Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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The Coming of the Holy Spirit 5/27/2012
Acts 2:1-21 The Day of Pentecost

Dearly beloved,

After the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, for a time period of 40 days, He was with His disciples to give them more instruction as well as to appear unto many as proof that he lived after dying. After He instructed His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit Whom He had promised would come, and after He blessed them, He returned to heaven where He had come from some 33 years before. We testify that we believe in His Ascension as fact everytime we recite the Apostle's Creed.

As His disciples stood staring into the sky worshipping Him as He disappeared into the clouds, the angels told them that this same Jesus will return in like manner as they had seen Him ascend. They then heeding the command of Jesus to wait for the Holy Spirit to come in power, returned to Jerusalem where they spent that time waiting
in great joy in the temple praising and blessing God.

Ten days after our Saviour ascended to heaven, fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit descended with sounds and with visible signs, and there was a divided opinion of what the crowds heard and saw. Peter, the one who had earlier disowned Jesus by denying Him three times and had then been restored by Jesus Himself, now is the preacher that stands up and explains to the people what this all means. Let us listen in today to hear as to what the Lord directed him to say to explain the meaning of that which they heard and saw.

This never to be repeated event came at the end of the 7th week after the Passover celebration and it was the second of three great Jewish feasts which were celebrated at Jerusalem annually. This particular feast was called the Feast of Weeks and it was a time when the worshippers of God came to together in the Holy City give thanks to Him for the completed harvest. It was a very joyous occasion and large crowds were gathered in the city at this time of the year.

The account of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is found in what is called the book of the Acts of the Apostles, the book we commonly refer to simply as Acts. It is the fifth book in the New Testament, it was written by Luke, who wrote the third Gospel, the Gospel Luke and it is a sequel to that Gospel. The book of Acts is thought to have been written somewhere around 50-60 AD, which means that it was written before the horrible destruction of the city of Jerusalem, which occurred in the year 70 AD.

As we think "big picture of the New Testament" before considering the events of Pentecost in the book of Acts, it will perhaps be helpful to point out that in the Gospels we have physical life of Jesus displayed through four different Gospels, in the book of Acts we see
the Holy Spirit working through the lives of His followers as they carry out His mission that He sent them to do and in the letters that were written and which are placed in the Bible after the Gospels and Acts, we see apostolic doctrines discussed and taught.

It is noteworthy to recognize that the Acts have been placed in the canon between the gospels and the epistles as a link between the records of Jesus and the writings of the apostles. In many ways the epistles are not understandable until one has done a thorough study of the Acts. For in this book we see the main trends of the early church as well as effective samples of Jesus' continuing work. Therefore the Acts serve as a vital contribution to the discussion between the teaching of Jesus and the apostolic doctrine.

Even though the Apostle's Peter and Paul are two main characters in this book, who really are the main characters? Are they really the ones who are continuing the work of Jesus? Who descended on the day of Pentecost? Did Peter come down from heaven? Did Paul come down from heaven? Certainly not, but rather the Holy Spirit descended and implanted and embedded His life in the lives of His followers!! Can we not then say that the life of Jesus then continued through His indwelling in the lives of those who are His followers, who believe upon the mighty name of Jesus the Christ? I believe that we can say that, so therefore, from now on when we refer to this book as being the book of Acts, we are going to be referring to the acts of Jesus in His followers through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. ACTS=Jesus' continuing work in the ministry through them then and there, and through us in the here and now!!

One more thing by the way of introduction. Perhaps it is a thought which should give us inspiration and persistence to study this book of "ACTS" with eagerness, expectation and confidence. How so and why for? Please consider: In the last chapter (28) and in the last two verses of the book of Acts these words are written which refer to the Apostle Paul, who is in Rome in prison knowing that in the end he will be killed for preaching the Gospel. What do you think of this ending? Does it leave you wondering what happened next? Is there an epilogue? (explanation of what happened afterwards)? Is there a sequel? If chapter 29 would be written, what would it say? Who would write chapter 29? Do not all churches to some degree believe that they are writing chapter 29? Consider the end of the book....

30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,
31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

In our younger days when we heard the endings of fairy tale books they often ended with the words, "and they lived happily ever after." As we grew older we came to understand that those stories were not true, but were stories of imagination. We came to realize that there is an end to all things in this life, but as we grew in the knowledge of the things of God, we learned that with God there is only one desire and that is that we would "live happily ever after." That is the sense we have with the Apostle Paul at the end of ACTS, for there is no end to the life that he lived in Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit. We are left with the same sense that the old westerns used to end with as the hero(s) rode off into the sunset. Paul rode off into the sunset and the work continued through other followers of Jesus Christ.

