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Holy Passion God Offers
John Barnett here and welcome to the book of Acts. Over the last few weeks we’ve finished the four Gospels in our survey and summary of all four. My notebook and Bible have been really busy this week. There is so much to be found in the book of Acts that is foundational to everything we understand of the Church and the application of doctrines through the apostles. I’m really looking forward to this week with you and I’m sitting here and you’re sitting right there on the other side of the table. What you can’t see is I have my coffee over here, I’ve finished it, but it’s like we’re sitting at Starbucks somewhere. I asked you to bring your Bible and to bring your notebook. I want to help you get ready to spend the entire week understanding and unleashing the truths of the book of Acts in its entirety, especially focusing on chapter 2 of this book. I’m praying that the Lord will help me communicate all these truths that are just filling my heart this morning.
I always record these, my wonderful wife Bonnie’s over here and we’re using the studio for our small group to record this and capture this teaching. This morning I was preparing, and I always read through our text each morning and I work in my notebook, but as I was working through it this morning, I looked down at my Bible and I said wow. One holy passion and look at the slide. That’s what I’m capturing for you. We’re on week 33. For more than eight months we’ve been together. I know that some of you are just joining. I got a note from one of you that said I’m just picking up today, I just found this on YouTube. Well welcome, but some of you have been with us the whole eight months. We started at the beginning of the year, and this is our 33rd week. For anyone just starting I would encourage you to do today’s lesson, go forward with us, and then circle back when we finish and start with lesson one. Learn that way instead of trying to catch up because you don’t want to hurry.
We’re looking at Acts 2 and look at this, the holy passion Christ brings to our lives. This is one of the last groups that we took to Israel in 2019 and we’re all standing on the Southern Steps. This is probably the spot where the Day of Pentecost event took place, where the 3000 heard the Gospel and repented and came to Christ. I thought that was a great cover picture.
What you’ve joined if this is your first time, is a survey of the whole Bible. We’re going from Genesis to Revelation. We’re using 52, that’s one a week, chapters or passages. Some of them are multi-chapter passages, but they’re a unit. We’re looking at these 52 passages and we’re using the devotional method where we begin by writing our title. I encourage you to get your notebook and you can read down in the description of this video how to do the notebook. You can also find the instructions on our website discoverthebook.org or Facebook. You can find on The 52 Greatest Chapters page of Facebook this description of all the chapters we’re covering and the devotional method.
I taped those into my notebook and here is Acts 2 on these two pages and this next page. This is everything that I found and I’m sharing it with you. We write down in our notebooks from all of our Bible reading and all of the study notes that we read. We also look at the footnotes in the MacArthur Study Bible and note the doctrines that we look up in Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Most of all, in our repetitive reading of the word of God we look for these lessons, truths, and doctrines and we summarize them in our own words. This notebook is going to become a treasure. I have a whole stack of them. I have a whole stack of treasures of all my notebooks. I do a new one every year and I write down everything I’m finding in the word of God. I write this application prayer, and it’ll become a real treasure.
I’m using my old notebooks looking back on them as I’m preparing for our virtual study tour of the Holy Land. Every time I’ve ever gone to the land of Israel, I’ve always journaled my preparation, my studies, and also the time there. I’m so thankful I can go back to those journals so I’m a big advocate of journaling. Here’s the key, the application prayer. That’s the goal, to not merely be hearers of the word, but doers and continually asking God to change my life.
You can see where we are right here in week 33. We’re looking at the birth of the Church at Pentecost. Then next week we’re going to jump into the greatest doctrinal treatise in the scriptures, the book of Romans, and look at the decline and fall of the human race. I want to take you over to my Bible and just survey the book of Acts with you. Many of you have asked what kind of Bible do you have? I have a plain old New King James with the reference notes at the bottom, they’re not the center column, it’s just what I prefer. This is all scripture. No footnotes, no other things other than these tiny amounts of references, it’s just scripture. Then I can write things that I find and mark up my Bible.
Here’s the book of Acts. We’re studying chapter 2, so right there is Acts 2. This is a quick look at everything that I have learned as a habit to do to better understand the scriptures. The day of Pentecost. Immediately you notice what I have up here, May/June. I looked up and found out when the Hebrew calendar has Pentecost. You can find that right here in your study Bible, it’s usually in May or June, sometime in the spread of those two months. Every year is the Feast of Pentecost. I wrote under it 50 days after Passover. Again, if you read the footnote, you’ll find out that there’s a whole symmetry structure. God has given this sacred calendar that’s the backdrop of all the scriptures. He gave it to the people in Exodus and the apostles are still talking about it. Jesus operated under that calendar and Paul also operated under that calendar. He often said in the book of Acts, I’ve got to get back to Jerusalem by Pentecost. I’ve got to get back for Passover. This whole sacred calendar is on their minds, so I want it on my mind. I wrote that Pentecost, verse 1, is May/June, it’s 50 days after Passover.
