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April 14, 2013 – “New Power to Proclaim the Truth” Acts 2:1-13 (Lesson can be printed by clicking the print button below or click here for a Word File: New Power to Proclaim the Truth Sunday School Lesson)
“I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.” That was the promise that God spoke through the prophet Joel, (2:28). How often had that been told to the Jewish people of old and how often had they waited, anticipating God’s power at work in them?
In times before, they had experienced God’s power at work in many different ways outside of their person except for a few specially imparted people. Here, the prophet promised an overall outpouring. One that would bring about great wonders and deliverances.
In today’s lesson, the time of anticipation and waiting is finally over. A mighty move of God is ready to commence. It is a new beginning for God’s people everywhere that believe and trust on Him. Last week’s lesson focused on “Promises Kept” – on how God brings to pass what He says. In this week’s lesson we still see God delivering on those promises. They saw miracles with their eyes before, but now they get to experience it deep within their souls.
Pentecost was one of three major feasts in which the Jews would attend. Pentecost occurs fifty days after Passover and was highly revered by God’s people. It commemorated their time at Mt. Sinai, which was fifty days after the first Passover when God delivered His people from the Egyptians. At the mount, God sought to speak to the people Himself, yet they were too afraid, (Ex. 20:18-20). Moses became the intermediary as God’s spokesperson.
Ten days before this particular Pentecost, Jesus ascended into heaven. The disciples left that scene filled with joy “and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God,” (Luke 24:53, KJV). Here, we find them gathered together again “with one accord in one place.” It is amazing the things that God can accomplish in men (humanity) when they are unified and obedient.
It was a time for God’s promises to once again come to the point of fulfilling. Acts 2:1 describes this time as “fully come” which means the waiting is over and now is the time for the real show to begin. If you have ever attended a circus you know what I mean. There are times before the show when people can get glimpses of the animals and the working of some of the acts, but everyone is there for the main event.
Pentecost is the main event. No more glimpses to this “outpouring” of His Spirit will look like. No more occasional side shows of the Spirit’s power working in man. They were going to be fully engulfed by God’s power to put on such a demonstration as the world had never seen before. They were preparing to be endued and equipped with some heavenly stuff that will allow the world to see the working of God through His people.
I like the word “suddenly.” It gives the impression of happening without any warning whatsoever. Many people read and get familiar with the Pentecost experience, but for those first receivers, they didn’t know what to expect. They knew Christ had promised power (Luke 24:49), but that had not a clue when it would happen or what the experience itself would look like. All they knew is there was a shift in the atmosphere. It was one of those moments when you probably could feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. This was not going to be any ordinary day. God was up to something wonderful.
“A sound from heaven.” Let’s take a quick tour through heaven, God’s home, the place where Christ is now, and let’s see what we hear: “a great voice, as of a trumpet,” (Rev. 1:10; 4:1); “lightnings and thunderings,” (Rev. 4:5); “worship,” (Rev. 4:10-11); “angel proclaiming with a loud voice,” (Rev. 5:1); beasts saying “Amen,” (Rev. 5:14); “silence,” (Rev. 8:1); “trumpets,” (Rev. 8:6) and many more.
But, the people gathered on that Pentecost day heard “a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind.” The Bible doesn’t say they felt the wind, it says they heard the wind. Audibly, this was no “still small voice,” (1 Kings 19:12, KJV). This was “mighty.” It had some power and some strength to it (as does everything God gets involved with). And it “filled all the house.” Isn’t that reminiscent of when God’s glory filled the temple in the Old Testament, in the temple, (2 Chron. 5:14)? God came down and God took over the atmosphere. It’s almost as if God was reminding them, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts,” (Zech. 4:6, KJV). When God is in the building, things begins to change, as we will see.
“Cloven tongues like as of fire.” First, they heard “a sound from heaven,” and now they saw the miraculous with their eyes: divided (cloven) tongues that appeared to look like fire. Wow! God is completely inundating their senses with His power. When they leave this place they would have heard, seen and felt something wonderful taking over them.
“As of fire.” God has used “fire” often to symbolize His presence and power. The three examples we are most familiar with are Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3:2, the pillar of fire that helped lead the children of Israel away from Egypt in Exodus 13:21, and a chariot of fire that wisked Elijah away in 2 Kings 2:11. Here, God is using the appearance of fire once again to identify that He is in the midst. This occurence is His doing, and it has His stamp of approval on it. “Fire” is also seen as a purifying agent, (Is. 6:7).
“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” What was going on in the house was now taking up residence in each believer assembled in the building. God’s power was entering in each individual to personally equip them to “Proclaim the Truth.” This is the fulfilling of what Jesus Himself told the Samaritan woman. “The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor at Jerusalem, worship the Father . . . true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth for the Father seeketh such to worship him,” (John 4:21, 23; KJV).
John the Baptist foresaw this moment. “I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh . . . he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire,” (Luke 3:16, KJV). Jesus also told Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” (John 3:5, KJV). “Cannot” means access denied. The “Holy Ghost” is essential to empower us for work here and for entrance into God’s kingdom.
“Speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Jesus said to him that “believeth and is baptized,” (Mark 16:16, KJV), that these signs will follow them. One of those signs is “they shall speak with new tongues,” (Mark 16:17, KJV). Other occurences and references to “speaking in tongues” are found in Acts 10:46 & 19:6. It’s also listed as a gift in 1 Corinthians 12:10 & 14:5.
