Acts - Lesson 2
Acts 2 (Part 1)
Inspiration and Proclamation
- The student can name the first two sections of Acts 2 as "Inspiration” and "Proclamation.”
- The student can relate the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the apostles.
- The student can explain the nature of speaking in tongues.
- The student can use the reasons Peter did to show that Jesus is the Christ.
- Have copies of Notes/Review sheets ready to hand out.
- Have copies of Written Review No. 1 ready for the class to pick up as they enter the room.
- Bibles and pens as needed.
Jesus fulfills His promise to baptize the apostles in the Holy Spirit and they begin their work of spreading the gospel by declaring Jesus as Savior in Jerusalem.
Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class
Introduction: (about 12 minutes)
- Check the roll, introduce visitors, make announcements.
- Prayer and songs as desired: Jesus is Lord; A Wonderful Savior; Christ, We Do All Adore Thee.
- Review the last class by providing the answers to the Written Review.
- Introduce today's lesson. James Bales wrote a book about Acts 2 in which he called it "The Hub of the Bible.” Why do you think this was an appropriate title?
Learning Experiences (about 25 minutes)
- To help us remember the essentials of Acts 2, we will divide it into four sections. The first section we will call "Inspiration.” A little later I will ask you why?
- Q: What was the Feast of Pentecost? (The term means "fifty days” and occurred 50 days after Passover. It is also sometimes called the Feast of Weeks because it occurs seven weeks after Passover. It was a celebration of the harvest and always fell on Sunday. In 30 AD, the likely year of this Pentecost, it would have occurred on May 27.)
- Q: Where do the events of Acts 2:1-13 take place? (We are not told for sure. The sound which comes "filled all the house where they were sitting” but this word for house is not limited to a family dwelling. It could refer to a larger building. Since thousands are soon upon the scene, it would seem that they are in a large, public place—likely the portico that surrounded the temple grounds called Solomon's Porch. Probably "they” in these verses means "the apostles” since that is the last noun appearing before the pronoun "they” and since verse 14 says, "Peter stood up with the eleven.”)
- Q: List the events that happen in order.
- Sound of a violent wind
- Appearance of "tongues of fire” on each of them.
- All of them are filled with the Holy Spirit.
- They begin to speak in tongues.
- A large number of people hear the apostles speaking in different languages.
- The crowd gathers and is amazed.
- Some made fun saying they had been drinking.
- Q: From how many different locations did the people come? (15)
- Q: How many different languages were used by these different locations? (6-Persian, Syriac, Greek, Coptic, Latin, and Arabic.)
- Q: What does verse 4 say the apostles did? (The Spirit enabled them to speak in other tongues—languages. These were the languages of the home countries from which the people had come—so the six languages mentioned above.)
- Q: Why did the fact that these apostles were all Galileans astonish the people? (Galilee was thought of as "the country” rather than the "metropolitan city.” That Galileans would have such language skills was highly unexpected. The miracle of tongues, then, is that the Spirit empowered these men to speak in real languages which they had never studied. Acts 2 is the only place where a case of tongue-speaking is described. Tongue-speaking is also mentioned as having occurred in Caesarea [Acts 10], in Ephesus [Acts 19], and in Corinth [1 Corinthians 14]. In all of these cases it is the same type of activity—the Spirit enabling people to speak in languages they have never studied.
- Q: Why have we called this section "Inspiration?” (Because these verses describe the occasion when God sent the Holy Spirit on the apostles to give them special powers to speak His message. This was His way to enable them to speak by "inspiration.” See 2 Peter 1:21.)
- Q: How large was the crowd now assembled? (More than 3,000—v. 41).
- Peter takes advantage of the large number present to address the crowd. Q: What does Peter hope to achieve with this sermon? (To prove to those who killed Him that Jesus is the Christ. Quite a task.)
- Q: Scan through Peter's sermon from verses 14-36 and determine what basic reasons Peter presents to convince the crowd that Jesus of Nazareth was both Lord and Christ. (He could work miracles, as they had seen—v. 22. God raised Him from the dead—v. 24, 31-32. He fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies about the Christ—v. 25-28.) Q: Why were these good reasons to give this group? (They were witnesses of the miracles (v. 22), they knew of the resurrection (v. 32), and they knew the writings of David (v. 29).
- Q: What was the response of the majority of the audience? (They were convinced Jesus was the Christ and that they had killed their own Messiah. This is indicated by their anguished cry, "What shall we do?”)
- We shall call Acts 2:14-36 by the title "Proclamation” for this is the record of the first proclamation of Jesus as the Christ following His death, burial, and resurrection.
Application: (5 minutes)
- Q: How many of our five key words can you connect with this portion of Acts 2? (Spirit—the apostles were baptized in the Holy Spirit—verses 1-13; Joel had prophesied that the Spirit of God would be poured out—v. 18; David was a prophet using the power of the Holy Spirit to foretell the future—v. 30. Savior—Jesus was the long awaited Messiah to save the people from their sins according to the eternal plan of God—v. 22-23; the whole sermon is, of course, to prove that Jesus was the Christ. Salvation—that is really the question the Jews—what shall we do to absolve our guilt—v. 37; Spread—this is the beginning of the proclamation of Jesus, beginning at Jerusalem as they were instructed. Since Peter has not yet told the people how to be forgiven of sins, they are not yet among the sanctified.
- Q: What is it like to feel guilt? Q: How do different people deal with this?
- Q: How much risk is Peter taking to preach this message? Q: How much risk should we be willing to take to spread the message?
- Be sure to use the worksheet to study this lesson and be prepared for Written Review No. 2 next week.
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