10:17-21 Beware of men, for? they will deliver you over to courts and flog you? in their synagogues,? 18? and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake,? to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.? 19? When? they deliver you over,? do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for? what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.? 20? For it is not you who speak, but? the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. ?

14 ? 21

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Peter says: it?s too early to be drinking so it?s not alcohol that is motivating us, but a much more powerful spirit. Then he quotes from Joel 2:28-32. This is interesting because not only does it describe what is happening here, and with every believer who is filled with the Spirit, but also of what will happen in the future. 19-21 are events still to happen (see Revelation 6:12, 8, 9, and Matthew 24).

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In a sense, Peter has described human destiny in this quotation. The giving of the Holy Spirit is really the beginning of ?in the last days? (vs 17). The next thing to happen after the age of the church is the return of the Lord to the earth, and the return of Israel to the Lord, which will be accompanied by all the signs in verses 19-20. The key to it all is in verse 21. The goal is to ?call upon the name of the Lord? to be saved.

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So then Peter clarifies what this means to them right then right now.

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22 ? 36

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22 ? God sent Jesus as proved that He was from God by what He did

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23 ? God planned to give His Son over to death, a death you caused, or at least participated in, since as a people the Jews of that time rejected Jesus as Messiah.

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24-28 ? But death wasn?t able to hold Him because He was from God and free from sin.

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29-31 David wasn?t writing about himself. In 2 Samuel 7 God promised a throne and kingdom for David that would last forever. The person David was speaking of in this Psalm, and in 2 Samuel, was the Messiah?Jesus Christ.

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32 ? Jesus died, but He came back to life and we saw Him alive

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33 ? 35 Not only did Jesus come back to life but He has gone back to heaven and sent His Spirit, ushering in the age of the church, until He returns to the earth to destroy His enemies and set up His kingdom here as it already is in God?s dimension.

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36 ? Peter sums it up beautifully: Jesus is Lord (Yahweh) and Christ (Anointed One, Messiah) so he is God of the universe and savior of the earth.

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Different than on Palm Sunday, when the people spoke praise without knowledge or faith, and from Good Friday, when they spoke condemnation without repentance, the people here are cut to the quick:

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37 ? 39

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?Cut to the heart? means to ?stun, strike, or prick violently?. This too is the work of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus said would ?convict? the world concerning sin and judgment (John 16:8). That word ?convict? means to know you are culpable, responsible, for what happened.

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In truth, we all put Jesus on the cross because our rebellion and sin is against God (?Against you and you alone have I sinned? Psalm 51:4).

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So very simply and clearly, Peter tells them what to do. He isn?t giving them the 4 Spiritual Laws or signing them up on the church roster or forcing them into a particular church flavor, he tells them to repent and be baptized.

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Step 1: Turn from your sins (that?s what repentance means)

Step 2: Turn to God and his free gift of forgiveness through Jesus

Step 3: Receive this new life as the Holy Spirit comes to live in you

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The baptism didn?t save them, but was a visible expression of what was happening in their hearts.

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Later, Peter clarified the role of water baptism, as he talked about it in relation to Noah:

?1 Peter 3:21 Baptism, which corresponds to this,? now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but? as an appeal to God for a good conscience,? through the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

Our lives are cleansed and there is a great physical feeling that corresponds to that spiritual cleansing as we dip under the water in baptism resulting in a clean feeling conscience.

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The words that Peter said were not just applicable to the crowd there in Jerusalem. They are personally applicable to everyone who hears about Jesus, they are generationally applicable in that this faith has passed from that generation to this one, and they are globally applicable in that this gospel is for the whole world, not just the Jews or the special elite people.

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40 ? 41

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Three thousand people took Peter up on his offer and the church grew to 25 times its original size.

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Lessons

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Something changed in these people?s minds and hearts. It was the conviction of sin Jesus spoke about. For those listening or watching this message, is that conviction hitting you as well?

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Do you realize that all sin is an affront to God? Sin is doing anything that is outside the character of God who is all good. By invading this place that He created, God will destroy anything that is not like Him, not good. We cannot be good by ourselves. We must take responsibility for the evil in us and turn to the source of good and the source of life that is offered ONLY in Jesus.

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Do you need power in your life? To overcome sin, to think like Jesus? You need to be filled with the Spirit.

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We shouldn?t be afraid of the Holy Spirit, but neither should we think of the Spirit as a toy or our tool. We are a vessel in God?s hands and He uses the Spirit to use us to further His plans. Oh, we get a lot out of it but that?s a side blessing!

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Do you want power to impress others about you or impress others about your God?

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Would you be willing to have great power if you got absolutely no credit for what you did with that power?

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Do you ask for the Spirit?s filling each day?

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Rely on the Spirit?s strength, not on your own efforts

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The power of the Spirit makes you a witness automatically (?as the Spirit gave utterance.?)

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