Bible Study: Acts, Chapter Two
Transcript: Today we are going to study Acts chapter 2 in depth. You can follow along in your own Bible if you like. I will be reading from the World English Bible because it is copyright free, and I can read the entire bible on video without legal drama or breaking anyones rules.
After the meeting today, or sometime this week, please take the matching quiz that I have prepared for you on the website. Thanks to everyone who has participated.
One thing that I want to say is that before we began this study, I knew there were many views on the relevance of the things recorded in the book of Acts, like whether the things talked about in it still happen today. But during my research, I have become appalled by the amount of ignorance written by highly respected scholars who use so many words, yet say nothing.
I have witnessed many of the things talked about in Acts personally, and yet scholars write that it doesn’t happen today. I’m going to try and teach the book as honestly as I can as we move forward, but I have found that about half of the study tools I reference are worthless.
So let’s get started:
The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2 beginning in verse 1, reading from the World English Bible: Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Jesus was crucified during the feast of Passover, He was resurrected on the third day, and He spent the next forty days appearing on Earth to His disciples and teaching them. Finally He took them to the Mount of Olives, and as they all stood watching, Jesus ascended to heaven in a cloud of glory. As the disciples stood staring into heaven in amazement, two angels appeared and told them to get moving, so they returned to the upper room in Jerusalem to wait.
Pentecost means fifty, and the feast of Pentecost comes 50 days after the Passover feast. The Jewish name for this feast is called “Shavuot”, and it was originally a harvest festival, but now also commemorates the giving of the law of Moses. To sum this up, the day of Pentecost comes 50 days after Easter, 7 weeks, a week of weeks. In 2018 the day of Pentecost will be Sunday May 20th.
Acts chapter 1 ended with 120 of the disciples gathered together in the upper room in Jerusalem. The apostles were there, as well as Jesus’s mother and many others including Mary and Martha. They were all waiting for the “power from on high” that Jesus promised was coming. Ten more days passed, but they continued waiting, believing what Jesus had told them. They did not know how long they would have to wait, or when the Holy Spirit would come. On the day of Pentecost, they were all gathered together, waiting expectantly.
2 Suddenly there came from the sky a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Suddenly there was the sound of a mighty rushing wind that came from the sky. This was the Holy Spirit, the breath of God Almighty. They had waited for ten days, but once it began, it happened suddenly. In Genesis 1:2 the Spirit of God breathed over the waters. In Genesis 2:7, God breathed life into Adam. In Ezekiel 37:2, He blew on the dry bones and they came to life, and in Acts chapter 2, He came to the disciples who were waiting in the upper room. This was the Holy Spirit, the breath of God literally coming to earth.
3 Tongues like fire appeared and were distributed to them, and one sat on each of them.
In Matthew 3:11, John said that he baptized with water, but prophesied that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Fire usually represents purification, as a refiner uses fire to make pure gold. Fire can burn away what is temporary, leaving only what will last. The filling of the Holy Spirit is not just for power, but also for purity.
I picture tongues of fire as flaming strips of fire much like in this photo that was taken in Mozambique Africa in 2005 during a mission trip by James Goll. While they were ministering, tongues of fire showed up and settled on the people. A member of the missions team took this photo and they say it is authentic. I believe this is probably what it looked like in the upper room.
So tongues of fire appeared in the room, and then divided and sat on each of them. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit treated the nation of Israel as a whole. The presence of God was in the temple and they came to Him. In the New Testament, He rests on individual believers. This was something new. The emphasis from Pentecost onwards is on the personal relationship of God to the believer, through the Holy Spirit.
4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.
This is what is known as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, and they began to speak in other languages as He gave them the ability. Please note that “they” were speaking, not the Holy Spirit. He gave them the words, they chose to speak them.
1Corinthians 12:28 tells us that there is a variety of tongues and not just one type. I will try and explain a couple of them that I have experienced:
There is a prayer language that every believer baptized in the Holy Spirit has access to. Each person that I have heard using it has had a different sounding language, and it is given to you by God, usually when you are baptized in the Holy Spirit. It may start out as one small word, but as you say, it will grow into a fluent language. The more that you pray with it, the easier it will become. Also, I have had mine change before and spoke in a different language for a time, then revert back to my normal one.
