Acts 2

Baptized by the Holy Spirit - its Consequence

Heidelberg Catechism Lord's Day 20

© Copyright 2010  Rev. Bill Versteeg


 

Brothers and sisters in Christ

We have taken the time with the Heidelberg to focus on the person and work of the Spirit of God.

Q & A 53

Q. What do you believe concerning "the Holy Spirit"? 

A. First, he, as well as the Father and the Son, is eternal God.

   Second, he has been given to me personally, so that, by true faith, he makes me share in Christ and all his blessings, comforts me, and remains with me forever.

 

Let me one last time repeat what we have learned so far.

First, we are Trinitarian. The Father, the Son and the Spirit are all equally God, three persons, one God head. Unlike some of the latest sects which teach that Jesus is only God’s son and not equal with God, and some sects that the Spirit is simply the will of God, not the third person of the Trinity, we believe that the Father, Son and Spirit are all equally God and all involved as persons in our salvation. And so our theology and our preaching should deal with all three persons of the Trinity.

We have also found that if we want to receive anything from God, the Father, Son or Spirit, the key issue is trust.

      Do we trust our Father in heaven for his providential care? When we do our lives start taking on the characteristics of patience and contentment.

      Do we trust Christ for the forgiveness of sins and a regenerated spirit by which we start to fulfill the will of God? When we do, the peace of God begins ruling our heart and obedience to God’s will becomes an achievable goal.

      Do we trust the Spirit of God for his influential leadership in our lives and the gifts he gives and is? When we do grow in our trusting the Spirit, we discover that the Lordship of Christ in our lives is immediate and intimately practical so that we, as Paul instructs us, can keep in step with the Spirit (Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25) (seeking justice and loving mercy and walking humbly with our God - illustration of walking together with tied led - submission), and the repeated thing that we discover in the scriptures is that along with his triumphant Lordship in our lives comes gifts, through which we can be a blessing to others and so fulfill the promises given to Abraham to be a blessing to the nations.
 

The third important thing we have learned is that we need to stop thinking in absolute opposites. We tend to think in terms of having the Holy Spirit or not having the Holy Spirit. Scripture paints much more of a spectrum. If we listen to Acts 17, in him we live and move and have our being,” all of creation is sustained by God through his Spirit. That is a common grace that God has given since creation began. If we have come to faith or trust in Christ and thus have been regenerated, born again by the Spirit, we have the Spirit, but as the scriptures pointed out, there is more of the Spirit to be had. To be filled with the Spirit, to have the Spirit poured out, is a fullness of the Spirit that is experiential, not just inferential. Like a sponge, it is possible to be wet, and it is possible to be full of water. So it is with us. There is a spectrum of having the Spirit. And so when we are asked by Paul in Acts 19, did you receive the Spirit when you believed, we have to understand the answer in terms of a spectrum.
 

Understanding this gives us the freedom to embrace what we do have of the Spirit and still desire more. And it is appropriate for the church to behave in such a way that it is believed that more is to be had.

      This evening we want to look at the consequences of the Holy Spirit’s coming. The disciples were told to wait until they received power from on high. This morning Hophnia and Phinehas assumed that by taking the Ark of the Covenant into battle with them would bring power for the Israelites. There is a correlation between the presence of God and power. When we trust Christ and keep the temple Holy, the Holy Spirit lives within us, in the Holy Spirit, the Lord is enthroned in our lives, and the consequence is power - the disciples were told to wait for power from on high. So this evening I felt led (// compelled as it is used in Acts 20:22 - and I am using that terminology in honour of the Spirit’s leadership in my life, it is appropriate for us to start using that kind of terminology) to simply read and make comments on Acts 2. And you will notice on the back page of your handout just a short list of consequences of the Spirit that arise from this one passage.

 

2    When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

(Comment - it is surprising that in terms of the consequence of the receiving of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues has been emphasized, but not once have I heard included in the evidences the less mimic-able signs - tongues of fire on their heads and or the sound of a blowing violent wind. Some signs are sometimes repeated in the scriptures, others appear not to be!)

5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.

(I think this too is an important sign for the coming of the Spirit will be wondered about and resisted, just as the Spirit’s sender, Jesus, was wondered about and resisted. The coming of the Spirit in power includes controversy)

Peter Addresses the Crowd

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! (Criticism does not really fit, few people drink through the night because as they sleep, intoxication will not be enjoyed.) 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17          “ ‘In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

your young men will see visions,

your old men will dream dreams.

18          Even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days,

and they will prophesy.

19          I will show wonders in the heaven above

and signs on the earth below,

blood and fire and billows of smoke.

20          The sun will be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood

before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

21          And everyone who calls

on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs,(As above) which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:

“ ‘I saw the Lord always before me.

Because he is at my right hand,

I will not be shaken.

26          Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;

my body also will live in hope,

27          because you will not abandon me to the grave,

nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

28          You have made known to me the paths of life;

you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

29 “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand

35          until I make your enemies

a footstool for your feet.” ’

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Comment - If Jesus is Lord today, the Spirit is real. The Spirit is the evidence of Christ’s Lordship. The Spirit is the practical and experienced Lordship of Christ in our lives today - leads to the theme of obedience, Romans 8)

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart (That is the work of the Holy Spirit - sent by Christ the Lord to convict regarding sin, righteousness and judgement) and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 They devoted themselves (Spiritual hunger for more is also a consequence of the coming of the Spirit. Once we have tasted of life in Christ, there is a natural hunger for more. If we do not hunger for Christ, we desperately need the Spirit.) to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. (Clearest demonstration that the old nature, which preserves self because of distrust and unbelief is overcome by abiding in the Spirit.) 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 

Of all these consequences, by the fact that so many are reported even in this one chapter, we have to agree that the pouring out of the Holy Spirit is something that is definitely experienced, not just inferred. And by the many consequences mentioned here, we discover that the experience of the Spirit is not just limited to a few things in our lives, there are many different ways that the consequence of the Holy Spirit comes to expression, through him we receive the work of Christ and all his benefits. The Spirit is a person and what he does as a person can be as varied as ministry can possibly be. The simple truth is, and I think if there is a neglect in our theology, it is that the Spirit comes with power, power over sin, power to witness, power to heal, power to minister. There are many possible consequences.


When Paul asks us “Did you receive the Spirit when you first believed?” we can answer, and not be caught up with the issue of tongues. Look down the list of just this chapter, ask yourself, is there evidence that I can point to.. Or maybe this evening you have other evidences, the work of the HS is not limited to these.



(NIV) Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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