Just remember the speaking of tongues was because the “Spirit gave them utterance.” They didn’t do this themselves but God’s Spirit loosened their tongues to flow in those languages they had not previously learned (Acts 2:6-8).
Pentecost was the climatic event after Passover. Shortly after, most would head home. But at this moment Jerusalem is filled with “devout men, out of every nation under heaven,” (vs. 5). When the Spirit filled those in the Upper Room, word got out and “confounded” the people. They were confused because they “heard them speak in his own language,” (vs. 6).
Their ears gave testimony that something new was going on, that something had definitely shifted amongst God’s people. The ears of these men play a vital role in verifying the great truth of what God was doing. They were the ones born with a certain language, (vs. 8). They were the ones who came from all the nations, (vs. 9-11). And with their ears they have testified that these “Galilaeans,” (vs. 7) are “speaking in our tongues the wonderful works of God,” (vs. 11).
If they went to court on the matter to verify this case they would be considered expert witnesses. They heard with their own ears the praises of God in their native tongue. How awesome is God to pour out His Spirit when there are so many verifiable witnesses present?
“What meaneth this?” Real, live, physical evidence is hard to deny in any case. What they just heard was exactly that: evidence. Now, they are wondering at what does it all mean? Usually, it’s one’s questioning that demands evidence of an answer. Here, the evidence provokes questions that seek for answers.
Throughout the remainder of Acts 2, Peter gives a Holy Ghost sermon that relayed the answers they were looking for. The Bible tells us that about three thousand souls were baptized that day, (Acts 2:41).
“These are filled with new wine.” Mockers is what the Bible called them. Jesus Himself was mocked by people (Luke 22:63; Mark 15:20; Matthew 27:38-44).
These were the resistant; the unbelievers who heard and saw the evidence and still denied the truth. This allowed them to comfortably place the blame on “new wine” instead of admitting the present power of God’s Spirit.
Everyone, every where will be held responsible for how they deal with the evidence of God’s power at work. Will they deny it as the mockers did? Or, will we allow this “New Power” to help us “To Proclaim the Truth?”
Below you will find some helpful activities and printables to help reinforce the lesson for this week. Click and enjoy!
New Power to Proclaim the Truth Draw the Scene: New Power to Proclaim the Truth Drawing Scene
Here are some additional activities I came up with:
Holy Ghost Power Page:
Our subject is teaching on the Power of the Holy Ghost. The word Power is Dunamis in the Greek. It is where we get our word Dynamite from. To demonstrate God’s power through the gift of the Holy Ghost for our lesson “New Power to Proclaim the Truth” print out fireworks page from Kookerkids.com and attach it to construction paper. Also attach our HOLY GHOST PRINTABLE. Last, let the students add sticker stars all over the page and there you have it. Enjoy!
Paper Bag House: Since our lesson occurs in a house, in an upper room, I adapted this craft from the book “Disney Family Fun Crafts” to meet the needs of this lesson. I have illustrated mine (very roughly, I admit), to look like you can see the people with the tongues of flames through the windows. Your students can decorate their house any way they want, but should still show the scene of Pentecost through the windows. Directions below on how to do this craft.
This is an easy crafts that requires little effort on the part of the teacher. You’ll need two paper bags (lunch). Have students decorate the one bag as the house. After it is decorated fill the other bag with crumbled up newspaper. Slide the bag that is decorated over top the newspaper bag and there you have it. A house that stands on its own. Enjoy!
Tongues as of Fire Activity:
The effects if this craft is done with crumbled up tissue and/or construction paper (I used both). Simply print out the flame from Primarygames.com and glue it onto construction paper. Put plenty of glue on the inside lines of the flame and apply the crumbled tissue and/or construction paper. Last, attach our verse for Acts 2:3 with this printable: Acts 2 Verse 3 Printable Page. There you have it. Enjoy!
Speaking in Tongues Collage:
This craft is perfect if you have old newspaper comics laying around. Just cut them out and glue onto construction paper to make a collage (I prefer the ones with word balloons on them to demonstrate speaking). In the middle, attach our cut-out printable Acts 2 Verse 4 Printable Page. There you have it. Enjoy!
Verse 9-11 Coloring Pages and Activities:
“World Coloring Pages” from Colormegood.com
“Country Coloring Page” from Squidoo.com
“Kids Around the World” Coloring Page from Color-page.in
More Children’s Activities and Coloring Pages:
“Pentecost Coloring and Puzzles” from Calvarycurriculum.com
“The Day of Pentecost” Craft from Emmanuel.org
“Receive the Spirit” Activity from Sermonsuite.com
“Pentecost: Birthday Party for the Church” from Worshiping With Children
“Feel the Wind in Your Face” Activity from Sermonsuite.com
“Pentecost Ideas” from Worshiping With Children
“New Wind Blowing” Group Activities from Sermons4kids
“Day of Pentecost” Coloring Page from Sermons4kids
“A New Wind Blowing” Sermons and Activities from Sermons4kids
“The Holy Spirit Comes” Coloring Page from Calvarywilliamsport.com
“The Day of Pentecost” Coloring Page from Calvarywilliamsport.com
To Demonstrate Wind you could also print out and make kites for the children. Let them write or draw something about today’s lesson on it. Enjoy!
“Kite Craft for Kids” from DLTK
“Simple Paper Kite” from Skiptomylou.org
“Paper Dove Kite” from Griffith.edu.au (This one is especially good because the dove is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Enjoy!)