The Kingdom is Full Steam Ahead
April 21, 2013 Series: Acts: Gospel, Mission, Power
Topic: Acts Scripture: Acts 2:1–2:41
Alright, take your Bibles and go to the book of Luke, chapter 24. Before we get into Acts today, we need to look at Luke.The book of Acts can be themed up with three words.
Gospel. Mission. Power.
Gospel. The glorious news of God reconciling sinners to himself through the life, death, and resurrection of his son, Jesus Christ. Message of grace, hope, a new life.
Mission. The spread of the gospel. This is our whole purpose. Jesus said, "You will be my witnesses." And all throughout Acts we are going to see the word witness used 20 times. Noun and a verb. Identity and Activity.
Power. The ability to carry out the mission. We can't do it. And frankly, we aren't motivated to spread the gospel without the impulse of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit of God is the means to carry out the spread of the fame of Jesus. When it comes to the Christian life, the batteries are included. The Spirit is the power.
Before we get into Acts chapter and the passage in Luke 24, let's get some footing, a summary of where things stands….
33 A.D., Friday, Jesus Died. Sunday, Jesus is alive. Jesus appears to the disciples and according to Acts 1 he stays with them for forty days and teaches them about the kingdom of God. On the 40th day, Jesus ascends back up into heaven.
Acts 1 is happening, overlapping here with Luke 24.
vv.52-53, we see last weeks passage from Acts 1 here; they are worshiping Jesus, praising him, praying to him, and Mathias is added as the number of the apostles.
Now flip over to Acts 2:1, we are going to read to 41. We need to see the whole narrative.
Pentecost — this is a Jewish Feast Day. 50 days, Pente, after passover, when Jesus died, which would make this 10 days after the ascension.
Let's read Acts 2.
Hallelujah! Acts is filled with adventure. This is just awesome. 3,000 people are saved. The church went from 120 in Acts 1 to 3,120 in Acts 2. Acts 2, Pentecost—is nothing less than Revival. Really the first one. The ingredients of revival are all here.
A powerful work of the Spirit
The preaching of the word, gospel is preached
People are convicted, converted—in massive droves of people.
120 people prayer meeting turned into a 3,000 member church.
Now, I have no interest in having an academic pow-wow over the gift of tongues, prophecy, etc. Rather, there is much to learn and long for here in Acts 2 that is so needed the dead Bible-belt.
In a time of complete craziness, staunch opposition to the Lord Jesus and his church. The Kingdom of God is full-steam ahead in the 1st Century.
We in the 21st century, our confidence in the progress of the gospel and the kingdom of God isn't found in bookstores, Republicans, evangelical popularity, fog machines, or being cool Christians—but in the power of the Holy Spirit.
And what Luke is showing Theophilus (remember that's who Acts was written to), The Kingdom of God wasn't in trouble when Jesus died, he rose again. The Kingdom of God wasn't in troubled when Jesus ascended, he sent the Holy Spirit.
There is a gospel power to fulfill the mission—the Spirit.
"they were all together" — is a theme in Acts, 1:4, 2:44—just underline that.
They weren't expecting this, it just happen. That's how revival works. It just happens. You can't plan it. The best way for a church to avoid revival is to schedule one. Biblical revival can only be prayed for, not planned. It can only be sought after—not scheduled.
"Like a mighty rushing wind" -- The sound like a mighty rushing wind. This is how the Spirit works, Jesus in John 3, talking to Nicodemus, compares the working of the Spirit to the wind. "Goes where it wish." Both the Hebrew & Greek words for wind are used of the Spirit of God.
Picture Al Roker, or some other goofy weather man trying to stand in a massive wind. Imagine the howl, the freight train sound of a tornado. I don't think the sound of a tornado is a coincidence—I think God designed it this way. The sound of a Cat-5 wind preaches the power of the Holy Spirit.
Luke wants us to noticing something particular. There is a parallel happening in Acts 2 with Acts 1. "The day" Same words in Acts 1:2 of his ascension. "Sound form heaven" - where did Jesus just ascend to? Heaven. Jesus went to Heaven. And the Spirit came from Heaven. The Risen Lord Jesus of Acts 1 is behind Acts 2. Jesus is building his church. The Kingdom of God is full steam ahead.
And now a visual event happened.
Something that looked like tongues of fire. "As of fire" wasn't fire, but looked like fire. Appeared over everyone's head.
This is some kind of prayer meeting. Audio and visual pyrotechnics! Imagine hearing it, you look up, "Hey, did you hear that!" And then there is this fire like above your friends head.
Fire in the OT, a sign of purity, God's holiness, God's presence. We should remember the Burning bush. And Isa. 6, when Isaiah charged on his mission for God, a fiery coal is put in his mouth. And he is commissioned to be God's witness.
And here the full number of the disciples are receiving a tongue , a mouth, like fire, carrying the message of God in the power of God.
v. 4 here's the power
"They were all FILLED with the Holy Spirit." Filled! They aren't becoming believers here, they've already been born again. And this isn't the Spirit of God arriving on the scene. He's been active in the created world since Genesis 1.
Being filled with the Spirit and the indwelling of the Spirit are different. Many times through Acts we will see Peter or Paul or the church being filled with the Spirit. Filling is repeatable. The Spirit flexes, he goes Hulk and our naturalness rips to shreds.
Filling is the spiritual empowering for effective ministry. See in Acts, Filled--this happen.
Filling is a Theme in Acts.
The sound "filled" the house, all 120 were filled.
v. 13 'filled with wine'
4:8 "Peter, filled with the Spirit"
4:31 Church was "filled"
5:3 "Satan filled your heart"
5:17 "filled with jealousy"
We need filling.
Any fruit in our life, in a church—it's the work of the Spirit of the Risen Lord. We should pray for the filling of the Spirit. The Spirit is invisible, but he is gargantuous. The Spirit of God doesn't just work in a corner of your life or the church---he wants to FILL it! He doesn't work in droplets. He works in gushes.
And the Spirit does things for a particular purpose. His power is for the purpose of exalting Jesus. That's the point of speaking in Tongues.
There is a multi-ethic, multi-lingual crowd in Jerusalem for the Pentecost festival. Luke shows us in verses 9-11 that Jews who live far off and even some Gentiles, non-Jews, who converted to Judaism are in Jerusalem. Came from North, South, East, and West. And they hearing Galileans speak their language.
This whole thing caused quite a ruckus. Probably thought a disaster happened. And now they are hearing, Galieleans speak their language.
Galileans were not very cultured. Their accent sounded hick-like. They were looked down upon. Parts of England, some refined british accents and then some that viewed as "backwoods". Galilee = rednecks. And there they are speaking perfect latin, Arabic.
Now, tongues—here in Acts—isn't some gibberish. The act of speaking in tongues, is other actual, understandable human languages.
Luke shows that 4 times: 2:4, 6, 8, 11.
Notice---they aren't flopping on the ground, people aren't being knocked back. They are speaking in other languages the might acts of God (v.11) as the Spirit gave them (v.4). This is a miracle!
The crowd doesn't know what to make of this.
amazed & astonished, 7
amazed & perplexed, 12
The crowd asked, "What does this mean?" What is going on here? What's the point of this? I'm sure you've wondered the same thing about the biblical occurrence of speaking in tongues.
Tongue Speaking is a Platform to the Preaching of the Gospel.
The gift of tongues, like all spiritual gifts, is for the exalting of Jesus Christ. TO MAKE MUCH OF JESUS CHIRST. All miracles, healings, prophecies—everything we’ll see in Acts is for the fame of Jesus. In our day, for the fame of some TV preacher.
And the major problem with most charismatic theology is that it’s aim some personal, or deeper expierence with God—Acts doesn’t show that—it’s for the proclamation of the gospel!
And what Peter tells the crowd, and remind us is that the GOSPEL IS FOR ALL.
The Gospel is for All
Even for a Terrorist. The Apostle Paul was a terrorist. Boston bomber—get saved.
Peter tells them, he answers their question, like he tells us in 1 Peter, to answer those who ask about your hope. . .
This is that. What your seeing "this" is that from the Prophet Joel. He quotes from the prophet Joel.
