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Introduction

Good morning! Today marks a special day on the church calendar and while it’s often overshadowed by the holidays those that come before and after it - Easter and Christmas - it’s no less important to the overall redemption story that God has told through the whole of Scripture. The holiday that we as Christians celebrate today is known as Pentecost. Before we get into the story and its significance, it’s important that we realize where we are in the progression of events that occurred after Jesus’ Resurrection.
As some of you may know, the story of Pentecost occurs in the Book of Acts. Now the Book of Acts is part of a two-piece work - known as Luke-Acts - and was authored by this guy Luke. Who was he? Much to the surprise of many, he was not one of the twelve selected by Jesus. Now that means, he never witnessed first-hand the ministry of Jesus. Instead, he was a second generation convert and a companion of Paul. Luke was a very well educated man and is referred to elsewhere as a physician. This man was so moved by the testimony and preaching of others that not only did he place his faith in Christ, he thought it important to record an orderly account of the life and ministry of Jesus and his followers.
Luke 1:3–4 NASB95
it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
Luke 1:1–4 NRSV
Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.
Luke 1:1–4 NASB95
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
Luke
So, when you read through the Book of Luke and Acts, you have a very seamless, well-constructed account of the life and ministry of Christ. As a result, when you pick up reading the Book of Acts you find yourself reading about what Jesus was up to after the Resurrection. Namely, he was not just hanging around eating barley cakes and olives, but instead teaching people about the Kingdom of God, performing various signs, and overall showing the power and truth of the Resurrection.
Thanks to Luke’s investigative reporting, we have a very seamless, well-constructed account of the life and ministry of Christ. So when you pick up the Book of Acts you truly feel like your reading the next chapter of a well written book. In that next chapter of the Luke-Acts story, you get glimpses into such things as what Jesus was up since the Resurrection. You get to see that He was not just hanging around with his cronies eating barley cakes and olives, but rather (for 40 days) He was very active in teaching people about the Kingdom of God, performing various signs, and overall showing the power and truth of the Resurrection.
So, when you read through the Book of Luke and Acts, you have a very seamless, well-constructed account of the life and ministry of Christ. As a result, when you pick up reading the Book of Acts you find yourself reading about what Jesus was up to after the Resurrection.
After those 40 days were up, and just before he ascended to heaven, He made a very important announcement to his apostles…saying, hey guys, you’re not going to want to miss what’s coming next...
Don’t leave Jerusalem
Wait for what the Father Promised
Through the whole of Scripture
But, what I also made known to you:
Remember what John said when he baptized me?
Not too long from now you’ll be baptized by the Holy Spirit
You’ll receive power
You’ll be my witnesses to all the ends of the earth
You’ll
So, the disciples, being obedient to Jesus returned to the Upper Room and committed themselves to prayer and studying. Jerusalem was especially busy at this time because Jews from all over were in town to observe the Harvest Feast or Feast of Weeks....which occurs fifty days after the Passover Feast. Here’s a fun fact for you: many refer to this holiday as Pentecost because the name is derived from the Greek word pentekoste which means the fiftieth day.
So, the disciples, being obedient to Jesus returned to the Upper Room and committed themselves to prayer (about 120 of them all together), probably speculate a bit about this awesome new power Jesus promised them, and did some work regarding the replacement of Judas (the disciple that betrayed Jesus and later took his own life).
incredible happened.
Outside of the Upper Room, Jerusalem was especially busy because Jews from all over made the pilgrimage to town to observe the Harvest Feast or Feast of Weeks....which occurs fifty days after the Passover Feast. Here’s a fun fact for you: many refer to this holiday as Pentecost because the name is derived from the Greek word pentekoste which means the fiftieth day.
The disciples, having been obedient to Jesus returned to the Upper Room and committed themselves to prayer and studying. Jerusalem was especially busy at this time because Jews from all over were in town to observe the Harvest Feast or Feast of Weeks....which occurs fifty days after the Passover Feast. Here’s a fun fact for you: many refer to it today as Pentecost because the name is derived from the Greek word pentekoste which means the fiftieth day.
One Truth
One People
Acts 2:1–13 NRSV
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, 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, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
God in all of His infinite wisdom, chose to pour out his promised Spirit on a day when Jews and proselytes (those that converted to Judaism) from all over were gathered together in one place. This event would propel the church like wild fire in every direction from Jerusalem.
God in all of His infinite wisdom, chose to pour out his promised Spirit on a day that would have an astounding impact on the spread of the Gospel. This event would propel the church like wild fire in every direction from Jerusalem.
Acts 2:1–12 NRSV
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”
God in all of His infinite wisdom, chose to pour out his promised Spirit on a day that would have an astounding impact on the spread of the Gospel. This event would propel the church like wild fire in every direction from Jerusalem.
God could have imparted the Holy Spirit to His people more subtly as in times past, but today, he chose to do so in style and for good reason!
The imagery provided in our passage indicates that the Spirit came like a violent rushing wind (perhaps like a CAT5 hurricane) and visible flame-like tongues rested on each of them. Wind and Fire; often the same imagery used in the OT. Many new that something out of the ordinary was happening and that God was in the midst of it. To top it off, Galileans (known to be less educated than others) were speaking foreign languages. To say the least, this spectacle drew quite a crowd.
Did you notice how the crowd reacted?
Acts 2:12–13 NRSV
All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
Reaction of the spectators:
Reaction of the spectators: some were genuinely astonished and others were trying to write off the miraculous with a more earthly reason.
All were amazed and perplexed
But, the crowd was split on their interpretation
some were genuinely astonished and others were trying to write off the miraculous with a more earthly reason.

