VFC Bible Study worksheet 12-Apr-2015

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Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – April 12, 2015
Theme: The Promised Holy Spirit?

Topic: Pentecost and the aftermath

Main Texts: Acts 2:1-13; 2:38-3:8

Key Verse: Acts 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.”

Last Sunday we commenced our studies on the theme The Promised Holy Spirit, with a study on The Promise. We saw that:

  1. Before Pentecost, although the Holy Spirit “visited” people, empowering them for specific tasks, He never stayed with them forever.
  2. The coming of the Holy Spirit the Lord promised was for Him (the Holy Spirit) to abide with the disciples forever, empowering them to carry out the task He had given them.
  3. The Lord promised that the Holy Spirit would :

       Remind us  of the teachings of Jesus Christ
Teach us all things we need to know to stay in His will
Empower us to preach the Gospel
Enable us live lives that are consistent with His will

This Sunday, we will look at Pentecost and the aftermath. Pentecost marked the beginning of a new dispensation whereby Christians would permanently be host to the Holy Spirit. We will look more closely at what exactly happened at that event we call Pentecost, and the events that immediately followed. As we do so, I would like to remind us of our commitments (last Sunday) to these studies:

We will not add to the Bible what it does not say, and we will not remove from it what it does say. We will not append our own views or even experiences to the Bible as if they are part of the Bible.

We will accept in totality what the Bible says, whether or not our personal experience reflects the Bible position. (“Let God be true, and every human being a liar” – Rom 3:4)

When the disciples gathered in a room for the Pentecost festival, they were simply obeying the instruction of Jesus Christ to “…not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised …” because “in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit”. (Acts 1:4-5). The word Pentecost is the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks when they commemorated the giving of the law on Mount Sinai (Leviticus 23:15-21). It just happened that the disciples chose this occasion to gather as they did. They did not know what to expect. Jesus had told them that the Holy Spirit would come, but the nature of that coming, or what would accompany it, was unknown.

As we have read, it turned out that the event was most unusual: fire-like tongues on the disciples, and everyone talking in a language they never learnt but which those around recognised. However, this dramatic event was not an end in itself – it was an announcement of the beginning of those things Jesus had said would be brought about by the Holy Spirit.

Many years after this landmark event, Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV). Note the three things the Holy Spirit gives: Power, love and self-discipline. All these were immediately manifested after the Pentecost experience. The Bible records that the experience of the baptism with the Holy Spirit was repeated over and over again among Christians. This means that God did not intend it to be a one-off event, but the first of such events with those that give their lives to Jesus Christ. More importantly, their experience, if genuine, should be followed by a demonstration of power, love and self-discipline.
Power to do what? We see how that power was manifested in and through the disciples: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:8 NIV).

Powerful miracles accompanied the preaching of the Gospel. What about love? Read Acts 2:42-47 again and see the evidences of love among the disciples following the Pentecost experience. Compare this with the wrangling among the same disciples prior to Pentecost:  Arguments about who would be the greatest in God’s kingdom (Luke 22:24), James and John going with their mother to lobby Jesus Christ for a special place in God’s kingdom (Matthew 20:20),
Judas stealing from the common purse, etc.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Review Acts 2:1-13. Why do many Christians feel awkward being part of such an experience today?
  2. Read Galatians 5:22-23. Identify the elements of “love and self-discipline” in the list given here as the fruit of the Spirit?

Prayer: Father, open the eyes of my understanding to appreciate the full dimensions of what you have in mind with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.