Introduction: Have you ever been promised something that you really
wanted? A job promotion? A gift of money? Marriage? A new car? A
vacation? How did you like anticipating the gift? I don’t know about
you, but I get great enjoyment out of the anticipation. Sometimes, I
confess, the anticipation turned out to be as good as the actual gift
– maybe better! Sometimes, I find that I was anticipating the wrong
gift! This week our lesson is about anticipating the full power of
God in our life. Let’s race right into our study and find out what
that means!

  1. The Pouring

    1. Read Joel 2:28. The text starts out “And afterward.” What
      does that mean? (At a very basic level, it means “not

      1. Let’s skip down to Joel 2:31. What is the “great and
        dreadful day of the Lord?” (That is a clear reference
        to the Second Coming of Jesus.)

    2. Let’s look again at Joel 2:28. We have a general time
      reference that this is “not now,” but before the Second
      Coming. How does that relate to the time in which we
      living? Are we living in the time period described by
      Joel? (Yes. Read Acts 2:14-16. The time was Pentecost and
      Peter says that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the
      disciples was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel. We
      are going to hold off until next week to study Pentecost.
      But, the point is that we are living between the time of
      Pentecost and the Second Coming.)

    3. What lesson do you find in Joel 2:28 about who will be
      filled with the Holy Spirit? (All receive the gift of the
      Holy Spirit: young and old, men and women.)

      1. What kind of gifts are given? (Prophesy, dreams and

    4. Read Joel 2:29. Why does Joel emphasize that the Holy
      Spirit will be given to “both men and women?” (We have a
      controversy over the role of women in the church. This
      text tells us that the Holy Spirit will pour His power
      into women. This should cause anyone who thinks women
      cannot be used fully by God to pause and question whether
      they are fighting God’s work for the last days. This is
      something worth considering.)

      1. Why does Joel 2:29 refer to “servants?”(The Bible
        Knowledge Commentary tells us that Joel 2:29 would be
        better translated, “and even on the male and female
        servants.” This means that God will use all ages,
        all genders and all social classes as instruments of
        His power.)

        1. Would that include you?

    5. Let’s continue with this prophecy. Read Joel 2:30-31. Have
      these “wonders” happened? (Certainly these things have
      happened on a regional basis. Many readers may recall
      these events being reported in the New England area of the
      United States about 100 years ago. While that may be part
      of the “wonders” of this prophecy, I trust that not even
      Americans believe that God had only them in mind when He
      gave this prophecy to Joel! My bet is that these are
      either world-wide events yet to come, or events that
      happen near the same time in so many regions of the world
      that everyone familiar with this prophecy is alerted.)

  2. The Baptism

    1. Read Matthew 3:11-12. John the Baptist is speaking here.
      Who is he describing? (The text of this chapter makes
      clear he is describing Jesus. See also John 1:32-36.)

      1. What does Matthew 3:11-12 say that Jesus will do?
        (Baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Gather wheat
        and burn the chaff.)

        1. Is this an accurate prophecy? Has it proven to
          be true?

      2. Read John 4:1-2. How do you explain this text in
        light of John the Baptist’s prophecy? It says Jesus
        did not baptize.

      3. Read John 16:7-8. How do you explain this text in
        light of John the Baptist’s prophecy? It says Jesus
        must leave before the Holy Spirit comes.

        1. John the Baptist predicts that Jesus will
          baptize people with the Holy Spirit, and it
          turns out that Jesus did not baptize and He had
          to leave before the Holy Spirit could come. Was
          the Baptist just wrong?

    2. Let’s look at Matthew 3:11-12 again. Was John the Baptist
      right about Jesus burning up the chaff? (John the Baptist
      paints a picture of Jesus that is true on several levels.
      First, we think of water and fire as cleansing agents.
      Jesus’ death made our baptisms meaningful. We go down in a
      “watery grave” to commemorate Jesus going into the grave,
      and we come out of the water to celebrate Jesus’
      resurrection. (See Romans 6:3-4) Thus, Jesus is the
      ultimate “baptizer.” Second, Jesus cleanses us with His
      blood given as a sacrifice on our behalf. ( Hebrews 9:14).
      Third, when Jesus comes again He will separate the
      righteous from the unrighteous and cleanse the earth with
      fire. ( Revelation 20:9-10) Last, none of this would have
      happened, the Holy Spirit would have no work to do, if
      Jesus had not triumphed over sin at the cross.)

      1. Let’s bring this back to the issue of the timing of
        the gift of the Holy Spirit. What do the series of
        questions I just asked suggest about the timing of
        the gift of the Holy Spirit? (The great work of the
        Holy Spirit in humans takes place after Jesus’
        resurrection and before the Second Coming. In other
        words, the time in which we live right now!)

    3. Read John 7:37-39. Again we have this picture of Jesus
      and water. How is it that we get the life-giving,
      purifying water that Jesus promised? (Through the Holy

      1. What does this text say about the timing of the gift
        of the Holy Spirit? (It tells us that this gift comes
        after Jesus is “glorified” – after Jesus is
        resurrected from the dead. Again, we see that the
        time is now!)

  3. The Promise

    1. Read John 14:25-27. We have repeatedly determined that we
      are living in the time that the Holy Spirit has been
      promised. What, exactly, does this text suggest this
      promise means? How will the Holy Spirit act in our lives?
      (I don’t know about you, but when I think of the Holy
      Spirit I’m thinking about an explosion – an explosion of
      power and miracles. Here Jesus seems to be saying just
      the opposite. The Holy Spirit will bring peace into our
      life. He will do it by reminding us of what Jesus taught
      and help us to understand those teachings. I can
      understand why the KJV calls the Holy Spirit the
      “Comforter” in this text.)

    2. Read Acts 1:4-5. What does it mean to be baptized by the
      Holy Spirit? What was Jesus promising to His disciples?

    3. Read Acts 1:6. What did the disciples want Jesus to
      promise them?

      1. Do you think that they made a mental connection
        between the Holy Spirit and their status as rulers on
        earth? (This reminds me so much of my attitude: “Give
        me the Holy Spirit so that our local church can turn
        this town (state, country) upside down. Focus all
        eyes here.”)

    4. Read Acts 1:7-8. How does Jesus answer this request for
      personal power?

      1. If the disciples knew what would happen to them
        during the rest of their life, would they have been
        disappointed? (Oh yes! They were never rulers here.
        They were persecuted by the rulers here. They were
        victims of the power of earthly rulers.)

      2. Did Jesus do what He promised them? ( Acts 1:8
        promises that the power of the Holy Spirit will come
        to help them be witnesses to Jesus’ life and
        teachings. Jesus did exactly what He promised.)

    5. Friend, you are living in the time when the Holy Spirit
      has been promised. Have you tapped into that power to
      understand and remember the words of God? Have you
      requested that power to witness to others? Have you
      invited the Holy Spirit into your life to give you peace?
      Or, are you looking for signs and miracles that bring
      glory to you?

  4. Next week: The Promise Fulfilled.