5 "Now there were Jews living (gathered/staying) in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred (rushing wind), the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, "Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs-we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God." 12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, "What does this mean?"
Just a side note on the word "devout" (eulabes) -in verse 5: it means careful or cautious not to offend God out of great love and reverence for Him; the proper fear of the Lord. We cannot live wisely without this reverent attitude toward God and yet it is unnatural to fallen man and our flesh (Rom. 3:18; 8:7) so we must regularly pray for it. "Give me an undivided heart (or unite my heart) that I may fear Your name." (Psalm 86:11b)
"But you shall receive power (dynamis – strength, power, ability) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem (1:1-8:4), and in all Judea and Samaria (8:5-12:25), and to the end of the earth (13-28)." In the book of Acts we see God on the move to take His gospel from Jerusalem and spreading it throughout the Roman Empire. Look at the continual growth of the church in Acts 1:15; 2:41, 47; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7; 9:31; 12:24; 13:49; 16:5; 19:20 as the apostles obey Jesus' command: "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt. 28:19-20). As these people returned to their various countries, from Mesopotamia to Rome, saved and filled with Spirit we can just imagine how they spread the gospel to family and friends all over the world.
This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost which occurs 50 days after Easter. In the OT the Feast of Weeks (or Feast of Harvest) was celebrated 50 days after Passover. This was one of the three feasts which all Jewish men were required to attend in Jerusalem every year (Deut. 6:16); thus Jerusalem would be filled with Jews and Jewish proselytes from all over the world. And the Holy Spirit through Peter seized the moment: 14 "But Peter taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: "Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel." (Please read Acts 2:17-35) ["The Spirit of God was poured out at Pentecost but not literally on all flesh. The final fulfillment of the prophecy (in Joel 2) will take place at the end of the Tribulation Period. Prior to the glorious return of Christ, there will be wonders in the heavens, and signs on the earth (Matt. 24:29, 30). The Lord Jesus Christ will then appear on the earth to put down His enemies and to establish His kingdom. At the beginning of His thousand-year reign, the Spirit of God will be poured out on all flesh, Gentiles as well as Jews, and this condition will prevail, for the most part, throughout the Millennium. Various manifestations of the Spirit will be given without regard to sex, age, or social status. There will be visions and dreams, which suggest the reception of knowledge; and prophecy, which suggests its impartation to others. Thus, the gifts of revelation and communication will be in evidence. All this will occur in what Joel described as the last days (v. 17). This, of course, refers to the last days of Israel and not of the church. The supernatural signs in the heavens are distinctly said to occur before the coming of the … day of the Lord. In this context, the day of the Lord refers to His personal return to the earth to destroy His foes and to reign in power and great glory." MacDonald, William ; Farstad, Arthur: Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995, S. Ac 2:1]
36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ-this Jesus whom you crucified. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" (They were so convinced from Peter's quote from the OT about Messiah that foretold His death and resurrection and that Jesus was truly the Son of God that they knew they too were guilty of rejecting Him; so they immediately cried out in repentance!) 38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!" This is not teaching salvation by baptism as there are many passages that teach that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ (John 1:12; 3:16, 36; 6:47; Acts 16:31; Rom. 4:1-8; 10:9; Eph. 2:8-9). For example, the thief on the cross had the assurance of salvation apart from baptism (Luke 23:43). Baptism comes after faith but our Lord does command it as a sign of obedience to Him and as a testimony to our family and friends of our new life in Christ. (Matt. 28:18-20)
43 "So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved."
The importance of discipleship – "They were continually 1) devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and 2) to fellowship, 3) to the breaking of bread and 4) to prayer. These four aspects are so critical in growing in our likeness to Christ and thus our witness to Him. 1) Knowing His Word through personal study (quiet time/devotions) and through His teachers/preachers. 2) Fellowship – growing in likeness to Jesus through the encouragement and accountability we give and receive through authentic relationships with other believers. (Heb. 10:24-25). 3) Jesus tells us to remember His death (love and gratitude for His costly forgiveness) and His coming again (our hope to be with God and His family in heaven) by regularly celebrating the Lord's Supper with other believers. (1 Cor. 11:23-26) 4) Regular times of private prayer (Matt. 6:6) and prayer with other believers deepens our intimacy with the Lord and fellow believers and is a primary source of fruitful ministry.
44 "And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common" – Koinonea not communism. (Koinonea means close fellowship with other believers.) No one was forced to share their goods and resources with the other believers; it was totally voluntary and not required or enforced by church leadership. Also this was an unusual time in the life of the recently born church as people visiting Jerusalem from many nations had become brand new Christians and needed to remain in the city for some time to be grounded in their new found faith. Yet, though this was unusual, it is a great example of both the need for and joy of close communion with the family of God worshiping and serving our great King together.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AND APPLICATION
1. What is your main take away from the message and table discussion and how can you apply it to your life?
2. List the manifestations (evidence) of the Holy Spirit's "acts" seen in Acts 2. How has your life been affected by the Holy Spirit?
3. "Devout" (eulabes) – careful or cautious not to offend God out of great love and reverence for Him; the proper fear of the Lord. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (Psalm 111:10) We cannot live wisely without this reverent attitude toward God and yet it is unnatural to fallen man and our flesh (Rom. 3:18; 8:7) so we must regularly pray for it. "Give me an undivided heart (or unite my heart) that I may fear Your name." (Psalm 86:11b) Discuss what the fear of the Lord means to you and how it affects your life.
4. What can we learn from Peter's sermon in sharing the claims of Christ today?
5. How are you and your communities of faith doing with the four areas of discipleship seen in verse 42 and the koinonea seen in verses 44-47?