Tod Kennedy,  May 23, 1999

Applications or “So what?” from Acts 2

  1. We know that the Word of God is true; Jesus’ fulfilled prophecy validates the truthfulness of the Word of God.
  2. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives gives us supernatural ability to serve God. We do not have all the spiritual gifts that the apostles had, but we have the very same power for living and serving that  they had.
  3. God is now working through us—church age believers. Israel, because she rejected the Messiah and his kindom, has been temporarily set aside while God works through us. What an amazing opportunity and privilege.
  4. People can repent of sin after they have eternal life. Repentance is a turning from sin; believers and unbelievers can repent. We will repent many times during our lifetime.

Summary Outline

  1. On the day of Pentecost, Sunday, May 24, AD 33, fifty days after Christ arose, God the Holy Spirit came to earth to baptize and fill the waiting believers who were in Jerusalem. This fulfilled Jesus’ prophecies (Acts 2.1-4).
  2. The Holy Spirit gave the disciples (monolingual Galileans) the supernatural ability to witness about Christ to the Jews who had gathered in Jerusalem from many nations; and they witnessed in the native languages of the visitors. This was called speaking in tongues, the spiritual gift of tongues—the speaker spoke in a recognized language that he had never learned (Acts 2. 5-12). The purpose was the same as in the original incident found in Isaiah 28.11. In Isaiah 28 God said that Israel would be subjugated by a foreign power because of her unbelief and apostasy, and that the sign of this subjugation would be that the foreigners would use their own language—Assyrian and probably Babylonian—when they commanded the Jews. In Acts 2, the disciples spoke to these visiting Jews in Gentile languages. This called the listener’s attention to the importance of the message from God.
  3. God used tongues to deliver three messages: First, Israel would be disciplined for its rejection of Christ, the Messiah; second, that  Christ was the Savior of both Jews and Gentiles; and third, that God forming a new spiritual body composed of believing Jews and Gentiles. This was the body of Christ, the church. Israel was set aside for a time due to unbelief, while the church temporarily became the center of God’s plan (Acts 2.5-13).
  4. Peter reminds them that Joel had predicted that this kind of event would happen, so that they should not blame it on drunkenness; God produced it. God spoke through Joel and said that this would occur before their kingdom age. The reference is to the ministry of the Holy Spirit—a kind of ministry that people will recognize. The Jewish people thought that they were now in the last days; the Messiah had come; now they await the next phase—the long awaited kingdom age. Due to their unbelief the kingdom would not come at that time and the signs associated with that kingdom (Joel) would not occur. The point is that God intervenes in history and does so to present grace before judgment; God is offering grace to these Jews (Acts 2.14-21).
  5. Jesus Christ came to earth, died for sins, arose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father—all according to the plan of the Father. David spoke of this, the Holy Spirit has witnessed to this through tongues, and the Jews that were present had participated in the great rejection of their Messiah; they were guilty (Acts 2.22-36).
  6. The Jews listening to Peter believed the gospel—so they were saved then and there (Acts 2.37-41).  They sensed their enormous wrong, which was a national sin; now what should they do? Peter told them all to repent (aorist active imperative, second plural of metanoew)—to make the decision to turn from their part in crucifying Christ—and God would give them the Holy Spirit, “you shall receive the Holy Spirit” (future middle indicative, second plural of lambanw, to take, to receive). Receiving the Holy Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit baptizing them and indwelling them. The indwelling and baptism of the Holy Spirit was the God given sign that they were part of the church—as he had done for the 120 disciples. Then each one should receive water baptism (aorist passive imperative, third singular of baptizw). “Repent” actually goes with “for the forgiveness of your sins (“your” is second person plural of ‘umwn)—on the basis of forgiveness already gained. They were to make the decision to turn from their part in crucifying Christ. The word translated  “for” is ei~; this preposition  is used for aim, purpose, goal, with reference to, and on the basis of. Matthew 10.41, 12.4, and Romans 4.20 illustrate this last usage. The Jews were saved when they believed Peter’s message. This ritual water baptism differentiated each of them from the Pharisees and from the unbelieving nation and therefore from the coming Jewish judgment of AD 70.). To say that repentance or baptism was necessary for eternal life salvation contradicts Peter’s own words in Acts 10.43-48 and Paul’s words in Acts 16.31.
  7. The young church grew and experienced spiritual prosperity (Acts 2.42-47). The new believers devoted themselves to doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. They retained the wonder and the thrill of participating in God’s new work. They very generously made sure that everyone in the young church had temporal supplies. They praised God; people saw the gospel in action.

Bible Doctrines

  1. The doctrine of tongues.
  2. The doctrine of salvation.
  3. The doctrine of repentance.
  4. The doctrine of national repentance.
  5. The doctrine of baptism.
  6. The doctrine of  the last days.
  7. The doctrine of  distinctives of Christ’s death.
  8. The doctrine of the plan of God.
  9. The doctrine of the daily plan of God.
  10. The doctrine of church growth.
  11. The doctrine of witnessing.