I love that he rebukes them. "They aren't drunk. C'mon guys. It's 9am." The guy in verse 13, was making fun of them—like it is some party trick. Discredit it.
As an aside here. . .
What is your response to an out of the ordinary display of Christianity? Mock them—"Super-Spiritual". Drunk. Weirdo. Legalist. Jealousy? DO YOU HAVE A GRID-FOR THE SUPERNATURAL?
Peter quotes from Joel, God says . . .
I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Meaning, the Spirit is coming—the era of the New Covenant is here.
Sons and Daughters // For generations.
Young men & old men // No age barriers. 17 year old will minister in power. 70 year olds too.
Male & Female Servants // No gender barriers for Holy Spirit power.
THIS — what you just saw — is that which Joel spoke of.
Speaking in Tongues, is the first shot at the Satanic powers, Acts 1:8 is going to happen.
The gospel can and will go to all languages. It won't be hindered. The Spirit of God isn't blocked in by linguistic hurdles. The Kingdom of God is a mosaic of cultures, resulting in the beautify tapestry of God's glorious creation.
End of Peter's sermon, 2:39 "your children (next generation) and for all who are far off" — Acts 1:8. The mission is happening.
Call upon the name of the Lord, you shall be saved. "The Lord" in verse 21, is the same Lord in Peter's mind of verse 36—Jesus Christ.
Peter brings it to Jesus.
Always Bring it to Jesus
Always bring it to Jesus. We can get so engaged in other theological debates and arguments, which have their place—but always get it to Jesus. And if Jesus is the Lord over all things, and we are Jesus-centered, Gospel-centered people, we don't have to change the Subject to talk about Jesus. Jesus is the Lord.
Tim Keller gave a powerful help when evangelizing. I've already used it three times. Someone says, "I don't Christianity, it says this about gay marriage" or "Organized religion etc." Bring it to Jesus, "Ok, so you don't like Organized Religion. . . but does that mean that Jesus didn't die for sins, come back to life and reign as the Cosmic King?"
We can't offer people and amputated gospel. People need to deal with Jesus before they deal with their views and opinions.
The gospel is for all, and we in the power of Spirit, we must bring the right GOSPEL DOCTRINE.
Peter preaches the gospel.
1) Incarnation (v.22) // The Son of God became a man2) Crucifixion (v.23) // Jesus died for our sins.3) Resurrection (v.24, 31-32) Jesus is alive.4) Exaltation (v.33) Jesus is King of Universe.
When Christians are witnessing (v. 32, 1:8), we might share the first two, usually just the second one. I've been so struck by the book of Acts—they are witnesses to the Resurrection (1:22). They can't stop talking about the resurrection of Jesus. We often share a man-centered gospel. If we talk more about people's sin than the glory of Jesus—we aren't giving a Jesus-centered gospel.
Jesus wasn't a patsy. He wasn't some loser, some nice guy who got railroaded by an angry mob. Jesus wasn't just a victim of cruel men. But he is the suffering servant of God from Isaiah 53. Jesus died for a purpose. This was God's doing.
This was God's plan. God was in control the whole time. The definite plan! This cross and resurrection thing didn't happen to work out. I got my wife an awesome cake for her birthday—by pure coincidence, "hey! that worked out!" We have those moments. God doesn't.
The God of the gospel is a sovereign God. The Kingdom isn't at risk, God's glory isn't at risk. Our God is in complete control. Additionally, this has been God's plan. God has planned to love sinners, in this way, with a cross and a resurrection before time.
Jesus died in the place of sinners, taking our sins upon himself—our crimes—he endured the wrath of God that we wouldn't have to. And he rose again to give us new life. He paid of for our old life and he gives us a new one. (1 Peter 2:24)
vv. 31-36 - Exaltation
Peter, quoting Psalm 110, shows how King David, wrote about the Resurrection of Jesus in the Psalms. Peter now sees that the entire Bible is about Jesus. Because in Luke 24:44-47, which is happening in Acts 1, Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
Key here, Jesus is Exalted.
Jesus did walk around as a humble galilean peasant—but now he is to bee seen as the Exalted King of the Universe, sitting at the right hand of the Father.
