A time for… being sent by the Spirit (Pentecost)
Sermon date: 9th June
Reading: Acts 2:1-21
Do you think you have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit? Can you share one experience with the rest of the group?
(Hint: as Christians we have all in one way or another felt Holy Spirit's presence, it could be when we felt loved, it could be when we felt God's peace, it could be in many different ways)
Can you remember anything that struck you from last Sunday's sermon?
After his resurrection, Jesus was forty days with this disciples and seen by hundreds of people until his ascension. Ten days later, it was the day of Pentecost. Pentecost is the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Harvest (or Feast of Weeks), it is mentioned in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. It is also known as the Feast of Weeks, because they would celebrate it 50 days after the first fruits of the barley harvest. Fifty is a significant number in the Old Testament, but it can be represented by the a week of weeks, 7 x 7 = 49, the next day is the 50th day. This Jewish Feast (Shavuot) also celebrates the anniversary of when God gave them the ten commandments at Mount Sinai. Because of this celebration, there were Jews from many different places in Jerusalem.
There is a strong link between these celebrations and the Pentecost we celebrate today. After being freed from Egypt, God gave his people the ten commandments. After Jesus' death and resurrection, God gave his people the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Q1 - How do you think these events are linked?
Q2 - What are the similarities and differences between the salvation from Egypt and Jesus' death on the cross?
Q3 - What are the similarities and difference between receiving the ten commandments and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit?
Please read together Acts 2:1-21
Q4 - As you read this passage, do you believe this happened? Can you imagine what it would have been like to be there? How would you feel if you had been one of the Jews who had come to celebrate a Feast and suddenly saw the disciples speaking in different languages?
There are a few references in this passage about them speaking in "tongues":
v. 4 "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them"
v. 6-8 "When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?"
v. 11b - 12 "we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?"
Q5 - What do you understand by speaking tongues? Have you ever heard someone speaking in tongues? Do you think that this was a one off event or is this something we should expect to see today?
Q6 - Speaking in tongues is one of the gifts of the Spirit that is mentioned in the New Testament many times. We believe that God has given us talents and gifts to build his Kingdom. The disciples were empowered to share Jesus' good news to those around them. Which gift would you like to ask God to give you? Which gift do you think He might be calling you to develop?
We find in verse 13 that it says "Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine"". Unfortunately this still happens in Churches, we disregard or even laugh at those who do things differently to us. Some people love singing out loud, others prefer the reverence and silence. Some people feel it's all about speaking in tongues, while others bringing social justice. We have different preferences and different ways in which we feel we see God at work.
Q7 - How can we build a culture between us in which we recognise that Christians with other styles and preferences are as spiritual, deep and loving as those who think similarly to us?
Please read Acts 1:16-21
Q8 - How do you think this pouring out of the Spirit would look like today? How do you see it already in our Church and what would you like to see more of?
We've heard about people speaking in tongues, Peter talking about Joel's prophesy being fulfilled in this time. We find words like "I will pour out my Spirit on all people.Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams."
Q9 - Do you believe all of this is for our Church today? If so, how can we pursue Holy Spirit to be filled with his fruit and gifts? What can we do personally and collectively to see more of His work amongst us?
We'd like to encourage you to spend some time in prayer in whichever way you feel suitable. Pray that you'll all be filled with the Holy Spirit, that you might bear fruit. If you've got time, you might want to pray for each person individually or have a few minutes in silence to receive from the Holy Spirit and be attentive to His voice.
Nico Hilding Ohlsson, 04/06/2019