Another amazing thing that got me started studying is that it says when “they were all with one accord.” Immediately I thought, wait a minute, I read with one accord earlier. Look back here in chapter 1, it says this in verse 14, “these all continued with one accord.” Whenever you see something repeated, it should start making you think why? What is going on here? Remember last week we talked about Pilate repeating I find no fault in Him. I find no fault in Him. I find no fault in Him. There’s a reason for the repetition, of course, that was the highest court of the land declaring that Jesus was sinless.
What’s going on here? Up here, do you see in the upper corner? I looked up the Greek word. The Greek word is homothumadon. Homo is shared, thumos is passion, so a shared passion is literally what homothumadon means. Then I found, look at what’s next to it. Seven times in the scriptures this word is found. I wrote the references for where this word is in Acts; Acts 2:1, Acts 2:46, Acts 4:24, 5:12, 8:6, and 15:25. That got me very interested. Why is this repeated seven times? Do you remember when we were in John the last few weeks? There were seven titles of Christ, seven sign miracles, seven I Am statements. In the future when we get to the book of Revelation, the whole book of Revelation is built around seven churches, seven bulls, seven trumpets, seven seals, and seven angels. All of these sevens are a picture of a complete set. God is very heptadic and He has these groups of seven. There are seven feasts as I’ll show you in just a minute.
Back over here, homothumadon is found seven times and I wrote them down. Then I looked in verse 14. What were they having a passion for? I wrote, they had a passion to commune with God in prayer. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” I’m not even in chapter 2 yet and you’ll notice that I’m really being affected by this study. I wrote their first activity after Christ’s Ascension was prayer and look, I circled prayer. Then look down here, verse 24. Here’s verse 14, prayer, and down here “and they prayed and said, ‘You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen.'” Every decision they’re praying about, so there’s a passion for prayer.
Let’s get to our chapter. The day of Pentecost had fully come. They were all with one accord in one place. I thought about that, what was their passion for? They wanted to be together, there was a passion for fellowship. Then the Spirit gave them utterance. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues. I was wondering what tongues mean and remember the Bible always explains the Bible. Look what it says here. “And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone” verse 6, “heard them speak in his own language.”
What is the gift of tongues? It’s the gift of being able to speak in an unlearned language. I’m talking about the Bible, how the Bible defines it. Paul said that the gift of tongues was supposed to be for a prophecy to Israel. That’s what he says in 1 Corinthians, that it was supposed to be a prophetic sign to Israel, that the Gospel is going global. That the Jews were the ones who had the Gospel, and they were going to speak in the languages. Look what happens. It actually happens in 15 languages. They said, “are not all these who speak Galileans?” verse 8 “And how is it that we hear, each in our own language?” See, tongues are not gibberish. It’s come to that nowadays. In the Bible times, tongues were the gift of being able to proclaim the truth in a language you never learned that the Holy Spirit gave you the power to do. We see this showing up again. The gift of tongues is not over biblically because it’s in Revelation 7 through 14. In that whole section of Revelation, the 144,000 witnesses are able to speak into the languages of every person on Earth. They are given the ability to declare the Gospel to whatever group they’re with. There is a future aspect Joel says, during the tribulation. There is this foundational aspect, and I’m not getting into the whole prophetic gifts and all that in Acts chapter 2, but I’m just telling you a few of the details that are in our texts.
Look at the languages in verse 9 in your Bible. Parthians, Medes, Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, parts of Libya, Cyrene, Rome, and Cretans, and Arabs. Again, they hear them speaking in their own tongue or language. The wonderful works of God. I underlined that and noted the 15 languages. Then look at this. I wrote Peter used the keys. Do you remember back when we were studying the Gospels? Jesus said you’re Peter and upon this rock, I’ll build my Church. He said I’ll give you the keys to the kingdom. What was He talking about? Peter got to open the Gospel to the three groups that the book of Acts is about. First, to the Jews on the day of Pentecost. Secondly, to the Samaritans, when Phillip had gone up and there was the great revival, Peter came and affirmed that it was of God. Then Peter gave the Gospel to Cornelius, the Gentiles. Jews, half-Jews which were Samaritans, and Gentiles. To those three groups, Peter gives the key, which opens the door of the Gospel to each group. We see him using his keys, preaching the Gospel for the first time on the day of Pentecost to the Jews. You can see his message starting verse 14 at Pentecost.
