SESSION 4 — “Being the Church,” A Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video. The Session 4 video will be available on 5/31/17.

Session 4 — Acts 2:1-13

Now it was time to receive the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4)! Now it was time to be given pure hearts (Acts 15:9)! Now it was time to become Christ’s witnesses (Acts 1:8)! Now it was time to receive power from on high (Luke 24:49)! Now it was time to receive the same nature/character as Christ (2Peter 1:4) and be set free from sin and lust (John 8:31-36, 2Peter 1:4)! Now it was time to start “Being the Church!”

Verse 1 — It was a particular day, a moment in time. The original Greek says the day of Pentecost “was fulfilled.” The Feast of Pentecost, also known as the Feast of First Fruits (see Romans 8:23), had been observed since the Book of Exodus, in Chapter 23:16. But this Feast was a shadow of what was about to happen ! During the Feast, leavened bread was included in the offering, which was highly unusual. It spoke of the ingathering of Gentiles (non-Jews) into the kingdom of God — salvation, their sins forgiven, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

It was called Pentecost because it was observed 50 days after Passover. Remember that Jesus was crucified at Passover, rose on the third day after His crucifixion and was seen by more than 500 witnesses over 40 days, then ascended. And 10 days later (“not many days from now, per Jesus in Acts 1:5), Pentecost arrived.

Verse 2 — Suddenly! There was a great noise like a rushing wind. A noise, not wind itself. The words for “Holy Spirit” in Hebrew and Greek are —

(Qodesh Ruach) — Holy breath, wind

(Hagios Pneuma) — Holy breath, breeze, spirit

And so this was the Spirit, and He filled the house, including the upper room.

Verse 3 — And they saw tongues of fire distributing themselves, and they sat on each one. Thus, they were baptized by Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit and fire, per John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11!

Verse 4 — And they were all filled (imbued, permeated, saturated) with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . use the links to the right on this blog page, with special instructions as you hover over each link! Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video.

Session 4 — Acts 2:1-13

I need to pause periodically as we go through this series of verses, to explain tongues. They are so very controversial in the church today! Many attribute tongues to being “of the devil,” but how can that be, since the HOLY SPIRIT enabled the 120 to speak in tongues? Certainly, the devil mimics, but we should be able to discern whether someone is filled with the Spirit or not, by their fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Everyone who was baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire and permeated and saturated with the Holy Spirit spoke in tongues.

What were they?

Verse 5 — God the Father wanted to reach people of every nation and tongue, and hundreds of thousands of Jews from all over the known world were in Jerusalem for Pentecost, a feast they were required to attend.

Verses 6-8 — They heard the sound that was like rushing wind, and came to the house from which it emanated. And these men from far-flung countries heard the 120 speaking, each in his own language. They were bewildered — how could this be? Aren’t these all Galileans? How do they know our language? They were amazed and astonished!

That is one form of tongues. There are also the tongues of men and angels (1Corinthians 13:1), but the love of God, shed abroad in our hearts when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, is the power in which tongues are to be spoken. Otherwise, we are sounding gongs and clanging cymbals.

These tongues of angels are a gift of the Spirit (1Corinthians 12:10), one by which we speak to God (1Corinthians 14:2). So, they are given as a gift, and are from God. They are not in our native language, but in a heavenly one (again, 1Corinthians 13:1). We may speak to ourselves in them (1Corinthians 14:28). We may speak in the church if there is an interpretation, a gift that often accompanies tongues (1Corinthians 14:27). Interpretations are a form of prophecy, usually interpreted by the one speaking in them (1Corinthians 14:5).

Why does Paul speak so much of the gifts and especially, tongues? The Corinthians were not walking in love, as Paul points out over and over. Their hearts had not yet been purified (Acts 15:9), and they had not yet become partakers of the divine nature (again, 2Peter 1:4). So they were using gifts without being empowered and purified and filled with God’s actual love. That is a misuse of the gifts, and has been responsible for much concern and misinterpretation by those who are outside, looking in (1Corinthians 14:23).

Believers can have spiritual gifts before they are filled, as we see with the church at Corinth. They received a measure of the Holy Spirit (John 20:22) when they were saved. So they are spiritual, to a degree. But they are not permeated and filled with the Holy Spirit until they are baptized in the Holy Spirit, after they have been saved. It is then that God’s love and the purification and saturation of the Holy Spirit happen, and then the gifts are operated as they ought to be — their purpose is for the common good of the church (1Corinthians 12:7). And that includes tongues and interpretation of tongues!

Paul thanks God that he speaks in tongues more than all of the Corinthians, but in the church, would rather speak five words in an understandable language so to instruct, rather than 10,000 words in a tongue with no interpretation, per 1Corinthians 14:18-19. And not everyone speaks with tongues (1Corinthians 12:30).

Now, back to Acts 2!

Verses 9-10 — The vast array of countries are noted.

Verse 11 — What were the 120 speaking? These Galileans spoke in languages they did not know, glorifying God, speaking of His mighty deeds. Tongues must always glorify God!

Verse 12 — The onlookers continued in a state of perplexity — how could this be?

Verse 13 — But others mocked, saying “They are full of sweet wine.” But Peter says, in Acts 2:15 that they were not drunk, for it was only 9 a.m.!

But they must have appeared to be drunk. I don’t mean they stumbled around and slurred their words, but they were HAPPY! They were filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory (1Peter 1:8)!

For the kingdom of God is not about laws of what to eat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

So they were filled with the Spirit, filled with God’s joy, unspeakable, indescribable joy! Paul writes, “May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so you may about in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!” (see Romans 15:13).

Now I must speak of the sweet wine. It is new wine, and highly intoxicating. And it reminds me that Jesus changed ceremonial cleansing water into the same thing — sweet, highly intoxicating wine! That’s why I see the water-to-wine miracle as prophetic of the coming of the fulfillment of Pentecost!

We’ll continue on, and get our first view of the change in Peter and the rest, since they experienced their own personal Pentecost! The church was LAUNCHED!