Transition to Peter’s Sermon

Has anyone ever run into this in their life experience? When someone tries to rationalize away a miraculous event? An example that always boggles my mind goes something like this: person finds our they have an advanced stage of cancer, tumor is measuring larger than a grapefruit, person enlists prayer warriors and commits to prayer themselves, and at the next followup appointment, a scan has revealed that the cancer is gone. Rather than seeing the miraculous intervention of God, physicians and / or radiology techs write the situation off as a faulty scan or something along those rational lines. While this is frustrating for those of faith, there are those in the faith that are attempted to due the same.
One such person, was Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson dedicated countless time to write his own translation of the Bible to demythologize - that is to explain away all of the miraculous bits of it and to elevate reason over faith. I could just envision God looking down at him shaking his head, Tommy Boy....you’re doing it wrong.
Has anyone ever run into this in their life experience? An example that always boggles my mind goes something like this: person finds our they have an advanced stage of cancer, tumor is measuring larger than a grapefruit, person enlists prayer warriors and commits to prayer themselves, and at the next followup appointment, a scan has revealed that the cancer is gone.
I believe that Peter, by way of the Spirit, caught on to this sentiment in the crowd and so he launched into a sermon regarding the significance of the Holy Spirit’s arrival.

Peter addresses the crowd that had gathered

First and foremost, Peter said, “we ain’t drunk....it’s only 9AM!” Geesh, even if we were drunk, who of you ever started speaking multiple foreign languages fluently? We’re not just talking a few words here like hola, konichiwa, bon jour, ciao. We’re talking about speaking fluently about the power and deeds of God!
God promised this day
Remember what Joel said?
Joel 2:28–29 NRSV
28 Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
Joel 2:28–32 NRSV
Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit. I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.
Then to really make friends with those in the crowd, he reminds the Jews that they were responsible for Jesus’ death.
Acts
Then to really make friends with those in the crowd, he reminds the Jews that they were responsible for Jesus’ death.
Not all preaching is feel-good; the Holy Spirit will convict
Prior Response versus now
Prior Response versus now
Acts 2:37b NASB95
Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
Acts 2:37 NRSV
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
Peter says: repent (turn from your ways), trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and be baptized.....and guess what? You, too, will receive the Holy Spirit.
This was a radically new idea for them:
Holy Spirit before versus now
Now they are united by the one true God through the Person of the Holy Spirit
The
It is said that that day 3000 people repented and believed and were added to the community of believers…some would remain there in Jerusalem, but others would return to their home lands and start sharing the Good News there
The remainder of Chapter Two showed how the presence of the Holy Spirit truly unified the people and made them one.
Show “ONE” Slide /// Keep slide up until I get to slide ///
Acts 2:42–47 NASB95
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42-
You see, it’s this one-ness in the church that truly gauges the health of it. It was the one-ness through the power and leading of the Holy Spirit in all aspects of their lives that God was able to bless their efforts. It was this one-ness that caused others around them to wonder, “what’s going on over there??” Why are they different, how are they always having their needs met, always full of love and joy? I want that too.
3,000 people were added to their numbers
The apostles were now performing signs and wonders under the leading and power of the Spirit
This one-ness is vitally important to the mission of the church. Well, how can I make that claim? If you ever wondered what is important to God, you can check out the things that Jesus prayed while he was amongst the people. This is what He prayed for in the midst of His disciples just before he was betrayed:
John 17:21 NRSV
that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
John 17:
The people were living as a community
and it is said the LORD was adding numbers of those being saved day by day
and it is said the LORD was adding numbers of those being saved day by day
Did you catch that....it says the LORD was adding to the numbers of the church day by day
It’s not something that Peter did
It was God, through the Holy Spirit, and people that were obedient to His leading and conviction that
It was God, through the Holy Spirit, the Sp people that were obedient to His leading and conviction that
When you lead with one voice, what matters most, matters more.
When you lead with one voice, what matters most, matters more.
When we function as one, the world changed once, with a lot fewer people.
ONE WON
To further drive home the importance of being one, God took the event of Pentecost amongst the Jews in Jerusalem, and kicked up several notches. If that’s even possible, right??

Salvation to the Gentiles

You see what happened next, shook the deeply entrenched culture and tradition of Judaism to the core.

Cornelius in Caesarea

Who was he?
Centurion of the Italian Cohort in Rome
Devout
Gave many alms to the Jewish people
Prayed continually to God
Angel appears to him; asks him to send to Joppa for Simon Peter

Peter in Joppa has a vision

Sheet of all the animals descended
Get up Peter, kill and eat
By no means Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy an unclean
What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy
Peter goes to Caesarea to Cornelius’
His greeting
Acts 10:28 NASB95
And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.
He preaches
He preaches
Holy Spirit falls on the Gentiles

Peter reports back to Jerusalem

Peter reports back to Jerusalem
Jewish believers took issue with him....you went into their house and ate with them?
Jesus Promised It (OT, John the baptist, later Jesus said he’d send someone)
He recounted to the story to them....how could I refuse them baptism after the Spirit fell on them like they did us? They quieted and glorified God.
Now some that left Jerusalem after Pentecost and a persecution that broke out from
In surrounding areas, the Good news was being shared with Jews and Gentiles alike and the church was spreading like wild fire.
Jesus Prayed For It
Jerusalem Council
One Spirit that Joins us to Together (Jew and Gentiles Grafted into the church by one spirit)
Jerusalem Council

Jerusalem Council

Apostles and elders meet

Revival broke out in several areas, gentiles were coming to Christ, and mixed reviews started trickling back to Jerusalem to the point where they needed to have a council meeting (Jerusalem Council).
Some were of the mind that these surrounding areas where just missing the mark completely....that they were doing it wrong (Show Slide)....they were making salvation too easy.
Acts 15:5 NRSV
But some believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and said, “It is necessary for them to be circumcised and ordered to keep the law of Moses.”
They were in favor of salvation by surgery for the Gentiles! Can you imagine how different the church would look like today? Imagine a big mobile bus out front. Our morning announcements would look a lot different....perhaps something like this...
Now, there were others amongst them (like the apostles) that understood what was happening. And they argued (show slide)...
Acts 15:10 NRSV
Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear?

James’ Judgement

James, the brother of Jesus, who was the pastor of the Jerusalem church, rose up amongst them
Acts 15:19 NIV
“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.
Through the power and witness of the Holy Spirit in all that happened around them, he knew that God was doing something new. That salvation was available to all people (Jew and Gentile alike) so that he can be glorified through unity.
Acts 15:19
Why is this unity and one-ness so important for us today?
Show “Why it Matters” Slide
It’s mission critical!
Why does this all matter:
Jesus prayed for it
Jesus prayed for it
…so that the world may believe!
Jesus paid for it
Jesus paid for it
Jews and Gentiles.....people that are different from us
The Holy Spirit continues to make a way for it
The Holy Spirit continues to make a way for it
Same Spirit that fell on them in Jerusalem, Caesarea, and everywhere else, is the same as the Spirit that has been given to us.
The early church fought through their differences because of how important unity was / is.
Peter was very uncomfortable entering Cornelius’s house.
It is my judgment therefore that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God ()
It is my judgment therefore that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God ()
Jesus prayed for it
If they are not one, we will not win ()
Unity is mission critical
Peter was very uncomfortable entering Cornelius’s house.
The early church fought through their differences because of how important unity was / is.
Prioritize oneness over: politics, race
When we function as one, the world changed once, with a lot fewer people.
It is my judgment therefore that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God ()
Prioritize oneness over: politics, race
Prioritize oneness over: politics, race, personal preferences
When we do so, when we open our ears and eyes to the promptings of the Spirit (because they are there), and we are courageous enough to take the first step, the Spirit will empower us to become one....to change the world and increase the Kingdom...for God’s glory.
Pray
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