Introduction: When I read internal criticisms of the Church of which
I am a member, they most often deal with theological differences, or
a concern about appropriate standards of behavior. This reminds of
my car. If I were missing a headlight, or had a dent in the fender, I
would think it needed to be fixed. But, if my engine didn’t work,
that would be my first concern. In the Church, the presence (or not)
of the Holy Spirit should be our first concern. Without discounting
the importance of other matters, we need to have the right focus. Our
lesson today helps our focus. Let’s dig into the Bible and learn more
about the Holy Spirit!

  1. One Place

    1. Read Acts 2:1 and Acts 1:11-14. Where do you think the
      “one place” is that they were gathered? (We cannot be
      sure. But, I put these texts together so you could see the
      close connection between Jesus’ ascension into heaven, the
      gathering in a room to pray and the gathering on
      Pentecost. They may still have been in that same room in
      the house “where they were staying.”)

    2. Read Acts 2:2-4. What three distinctive things happened
      upon the arrival of the Holy Spirit? (Loud and violent
      wind noise. Tongues of fire. Speaking in other tongues.
      Let’s look at these separately.)

  2. Holy Spirit and Wind

    1. What purpose does the loud and noisy wind serve? (Read
      Acts 2:6. It got attention. It was part of what caused a
      crowd to gather.)

    2. Why would the Holy Spirit appear as wind? The noise of the
      wind is the first thing mentioned!

    3. Read Ezekiel 37:9-10 and Ezekiel 37:14. What role does the
      Holy Spirit play here? (He gives life!)

    4. Read John 3:5-8. What work does the Holy Spirit engage in
      here? (He gives birth to the new life in Jesus. Notice
      Jesus compares the Holy Spirit to wind.)

    5. Read John 20:19-23. Is there a connection between
      receiving the Holy Spirit and forgiveness?

      1. What about a connection between the Holy Spirit and
        having peace?

      2. What about a connection between the Holy Spirit and
        witnessing?(Part of the new life, the baptism of
        water and the Holy Spirit, is forgiveness of sins and
        leaving the old, dead life behind.)

    6. Friend, do you see that the Holy Spirit brings life, new
      life, just like the air we breath sustains our life? Do
      you have the Holy Spirit in you? If not, you are
      spiritually dead! You have stopped breathing!

  3. Fire

    1. Read Isaiah 4:4. What is the “fire” of the Holy Spirit
      doing here? (Cleaning.)

    2. Read Matthew 3:11-12. What is the fire of the Holy Spirit
      doing here? (This does not specifically say that it is the
      fire of the Holy Spirit that burns up the “chaff,” but the
      suggestion is that the Holy Spirit is part of this
      separation process.)

    3. As you contemplate the “fire” aspect of the Holy Spirit,
      how would you describe the goal of this power? (Part of it
      is working on my mind to convince me of my sins and to
      turn me from them. Some accept the leading of the Holy
      Spirit and some do not. This results in the separation of
      the wheat and the chaff.)

    4. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22. What happens if you have put
      out the fire of the Holy Spirit in your life? (You will
      not hear His direction, you will not be able to tell what
      comes from God and what does not, you will not be able to
      separate the good from the bad and thus avoid evil.)

  4. Tongues

    1. Re-read Acts 2:4. How do you understand the phrase “as the
      Spirit enabled them?” (This is a gift directed by the Holy
      Spirit. All of this power comes from the Holy Spirit, of
      course, but this indicates that the Holy Spirit enabled
      certain languages.)

    2. Read Acts 2:5-8. What is the gift of tongues here? (The
      gift of having others understand you in their own

      1. Is this consistent with the wind and fire? (Part of a
        new life in Jesus is understanding His will for you.
        You cannot understand until you first hear.)

    3. Acts 19:4-6. What happened to these new Christians when
      the Holy Spirit entered them? (They spoke in tongues and

      1. Is it obvious that they needed to communicate to
        those around them? (It is hard to see that is true
        here. It appears that we are told the tongues to
        confirm the Holy Spirit came on them. They were given
        special abilities.)

    4. Read Mark 16:14-18. Is there a way to prove that we
      believe in Jesus? (Jesus says that the following are
      “signs” of a believer: driving out demons, speaking in new
      tongues, picking up snakes, drinking poison, healing sick

      1. How many of these “signs” are “hanging” on you?

      2. Let’s explore this a bit more. What does Jesus tell
        His disciples to do? (Go to the world and preach.)

        1. If you were to plan for your world evangelism
          trip, what would concern you? (Opposition from
          Satan and his fallen angels. Speaking the
          language of the locals. Physical danger from
          wild animals. Danger from bad food or water.
          Not being able to convince the people of my
          message. Do you see how these “signs” are
          actually ways to overcome the problems that
          arise in evangelism?)

    5. Read 1 Corinthians 14:1-4. So far, the references to the
      gift of tongues either explicitly refer to foreign
      languages or are unclear. Is this spiritual gift of
      tongues a foreign language? (The text specifically says it
      is not. “No one understands.”)

      1. These verses make the argument that being understood
        is more important because it helps others. Why would
        the Holy Spirit give a gift of tongues that cannot be
        understood by anyone? What is the benefit of
        uttering a mystery? (If you carefully read these
        verses, they teach us that one version of the gift of
        tongues is a communication with God that “edifies”
        the Christian.)

        1. Does this make any sense? (Think about the fact
          that a major work of the Holy Spirit is
          internal – guiding our mind into the right

    6. Read 1 Corinthians 14:27-28. What does this teach us about
      speaking in a mystery tongue? (It should not happen in
      church unless someone interprets.)

  5. The Future Now

    1. Read Acts 2:14-18. Are we living in the “last days?”
      (Peter says that Pentecost was part of the last days, so
      clearly we are in the last days.)

    2. Let’s focus on Acts 2:17-18. How widespread is the gift of
      prophecy, the gift of visions and dreams? (The verse says
      “all people.” The Holy Spirit will work through everyone,
      regardless of gender or age.)

    3. Read Deuteronomy 13:1-3. Are God’s followers to test those
      who claim to have the gift of prophecy? (Yes.)

      1. What is the test? (Whether they lead you to God or
        away from God.)

    4. Read Deuteronomy 13:5. What should happen if the prophet
      fails the test? (Death.)

    5. Read Deuteronomy 18:22. What are we told to do if a
      prophet gives a message that does not come true? (We need
      not be afraid of that prophet, for the prophet has spoken

    6. In the Old Testament, prophets were fairly rare. Joel
      tells us that last day prophets will be numerous. How
      should we react to modern prophets? (We should test them.
      If they get things wrong, then I would not place great
      confidence in other things they say. But, with a
      widespread gift, I don’t think the same harsh death
      penalty is appropriate. Today, of course, we are not the
      state and have no such authority.

    7. Friend, is the Holy Spirit alive in you? Are you letting
      the Spirit do its full work: giving us new life, cleansing
      us of sin, helping us to give others a right view of
      Jesus? If not, why not ask for that right now?

  6. Next week: Life in the Early Church.