2000-05-06 - Understanding Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual Gifts, Part 1
The Holy Spirit comes upon the Jews on the Day of Pentecost.
The day of Pentecost was indeed the birthday of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Prior to that time any reference to the church was in the future tense. It was not as yet in existence (Matthew 16:18). After Pentecost, the church is spoken of as being in existence. On this day, Peter, being filled with the Holy Spirit, delivered the first Gospel sermon in the name of the risen Christ. Three thousand people responded and were brought together into an organic, spiritual union called the Church. The beginning of the early church was purely Jewish. The Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles who were all Jews.
Three thousand persons, also Jews, were converted on that day of Pentecost as a result of Peters first sermon.
The Day of Pentecost"And when the day of Pentecost was now come..." Pentecost is a Greek word meaning five. In the Old Testament Pentecost was called the "feast of weeks," of the "feast of harvest," of the "day of the first fruits" (Numbers 28:26). The Jewish Passover feast was held in the first month on the fourteenth day of the month. Then, each year, counting ahead seven full weeks from Passover to the fiftieth day, was the observance of the Day of Pentecost.
The Twelve ApostlesWho were "they" that were all in one place (Acts 2:1) "them" (verse 3) and "all" (verse 4)? Some looking at Acts 1:15, state that "they" refers to the multitude of one hundred and twenty who met in the upper room. From this verse they conclude that the Holy Spirit came upon the whole congregation of one hundred and twenty. Presuming this is the experience of all the believers gathered there, they say it should be an experience sought by all the believers today. This assumption has misled many into asking the Lord for something He never promised.
The facts are that the antecedent of "they" is not the one hundred and twenty in the upper room. The noun that immediately proceeds the pronoun "they" and agrees in numbers and gender, is apostles (Acts 1:26). This fact is endorsed by Acts 2:14, which reads "But Peter, standing up with the eleven..." not " the one hundred and twenty" in the upper room. Again Luke wrote, "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart said unto Peter and the rest of the Apostles..." Acts 2:37. The apostles were already believers (John 15:3). The Holy Spirit came upon them to baptize-to place them into the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:13); to indwell and fill the apostles with the Holy Spirit, as well as those Jews who believed when the first Gospel message was delivered by Peter, on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41).
The Miracle"And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Acts 2:2-4
The Holy Spirit, sent by the Father and the Son (John 14:26) sovereignly came upon those twelve, saved men. The miraculous manner in which He came was "suddenly" and with the "sound as the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting," then there appeared "tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them." And all the Apostles were" filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Truly a great miracle.
The Jews from 16 NationsNow there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound was heard, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speaking in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled saying, Behold, are not all theses that speak Galilaeans? And how hear we, every man in our own language wherein we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and the dwellers of the Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, in Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and parts of Libya about Cyrene, and sojourners from Rome, both Jew and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them speaking in our tongues the mighty works of God. And they were all amazed, and were perplexed, saying one to another, What meaneth this? But others mocking said, They were filled with new wine" Acts 2:5-13. At the time Palestine was a bilingual country. The people spoke Aramaic and Greek. being Galilaeans, the apostles undoubtedly spoke these two languages. In the above verses we are told that the Holy Spirit spoke through the apostles in a miraculous way and in the language of the Jews representing the sixteen nations mentioned. Man had nothing to do with the coming of the Holy Spirit and His filling the Apostles. He came sovereignly and supernaturally upon those twelve men to empower them for service. It is of great significance to note that those Jews, representing sixteen different languages, heard the apostles speaking the mighty works of God in their own language. They did not speak in any "heavenly language," but in the languages of the people in their audience.Please read Acts 2:14-21
Peter, on this occasion was appointed by the Lord to be the chief spokesman for the apostles. It was on this day that he was used of God to fulfill the prophecy given in Matthew 16:18-19". And I also say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hades will not prevail against it. I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven...". Peter, in preaching the gospel on the Day of Pentecost, used the key to open the spiritual kingdom - the church universal - The Body of Christ.
Having been accused of being filled with new wine, Peter defended the other eleven apostles and himself. He reminded them that it was only 9:00A.M. Then, concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit and their speaking in tongues (foreign languages), he said; [This manifestation of the Holy Spirit] is that which hath been spoken through the prophet Joel (Acts 2:16). What Peter said was occurring (Acts 2:1-13) was only a partial, incomplete fulfillment of Joel's prophecy.
A subsequent, yet incomplete fulfillment took place in the home of Cornelius, where the Holy Spirit came upon the Gentiles. In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit is seen coming upon the Jews. In ascertaining the complete fulfillment of a prophecy, there may be partial fulfillment's to take into account. To better understand this passage, let's consider a statement such as 'All people who live in Los Angeles, live in California'. That statement is true, but if we turn it around and state 'All people who live in California live in Los Angeles'. The proposition cannot be reversed this way. Neither can Peters proposition be reversed. What Peter said was happening on that Day of Pentecost was only a partially completed fulfillment of Joels prophecy. The ultimate fulfillment of "I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all flesh"will be realized after Christ's return to the earth, and the end of the tribulation. The remnant of the Jewish nation will have repented of it's national sin and Israel will become the channel of world blessing the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed (Genesis 12:3).
In His Service,