1:1-11, Acts 2:1-47
(c) Copyright 2005 Rev. Bill Versteeg
Scripture Reading: Acts
1 In my former book,
Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2
until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions
through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his
suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing
proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty
days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he
was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not
leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you
have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few
days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you
at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or
dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive
power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses
in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a
cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when
suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men
of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here
looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into
heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into
The Holy Spirit Comes at
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.
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.”
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! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
”‘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, 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. 24 But 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
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,
Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
35 until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’
let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you
crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to
Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we
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 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. 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
The tribal wisdom of the Lakota People, passed on from generation to
generation, says that, "When you discover that you are riding a dead
horse, the best strategy is to dismount."
However, in government, education, and in corporations, more advanced
strategies are often employed, such as:
1. Buying a stronger whip.
2. Changing riders.
3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride
5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.
7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.
9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase dead
10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve
the dead horse's performance.
11. Declaring that, as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is
less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes
substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other
12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.
13. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position!"
By Edd Hust From
EDDitorially Speaking www.journalenterprise.com
God’s wisdom would say: "When you discover that you are
riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to raise the horse to new
life and continue on the journey."
Pentecost was when God raised the church to new life and continued on
Christ’s journey of bringing the good news of his kingdom to
this world. This truth comes to us from three different images in this
passage. The first picture comes from Acts 1:4,5 were Luke quotes what
“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift
my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For
John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with
the Holy Spirit.”
This morning, notice with me that phrase "baptized with the Holy
Spirit." Maybe you have heard the phrase used in Pentecostal circles in
a way that talks about an experience, an experience of the power of
God. Or maybe you are a person who has chosen not to think about it too
much. After all, in Reformed circles, we use our heads right? This
Spirit stuff hardly comes to our attention. But it is in scripture and
it demands our attention. What does it mean to be baptized with the
We have already seen one of the pictures of baptism this
morning but there are others in scripture. One of them is in
Romans 6 where Paul tells us that to be baptized is to enter into death
and be raised to new life. Paul writes: (vs. 3f)
Or don’t you
know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized
into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into
death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through
the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
One of the symbol sets of baptism
is that we participate in Christ’s death. Christ died for our
sin, we die to our sin. Christ paid for every time we fall for
temptation, we become people who no longer dive in the hole of
temptation. But Christ arose from the dead. The Resurrection was God
statement of power over everything that has gone wrong. It was the
vindication of Jesus, the Son of God, our Redeemer. And just as a
person baptized comes out of the water, so the symbolism of baptism
points to our resurrection from the dead, our resurrection to being
alive to God, having a heart of flesh that is hungry for God,
responsive to God, listening to God, empowered by God, obeying God,
passionate about God, overwhelmed by the love of God, transformed by
the love of God in our behaviours toward others, our families, even
toward our jobs, even toward creation. When Jesus told the church that
he would baptize them with the Spirit, he told them that they were
going to be raised from death to life. This was the gift of the Spirit
they were called to wait for, this was the gift of the Spirit that they
desperately needed if they were going to continue the purpose Jesus had
called them too.
And so we come to our second image - the image of gift - the "gift of
the Holy Spirit." We must take this word gift very seriously. This is a
gift that is part of relationship. You might remember the word "dowry"
- a word that describes in some cultures the possessions, properties
and money that a bride would bring into a relationship with her
husband. It can also mean the same thing for a husband to a bride. A
dowry is a gift of resources that a spouse brings into a marriage
relationship to enhance the relationship. Christ promised in our
relationship with him a dowry - the gift of the Spirit of the living
God, to empower us, lead us into truth, defend us in difficult times,
heal our lives in surprising ways when we experience inevitable
brokenness. And remember, the gift is not only to us as individuals,
the gift is to us as a community, the gift of the Spirit is to us as
“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.”
This gift enables the bride of Christ to be his partner,
Christ’s helpmeet in bringing the realities of the good news
into this world.
