Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pentecost Sunday: Power to Evangelize and Be the Church (Acts 2)

Scripture: Acts 2
Translation: 2.1And while day of was being fulfilled, all of them were together at the same place. 2And it happened all of a sudden that there was a sound from heaven just like when a violent wind blows. And it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3And tongues like fire that were being distributed to them were seen. And it sat on each and every one of them. 4And all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. And they began to be speaking in other languages/tongues according to how the Holy Spirit was giving them to speak out.
5Now, there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation, all those under Heaven. 6And when this sound happened, the huge number of people came together and was confused, because everyone was hearing them speaking in his own native language. 7And they were feeling amazed and were wondering out loud, “Look, absolutely all of these people who are speaking are Galilean, aren’t they?! 8And how is each one of us hearing in our own language that we were born in? 9Parthans and Medes and Elamites and those who live in Mesopotamia, both Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10both Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Lybia, which is near Cyrene—and all the people in town, Romans, 11both Jews and converts, Cretans and Arabs—we’re hearing them speaking in our languages/tongues the great things of God!” 12And all of them were feeling amazed and totally confused, one saying to another, “Why does He want this to be?” 13And others who were mocking were saying that they really are totally filled with new wine!”
14Then standing up, Peter with the Eleven raised up his voice and spoke out to them:
“Men, Jews and all those living in Jerusalem, this had better be known to you; and pay attention to my words! 15 You see, it is not like you think “these people are drunk!” because it’s 9am [lit. the third hour of the day]; 16instead, this is what was being said through the prophet Joel: 17‘And it will happen in those days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your younger men will see visions and your older men will dream dreams! 18And for sure on my male-slaves and on my female-slaves in those days I will pour out My Spirit and they will prophesy. 19And I will give omens in the sky above and signs on the earth below—blood and fire and a waft of smoke. 20The sun will be changed into darkness and the moon into blood, before the Great and Glorious Day of the Lord comes! 21And it will be that everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved!’
22Men, residents of Jerusalem, listen to these words, Jesus the One from Nazareth, a Man pointed out to you by God with miracles and omens and signs, which God did through Him in the middle of you just as you yourselves know, 23This Man who was given up according to the arranged plan and predetermination of God, you killed through the hands of lawless people by attaching [Him to a cross]! 24Who God raised thereby destroying the pains of death, because it wasn’t possible that He be held by it. 25You see, David says about Him, ‘I saw ahead of time the Lord in front of me through everything that He was at my right hand, so that I would not be shaken. 26Because of this, my heart celebrated and my tongue rejoiced. And my flesh will still live based on hope, 27because You will not abandon my life to Hades, nor will You give Your Holy One to see corruption! 28You make me know ways of life, You fill me with celebration with Your Presence!’
29Men, brothers, it’s appropriate to speak with boldness to you about our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his grave is with us to this day! 30So, because he really was a prophet and really knew that God promised him with an oath to seat [someone] from the fruit of his loins on his throne, 31seeing the future, he spoke about the resurrection of the Messiah that He wasn’t abandoned to Hades and His flesh didn’t see corruption. 32This Jesus God raised, of Whom we all are witnesses! 33So, being exalted to the right hand of God, and receiving the promise of the Spirit from the Father, He poured This [Spirit] out, Who you are seeing and hearing! 34You see, David didn’t go up into the Heavens, but he says, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, 35until I put Your enemies as footstool for Your feet!’ 36So, certainly the whole house of Israel had better know that God made Him both Lord and Messiah, i.e. This Jesus, Who you crucified!”
37And after they listened, they were stabbed in the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Why should we do, men, brothers!?” 38And Peter [said] to them, “Repent and get baptized each one of you based on the Name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the give of the Holy Spirit, 39because the promise is for you and your children and all those far away, as many as the Lord our God summons.” 40And with many more words he was thoroughly warning and urging them saying [essentially] “Get saved from this crooked generation!” 41So, after accepting his message, they were baptized and about 3000 lives were added on that day.
42And they were dedicating themselves to the teaching of the Apostles and to sharing, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers. 43And fear was coming to every life, and many omens and signs were happening through the apostles. 44And all the people who were believing were at the same place and holding absolutely everything as shared. 45And they were selling their property and possessions and distributing them to all people as much as anyone might be needing. 46And daily dedicating themselves with the same impulse in the Temple, and breaking bread house by house, they were sharing food with heartfelt celebration and humility, 47praising God and having favor before all the people. And the Lord was adding the people being saved day-by-day at the same place.

