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84. Acts 2: “The Perfect Gift”

Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening

Service on 12/21/2017

(edited August 2021)

 

Before Jesus came to Earth, Jehovah God was the perfect gift for the Ancient World in order to establish the nation of Israel and prepare the world for a Messiah.

 

When Christ came, everything about His arrival was perfect. It was the optimum moment in history for a Savior to offer Himself for the sins of all believers of all time and to establish a New and Better Covenant between God and mankind. The Apostle Paul, whom we will be mentioning again later, said this to the church at Galatia in Galatians 4:4-6.

 

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

After Jesus ascended back into Heaven, another perfect gift arrived on the Earth for the benefit of our generation.

 

Just before leaving the Earth, Christ told His Disciples to be on the lookout for something wonderful. Our study tonight in Acts chapter 2 tells the story of the delivery of that Gift. Let’s open with a little preview from Acts 1:1-5.

“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”

Jesus was excited about what was coming. He was so enthusiastic at it! As Jehovah had dwelt in the Tabernacle with Ancient Israel and Jesus had gathered, led, and cared for His disciples, so now the Holy Spirit was coming to dwell within the heart and life of every man, woman, and child who would fully trust in Jesus from this point on until the end of this present world.

The Holy Spirit was a gift that was intended to transform the Church and the World! Everything about life, about worship, was about to change. For a quick example of that, let’s look at this passage from Acts 1:23-26.

“And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”

The Disciples chose Matthias to replace Judas who had betrayed Christ and committed suicide. They were drawing lots which was a very Old Testament method of determining God’s will. They were doing the best they could, and Matthias won! But after that, the Spirit descended upon the Church, as we are about to see, and everything changed. Through the Spirit, Saul of Tarsus was chosen by the Lord, empowered and enlightened by the Holy Spirit and it was he who went on to replace Judas. That’s my opinion, anyway. At least we know that Matthias is not mentioned again in the Scriptures, whereas Paul would eventually author 14 of the 27 New Testament’s books we have in our Bibles today! Let’s get into our study in Acts chapter 2:

 

Verses 1-3:And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.”

 

“Cloven” means split, or divided. There was a piece of this gift that went directly to each individual present. That’s truly a gift for everyone. Even so today each person who believes in Christ as their Savior receives an individual and unique unction of the Holy Spirit. That is why your worship and my worship can be unique and still be united in Christ! AND, speaking of unique:

 

Verses 4-12: “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?”

 

Let’s think about this, for a minute. The Old Covenant had been accessible, basically, to one nation, Ancient Israel. And even when Christ was present in Israel, He could only touch, heal, or teach an individual, small group, or a crowd at a time. But the gift of the Holy Spirit, right from the Day of Pentecost was distributed to ALL PEOPLE of all nations and backgrounds. This gift of God was, and is, for any of us who will receive it!

The Gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church has been mocked from the moment it appeared:

 

Verse 13: “Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.”

 

Peter’s BOLDNESS is a case study in the power of the Spirit at work in the heart of a man. Look:

 

Verses 14-36: 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 to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;  He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.  Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

 

In this first Spirit-Indwelt sermon, Peter does not glorify himself or even glorify the Holy Spirit! This all hearkens back to something Jesus had predicted back in John 16:13-14.

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

 

Remember we quoted Paul earlier telling the Galatians that Christ came to bring us back to the Father? Now Jesus is telling us that the Gift of the Holy Spirit is always points us back to the Savior. That’s how these Perfect Gifts work:

 

Verses 37-41: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

 

We’ll attempt to close with one more dimension of this Gift of the Spirit. Even though each individual believer is uniquely filled and fulfilled by the Spirit, the Holy Spirit also binds all the believers together. This is the PERFECT GIFT for the CHURCH and One that just keeps on giving and giving as we follow Christ!

 

Verses 42-47: And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

 

Halleluiah! And yet, I would be remiss if I didn’t add that there is a warning that comes with this Gift. Jesus stated it clearly in Matthew 12:31-32.

“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”

Most of the holiday gifts we give and receive this year, despite all the hoopla - let’s face it - they are things we really don’t need. But receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ should be an essential part of every person’s life. And it is the only way a soul can live eternally.

 

Thank you for listening tonight, and Merry Christmas to all. Mrs. Ashton is coming around shortly with a little gift for each of you. Let’s pray.

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