Are you not getting eager with me now to dig into this book of ACTS, in order to journey along with the Holy Spirit as He descended and as He begins to spread His saving influence by testifying of Christ into the world through the lives of those in whom He indwells? Already within me is rising up a desire to follow this book of ACTs all the way through so that I may as a pastor be assured, encouraged, directed, rebuked, challenged and inspired as I allow this same Holy Spirit to show to me how the first church went about gathering the "exiles" into the church. Already I am asking the question: How does the church that I am a part of connect with the church of ACTS? With the church of the Epistles? I sure am getting eager to begin this study. So let us begin and we are picking up the ACTS history of the church in chapter two.....

KJV Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Ten days after Jesus ascended, the Holy Spirit descended. They heard, they saw, they were filled and they spoke by the Spirit. Do we recall what happened early in the life of Jesus's baptism when a similar happening occurred?

KJV Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
KJV Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

After Jesus was was baptized by John, the Spirit descended upon Him "like a dove" and His Father spoke from heaven. After being led into the wilderness by the Spirit to exhibit His power over the devil, Jesus initiated His public ministry by saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.."(Mark 1:15)

He continued for three plus years to teach and preach of the Kingdom of God wherever He went and especially to the twelve men that He had chosen to carry on the work when He had finished His mission of redemption for the world. Eventually the religious leaders could not handle Him anymore, for He had turned their world upside down with His message of love from God through Himself as the Light of the world. Instead of coming to the Light, they ran and hid in the darkness, for their way was against the way of the Light of the world.
They refused to believe that He and the Father were one....and eventually He laid down His life for the world, but also for those who put Him on the cross.......

The apostle of love, John, records through the inspiration of God's Spirit the final sermon of Jesus. His public ministry was now completed, so beginning with chapter 13 and continuing through chapter 17 of John's Gospel, we read and hear the last words of Jesus which He shared with those who would continue His presence and work after He had ascended to heaven after the resurrection. They would be able to do this only through the gift of the Holy Spirit and His indwelling presence in them.

It would be best to read the entire dialogue, (13-17) but let us take a look at a few verses which speak of the promise of the Holy Spirit to be sent by the Father.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.


John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.


John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

KJV John 16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.
5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?
6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

There is much here to think and meditate on which will help us as we read and hear of the events of Pentecost. For consider this: If we try to understand and interpret the meaning of Pentecost without considering the promise of the Holy Spirit to be sent, what will we come up with? Most likely, all kinds of our own notions and ideas.

In all simplicity, God sent His Son to show us His (God's) heart for the world, and the Holy Spirit was sent to show us Christ! As those who heard on the day of Pentecost marveled: "we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." The coming of the Holy Spirit is no small matter in the economy of God to bring His saving grace to this world and to ourselves!! This day did not just happen quietly in a corner of the world somewhere. Jesus had been born in a lonely stable, on a night like any other night, but now in the pouring out of the effects of His life, death and resurrection into all the earth, there was great attention brought to this momentus event through that which was heard and seen through the sound of the wind, the sight of the flaming tongues of fire and through that which was heard spoken concerning the wonderful works of God.

Here I might say that there has been much written about these three signs and books upon books written concerning as to what they meant or mean. I do not wish to say anymore about those things other than to emphasize what I wrote above.: God sent his Son to show us His heart and the Holy Spirit was sent and is sent to show us His wonderful works in Christ Jesus. The third article of the Apostle's Creed explains this:

I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.

At this point in my understanding of this event, it seems that all the signs were to bring attention to the message of God for the world through Christ Jesus. It would be like a megaphone that is shouted through so that people would come to see and to hear what is going on over there.....The message is not in the sign but the sign points to the message, the wonderful Gospel of Jesus the Christ. Could we compare it to the signs, wonders and miracles that Jesus performed while walking here with us in His physical being in that they all brought attention to what He wanted them to hear: "Repent and believe the Gospel, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Let us now continue on in our meditation of ACTS.

5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

Let us remember that this was the time of one of the annual feasts, and people had to be everywhere as they came to the Holy City to celebrate with gratitude for their harvests. They came in great numbers to the temple as their curiosity "now when this was noised abroad" must have gotten to them, and were they in for a surprise when they got there. They saw and heard simple and unlearned men from Galilee speaking things which they understood in their own language, their mother tongue. They asked the question in amazement and marvel, "Are those that are speaking Galileans?" We can tell that they are from there by looking at them. How do they know our mother tongues from the countries that we were born in? Then they answered their question (as well as my thought as to what they must have been thinking) "We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God."