What I wrote here is Pentecost from verses 14 to 21 is what God promised. It was prophesied, promised that it was going to happen. Then starting in verse 22, Pentecost was to proclaim Christ is alive because he said, “whom God raised up” verse 24, “having loosed the pains of death.” Do you see the green? I highlight the Old Testament quotations that are in the New Testament with green so that’s why you see the green. The nice thing is, this Bible, the one I use that is linked down in the description, do you see the green down here? This section is from Joel and this section is from Psalm 16. See the help it is? I could have gone over here to the study Bible and figured that out, but this Bible has just the Old Testament allusions and quotations noted. Then of course, over here in verses 34 and 35 is a quotation from Psalm 110.
Here’s another thing I do. All these things I’m going to reflect on in my notes, but I want to show them to you in the chapter. Look what I did here in verse 38 because Pentecost, right here starting verse 36 is to save the lost. The whole purpose of Pentecost was for the Gospel to go out. I started marking every time the Gospel is presented in the book of Acts. Do you want to have a study that will change your life? Start marking every time the Gospel is shared. See how they share the Gospel, see what they say, see how they do it. It’s the most fascinating study. I got so excited with this in Acts I went back and did it in the Gospels. I looked at every time Jesus shared the Gospel in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and made a chart and list. Of course, I’m teaching a course on it, but it’s so exciting to do it.
Here’s Gospel number one, verse 38, “repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This remission speaks of purification. I wrote baptism portrays purification. Some of you are saying what does baptized for the remission of sins mean? Does that mean baptism washes away sin? Absolutely not. The Bible doesn’t say that. Here, I’ll write on this slide over here. Baptism for the remission of sins. What we’re wondering is what this word means. Let’s say we’re living in the Wild West. You look on the wall of the Sheriff’s office and there’s a wanted poster that says, wanted for bank robbery. That’s the use of the word for in Acts 2:38. It’s not wanting in order to remit your sins, it’s want because of your sins being remitted. Just like wanted for bank robbery. This is what happened, so that’s why you’re wanted. This is what happened in their lives so that’s what they wanted, to be baptized.
What am I saying all that for? In Acts, seven times people are baptized, and this is one of them. Every one of the seven baptisms follows salvation. Baptism is preceded by receiving the word, repenting, believing, trusting in Christ, receiving the Gospel. All of those descriptors are in every one. Look what I did back here, look at my Bible starting in verse 40. “And with many other words he testified and exhorted saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.'” Look, at verse 41. “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized.” Baptism portrays obedience. It says, “that day about 3,000 souls were added.” All those who received the word of God, all those who repented, all of those who believed, all of those who were saved, were baptized. They didn’t get saved by being baptized. That is an error. That was one of the earliest heresies in the Church in Church history. By the early 2nd century baptismal regeneration was rampant. People were baptizing everybody, trying to get them saved. That is an error, just like circumcision didn’t save the Jews, baptism doesn’t save the believers in the New Testament era.
I wrote baptism number one, and by the way, the second time baptism occurs I wrote that in my Bible too. Look at chapter 8 verse 12. “But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.” That’s the second baptism account. After they believed they were baptized. Look at this if you think baptism saves you, verse 13, “Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip.” Do you know what we find out? In verse 22 it says he wasn’t saved. When Peter comes, he looks and he says, “repent therefore of your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven.” Peter says, “your money perish with you.” “You have no part or portion,” verse 21. This guy got baptized and he wasn’t saved. He said he believed, but he was a false convert. He was an unbelieving person. He was a magician. Actually, he was in the occult and doing witchcraft. He just acted like he was a Christian and got baptized.
If anything, verse 13 of chapter 8, proves baptism doesn’t save you because Peter condemned Simon. He said, “you thought the gift of God could be purchased,” verse 20, and he says, verse 23, “you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” That is not a description of a believer. We’ll cover that. I’m just showing everything in my Bible. Then right here it says they “continuing daily,” look at chapter 2 verse 46, “with one accord.” That’s the next one accord and they had a passion for worship. We’ll cover all those. That’s my Bible.