Third notice that the Spirit came in the form of wind, life giving
wind, this was the breath of God, what in the Old Testament was called
the Ruach JWH, the breath of life.
When God formed Adam, he took the
dust and clays of the earth and shaped this bipedal creature, a statue
of beauty, but unable to accomplish any task, unable to work the soil,
unable to exercise authority, unable to represent God in this world,
Adam may have been a picture of God but he certainly was not the image
of God because God was a living being.
But then we read in Genesis 2
7 The LORD God formed the man d from the dust of the
ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man
became a living being.
God took the last essential
ingredient - he gave to Adam his breath, the breath of life, his
Spirit, and by that Spirit, Adam and then Eve became the image of the
living God together. Empowered by the Spirit, they worked the ground,
they ruled over creation, they worked for order and community and
shalom. It was the wind of God within them that gave them life,
resurrected them from clay to living beings doing the work of God in
Ezekiel (37) prophesied Pentecost. The Spirit of the Lord led him to a
valley of dead dried out skeletons, Ezekiel called them a valley of
bones. And the Lord asked Ezekiel: “What will it take to get
this vast army moving again?” Ezekiel said “Jun se
pas” - “I don’t know!” except
he said it in a more worshipful way he said “O Sovereign Lord
you alone know.”
And so the Lord told him
“Prophesy to these bones and say to them,
‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the
Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath a enter you, and
you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh
come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and
you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the
And to Ezekiel’s amazement, even as he prophesied, the breath
of the Lord had the power to bring these bones to life, a vast army
ready to do the will of God because God put his Spirit on them.
Three images point us to the reality that Christ, at
Pentecost raised his church to new life. He baptized them by
his Spirit and so raised them to life. He gave them the gift, the dowry
of his relationship with them - the gift of life. And when the wind
blew, he breathed the breath of life upon them, and they became a vast
army. I started this message with a joke which was actually an
allegory, let me finish it with a story.
You might recognize this young man
as I tell you this story. Be gracious if you do.
In his youth, life involved a lot of hard work. Education did not come
easy. As he became a teenager, in quieter moments he wondered what the
point of life was anyways. But consistently, he had no regard for
church, no regard toward God. His life was one of quiet rebellion.
Seeking friendship involved compromise with things he did not feel good
about. But all over was the nagging question - what is the point? To
him, God was something his parents were into. And God meant church,
three services a Sunday, one of which was a Dutch service, this was his
"pentecostal" experience, a church service in a foreign tongue. He had
mastered the art of counting ceiling tiles and day dreaming through
long theological diatribes that, because he was dead, meant nothing.
But then, through a series of
circumstances, and because of a promise that God, when he deals with
parents will also deal with their children, God took this dead young
man and brought him to life.
Being baptized by the Spirit gave a
life lived in black and white full vibrant technicolor. Being endowed
by the Spirit came with resources and gifts that totally changed the
direction of his life. He would with passionate hunger eat of the word
of God, often until fatigue closed his eyes for him. Being breathed
upon turned him from just a church attendee, to a person who was
confessing his faith at every opportunity he had. He would go to bars
with his friends, in the hope of having an opportunity to tell them of
his faith. By the time he did confession of faith, his world had heard
far more about his faith than any elders did.
But the story is not about
him. The story is about Jesus, his love, his desire to give
the gift of the Spirit to all who will call on his name.
Maybe you can see yourself in this young man, life has a sense of
deadness about it, and your life has a sense of unresponsiveness to
God. Faith is something out there... God is somebody
else’s construct and not real to you.
There is more. Call on his name.
Ask God for the regenerating power of his Spirit to bring you to life,
because it is the only way. You see, no matter how many self help books
you make a dead horse read, not one of them will raise the horse to new
No strategy, nothing but the power
of God, being baptized by his Spirit, endowed with power, having the
breath of life blowing through us, can create the divine dynamic by
which we fulfill what God designed us to be.
(NIV) Scripture taken from the HOLY
BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984
International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible
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