"The Lord said to my Lord."
God the Father, said to God the Son. LORD. He shares God's title. We shouldn't blush at this, we shouldn't hold back at this. This is Jesus. We need a big Jesus.
He is Lord and Christ. He is King and Messiah. He is God and Savior. The Kingdom is Full Steam Ahead. Don't doubt it. Don't doubt the power of the Spirit. He flies like a stealth bomber behind the words of the gospel.
"What shall we do?" The crowd goes from, “What does this mean. . . to what shall we do?” There is a "do" in the gospel — believe. And it looks like. "Repent and be immersed (baptized) in the name of Jesus Christ. . . "
Why? "For the forgiveness of your sins."
AND YOU WILL RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT! That's the good news! You can be forgiven! No greater news!
As we go on the mission, to be witnesses of the Risen Lord, call people to repent. If we don't call people to turn from their sins, to repent, we aren't giving the good news of the kingdom—but an expensive gospel, a knock-off. A fake rolex is still costly. A fake gospel will still call for a lot, but not the whole thing. We can't grab ahold of Jesus while clinging to our ways.
To be baptized in the ahem of Jesus means . . .
• To publicly proclaim Jesus is Lord, Messiah, Savior. Rome wouldn't like that.
• To admit that we are only clean in the name of Jesus.
• To believe that we are only forgiven in the name of Jesus.
This was public. It meant something. More than a Facebook religion status or liking a photo. WHOLE LIFE. Have you done that? Have you been cut? You sticking with it?
God's grace is so big. It's for you. How big is God's grace, Peter tells this crowd, "You killed Jesus. . . and you can be forgiven!"God can forgive you of anything.
3,000 Respond. Awesome!
Don't we long for that? Could we see God move in the Bible-belt in American again? In Korea, back in 1907 a prayer meeting of a few hundred, 5 years later, turned into 80,000 saved and thousands of Churches planted.
WHAT TO DO? PRAY FOR THE FILLING OF THE SPIRIT—all we can do.
- Trust the Risen Lord.
- Testify of the Risent Lord.
- We should do this everyday, ask God, "Father, fill me, empower me with the Spirit to do things for the fame of Jesus that I normally wouldn't do and could not do. Please, Lord!"
I want to close with some hip-hop lyrics.
Shain Linne - Exalted (Psalm 110)
Picture the risen Christ surrounded by His disciples conducting
A vital discussion to give them their final instructions
Said the Holy Spirit would fill them with power and might
To be His witnesses- a cloud took Him out of their sight
Resurrected and glorified, ascended before their eyes
He entered into the heavenly courts on high
The conquering King was welcomed back to heaven
Foretold by the prophets in Daniel chapter seven
The angels remained amazed, proclaimed their praise
As the Holy Flame ablaze approached the Ancient of Days
Imagine the ovation that the hosts of heaven gave to Him
Acclamation louder than a thousand packed stadiums
He purchased His people, took what they deserved for their evil
His work was completed; sin, death and the serpent defeated
Psalm 110:1 is massive deep, the Father’s glad to speak
To His majesty: “Your task complete, so have a seat!”
Praise to the Lord who was crucified
Atoned for our sins, in our place He died
Raised on high to the Father’s side
He’s coming back for His Bride
But now He’s exalted
As we speak, Jesus is seated in the heavenlies
While the Father is steadily defeating His enemies
Applying pressure, who can contend with the Lion
Whose mighty scepter and rule is extended from Zion?
Perfectly, at the end of the second verse I see
It looks just like the church to me, this rule is happening currently
Yo why do you think the church remains to this hour?
The Savior won’t allow her to be by Satan devoured
We freely offered ourselves on the day of His power
In Holy garments arrayed- we’re the spray of the shower
Of a heavenly dew that slowly covers the earth
From every nation to show what His suffering’s worth
Jesus will keep His treasure, through the roughest seas and weather
That He would bleed for our deeds, intercedes- guarantees indeed we’ll be together
We can’t conceive the measure of the heaps of pleasure
See, whatever we think, it’s even better- Jesus, He’s our priest forever