Go back to the slides. We looked at my Bible now let’s look at my journal that I’ve typed out for you. We’re in week 33, we’re looking at Acts 2. It’s the birthday of the Church at the Feast of Pentecost, the Feast of Pentecost. Remember that was in verse 1 of chapter 2? Look, I started summarizing the Jewish backdrop. These festivals, feasts are like a framework behind the scriptures, the seven of them. A study of Acts 2 is an invitation from God to see the bigger picture of the roadmap that charts God’s plans for the world. Wow. The feasts of God may well be the most comprehensive roadmap ever made to point at Jesus Christ.
Let me share one example that struck me. I want to share it with you. For example, every year around the world, every Jew observes Passover, right? A few months back Passover was celebrated globally. It’s huge for all the millions of Jews, Passover. What happens at Passover? Some of us are not closely tied to our Jewish heritage. Every book of the Bible was written by a Jewish person or proselyte except for one portion of the Bible and that was Nebuchadnezzar. He wrote part of Daniel, but all the rest was written by a Jewish person. All the apostles were Jewish. We’re going to a city called Jerusalem that has 12 gates and 12 foundations that are a hundred percent Jewish. The more we understand about our amazing Jewish heritage, not follow the law, the ceremonial law, or the dietary law, but understand the signposts that point to Christ. That’s what these feasts and festivals are.
Let me show you what I mean. At the biblical feast of Passover, every person holds in their hand a piece of bread. Here’s a description of what they hold, matzah. You can buy matzah bread at any grocery store where there’s a Jewish population around. It is a thin unleavened bread pierced through with holes, marked with stripes, carefully broken one piece into three. The middle piece of the second is hidden and buried throughout the meal and then found a raised during the hiding place. That’s a description of the Passover meal that’s from a Wikipedia description. Think about what it says. What does that sound like? The unleavened bread speaks of the sinless life of Christ. The bread with holes pierced through it reminds us that Jesus was pierced. The bread with brown stripes baked into it, like a saltine, that’s what matzah looks like. Every matzah has to have brown stripes on it. It reminds us of what Isaiah said, with His stripes, we’re healed. It’s broken into three pieces and the middle piece, the second piece, is the one they do something with. It reminds us of God the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and the middle piece points to God the Son. The middle piece is hidden in a cloth. During Passover they take one kind of matzah bread that’s like a Ritz cracker, they break it into three pieces, so you have three separate pieces, and they take the middle piece and take a white cloth, put it in it, and wrap it up and put it underneath a plate, the Passover plate, the middle piece, the second piece. It’s hidden through the whole Passover meal. The opening event is hiding it under the plate.
Look at this. Jesus was crucified and buried before the Passover. Remember they were hurrying to get Him buried before Passover. That middle piece of the bread hidden in the cloth pictures Christ crucified and buried. Then the middle piece is pulled out of its hiding place at the end of the Passover meal. That speaks of Christ risen. The sinless Christ was pierced and had stripes. He’s God the Son crucified and buried and risen. That’s what every Passover celebrated since 1446 BC, for 3000 years, has had. Jesus Christ is the very center portrayed in the middle piece, God the Son. Amazing.
Secondly, I started looking at where this took place, everything happened somewhere. Bible geography is that everything happened somewhere. Bible history, everything happened sometime and Bible geography, everything happened somewhere. Where did the day of Pentecost happen? Where could 3000 people hear Peter’s sermon? We know for sure that the 120 were in the upper room on Mount Zion, but the 3000 could not have gotten in the upper room to hear Peter. Where did they go? Look at this slide, we’re 99.999% sure they went to the Southern Steps. The Southern Steps were the main street of Bible times. These steps were where Jesus was carried by Joseph and Mary, where Simeon was led to see his Messiah, where Anna broke into praise. Jesus was brought to the temple at His birth, plus every Passover for 30 years He would walk up those stairs. At age 12, He was talking over the word with temple teachers, and the temple teachers would go and stand on those stairs. They were so big that you could have grouped all over the place. Thousands of people were streaming in and out of the temple. Christ cleansed the temple area at the start and finish of His ministry, much of His teaching, all of them centered on the Temple and those stairs. The early Church started on the steps. It grew in the temple courts then launched to the ends of the Earth. When the temple in AD 70 was destroyed, God had His individual temples, which we all become at salvation. In the 1st century, His temples were spread across the world.
This is what the temple looked like according to every biblical archeologist. This is the reconstruction of the 40-acre Temple Mount. This is the platform that Herod built. This is the temple proper, Holy of Holies, holy place. This is the Antonian fortress where Jesus was scourged, where Paul was in prison, where Pilate had his judgment seat. Right here is where the modern-day wailing wall is. This whole side was called Solomon’s porch. That’s where the early Church met. Look at this, those are the Southern Steps. This side is its east side facing the Mount of Olives. This is the north side with the Damascus gate and where Jesus was crucified. This is the western side, and this is the south with the city of David extending down from the temple steps and going down.
This is the area where the day of Pentecost most likely took place. This is what it looks like today. Again, these pictures are from my good friend, Todd Bolin at bibleplaces.com. This is what the Southern Steps in the temple look like today from the Mount of Olives. If you’re on the Mount of Olives looking across the Kidron, it’s right here, Al-Aqsa, and just over here is the Dome of the Rock. This part of the ruins are the Southern Steps, and these are the ancient walls of Jerusalem, right there. The Southern Steps of the temple right there are probably where Acts 2 took place and they’re still there today.
This whole area is mikvaot. What are mikvaot? Those are ceremonial cleansing places where people would go down in a pool of water and immerse themselves. You’d come in one stairway, immerse yourself and go out the other stairway and it was a picture of ceremonial cleansing. Every time we go to Israel there is a mikvah that I have our group stand in and we’ll have 25 or 30 people standing there. It’s like a public pool that’s Olympic size, it’s about five Olympic pools. You could easily have hundreds of people baptized in those gigantic mitzvahs that are all through this area. That’s the place the Lord picked for the day of Pentecost.
We stand on the Southern Steps. Those are the steps. We’re standing on them right here and these are our shadows. As we’re standing on those very Southern Steps, thinking about Christ’s Church being born we’re celebrating and worshiping and reading the Psalms. Did you know that 15 monumental steps were going up into the temple in Christ’s time? There are 15 Psalms of Ascent going up, so we take our groups and we read one of the psalms on each step. We read aloud the 15 psalms from 120 to 135 and it’s amazing.
Here are the lessons now from my journal that I’ve worked on all week long in Acts chapter 2. Of course, I’ve lopped over index one and all the way through looking at all these things. This is what I found. Chapter 2 verse 1, the day of Pentecost. When was the day of Pentecost? The Bible says it’s 50 days after Passover. Passover is on Saturday so that means Pentecost was the seventh Sunday after Passover. Seven times seven is 49, plus one. Saturday was one day and seven more weeks. The first week would have been on Sunday. The next Sunday. The seventh, Sunday after Passover was the day of Pentecost. That means the day of Pentecost was on a Sunday, the seventh after Christ’s resurrection.
According to Jewish history, Moses gave the law on Pentecost in Exodus 32. How many died physically? Do you remember? He came down with the law from Mount Sinai and they had the golden calf. He sent through the Levites, and they killed how many? 3000. In Acts 2:41, how many came to life spiritually on the day of Pentecost? 3000. Isn’t that a coincidence? No, it’s not. This was a day when a change was noted. From the law killing 3000 to Christ saving and making alive 3000.
Now here’s a real quick overview. I’m summarizing an entire study for seven weeks. It’s online. I did all the Sabbath, festivals and feasts, and all this. Let me summarize it. Did you know, according to the New Testament Jesus used the festivals of Israel to declare Himself the Messiah of His people, the Savior of the world. On Passover, He became our Passover lamb. He paid for our life with His own. During Unleavened Bread, another part of their feast, He remained in the grave, putting away sin for us. On First Fruits, that’s the Sunday following the Passover Saturday, He rose bodily from the dead to become the evidence of God’s ultimate provision and the promise of a last day’s resurrection. This is festival one, festival two, festival three. Here’s the fourth one called Pentecost by Christians. On the 50th day, the book of Acts says that the resurrected Son of David sent His Spirit to unite 3000 believers into the body of the Messiah. These Jewish believers became the first members of an international body called the Church. They were the first fruits of a future regathering that’s pictured in the other holidays. Here’s the rest.
By the way, I love taking groups over to the Holy Land. This is me standing right there at those steps and talking about how on the day of Pentecost the Church was probably here holding the same Bible that you see that I’ve been teaching from today. Let me ask you, does the life of the Church in Acts that we’re reading about, this one holy passion that we see there sometimes seem unbelievable? Like, how did they do it? Incredible. It’s incredible. Kind of like I could never be like that, unattainable. That’s what I thought about this week. I thought about the apostle Peter. Before Pentecost he was a stumbling bumbling man, always sticking both feet up to the ankles into his mouth. Remember Peter curses and denies Christ. Yet, only days later, he stands in front of 3000 families facing the murderous religious establishment of Jerusalem. He was fearless. How did that happen? He’s never recorded as wavering again.
