Book Of Acts Week 4 Study | TheNationOfJudahChurch.org

Book Of Acts Week 4 Study

Book Of Acts Week 4 Study
Acts 2:1-47
The Birth of the Church at Pentecost

The Book of Acts week 4 Study will focus on the birth of the Christian church on the Day of Pentecost.  We can examine this critical event by attempting to answer the following questions:

  1. What was the original meaning of the Day of Pentecost?
  2. What actually happened on Pentecost according to Acts 2
  3. What role does Pentecost play in the Book of Acts?
  4. What principles are communicated by the experience of Pentecost?

What was the original meaning of the Day of Pentecost?

Pentecost (which means "fiftieth") was originally a Jewish agricultural holiday celebrating the harvesting of the grain.  

In the Old Testament it was known as the Festival of Weeks (Exo 34:22 and Deut 16:10) because it fell seven weeks after the Passover (hence 50 days and the name Pentecost).  Passover celebrated Israel's Exodus from Egypt.

Pentecost also commemorated the giving of the law at Mount Sinai (again, 50 days after Israel's liberation from Egypt at Passover).  At the giving of the law, the people of God became the nation of Israel.

  1. What are all the possible connections between the Jewish meaning of Pentecost and what occurred on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2?

What actually happened on Pentecost according to Acts 2

Acts 2:1-47 narrates a remarkable event that occurred on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1).  

Read Acts 2:1-4

  1. What actually happened to those gathered in the house on that day in Jerusalem?  What actions and sounds does Luke use to describe the event? 
  2. Who was gathered in the house on the day these events occurred?

Read Acts 2:5-12

  1. Who was present in Jerusalem to hear the apostles / disciples speaking in tongues that day (See Acts 2:5, 9-11)?
  2. How would you describe the phenomena of speaking in tongues based on this account in Acts 2:5-12? Have you had any experience with this phenomena in your own Christian life? What is your perspective on this phenomena as it pertains to the church in our day?

In response to the crowd that gathered that day, Peter gave a spirited defense of the events that were transpiring:

  1. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a fulfillment of Joel's prophecy for the long awaited "day of the Lord" (See Joel 2:14-21).  On this day, the Holy Spirit would be poured out on "all flesh" and not just on special individuals as in the Old Testament.
  2. Jesus is the fulfillment of the long-awaited Messiah, the son of David, who has been exalted after the resurrection and who now requires repentance.

The Book of Acts indicates that 3,000 people responded to the message and, including the first 120 in the upper room, the Christian church was born that day.

What role does Pentecost play in the Book of Acts?

Read Acts 8:14-16; 10:44-47; 11:15-16; 19:6-7

  1. Among what groups or types of individuals was the "Day of Pentecost" experience repeated?  In what regions?  Can you see how Acts 1:8 plays out even in the movement of the Holy Spirit's baptisms?
  2. How are the other descriptions of the baptism of the Holy Spirit similar or different from the day of Pentecost in Acts 2? 

What theological principles are communicated by the events of Pentecost?

1 Cor 12:10 says that "tongues" is a gift of the Holy Spirit.  This is the same word that appears in the Pentecost description when the apostles were speaking to the crowd about the glories of God (Acts 1:5).  1 Cor 14:22 speaks about the use of "tongues" in a worship service.  

  1. Should tongues be an active part of our faith and worship experiences today? Why or why not? 

God's Spirit now lives within each Christian and within the Christian church (See 1 Cor 6:19; 1 Cor 3:16 where "you" is in the plural.)  In the Old Testament, God's spirit was given only to specific individuals for specific tasks and he came "upon" a person but did not take up residence with a person.

  1. How does this impact who you are as a Christian?
  2. How does this change your approach to your faith, your appropriation of the gifts of the Spirit, your understanding of the church?

One of the key principles communicated by the coming of the Holy Spirit has to do with divine history.  We are living at the dawn of a new age.

With Jesus' coming and the giving of the Holy Spirit we now live in the blue sphere (the new era, the last days, etc.)  This is the place of healing, new life, restoration, new creation and the kingdom of God.  We can heal the sick, restore sight to the blind and liberate the oppressed by the power of God's Spirit.

However, we still live in the red sphere (the old era, the old age) of death and sin. 

This tension means not that we escape this world awaiting a life of future bliss, but that we role up our sleeves and seek to transform every aspect of this world toward the life giving principles of God's kingdom.  This is part of what it means to live "in the Spirit"!

  1. How does this tension affect you each day?  What are you doing to transform your surroundings in the power of the Spirit?

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