Acts 1-2 Empowered to Witness

                EMPOWERED TO WITNESS
        Acts1:1-2:47                June 1 2008

The Book of Acts is the second volume of Luke’s two -volume 
work The Gospel of Luke recounts "all that Jesus began to do
and teach" during His earthly ministry (Acts 1:1) . Before His
ascension, Jesus commanded His disciples to remain in
Jerusalem until God fulfilled His promise to send the Holy
Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). Then Jesus commissioned the disciples to
be His witnesses (Acts 1:6-8). They saw Him ascend and
received the promise that He would return (Acts 1:9-11).
On the day of Pentecost, the promised Holy Spirit came on
the believers (Acts 2:1-3); and they "began to speak in
different languages" (Acts 2:4). A large crowd came to hear
them because each person heard the disciples speaking in
that individual’s language (Acts 2:5-11).

    1. We Need Power (Acts 1:4-8)

Acts 1:4   On one occasion, while he was eating with them,
he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but
wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard
me speak about. 1:5   For John baptized with water, but in
a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 1:6  
So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you
at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 1:7  
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or
dates the Father has set by his own authority. 1:8   But you
will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and
you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The gift my father promised. The Holy Spirit (John 14:26;
15:26-27; 16:12-13). John Baptized with water . (Lk 3:16).
In a few days . The day of Pentecost came ten days later,
when the baptism with the Holy Spirit occurred (Acts
2:1-4). Restore the kingdom to Israel? Like their fellow
countrymen, they were looking for the deliverance of the
people of Israel from foreign domination and for the
establishment of an earthly kingdom. The reference to
the coming of the Spirit had caused them to wonder if
the new age was about to dawn. The times or dates . The
elapsing time or the character of coming events (1Th 5:1).
A virtual outline of Acts: The apostles were to be
witnesses in Jerusalem (Acts 1-7), Judea and Samaria
(Acts 8-9) and the ends of the earth —including Caesarea,
Antioch, Asia Minor, Greece and Rome (Acts 10-28).
However, they were not to begin this staggering task
until they had been equipped with the power of the Spirit
(Acts 1:4-5). My witnesses . An important theme throughout
Acts (2:32; 3:15; 5:32; 10:39; 13:31; 22:15). Juda . The
 region in which Jerusalem was located. Samaria . The
adjoining region to the north.

    2. We Can Have Power (Acts 2:1-4)

Acts 2:1   When the day of Pentecost came, they were all
together in one place.  2:2   Suddenly a sound like the
blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled
the whole house where they were sitting. 2:3   They saw
what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and
came to rest on each of them. 2:4   All of them were
filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other
tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Day of Pentecost . The 50th day after the Sabbath of
Passover week (Lev 23:15-16), thus the first day of the
week. Pentecost is also called the Feast of Weeks
(Dt 16:10), the Feast of Harvest (Ex 23:16) and the day
of firstfruits (Nu 28:26). They were all all together. The
nearest antecedent of “they” is the 11 apostles (plus
Matthias), but the reference is probably to all those
mentioned in (Acts 1:13-15). In one place. Evidently not
the upstairs room where they were staying (Acts 1:13)
but perhaps some place in the temple precincts, for the
apostles were “continually at the temple” when it was
open (Luke 24:53; see note there). Violent wind. Breath
or wind is a symbol of the Spirit of God (Eze 37:9,14;
John 3:8). The coming of the Spirit is marked by audible
(wind) and visible (fire) signs. Whole house. May refer to
the temple (Acts 7:47). Tongues . A descriptive metaphor
appropriate to the context, in which several languages are
about to be spoken. Fire. A symbol of the divine presence
(Ex 3:2 ), it was also associated with judgment ( Matt 3:12).
All of them . Could refer either to the apostles or to the
120. Those holding that the 120 are meant point to the
fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (Acts 2:17-18) as involving
more than the 12 apostles. The nearest reference, however,
is to the apostles (Acts 2:1), and the narrative continues
with Peter and the 11 standing to address the crowd
(Acts 2:14). Filled with the Holy Spirit . A fulfillment of
(Acts1:5,8); Jesus’ promise in (Luke 24:49). Their spirits
were completely under the control of the Spirit; their
words were his words. In other tongues . The Spirit enabled
them to speak in languages they had not previously learned .
Two other examples of speaking in tongues are found in
(Acts 10:46; 19:6). One extended NT passage deals with
this spiritual gift (1Co 12-14). Not all agree, however,
that these other passages refer to speaking in known
languages. The gift had particular relevance here, where
people of different nationalities and languages were
gathered.

    3. We Can Use Power (Acts 2:5-6)

Acts 2:5   Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-
fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 2:6   When
they heard this sound, a crowd came together in
bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking
in his own language.

God-Fearing Jews. Devout Jews from different parts
of the world but assembled now in Jerusalem either
as visitors or as current residents (Luke 2:25).
Speaking in his own language . Jews from different
parts of the world would understand the Aramaic of
their homeland. Also the Greek language was common
to all parts of the world. But more than this was
occurring; they heard the apostles speak in languages
native to the different places represented.

    4. We Can See Power at Work (Acts 2:37-41)

Acts 2:37   When the people heard this, they were cut
to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles,
“Brothers, what shall we do?” 2:38   Peter replied,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name
of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And
you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  2:39   The
promise is for you and your children and for all who are
far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call.”  2:40  
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded
with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt
generation.” 2:41   Those who accepted his message
were baptized, and about three thousand were added to
their number that day.

Cut to the heart . Reflects both belief in Jesus and
regret over former rejection. Repent and be baptized .
Repentance was important in the message of the
forerunner, John the Baptist (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3), in
the preaching of Jesus (Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3) and in
the directions Jesus left just before his ascension
(Luke 24:47). So also baptism was important to John
the Baptizer (Mark 1:4), in the instructions of Jesus
(Matt 28:18-19) and in the preaching recorded in Acts
—where it was associated with belief (Acts 8:12; 18:8),
acceptance of the word (Acts 2:41) and repentance (here).
In the name of Jesus Christ . Not a contradiction to the
fuller formula given in (Matt 28:19). In Acts the
abbreviated form emphasizes the distinctive quality of
this baptism, for Jesus is now included in a way that he
was not in John’s baptism (Acts19:4-5). For the
forgiveness of your sins . Not that baptism effects
forgiveness. Rather, forgiveness comes through that
which is symbolized by baptism (Rome 6:3-4 ). Holy
Spirit . Two gifts are now given: the forgiveness of
sins (Acts 22:16) and the Holy Spirit. The promise of
the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit is given to all
Christians (Rome 8:9-11; 1Co 12:13).  Their number .
The number of believers.

    Summary:

        This lessen will help Christians such as you who
are fearful apprehensive about witnessing and who do
not realize the Spirit’s power is available to them. The
lessen also will encourage other who need confidence for
witnessing. In addition , it will help other who are
interested in being more effective witnesses.