We all think, wow. That’s unbelievable. That’s incredible. That could never be me. I’m not fearless. Did you know I’m not either? Did you know that Jesus says most often in the Bible to fear not, fear not, that’s the most repeated negative prohibition? Why? Because humans are like sheep, we’re fearful, but filled with the Holy Spirit we’re fearless and bold next.
The apostle Paul was beaten within an inch of death in Acts 16. He was neglected to the point of abuse. He was thrown in a dark damp bug-infested dungeon fastened with iron and wood. I’m talking about in Philippi, and left to grow infection, burn with fever and maybe die. What was the result down in that dungeon? Read Acts 16. What was the result? He started to quote scripture, which means he had memorized and sang aloud from the Psalms. He was so convincing that almost everyone who heard it wanted to become a Christian. I could go on and on. That’s unbelievable. That’s incredible. That’s unattainable? Or is it really possible to live that way? The book of Acts says it’s really possible to live that way. Not humanly, but through the Holy Spirit. On the last great day of the feast, there’s another feast. In John 7 it happens to be Tabernacles. In John 7:37-39, “Jesus stood and cried out, saying ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing on Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given.” The Holy Spirit was given on Pentecost to all those who believed and to all of us at the instant of our salvation.
Again, if we’re sitting at Panera or Starbucks, the whole idea of the 52 Greatest Chapters is that I’m sitting with my Bible and you’re sitting with yours and we’re looking at the same verses. After everything I’ve shared right up until now, I look across the table and I say to you, are you living and sharing the transforming power of the Spirit of God? You know it always becomes very quiet because we separate between Bible times and now and we think that’s unbelievable. That’s amazing, but it’s not happening with me. God wants it to happen to you. This is what we see in Acts, across the sin-darkened canvas of the 1st century, a new day dawned. Starting about 30 AD that’s the day of Pentecost, a world that sat in darkness began to see the light. We live in such a world of darkness. It’s never been as dark as today. It’s getting darker all the time. This whole COVID thing and the resurgence of Delta and gamma and the vaccines and the boosters and everything that’s going on in the hospitals filling up, and new countries breaking out. Wow.
Look what happens when the Holy Spirit fills lives in one generation. People were crippled by racial enmities, that’s what the 1st century was like with racial enmities, people hated other people groups. Sounds like today, right? Ethnic strife sounds like today. Cruel inhumanity. There was so much cruelty and murderous conduct, sexual perversion, self-indulgence, people chained to false worship. Those who are crippled and ripped and marred and drowning and headlong and chained were gloriously changed. That’s the power of the Gospel.
By the way, our study this week will reaffirm to you that God’s spirit is still washing clean sin-stained hearts. Bonnie and I just got a note, such a blessing, from a son who said my dad was deeply harmed in the Vietnam war and has struggled the whole time since he got back. 50 years? Wasn’t The Vietnam War over in 74? We’re almost 50 years later. His life has been troubled for 50 years. The son said, he’s a believer but he has struggled. The son said his dad wanted to study the Bible, so he found one of your classes on YouTube and has voraciously been watching them since. The son wrote to me and said, my dad, is changing. He said he has hope and joy and peace and the Lord is at work inside of him. Even though he still has all the physical, mental, and spiritual problems, the outward man is perishing, the inward man is being renewed. That’s what God does. He’s still washing, cleansing stained hearts, He’s still breathing life into sin-darkened souls.
Bonnie and I got another note from a man who said he went to church his whole life, he’s elderly. He said I’ve always called myself a Christian, but he said the engine never started, but I was searching for something. He said I came across one of your videos where you talked about the signs of salvation, I literally called on the name of the Lord. He said my whole life has changed. Look at this. God is breathing life into sin-darkened souls. It’s not us. It’s not just because Bonnie takes these videos. It’s not just because I’m sitting here waving my hands. God uses people like us and like you. All you have to do is surrender, yield, ask to be filled, ask for the Holy Spirit to give you boldness and He’ll help you share this good message. The Holy Spirit is still filling empty, hopeless lives. He’s still transforming barren lives.
By the way, there are seven feasts and I already told you about the first four. Did you know that there’s the Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur and Tabernacles? According to the prophets, God will call for the blowing of the shofar at the Feast of Trumpets and will awaken Israel and regather her after He calls His Church to come home at the rapture. He will judge His people, give the nation a spirit of repentance and cover them with the blood of the Messiah as atonement, which all the temple sacrifices anticipated. That’s probably the Feast of Yom Kippur that corresponds with the second coming. The Feast of Trumpets reminds us the rapture is yet ahead. Yom Kippur reminds us the second coming is yet ahead. Then the Messiah will enter and cleanse and raise up and we’ll have the millennial Feast of Tabernacles. That’s all we’re going to cover, we’ll cover more of that in Revelation, but there are three more to go.
Now, back to my lessons from my journal. That was less than one, Feast of Passover. Two, the Holy Spirit filled all of them. By the way, that’s the biggest difference between the Old and New Testament. In the Old Testament, some or a few were gifted and filled. We know most of them, Daniel, Joseph, Samuel, David, Moses, Abraham. They were the few that the Holy Spirit came on and filled, and they did amazing things. In the new Testament, all of us are gifted and filled. God wants to fill, gift, and use all of us, not just the few anymore. All of us are new covenant messengers of God. We are His temple. He is living in us and the only thing holding Him up is we haven’t surrendered all of ourselves to Him. We have to keep re-surrendering, renewing, and reconsecrating.
Then, the third lesson, that’s only the second lesson I found. The third one is people heard 15 different languages, that means tongues, at the launch of the Church and it was the gift of speaking in an unlearned human language. That’s what the Holy Spirit gave them for evangelism and that’s what God’s going to do during the tribulation. That’s what the great missionary Hudson Taylor said that he was able to learn the entire Mandarin language with all the dialects in just a very few short days in port in Shanghai. I think that’s the gift of languages. It wasn’t ecstatic utterances that they had no idea they were doing. They were able to speak in a language they never knew. They were able to communicate the Gospel.
Where were those 15? This is what Acts 2, 5 to 12, the language places. The people of Rome, Latin, Cyrene, Egyptians, Cretans, Asians, Phrygians, Pamphylians, Pontus people, Cappadocians, Mesopotamians, Parthians, Medians, Elamites, Arabians, and those of Judea heard it in Hebrew, right there in Jerusalem. The Gospel went from Jerusalem to Judea, to Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the Earth. That’s always been God’s plan.
Here’s my fourth lesson. Peter’s sermon was him using the keys, I mentioned this. That’s what he does to the Jews, then to the Samaritans, that’s his second use in chapter 8, and then to the Gentiles in chapter 10. Then the day of Pentecost, I already shared that with you. Then, look at this, Peter gives the first of 24 different recorded presentations of the Gospel. I went all the way through the book of Acts and found there are 24 in the book of Acts, starting with Acts 2:38. He says repent, this portrays purification of your life by baptism. By the way, every time baptism is recorded in Acts it’s believers’ baptism. In the New Testament, only believers are baptized, babies are not. Babies can be christened and dedicated and it’s such a blessing, but it does not remove their sins. If you believe your sins were removed by your christening or baptism at birth or your confirmation, it wasn’t. It’s when you call on the name of the Lord.
I remember preaching month after month about how baptism follows conversion as believers’ baptism. Finally, the elders said to me, we’re going to have to do something because so many of the people in the congregation were baptized as babies, but they’re saved now. They’ve been saved since, and they want to be baptized. Let me ask you, have you been baptized following your conversion? If not, you need to find a good Bible-teaching local church that believes in believers’ baptism and then you should get baptized. That’s what the Bible says. There is no infant baptism taught or recorded in the Bible, it always follows conversion.
By the way, this is the beginning of these resources. The 52 Greatest Chapters lesson 33 part C is Jesus. I do an entire message showing how Jesus taught us to share the Gospel. That’s every time Jesus shares the Gospel and I also cover all 24 of the Gospel presentations in Acts. That’s what the cover, the thumbnail looks like for that video.
Here’s my fifth lesson: in Acts 2:40 God saves, the Spirit fills, and the Church is born. This is my study of all the one accords and here’s all of them. In 1:14 they have a passion for prayer. In 2:1 they have a passion for fellowship, 2:46 for worship. They need God in their weakness. That’s in 4:24. This one should be 4:24, sorry. See the benefit of marking it in your Bible? I found it right over there. They shared a passion for needing God. 5:12 a passion for fellowship. 8:6 responding to God’s word.15:25 investing in God’s work. You say, oh, you did that too fast. Lesson 33a is all the homothumadon’s. I spent an entire message explaining this shared passion.