It happens as the Holy Spirit gives us utterance, the words come from Him, but we do the speaking. Many have been baptized in the Spirit and suppressed the gift of tongues. The Holy Spirit does not “take over” your body and force you to speak, so if you wait on that to happen, you are gonna wait a long time. The fruit of the Spirit is self-control, not the loss of it. We work together in everything and we simply speak the words as He gives them to us.
As far as I know, everyone can have this gift and it is a language from somewhere here on the earth. Some missionaries once told us that when they were in Africa praying for people to receive the Holy Spirit, one of them started praying in English. To the African, it was an unknown tongue, and it will be a language unknown to you. Praying in tongues is so that your spirit can communicate directly with God without your mind interfering. Your spirit will pray about things that you would never tell Him about, as well as for others, and for needs that you don’t know about yet. It is very important.
There is also another tongue that is like prophecy and works along with the gift of interpretation. One person speaks in an unknown tongue, and another gets the interpretation of it. According to 1 Corinthians 14:27–28, when tongues are spoken in church, there should always be an interpretation so the people are edified.
I am going to step on some religious toes here and state that water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are not the same thing, but completely separate events. I have experienced both of them, so has my wife Sylvia, and in reverse order. I was first baptized in water, then a few years later I was baptized in the Spirit and received the gift of tongues. Sylvia was first baptized in the Spirit, spoke in tongues, and then later she was baptized in water. I want to make this point very clear because too many people are teaching they are the one and same, and that is wrong.
When Peter came to Cornelius’ house in Acts chapter 10, he began preaching, and the Holy Spirit fell on them all and they began to speak in other tongues. Then Peter said, “Can anyone forbid these people from being baptized in water? They have received the Holy Spirit just like us.” Peter saw them speaking in tongues, knew they had received the Holy Spirit, and then they baptized them in water, after they had been baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Acts 10:44-48 WEB While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word. They of the circumcision who believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in other languages and magnifying God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just like us.” He commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
“They of the circumcision” were the Jews, who were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit came on the Gentiles, the non-Jewish people, like me. Gentiles were despised and not even thought to be savable. Jews would not even enter a Gentile’s house, but the Holy Spirit stepped in and told Peter to not call what He had cleansed, unclean any longer. The Holy Spirit is the great equalizer of people.
Some will say that Peter was in the upper room and that this “special” gift died with him, but later Paul baptized other believers into the Spirit, and Paul was not one of those present in upper room. The apostle Paul was baptized into the Holy Spirit by a disciple named Ananias in Damascus in Acts 9:17, and then Paul baptized other believers into the Spirit wherever he found them. For instance, in Acts 19:1 Paul came to Ephesus and baptized twelve men there into the Holy Spirit:
Acts 19:1-7 WEB While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper country, came to Ephesus and found certain disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They said to him, “No, we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 He said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke with other languages and prophesied. 7 They were about twelve men in all.
The disciples at Ephesus had been baptized in water, but had even never heard there was a Holy Spirit, just as many in the church today. Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other languages and prophesied, and all of this happened after they had been baptized in water.
John the Baptizer, baptized with water, and that is what John’s baptism is: immersion in water. Anytime that you hear about the baptism of John, it will involve water. In Matthew 3:11 John said: “I indeed baptize you in water for repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.” John himself was speaking of another baptism and Jesus who was coming soon. There would be a second baptism, not a replacement for the first.
This “water for repentance” is what Paul was speaking of in Ephesians 4:5 when he wrote: “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” For salvation, yes that is the case, but there are many baptisms in the Bible. In Matthew 20:22 Jesus asked James and John if they were able to be baptized with the baptism that He was baptized with, and they had already been baptized in water long before, this for they were His apostles. Hebrews 6:2 speaks of “the doctrine of baptisms” and the word baptisms there is plural. So don’t try to say that the baptism of water and the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the same. They are not.
I have had people tell me “I got everything I needed when I went to that altar!” That sounds good in a religious sense, but the disciples at Ephesus thought they had to, though they had never heard of the Holy Spirit. Don’t take pride in ignorance. You don’t know, what you don’t know.
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under the sky. 6 When this sound was heard, the multitude came together and were bewildered, because everyone heard them speaking in his own language. 7 They were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Behold, aren’t all these who speak Galileans?
Jerusalem was crowded with people that came to observe Pentecost. It would have been about early June and the weather was good for travel, so it was the heaviest attended feast of the year. They heard the sound of the mighty rushing wind and came together to see what it was. Then the apostles came out of the upper room, speaking in many languages. The crowd was amazed because they saw these men were Galileans, which meant they were ignorant, despised country bumpkins with funny accents. Now they suddenly had amazing verbal skills and spoke languages that they were never taught.
8 How do we hear, everyone in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the parts of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabians: we hear them speaking in our languages the mighty works of God!”
I believe that the disciples were praising God in their new prayer languages, not one language, but many. The people overheard them declaring the mighty works of God. Now there were about 120 disciples speaking in various languages, and they named about 15 nations here. There were probably some disciples speaking languages that the people did not understand, but the languages of all 15 nations were being heard, and they were all sharing the “mighty works of God.”
12 They were all amazed, and were perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Others, mocking, said, “They are filled with new wine.”
We can be tempted to believe that if we were filled with the Spirit like the great Apostles were, that everyone would be saved, that we would reach people, but even then people made fun of them and mocked them saying that they were drunk at 9 AM in the morning. Judas Iscariot lived in the presence of Jesus Himself for over three years, and was still lost.
These were “modern men” who felt intellectually superior, and were spiritually indifferent. They flippantly made light of the most important things of life and then went on their self-sufficient way. People’s hearts can become so hardened that they cannot respond to the signs of God’s presence and power, and the bad part is, He will let them.
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and spoke out to them, “You men of Judea, and all you who dwell at Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to my words. 15 For these aren’t drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is only the third hour of the day.
There was a change in Peter. Fifty days earlier, he had denied knowing Jesus three times. Now he stood up boldly, raised his voice and began to speak like a herald. His message was spontaneous inspiration from the Holy Spirit. Peter did not get up that morning and put together a sermon, or know that he would be speaking to thousands of people. It came to him when he needed it.
Also we should note that the disciples did not preach to the crowd in tongues. Peter began to preach to them using the common language of the day, which was Greek, the street language of everyday people.
In the middle of all of this excitement, Peter turned it into a Bible study and used three Old Testament passages: Joel 2:28–32, Psalm 16:8–11, and Psalm 110:1 as a basis for a sermon. Stopping to focus on God’s Word did not quench the moving of the Holy Spirit; it was exactly what He wanted to do. The signs and wonders and speaking in tongues got the people’s attention and prepared the way for sharing God’s Word. Some people try to separate the Word and the Spirit. They almost think it’s more spiritual if there is no Bible study, but the Holy Spirit did not think so on the day of Pentecost, and He moved Peter to speak these words.
16 But this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘It will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions. Your old men will dream dreams. 18 Yes, and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days, I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood, and fire, and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. 21 It will be that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
Peter said that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is what was prophesied by the prophet Joel. God would pour out His Spirit on all flesh: sons and daughters, young and old, servants and handmaidens, it’s all inclusive. To make it simple, all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved, and those who don’t, won’t.
I want to be very clear about something: that promise in Joel began on the day of Pentecost and it has not ended. It has never been withdrawn, and it continues on today just as real as it was then. It will continue on until the return of Jesus. Peter did not say “now is fulfilled” what Joel had spoken of, but “this is” what Joel spoke of.
This was something new that began on the day of Pentecost. None of the Old Testament saints had the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit permanently, He came and went like He did with Samson in Judges 14:19 when the Spirit rushed upon him. This changed under the New Covenant, and it began on the day of Pentecost.
If you have not yet experienced this incredible gift, you can still receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit if you ask Him for it today. I urge you to put it into prayer and not to let fear or doubt hold you back. It is a mistake to let our past experience scale down what is promised in His Word. In my own life, I have watched my entire workplace come the Lord, seen people tremble and shake under His power, witnessed while standing in a bed of fire ants without getting bitten, saw Him return my giving a hundred-fold, and healed the sick with the laying on of hands and prayer. The most incredible moments of my life have been through the gentle promptings and work of the Holy Spirit. You can still live a life filled with Spirit-led adventures today, just as the disciples did then.
