Saturday, January 22, 2022

2022.01.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 2:1–13

Read Acts 2:1–13

Questions from the Scripture text: What had fully come (Acts 2:1)? How many of them were where, and in what manner? What came from where (Acts 2:2)? What did it do? What appeared to them (Acts 2:3)? What did those do? What happened to how many of them (Acts 2:4)? What did they begin doing? According to what? Who were dwelling where in those days (Acts 2:5)? What kind of Jews? From where? Where did they go, at the sound (Acts 2:6)? How did they feel? Why? To whom did they speak (Acts 2:7)? Asking what? And asking what else (Acts 2:8)? From at least what fifteen places (Acts 2:9-11)? What two kinds (end of Acts 2:10)? What language did they hear (Acts 2:11b)? What content? What effect did this have on them (Acts 2:12a)? What did they ask (verse 12b)? What did others (than the devout men of Acts 2:5) do and say (Acts 2:13)?

The Spirit’s coming has been anticipated throughout Scripture, and that anticipation is heightened by the introduction in Acts 2:1, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come.” For Israel, Pentecost was the “Feast of Weeks,” associated with the wheat harvest. But as God now prepares to gather in the white fields, He so works on this day that we remember it almost entirely in connection with Christ’s finally sending the Promise of the Father as He baptizes His church with the Spirit.

Even before Peter responds with a sermon about what this all means, there is much that we see in these thirteen verses about the Spirit’s coming and work. The Spirit’s coming and work are obvious, universal, evangelistic, and marvelous. 

The Spirit’s coming is obvious, Acts 2:1-4. Back in Acts 1:12, they had all entered into the upper room, but Luke 24:53 tells us that their primary location of operation is the temple. That makes sense of how there is such a large crowd that comes together in response to the Spirit’s coming.

How did they know? Did the disciples claim to be filled with the Spirit? In contrast to much of what calls itself Christianity these days, no one in Acts ever claims to be filled with the Spirit! Rather, though the Spirit Himself cannot be seen or predicted, the effects of His coming are obvious, just as Jesus taught in John 3:8. There, Jesus compared Him to a wind whose sound you can hear. Here in Acts 2:2a, the sound is a mighty, rushing wind. And in Acts 2:6 the wind noise, followed by the multilingual army of preachers, is what draws the crowd.

The sound filled the whole house (Acts 2:2b, probably referring to the temple), indicating the breadth and power of the work of the Spirit; but then come divided tongues as of fire (Acts 2:3), indicating the individuality and identity of the work of the Spirit. Each one receives his own flame—the fire of God and the speech of God having been combined especially at the bush where the Lord spoke to Moses and at the mountain where the Lord spoke to all Israel. Now, the fire appears as if a tongue and is shortly followed by their speaking with other tongues, the Spirit’s own words (Acts 2:4).

We ought to seek from God a true work of His Spirit—one whose fruit is obvious.

The Spirit’s coming is universal, Acts 2:5-11a. It is possible (and many think) that verse 5 is temporary, related to the feasts of that time of year. It also could very well be a more enduring reality that the Lord brought about in anticipation of Christ’s coming (cf. Luke 2:25, Luke 2:38; Luke 23:51). In either case, “every nation under heaven” could quite well be exhaustive, though “only” fifteen of them are named in Acts 2:8-11a. The Spirit’s coming and work are for people from every place/nation.

And the Spirit’s coming and work is upon and through all kinds of people. It is important that at least 15 places are named here, because even with Matthias, those numbered among the apostles are only 12. The implication (together with Acts 2:17-18) is that the whole of the 120 were included in this first great display of the work of the Spirit. What a great noise that must have been! The Spirit’s coming and work is upon and through all kinds of people. Men and women, boys and girls, slave and free.

Finally, the Spirit’s coming and work are both for covenantal descendants and converts. Just as the Israelites were accompanied by a mixed multitude as they came out of Egypt (cf. Exodus 12:38), so also the apostle here notes at the end of Acts 2:10 that there are Jews here who were Jews by birth, and those who were counted as “Jews” (Acts 2:5a) by conversion as proselytes. The Spirit works in those from believing families, and the Spirit works in those who are brought into God’s people out of unbelieving families.

Regardless of your origin, regardless of your status, regardless of whether you were brought up in church, the work of the Spirit is for people like you, and you should desire and seek Him from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Spirit’s coming is evangelistic, Acts 2:11b. After this, there is we never again have the phenomena of the rushing wind or descending flame. But speaking in other tongues occurs again in Acts 10:46 and Acts 19:6 and is mentioned repeatedly in 1 Corinthians 12. The ministry of the Spirit is especially a ministry of the Word. When they are filled with the Spirit, the primary manifestation is that they speak (Acts 2:4b). And the content of their speech is especially the wonderful works of God (Acts 2:11b). God has done the wonderful work of sending the Christ to suffer and after three days rise from the dead (cf. Luke 24:46), and now God is doing the wonderful work of granting repentance and remission of sins in His Name (cf. Luke 24:47). This is what the apostles were preaching.

The singular mark of a Spirit-filled church or a Spirit-filled person is words about the saving work of Jesus Christ. O that you might bear that mark, dear reader!

The Spirit’s coming is marvelous, Acts 2:12-13. When the Spirit comes, He comes in such impressiveness that it provokes confusion (Acts 2:6), amazement (Acts 2:7Acts 2:11), marveling (Acts 2:7), and perplexity (Acts 2:11). The devout ones have the courage to ask the question, “whatever could this mean”? Others can’t be comfortable with the fact that God is engaging His world and instead mock and accuse (Acts 2:13). But what one can’t do is ignore that something has happened. He leaves only the options of correctly marveling or wickedly mocking. May the Lord the Spirit so work in you, so work in His church, that these would be the only options that observers have!

How does Scripture’s introduction of the Spirit at Pentecost differ from how you have heard others talk about the Spirit? How has it grown your own understanding of the Spirit? What will you be seeking from Him now?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise You, Who have sent Your promised Spirit upon sinners and granted to us to know Christ’s salvation and make known Christ and His salvation. Grant that we would not seek ridiculous spectacle but genuine fruit, and produce that fruit in us, and in Your church, unto Your great glory in Christ Jesus, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP143B “O LORD, My Spirit Fails” or TPH154 “This Day at Thy Creating Word”


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