Responses To Pentecost - Acts 2:5-13 NIV
Continue the new Acts study - Sequel & Requel. Our 4th today. Why study this? Not just that they’re the next verses. The Holy Spirit still moves today. People still respond today. Same responses! Learn them!
#1 - When God’s Spirit moves - people ask, ___________?
So we pick up where we left off last week. SOUND of mighty rushing wind gets everyone’s attention and they come out of their houses…
“Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.” Acts 2:5-6 NIV
Luke goes on to name all the groups of people in three verses 9-11. Geographically starts in East and moves clockwise to south, west and north. This brings up two important points -
1st - When God gives a mission, God also gives provision! They were tasked with telling the gospel story and winning disciples starting in Jerusalem and going to the rest of the world. The Holy Spirit provided the means of language right from the beginning with so many foreigners gathers so closely.
2nd - Questions are a good thing. Don’t be afraid of questions. Also don’t feel like you have to know all the answers. People begin their own journey to Christ by asking questions. Without questions faith can’t start. In fact that is how Jesus Himself began His journey. Remember?
“Then, after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.” Luke 2:46 NIV
Perhaps the most famous verse Jesus gave us for this is one we rarely think about. We use it for prayer, for faith for believing. But what about…
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 NIV
… for questions? Is it possible that God wants to give us answers, but He first wants us to struggle a little with the question first? Even if you are solid on your faith and belief, give others room / space for their questions and struggles. Allow them their own journey of faith!
#2 - When God’s Spirit moves- people ask, ______________?
“Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?’” Acts 2:7-8 NIV
It’s a small step from “What happened?” to “How did it happen?” but an important step. It recognizes that the answer to this question is not going to be an easy one to explain. Something more is going on here. This is outside of the norm. Which is always true with the Holy Spirit because the rules are different. Better said, He is the Creator Rule-Maker. The rules are there to bring glory to God. He can choose how best to bring God glory. (Yes, both God the Son and God the Spirit give glory to God the Father! Yes, they are all One, yet 3 persons. Welcome to Trinity 101!)
This progression of questions happen all the time. Even to Jesus. Recall
“‘How can this be?’ Nicodemus asked.” John 3:9 NIV
How can I be born again? From my mother’s womb? Easy for us today on this side of the story to know that Jesus was talking about a 2nd spiritual birth. But that’s only because you know the answer. Nicodemus didn’t. Jesus didn’t give up on him or dismiss him. Jesus engaged him. Even a little friendly joshing. (You are a teacher to Israel and you don’t understand?) Jesus then shared the first full explanation of the gospel we have in John 3 - the most famous verse ever 3:16! All from question “How?” Don’t fear the question. Embrace it! God does not fear it. When people doubt His creation it makes Him no less the Creator!
#3 - When God’s Spirit moves people ask, _____________?
Here we come up with the next progression in question, from “What?” to
“How?” to “Meaning?” Another way of saying this is “Why?”
“Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’” Acts 2:12 NIV
This is also what Nicodemus was struggling with and why he came at night to Jesus. The response to this “Meaning” of it all… or “Why?” question completely opens the door wide to being able to share the gospel story. This is the door through which Jesus walked with Nicodemus - and as we’ll see next week - it is also the question that triggers Peter’s famous first sermon.
And here is the all-too-often-tragedy for modern day Christians. It is the question we fear the most! Don’t ask me “Why?” I don’t know! You think I know? I got problems of my own! God grants us the privilege to give the basics to the “What does it all mean?” question - which we call the gospel - and we blow it. Here’s what we always need to remember:
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 ESV
So then what should our answer be when someone comes up against inexplicable challenges that lead them to Why me? Starts with honesty - “I don’t know either about this particular situation.” Then the TRANSITION which recognizes that we wrestle against darkness… “But I do know Who does know the answer. And I’d be happy to go to Him on your behalf. In my life whenever I’ve encountered unexplained difficulties even tragedies, I’ve discovered that He never leaves me or forsakes me.
It’s important to note that not everyone gets to this 3rd question. They start off with “What?” move to “How?” but stop themselves before going to the “Why?” This is especially true in our society today. Many cynics - but this has always been the case…
#4 - When God’s Spirit moves - some people say, ____________!
“Some, however, made fun of them and said,’They have had too much wine.’” Acts 2:13
Does too much wine explain anything? Does wine drinking aid immediate miracle of speaking a foreign language without study? If so then many a language student over the years would have implemented this approach!
When people are skeptical about our Christian faith we have to determine what they really mean? What am I talking about? People have this way of not always saying what they’re thinking. They may be saying one thing but meaning another. Let’s look at both responses -
True cynic - nonbeliever. This is someone who isn’t really interested in any answer that leads to an understanding that goes beyond this natural creation. Excludes the possibility of a Creator.
“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Pr 18:2 ESV
It’s pretty easy to tell if this is the case, because their responses don’t demonstrate a desire to know - only a defense. Argumentative.
True Seeker - Engages in discussion not just argument. Respects you.
“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Psalms 119:18 ESV
This should be your prayer for both you and them. God open their eyes. Remember that faith itself is a gift from God. Never dismiss someone who is seeking honestly but doesn’t YET agree with your faith. This may just be the very person God is looking for in His plans! (Think Saul!) One of greatest Christian thinkers of our day - Lee Strobel started this way!