Peter preached an amazing sermon here and I am just going to read the rest of it:
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him among you, even as you yourselves know, 23 him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed; 24 whom God raised up, having freed him from the agony of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it.
25 For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. 26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced. Moreover my flesh also will dwell in hope; 27 because you will not leave my soul in Hades, neither will you allow your Holy One to see decay. 28 You made known to me the ways of life. You will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
29 “Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that his soul wasn’t left in Hades, and his flesh didn’t see decay.
32 This Jesus God raised up, to which we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted by the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this, which you now see and hear. 34 For David didn’t ascend into the heavens, but he says himself, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit by my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ’
36 “Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly 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 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”
When Peter finished his sermon, the people were cut to the heart, they understood the anointed words that he spoke, and they asked what they should do. Peter told them to Repent, be baptized in water, and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Again we see that the promise is for “as many as the Lord our God will call.”
40 With many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”
Peter said many more words to them so what we have read is a shortened version of his sermon.
41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized. There were added that day about three thousand souls. 42 They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and prayer.
Three thousand people joined their ranks that day. Imagine a church going from 120 to 3,000 people in one day. The apostles had to look at them and wonder what if this was real. Those that joined them were baptized. In Jewish culture, baptism was for Gentile converts, and symbolized breaking away from the past, and washing away all of the defilement. This was a huge step for a Jew and very traumatic. That is probably why the Pharisees refused to be baptized by John in Luke 7:30. There were numerous pools in Jerusalem so there was plenty of water for baptizing, but wow, what a busy day. If they were all baptized by the twelve apostles, it would have been 250 people each.
Think of these poor apostles; there were only twelve of them, and these newly born-again believers were 3,000 bundles of joy and 3,000 accidents waiting to happen. They all continued steadfast in the apostles’ teaching. What did the apostles teach? The epistles had not been written yet. The Gospels had not been written yet, nor Acts. They taught from the Old Testament and what Jesus had taught them, during times like the Sermon on the Mount, the final conversations in the upper room. These new Christians were hungry for God’s Word. They could not get enough of it, for being filled with the Spirit and being filled with God’s Word go together. Jesus said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
43 Fear came on every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 All who believed were together, and had all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and goods, and distributed them to all, according as anyone had need.
The Holy Spirit continued to work through the apostles and many signs and wonders followed them. Automatically the believers began to care for each other for the Holy Spirit is not greedy and self-centered, and He will prompt you to help others in need. The early believers did not sell everything, as some try to say because some of them still had houses to break bread in, like in verse 46. Also, in Acts 5 Ananias and Sapphira owned property. The point is, the fellowship of the early church rested on a mutual generosity and sharing with those in need.
46 Day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. The Lord added to the assembly day by day those who were being saved.
The church spent time together at the temple, eating together in their homes with gladness, and in unity. The Lord added to their numbers daily.
Fellowship cost something in the early church, not like our use of the word fellowship today. Fellowship is not coffee and cookies and it does not happen because you are in a church building. Fellowship comes from sharing, giving something of yourself, being a part of what is happening.
You can sit right in the middle of a crowded megachurch and feel completely alone. True fellowship will cost you something. So many people never know the joys of true Christian fellowship because they have never learned to give themselves away. They visit a church or a small group only thinking of their own needs, and are hardly aware of others. Then they go away saying, “There is no fellowship there.” The real truth is, we will have fellowship only when we make it a practice to reach out to others and give a little something of ourselves. Share your life. Become a part of what is going on around you. Don’t just sit there and wallow saying “Woe is me. No one cares.”
I challenge you to be a part of what is going on here at Refreshing Hope. If you want to make friends, share something. Let people get to know you. Get involved in the vision. So many will come, sit silently, and then leave thinking that no one cares about them, and the truth is, we didn’t even know you were here. Being a part of the silent majority can be lonely, so be a part of what is happening. Create an account, say “Hi” in chat. You might be pleasantly surprised by the friends that you find waiting.
That concludes our Bible study on Acts Chapter 2. Thank you for watching and being a part of Refreshing Hope!
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Quiz Questions on Acts 2: