Background Scripture: Acts 2:1-42
Lesson Context: The Holy Spirit. On Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Spirit filled the church with power and added 3,000 new believers. The account in Acts 2 reports that, after Jesus ascended into heaven, Jesus’ followers were gathered together for the Feast of Harvest (aka Pentecost), and the Holy Spirit “filled the whole house where they were sitting. “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” This strange occurrence drew a large crowd, and Peter stood up to speak to them about repentance and the gospel of Christ. By the end of the day that the Holy Spirit came, the Church grew by 3,000 people.
The Spirit Comes (Acts 2:1-8).
Day and Place (v.1). The day of Pentecost marked the final day of the Passover-to-Pentecost. Most who were visiting Jerusalem to attend these observances would begin returning home the next day.
1b. “They were all with one accord in one place.”They were gathered together sharing the same heart, the same love for God, the same trust in His promise, and the same geography. Before we can be filled, we must recognize our emptiness; by gathering together for prayer, on obedience, these disciples did just that. They recognized they did not have the resource in themselves to do what they could do or should do; they had to instead rely on the work of God.
Sound and Sight (vv. 2-4).
2. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” The association of the sound of a rushing mighty wind, filling the whole house, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is unusual. Here, the sound from heaven was the sound of the Holy Spirit being poured out on the disciples.
3. “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as fire, and it sat upon each of them.” These divided tongues, as of fire, appearing over each one, were also unusual. It probably should be connected with John the Baptist’s prophecy that Jesus would baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11). The idea behind the picture of fire is purification, as a refiner uses fire to make pure gold; or fire can burn away what is temporary, leaving only what will last.
4. “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” We, just as they, can be filled with the Holy Spirit. But, we should do what the disciples did before and during their filling with the Holy Spirit.
The disciples were filled in fulfillment of a promise.
They were filled as they received in faith.
They were filled in God’s timing.
They were filled as they were together in unity.
They were filled in unusual ways.
The Apostle Preaches (Acts 2:14-24):
Confrontation (vv. 14-15). “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken my words: for these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is the third hour of the day.” Peter quickly discredited the charge of insobriety. The third hour, which is about 9:00 a.m., is a most unlikely time for drunkenness.
Proclamation (vv. 16-21).
16. “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” In the midst of this great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, among signs and wonders and speaking in tongues, what do Peter do? Essentially, he said, “Let’s have a Bible study. Look at what the prophet Joel wrote.”
17a. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. Two things stand out regarding Peter’s quote of Joel 2:28-32. First is the announcement of the arrival of the last days, the final period of human history, as evidenced by the outpouring of God’s Spirit.
References: International Sunday School Commentary 2022-2023, Enduring Word Bible Commentary