This is my conclusion. When we’re walking in the Spirit, we’ll be talking in everyday terms to everyday people about the most extraordinary event of all time. When we’re full of the Holy Spirit, Jesus becomes part of our everyday life. That’s what He wants. That’s what He saved us for. That’s what Acts says we’re living for. In the book of Acts personal, verbal sharing of the Gospel was the norm. There are about 30 different words that are used in the book of Acts for sharing the Gospel. They shared it every way possible and so should we. Sharing the Gospel brought the miraculous transformation of individuals that were brought to life. Do you know why most people don’t witness? They’re not alive. If you’re alive, you’ll want to share the Gospel unless you’re sick. The only reason Christians don’t share the Gospel is either they’re not really Christians or they’re sick. They’re malnourished or they’re contaminated by their sins that best them, but healthy believers share the Gospel. They’ve been cured of spiritual blindness by the power of God unto salvation. They’ve been healed of the horrible leprosy of sin by faith in the cleansing blood. Salvation is being brought to life, cured of our blindness, healed from the leprosy of sin.
Here’s a third resource. This is letter B, I showed you A and C already. If you want to deepen your study, I do an entire message on what is a normal Christian life according to God. I challenge you what does God say a normal, healthy believer is like? I think most of us are comfortable with thick believers. We compare ourselves and we say, I’m not as bad as them, as not healthy believers. What we should pick for comparison is the person that’s most zealously fleeing sin, pursuing the Lord, and consuming the word. We should use those people as the ones that we say I want to follow God like they’re following Christ. That’s what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11, follow me like I’m following Christ. Find someone that’s following Christ and follow them. This is another great resource.
Question. Again, I’d lean across the table right now wherever we’re meeting and I’d say, you should ask yourself this question. Am I normal? By that I mean to ask yourself do I surrender daily to serve the Lord, doing the mission Christ left me to do? Am I a normal believer, surrendered, and doing what Christ left me to do? Am I speaking to the lost for Him? Or am I wasting my one and only precious life that God gave me, and that Christ bought for me? Another uncomfortable silence. See, this is what Bible study is supposed to be about. We’re supposed to be sharpening one another. We’re supposed to be exhorting one another. The book of Hebrews 10:24 and 25 says we’re supposed to stir each other up. Do you know what the word in Greek for stir is? Paroxysms. Wow. Peroxide. Have you ever poured hydrogen peroxide on your skin? It just bubbles up. That’s from the word paroxysm, bubbling up. We’re supposed to stir each other up so that we have love and good works and that we grow.
Next slide. Aren’t you glad we’ve come to the application prayer? It’s getting a little uncomfortable in here. Many people are glad when the Panera time was over because they told me that I’d stepped on their toes. I would say, I hope I didn’t, I hope it was the Lord stepping on your toes. If I did, it won’t change you. If it’s the Lord, you’ll change. Here’s my prayer. I’ll offer it with you like we’re in our small group and I’ll tell you what God’s doing in my heart. Lord, You offered Yourself at Passover laying in the grave at Unleavened Bread and rose at First Fruits. You sent Your Spirit at Pentecost. What a wonderful salvation You accomplished. We don’t save ourselves. He saves us. We trust in what He did in our place. You have saved me, filled me, gifted me, and You’ve called me to do something no one else can do. I’m a spiritual snowflake and so are you. God called and gifted and filled you to do something no one else can do. He’s waiting for you to invest your life doing what He wants you to do. He whispers through His word and encourages you every day? Someday we’re going to stand in front of Him. We’re going to do chapter 2 Corinthians 5 and we’re going to answer to Him what we did with our one and only precious life.
Here’s my prayer. Let me serve You today by sharing Your good news, by living Your wonderful life of new beginnings with a holy passion for You, Your word, and Your body, the Church. For Jesus’ sake, I pray. Amen. Based on those homothumadon.,
Two final challenges. Find someone with whom you can share what you’re studying and what you’re finding and what God’s changing in your life. Number two, pray for us. What I did just now with you is what I do all day long. I need the strength, the power, the filling, the grace of God to challenge the next generation. Bonnie and I are on a ten-year mission and we’re going to Bible training centers, remote and onsite ones, virtually and in-person teaching the next generation and encouraging the frontline servants of the Lord to believe and live and share the Gospel. Have a great week studying Acts 2. I pray that the Lord stirs your heart so much that you can’t wait to meet with your group and share what God has taught you and you begin to start verbally sharing a Gospel. That’s my prayer for you. Have a great week. God bless you.
Check Out All The Sermons In The Series
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Dr. Barnett has curated an Amazon page with a large collection of resources he uses in his study of God’s Word. You can check it out here.