Well here we are,
Day 23 of the 75 day Journey, and into our second book. Today hopefully you have already found some time to read Acts chapter 2, but if you haven’t (or if you are behind a little) take some time and read it now.
If you are behind, now is the opportune time to catch up. The book of John is 21 chapters, and contains some of the most powerful images of Jesus as our Saviour. John was one of Jesus closest disciples, and therefore has a unique perspective on much of what Jesus did. So I encourage you; if you are behind, take a couple hours and catch up. Don’t just go “ah well I will jump in here.”
The whole point of the Bible is Jesus. So trying to understand the book of acts without an understanding of Jesus is sorta like trying to understand marriage as a single person – it’s all theory. We need to first grasp who we are in relationship with, before trying to understand that relationship.
I promise it will be worth your while – It always as as we gain a greater revelation of Jesus.
OK! SO. The book of Acts picks up right where the gospels leave off. In this instance the writer is Luke (who wrote the Gospel of Luke), and so he opens up this book (which as we can see in chapter one, is a letter) following what happened at the end of the gospels. Jesus ascends into heaven….
And the disciples are just standing there staring…. Into the sky….
Fair enough. They have just spent three and a bit years walking around with Jesus, learning, and ministering with him. Their lives have become entirely based around him… and then he dies. Shock, dismay, awe, even terror. BUT, then, he comes back to life! They are so happy, and they are like “right now he is going to restore the kingdom! AMAZING!” and Jesus is like. No, not the case. That being said I am going to send the holy spirit to you, and you are to go and make disciples of all nations. And then he takes off into the sky.
So they just got him back from the dead… and then he is gone again.
I think I may be standing there going;
“….. WHAT!? WAIT!?! ….. WHAT?!” too.
This takes place to the point where angels have to show up and be like “guys … what are you doing! He is gone for now… go do what he told you to do!”
And then they head into town and replace Judas as a disciple.
This is where we pick up todays reading in chapter two.
What I find amazing about this chapter is the presence of the holy spirit. What we see here is that the disciples wait like Jesus told them to for the one that Jesus was sending – the helper, the holy spirit. Suddenly, there is a sound like rushing wind this great and loud noise, fire rests on peoples heads, and then they start speaking in foreign languages that they don’t understand – also known as tongues.
Now there is a heap of imagery here. When the presence of God would come into the tent of meeting there would be a flame on the ark of the covenant, revealing that the presence of God was there. In this case, it would have been understood that this was the promised presence of God. IMAGINE the excitement when you look at your friend and they have fire. The significance of realizing that the Ark no longer is the sacred thing that God inhabits, but rather – now we as believers are filled with the presence of God.
The result of this being filled with the presence is that the believers start speaking in languages that they don’t even know. AND, because of the sound that the holy spirit made … people came to take a look.
People from nearby houses, and in the town were like “WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE!?” And they flock to see what is going on. Now the believers who are speaking in tongues they don’t know walk out of the upper room speaking in languages that the onlookers can understand. These onlookers think they are drunk, but Peter is like “drunk?! Do these people look educated!? NO this is the power of God.” And then a platform is given where he delivers an address to the crowd and 3,000 people become believers.
MAN! A couple of take away’s from that.
- When the presence of God is moving, there is a sound which attracts people to it.
Now I am not saying that there will be rushing wind ever time we get together… what I am saying is that when we invite the presence of God to move, and he moves – people walking by in the halls during worship, people hearing our conversations as believers, people just simply listening to us talk, HEAR SOMETHING THAT MAKES THEM GO “WHAT IS THAT!?”
Time and time again, I hear stories about people going – there was just something different about that music. Or something different about the way they spoke. And this drawing sound causes people to take notice of what’s happening.
- We are able because of what Jesus did, to be filled with the presence of God.
That point can kinda stand alone. What an incredible, unbelievable privilege that we simply could not earn. And now we can not only come before God, but also interact with God in a meaningful way.
- When we are filled with the holy spirit, it is not simply for fun or edification, but it is to practically demonstrate the power of God and reveal him to people.
They didn’t just rest in the presence and feel all good about themselves, and then go home and look forward to it for next week. NO, they remembered that the Holy spirit was the promised helper that was going to help them make disciples of all nations! SO THEY SPILLED OUT INTO THE STREET! And what’s amazing is that the crowd that was drawn by the sound, encountered a crowd that was being impacted by the sound maker, and the holy spirit moving in the disciples revealed that God was in fact at work. So not only was this crowd like … what was that sound? They then are going how is this possible?
What’s amazing is that Jesus promised this same spirit for us. And in our modern day skeptical context, the holy spirit still wants to move in us.
Maybe your like “Man I have no idea how to share Jesus with people.” “I have no idea what to say.” – Hello – these people couldn’t even understand the language that they were speaking, and IT MADE PERFECT SENSE TO THOSE HEARING IT! God wants to use you to speak peoples language in a way that they will understand.
Because not only do they go “There was something different,” but also “I don’t even know how.” Which then opens them up to this.
- All that Peter preaches is Jesus – and 3,000 people get saved.
You know the reason why we do worship, before preaching is for these same reasons. We want there to be time for people to encounter God. To be asking the questions of “what is this?” and “How is that even possible.”
Then we get up, and we talk about Jesus. We explain who Jesus is and what he has done, and in that moment, the answer is given. It’s all about Jesus.
The challenge for us as a church is to open ourselves up to being used by the holy spirit so that people are not just going “WHAT…..” but also going “how… how is that even possible.” “How is it possible that I am feeling comfortable? That I have had a great conversation? That I feel Welcomed? That I feel at Peace? That I don’t feel anxious? That people relate to me? That that person knew exactly what I needed to hear? “ …….. just in time for ….. It’s because of Jesus.
May we be open enough to God using us, to be the people the world needs. And, may we by being those people, point people straight to Jesus.