THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
By Jim McDonald
After Peter had declared that he and all the other apostles had witnessed the resurrected Christ, he then affirmed of Jesus, “Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath poured forth this which ye see and hear” (Acts 2:33).
Peter offered three proofs Christ had been raised from the dead. The first proof he offered was the Scriptures (Joel 2:28) to explain why the apostles spoke in languages they did not know but which some of the people on Pentecost did (Acts 2:11). He next referred to Psalm 16 to teach that the resurrection of Jesus had been prophesied by David (Acts 2:25-28). Finally, he spoke of Psalm 110:1 to show that the Messiah would be enthroned in heaven at the Father’s right hand (Acts 2:34).
The second proof Peter offered that Jesus had been resurrected was the testimony of living witnesses, the apostles themselves (Acts 2:32).
Third, Peter showed that Jesus was raised from the dead and alive as he spoke because of the phenomena which accompanied the advent of the Holy Spirit, the sound like a mighty, rushing wind and tongues like fire which sat upon the heads of the apostles. The crowd had both heard and seen these things and Peter told them it was Jesus who had “poured forth this which ye see and hear” (Acts 2:33). The multitude couldn’t deny what they had seen and heard; they just didn’t know the origin of them. Peter told them the origin of those signs was Jesus which was conclusive evidence Jesus was alive, for if Jesus had poured it out upon them, then Jesus had to be alive!
Jesus was able to do what He did because He had received “the promise of the Holy Spirit” from the Father. Did He receive the Holy Spirit Himself? Some think so. However, “the promise of the Holy Spirit” and the “Holy Spirit” are not necessarily the same. It’s similar to the fact that the “gift of the Holy Spirit” and the “Holy Spirit” are not necessarily the same. The “gift of God” and “God” are not necessarily the same. We receive many gifts from God, one of which is eternal life. Paul wrote, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life …” (Rom. 6:23). In Romans 6:23, “God” is one thing — the Giver; “eternal life” is the gift God gives. In Acts 2:33, the “Holy Spirit” is one thing; the “promise of the Holy Spirit” is another — it is a promise the Holy Spirit made.
Therefore, when Peter declared that Jesus had received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit and then had poured forth the Holy Spirit, he set about to identify what that promise was. Having said Jesus had “poured forth that which ye see and hear” because He had received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, Peter then said, “For David ascended not into the heaven but saith himself ‘the Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet” (Acts 2:35). This was the promise of both the Father and the Holy Spirit: “Sit thou at my right hand till I make all thy enemies the footstool of thy feet” (Psa. 110:1). Why are these words the words of the Holy Spirit? Because David (who wrote them) was directed by the Holy Spirit in the words he wrote. Jesus asked the Jewish rulers, “What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he?” They responded, “The son of David” (Matt. 22:42). Jesus then asked, “How then did David, in the Spirit, say The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand till I make thy enemies thy footstool? If David called him Lord, how is he, his son?” (Matt. 22:43-44). They had no response to offer and they dared ask no more questions. David “in the Spirit” said, “The Lord said unto my Lord.” Therefore, these words and the words immediately following was the promise of the Holy Spirit. Because the Father has given Him all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18), He had power to send the Holy Spirit to overwhelm the apostles which He did on Pentecost.
Because Jesus “lowered Himself” even to the point of death, God highly exalted Him and gave Him a name above every other name (Phil. 2:9). He is now seated at the Father’s right hand (Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:22), and this means He is reigning as David said He would. Daniel also spoke of that rule in Daniel 7:13-14. Jesus is now “King of kings and Lord of lords” (cp. Rev. 19:16).
Following his words that Jesus had received the promise of the Holy Spirit, Peter concluded, “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified” (Acts 2:36). He is Lord and Christ, God’s anointed one. Because He is Lord, God commands, “Hear ye Him” (Matt. 17:5). When Jesus gave His parable of the wise and foolish builders, He said, “Everyone that hearth these words of mine and doeth them shall be likened unto a wise man who built his house upon the rock …” Then He said, “… and everyone that heareth these words of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand” (Matt. 7:24, 26). What kind of hearer are you?
THE FIRST GOSPEL MEETING
By John Edwards
The Lord commissioned His apostles, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15). The gospel was preached for the first time on Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2. Let’s notice some great things about this gospel meeting.
A Great Day. The first gospel meeting took place on “the day of Pentecost” (Acts 2:1). Pentecost was the annual festival at which the Jews presented to God the first fruits of the harvest. Pentecost always came on the first day of the week (Lev. 23:15-16). Hence, this meeting occurred upon the first day of the week.
A Great Promise Received. The Lord promised the Holy Spirit to the apostles (Jn. 14:26). The apostles received this promise on Pentecost as “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). This served to guide the apostles “into all truth” (Jn. 16:13).
A Great City. The first gospel meeting took place in the city of Jerusalem (Acts 2:5). Hundreds of years before this meeting, Isaiah prophesied, “for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:3). The Lord said, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning in Jerusalem” (Lk. 24:47). A great deal of planning and preparation went into this meeting!
A Great Crowd. “Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5) were present at the first gospel meeting. Many languages of people were represented (Acts 2:9-11). These Jews had come from all over the world to observe the festival of Pentecost. Though they were devoutly religious people, they were still required to come under the command of the preaching in order to receive pardon. So must we!
A Great Sermon. Peter preached “Jesus of Nazareth” to this audience (Acts 2:22-36). He declared the life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and exaltation of Jesus Christ. The sermon was simple and to the point!
A Great Question Asked. The effect of the sermon was a deep and penetrating conviction that brought out of them the question: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). We should have the attitude of what would God have me to do?
A Great Plan Of Salvation Given. In Peter’s answer to the question asked, he gives the Lord’s great plan of salvation. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
A Great Response. In this meeting, “about three thousand souls” responded to the sermon by being baptized (Acts 2:41) and were added to the church by the Lord (Acts 2:47).
What a great gospel meeting!