What were these wonderful works of God? Simply put, could we not say that the Spirit had opened up their understanding so that they saw more of God and his ways than they had ever seen before? They had a question as to how this could be happening, but in the midst of their confusion, they heard in their own tongues the wonderful works of God. That is a wonderful reminder, that in the confusion of many things today, we have the infallible, inerrant and readily available Word of God to hear and to read. That was sufficient for them back than, it has been sufficient through the ages and will be until the day that He comes to gather us to Himself so that we may be with Him forever. Let us continue on to see how this was received by the crowd.....

12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

For some the amazement continued, the wonder continued, but alas, for others it was just a drunken gathering of partiers. Nothing much has changed, has it, for unless one sees through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, the things of God are foolishness and senseless. But what is going to happen next? Who is going to step up to clarify that which is happening? It has been said that "confusion is the basis of all learning and clarification the basis of all teaching." It is time for some clarification, for there is much confusion in and amongst the crowd. It is a time for teaching, and who should stand up, but Peter.....

Peter, the one who disowned Jesus when the time for standing up for Jesus came to pass? Yes, it is the same Peter, but then again, it was not the same Peter. He was a new Peter in the sense that he was now indwelt by the Spirit that Jesus had spoken of in their last hours together. (John 13-17) The Lord had breathed the Holy Spirit into Peter as well as the other apostles the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22) He was no longer afraid, for He had been restored by the very one he had deserted. The old Peter had come to the end of himself, the very place that the Lord knew that Peter needed to come to in order that the new Peter come forth. Jesus had referred to this happening earlier in a discussion with Peter. (below) Jesus knew it was going to be a heart wrenching experience for Peter, but through faith he would come out the other side as the new Peter. Let us always remember that as awful and as evil as Satan is, he is a servant of God who may not/cannot do anymore than the Lord allows him to do in the lives of people. (Job 1) Satan serves God. "For thine is the kingdom, and the power and glory, forever and forever. Amen...


Luke 22:31 "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,
32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."
33 Peter said to him, "Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death."
34 Jesus said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me."

Peter was full of the Holy Spirit and he is the one who now offers the explanation of what this is all about....This is the first recorded sermon in the New Testament church after the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. (This sermon in chapter two continues past our text verses) He uses the prophet Joel and the Shepherd King David to ground his sermon in fact, and he applies the sermon in a contemporary manner as he answers the question that was asked by the crowd that day: "What does this mean?

He first quashes the idea that it is a drunken gathering, pointing out that it is only nine am. In that culture, as in most cultures, that statement was simply absurd, for to be drunk at that time of the day one would have had to begin drinking much earlier. It was a dumb statement that some made in trying to address the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, out of a lack of understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures.


14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon 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 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Peter ties this current happening to the prophesy of the prophet Joel:

Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

This is another portion of Scripture that is widely debated as to its meaning, especially concerning the meaning of verses 28-31. I do not really have a good handle on them. We can be like the people that heard Peter give his explanation, for we often continue to have questions upon hearing an explanation. And even though I understand the main thing that Peter was bringing forth in his direct answer, yet I am left with more questions as a result of that which Peter said. It is good to have questions, for that keeps us interested to find out more of the wonderful works of God. When we ask questions of the Scripture, it is like we are asking God for our answers. That is a good thing, for He tells us in the book of James that if we lack wisdom, ESV James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."


Let us place again here the words that Peter spoke on that day:

Acts 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon 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 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

"This" refers to that which prophet Joel had prophesied of, which now follows..
"last days" refers to the time of the New Testament.

"all flesh" Does this mean every person, or does it mean all nations, tribes, tongues, kindreds?

This is the age of the Spirit, and it has been since the time of His outpouring, which occurred only because Jesus lived, died, arose, ascended and descended through the Spirit. He is with us, He lives in us and will never leave us again. Whether Peter is interpreting Joel to mean those things began to happen now or will happen later, I do not really know. But I do know that the Spirit came on that day, He brought the all the gifts of Christ with Him, the greatest of which is Love, Not our love, but the love of the Father for us through His Son Jesus Christ. This Incarnate One, Christ Himself, now dwells in us.

As a result of this outpouring, we are assured that (Acts 2:21) that "whosoever" shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Have we called upon the Lord?

May the Lord add His blessing to our joyful, eager and continued meditation in His Word, the King of Creation, Christ the Lord, Our Saviour and King!!!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 27 May 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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