Be sure to view the video introducing our study of Acts 2 (Lesson 2) by clicking here.
Read and meditate on Acts 2.1-4
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon and into the assembled believers carries several layers of significance with it, the most important of which Peter will explain in just a bit. This is the promised “circumcision of the heart” foretold in Deuteronomy 30.1-10 and Ezekiel 36.26, 27. The coming of the Spirit upon and within the believers marks the beginning of the ongoing work of Jesus, Who is transforming His followers into His own image (2 Cor. 3:12-18) and, through them, building His Church, advancing His Kingdom, and restoring the world to its pristine state before the Lord (2 Cor. 5.17-21; Rev. 21.5).
1. We notice that the “fire” of the Spirit divided itself, yet remained the same “fire.” Each believer receives the same Spirit of God with the same fullness, albeit with different expressions of that fullness, depending on our station and calling in life (1 Cor. 12.7-11). In the Old Testament, how did God use fire to signal His presence with His people? What should this fire of the Spirit symbolize for us?
2. The speaking with other tongues has both a practical and symbolic significance. Practically, this spiritual gift would have facilitated the effort that was about to ensue among the many visitors in Jerusalem. What does the giving of this particular gift, here at the beginning of the Church, suggest about the work of evangelism for local churches?
3. Symbolically, here we see God “reversing” the judgment at the tower of Babel, where He created many languages to separate the nations. With the outpouring of the Spirit He is creating one “spiritual language” – life in the Spirit and Kingdom of God – to unite people of many languages in the Tower which is our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. Meditate on Psalm 48. How can you see this idea suggested in this psalm?
4. This passage also recalls the event in Joshua 5 where the new generation about to inherit the land of promise was circumcised first, so that they would be a people fit to receive the covenant blessings of God. Here the “new generation” of the new people of God is circumcised in their hearts before they undertake the “conquest” of the earth (Acts 1.8). Meditate on Deuteronomy 30.1-10 and Ezekiel 36.26, 27. What does this circumcising of the heart entail, with respect to the Spirit of God?
5. How do you experience this “circumcision of the heart” in your relationship with the Lord? How does this affect your work of bearing witness for Jesus Christ?
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the promise of the Father, marks the beginning of an entirely new phase of human history. A new Kingdom has come, with a new power to advance it, and a new people through whom to come on earth as it is in heaven. If you are a part of this new Kingdom, how should this affect the way you live each day?
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. For more insight to His work in our here and now, order the book, The Kingship of Jesus, from our online store by clicking here.
Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Or, you can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal.