Spirit

Acts 2:1-46

Spirit - Enseñanza (audio)

The chairman reported that the church roll now stood at one hundred and twenty members. They had not been able to obtain a building, and so they were still meeting in a second floor room that they were renting in the city.

There was been a good spirit at the prayer meeting, and a lot of discussion about how they should fill a leadership position that had become vacant. But besides that, not a lot had been happening.

The task of reaching their community seemed to be beyond them. There was very little money, very few people, and outside of their meeting place, a culture that had very little room for their message. That’s how the church was at the beginning of the book of Acts.

But Christ had spoken about an event that would change all that. In a few days, they would be “baptized in the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5). Then, he said “You will receive power… and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (1:8).

They did not have to wait long. Just ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven and fifty days after the resurrection, there was a festival called Pentecost. It was a big celebration, and Jerusalem was crammed with visitors who had come from many countries (2:5).

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the first Christian believers. After that, the church was completely different.

A Sound Like the Wind

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly, a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. (Acts 2:2)

In the ancient world, many languages use the same word for “wind,” “breath” or “Spirit.” The sound of the wind is similar to the sound of breath, only it is much louder and it lasts longer.

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He breathed on the disciples, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). Jesus was explaining what would happen on the day of Pentecost.

So when the disciples heard a sound like the rushing wind just a few days later, they would immediately associate it with the sound of Jesus breathing on them, and recognize that this was the fulfillment of what Jesus had promised.

At the beginning of the Bible story, God breathed into Adam. A lifeless corpse lay on the ground, until God gave it the kiss of life. Then Adam became a living being. The church is the body of Christ. It was like a corpse until Jesus breathed the life of His Spirit into it. God breathed life into these people and they were never the same again

Great Balls of Fire

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. (Acts 2:3)

Try to imagine yourself among these one hundred and twenty people when this happened! That they saw must have been absolutely terrifying.

A ball of fire divided into individual flames, or ‘tongues of fire,’ which came to rest on every person in the room. The amazing thing was that none of them was burned.

In the Old Testament, God appeared to Moses in flames of fire that rested on a bush that did not burn. Now, on the day of Pentecost, God gave the same sign of His immediate presence with the first disciples. It must have been awesome.

When God appeared to Moses in the fire, He commissioned him to lead the Hebrews out of their slavery in Egypt. Now God was coming in the fire to give a new commission to His church.

Try to imagine yourself in the room when God’s fire came down. Who would you have expected it to land on? Would it be Peter, James, or John, or perhaps all three? Or maybe even all of the twelve disciples.

But as the fire comes down, it separates into many flames, are they are falling on many people in the room. You look up with awe as you realize that one of the flame is coming towards you. You look round at the others in the room. A flame rests on every one of them.

In the Old Testament, God gave His presence and power to some of His people. Now, He was giving His Spirit to all of them. God was commissioning every believer to advance His purpose in the world. “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the spirit enabled them” (Acts 1:4).

Suddenly and spontaneously, every one of the one hundred and twenty believers found that they were able to speak in languages they had never learned.

This was a reversal of what had happened long before at the tower of Babel. Early in the Bible story, as man’s rebellion against God was gaining momentum, men built a city with a tower that would proclaim their greatness and provide their security.

God came down and broke the momentum of man’s godless kingdom by introducing the confusion of multiple languages for the first time into the human race.

It must have been very strange. One day, a friend you have known for years talks to you, but what he is saying sound like gibberish. Others are also making incomprehensible sounds. It’s not hard to imagine what happened. People who spoke the same language were drawn together, and then the different language groups separated from each other spreading out across the face of the earth.

At Babel, the tongues were a sign of God’s judgment on man’s rebellion. The languages brought confusion. People could no longer communicate, and so they were divided.

The Day of Pentecost was exactly the opposite. People from every nation under heaven had gathered in Jerusalem (Acts 2:5). When the Spirit of God came, the apostles found themselves spontaneously speaking in languages they had never learned, so that people from all over the world could hear and understand the good news of Jesus Christ in their own language.

At Babel, the tongues were a judgment from God that leads to confusion and people being scattered. At Pentecost, the tongues were a blessing from God that led to understanding and people being gathered together.

To Every Tribe and Nation

People all over Jerusalem heard the sound of the wind and it was not long before a crowd gathered (2:6). When they arrived, they found the one hundred and twenty believers declaring the great things God had done in different languages.

God had determined that people from every nation and language group would hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Language would be no barrier to the gospel.

God breathed His life into the church. His presence came and rested on them, as he commissioned them to advance His purpose in the world. On the day of Pentecost a mission oriented church was born.

People from many cultures came to faith in Christ that day, and then went back to their homes to spread the gospel among their own people, so that folk from every language and culture would discover the blessing of the gospel.

Wind, Fire and Tongues Today

As we have studied the Bible, we have seen several occasions when God’s presence was made known in a visible way. We call these occasions theophanies, and they are always of great importance. In a theophany, God does for some people in a visible way what he does for all his people in an invisible way.

It seems to me that this is how we should understand the remarkable events on the day of Pentecost. God is teaching us through the wind, the fire and the languages what He always wants to do among His people.

God wants to breathe new life into His people. He does not want His church to be an inward looking organization that functions at a merely human level, but a living body filled with the life of God.

God wants to anoint not just a few leaders, but every one of His people for ministry. The presence and the power of Almighty God rests upon every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

And God’s great purpose is that His blessing will flow through His people to all the nations of the earth.

Every Christian and every church has a part to play in that purpose. For some people that will mean going to another culture and learning another language, so that the good news of Jesus may be known. For others, God’s call will be to find our voice in the language God has already given us.

God wonderfully puts groups of people around every believer so that we can communicate the good news of Jesus in their language. Maybe you can speak the language of high school students or of children. God has wired you in a way that makes it possible for you to communicate with a certain group of people. Find out who they are, get among them, and tell them about Jesus.

Pause for Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you that you give the gift of your Holy Spirit to all of your children. Breathe your life into me and fill me with your Spirit.

Equip me for all that you are calling me to do. Open make eyes to see the people you have placed around me, and give me courage and boldness to speak about you in a way that they can understand. Use me to advance Your purpose, and to bring your blessing to others.

I pray for your church. May we know your life of your Spirit among us and play our part together in bringing the good news of Jesus to the world.

I pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Spirit - Escritura (audio)

Acts 2:1-46

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Peter’s Sermon at Pentecost

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him:

“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand,
35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.

(ESV)

Use these questions to further engage with God's Word. Discuss them with another person or use them as personal reflection questions.

1What has been your experience of the church?
2How do you see the Holy Spirit at work in your life, small group, or church?
3In this chapter, we learned that every Christian is empowered and gifted to serve God. How have you seen God use you in the lives of others?
4What group of people do you feel especially able to communicate with in their “language”?

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ESCRITURA Acts 2:1-46

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