1.      Structure
a.       The Spirit Arrives like a Wind in Tongues of  Fire
b.      The Non-Christians from all over the world React to the Spirit
                                                              i.      General Reaction: All the people from all over are surprised and confused, and wonder what’s going on
                                                            ii.      Alternative Reaction: The Christians are drunk stupid
c.       Peter Responds to the Questions of the Non-Christians
                                                              i.      We're not drunk, we’re filled with the Holy Spirit like Joel predicted
                                                            ii.      You killed Jesus, God’s clear Messiah, but God raised Him from the dead, just like He promised David
                                                          iii.      And what’s happening is that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, so you better know by know that Jesus is the Messiah
d.      The Non-Christians respond: What should we do
e.       Apostolic Answer: repent and believe and get baptized.
f.       Resolution:
                                                              i.      Apostle keep preaching: Get saved
                                                            ii.      3000 people get saved
                                                          iii.      Nature of the Newly Formed Church
1.      It focused on
a.       Listening to the apostles’ teaching together
b.      Sharing their stuff together
c.       Eating together
d.      Praying together
2.      God was saving people every day into it
2.      Themes
a.       Tongues/languages/dialects
                                                              i.      The interesting thing is that sometimes it refers to actual tongue shaped things, while other times it means what the tongue produces (language). The Holy Spirit shows His Presence by manifesting tongues of fire, but causes them to use their tongues in new ways
b.      Salvation
c.       Messiah
d.      Resurrection
e.       Spirit/Wind
                                                              i.      The word for Spirit also means wind, so the arrival of the Holy Spirit sounding like a rush of wind in a storm makes thematic sense
f.       Crucifixion/burial/death
g.      God’s Sovereignty
h.      Human responsibility
i.        Boldness
j.        Prophecy
k.      Sharing
3.      Doctrines
a.       Christians have the Holy Spirit
b.      The Holy Spirit is our source of boldness, unity/community, and Christian lifestyle
c.       Christians preach the message of Jesus’ resurrection, and call people to respond
4.      Notes
a.       Breaking bread does not mean communion/Lord’s supper; it means they ate together and enjoyed each other’s company
1.      Outline
a.       How do we tell people the Good News boldly? The Holy Spirit
                                                              i.      How are we going to be bold enough to tell the Good News to people who we know don’t believe? We have to rely on the Holy Spirit’s Presence and Power in us. We are not going to be able to just force ourselves to do it, at least not very easily, and we won’t be very good at it either. No, sharing the Good News with people is not a human activity it is something that absolutely requires the Holy Spirit. We will never have true power to do it all on our own. Guilt, Shame, Duty, as helpful as they are in getting us to do something, is not where our power to tell people comes from, it comes from the Holy Spirit! Remember, our faith is actually based on faith, we NEED God to work in us and through us, so we have to rely on the Spirit to empower and promote our effort, not try to merely force ourselves to do it by our own might and strength and sense of responsibility or even love! WE don’t need human power, we need Spirit-given power!
1.      As an aside, I want you to see that there are basically no limits on the extent that some unbelievers will go to hang on to their unbelief and sense-self-deification. They will make up the most ridiculous answers to what is so obviously the work of God. Never underestimate how blind a person will make himself to reject Jesus. These people are so clearly not drunk it is ridiculous, but some people are making that argument; don’t think some miracle will be the magic answer to overcome someone’s doubts. People are good at coming up with alternative explanations, and so is Satan.
2.      The Good News calls out sin and declares the Nature of God and Jesus and Holy Spirit, with special focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus
a.       The Good News is not that God did us a favor that we really didn’t need Him to do, but was nice for Him to do for us anyways. The Good News is that God did what we needed Him to do, but couldn’t force Him to do and couldn’t ask Him to do, and couldn’t do for ourselves. The Good News requires acknowledging weakness, sin, shame, and death.
                                                            ii.      How are we going to know how to connect the Bible with what is going on in the present world or in some person’s life? The Holy Spirit! He will guide us, He gives us the answers, He makes us say what we need to. In a way, we are all prophets because of the Holy Spirit living in us; through the Spirit we can connect the message of God to world around us in creative and meaningful and powerful ways
                                                          iii.      How are we going to boldly call out sin and know what is the right sin to call out? The Holy Spirit!
                                                          iv.      How are we going to cross cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic boundaries to tell people the Good News? The Holy Spirit!
                                                            v.      How are we going to save people? Ah, trick question, we’re not! The Holy Spirit will change hearts, minds, and lives! He will save!
b.      How do we live out the Good News as a Community boldly? The Holy Spirit
                                                              i.      How can we become a community that is radically representative of the vision God has for the church, to have people from all different cultures and languages and ethnicities and social statuses together united and worshipping? The Holy Spirit!
                                                            ii.      How can you get the most out of reading the Bible and listening to sermons, how can you even find yourself filled with a longing for the Bible and sermons? The Holy Spirit!
                                                          iii.      How can we become willing to give up what we have for the good of our brothers and sisters, how can we become a community that shares our stuff in a culture saturated by materialism and selfishness? The Holy Spirit!
                                                          iv.      How can we eat together and enjoy each other’s company with lots of happiness and humility? The Holy Spirit!
                                                            v.      How can we become a community that prays like crazy and sees God answer those prayer? The Holy Spirit!
                                                          vi.      How can we become a church that is healthy, alive, and growing—a church that God brings people to through us personally and our community, through our telling people about Jesus and living lives that draw people to Jesus? The HOLY SPIRIT!
2.      Questions
a.       When you have tried to share the good news in the past, have you tried to do it all on your own, or did you rely on the Holy Spirit?
b.      How big a role does the Holy Spirit play in your daily Spiritual life? How? Why?
c.       How big a role does the Holy Spirit play in our church every week? What makes you say that?
d.      How good are we at being witnesses to Jesus? To being the Church as it is described here?

e.       Why are we not seeing God add people to our church all the time?

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