Sabbath, May 23, 2015
“In Christ’s day many heard the gospel, but their minds were darkened by false teaching, and they did not recognize in the humble Teacher of Galilee the Sent of God. But after Christ’s ascension His enthronement in His mediatorial kingdom was signalized by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost the Spirit was given. Christ’s witnesses proclaimed the power of the risen Saviour. The light of heaven penetrated the darkened minds of those who had been deceived by the enemies of Christ…. As the apostles set forth the glory of the Only-Begotten of the Father, three thousand souls were convicted.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 119, 120.
Waiting for the promise
1. What instruction did Jesus give to His disciples just before His ascension?
Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
Acts 1:4, 5 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
“After the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the Jews, the priests, and the rulers of this world expected to see the disciples of Christ cast down and discouraged, because their Lord had been put to death. The disciples might have reasoned that they were in danger, and that they would better go out of Jerusalem; some might have said, ‘Do not stay there, but if you do stay, do not mention the name of Christ; for He is regarded as an impostor.’ But Christ had said, ‘Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye are endued with power from on high.’ After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they were to begin their work in Jerusalem, and let it extend from this city to the uttermost parts of the earth.” –Review and Herald, April 22, 1890.
“In obedience to Christ’s command, they waited in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father–the outpouring of the Spirit. They did not wait in idleness. The record says that they were ‘continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.’ Luke 24:53. They also met together to pre-sent their requests to the Father in the name of Jesus. They knew that they had a Representative in heaven, an Advocate at the throne of God.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 35.
2. In what manner did the disciples wait for the accomplishment of the promise?
Acts 1:12-14 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. 13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
“As the disciples waited for the fulfillment of the promise, they humbled their hearts in true repentance and confessed their unbelief. As they called to remembrance the words that Christ had spoken to them before His death, they understood more fully their meaning. Truths which had passed from their memory were again brought to their minds, and these they repeated to one another…. The disciples prayed with intense earnestness for a fitness to meet men and in their daily intercourse to speak words that would lead sinners to Christ. Putting away all differences, all desire for the supremacy, they came close together in Christian fellowship. They drew nearer and nearer to God, and as they did this they realized what a privilege had been theirs in being permitted to associate so closely with Christ. Sadness filled their hearts as they thought of how many times they had grieved Him by their slowness of comprehension, their failure to understand the lessons that, for their good, He was trying to teach them.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 36, 37.
3. Recalling the commission given to them by their Master, what thought occupied the disciples’ minds?
Luke 24:46-48 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
“During the patriarchal age the influence of the Holy Spirit had often been revealed in a marked manner, but never in its fullness. Now, in obedience to the word of the Saviour, the disciples offered their supplications for this gift, and in heaven Christ added His intercession. He claimed the gift of the Spirit, that He might pour it upon His people.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 37.
“Jesus says, ‘Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto Me.’ It is the union of the Holy Spirit and the testimony of the living witness that is to warn the world. The worker for God is the agent through which the heavenly communication is given, and the Holy Spirit gives divine authority to the word of truth.” –Review and Herald, April 4, 1893.
Fulfillment of the promise
4. How long did they have to wait for the promise to be fulfilled? In what wonderful manner did Jesus’ promise come on the day of Pentecost?
Acts 1:5; 2:1-3 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence…. 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
“The Spirit came upon the waiting, praying disciples with a fullness that reached every heart. The Infinite One revealed Himself in power to His church. It was as if for ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now Heaven rejoiced in being able to pour out upon the church the riches of the Spirit’s grace. And under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven. Words of thanksgiving and of prophecy were heard. All heaven bent low to behold and to adore the wisdom of matchless, incomprehensible love. Lost in wonder, the apostles exclaimed, ‘Herein is love.’ They grasped the imparted gift. And what followed? The sword of the Spirit, newly edged with power and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way through unbelief. Thousands were converted in a day.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 38.
Results of the Spirit’s outpouring
5. What happened to the disciples after they received the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit? How many people were converted on that glorious day?
Acts 2:4-8, 41 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?… 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
“Under the training of Christ the disciples had been led to feel their need of the Spirit. Under the Spirit’s teaching they received the final qualification, and went forth to their lifework. No longer were they ignorant and uncultured. No longer were they a collection of independent units or discordant, conflicting elements. No longer were their hopes set on worldly greatness. They were of ‘one accord,’ ‘of one heart and of one soul.’ Acts 2:46; 4:32. Christ filled their thoughts; the advancement of His kingdom was their aim. In mind and character they had become like their Master, and men ‘took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.’ Acts 4:13….
“Under the influence of this heavenly illumination the scriptures that Christ had explained to the disciples stood out before them with the luster of perfect truth. The veil that had prevented them from seeing to the end of that which had been abolished, was now removed, and they comprehended with perfect clearness the object of Christ’s mission and the nature of His kingdom. They could speak with power of the Saviour; and as they unfolded to their hearers the plan of salvation, many were convicted and convinced. The traditions and superstitions inculcated by the priests were swept away from their minds, and the teachings of the Saviour were accepted.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 45, 44.
6. What assurance did the disciples have? What responsibility did they feel?
Acts 2:32, 36; 4:20, 29-31 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses…. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ…. 4:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard…. 29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
“Pentecost brought them the heavenly illumination. The truths they could not understand while Christ was with them were now unfolded. With a faith and assurance that they had never before known, they accepted the teachings of the Sacred Word. No longer was it a matter of faith with them that Christ was the Son of God. They knew that, although clothed with humanity, He was indeed the Messiah, and they told their experience to the world with a confidence which carried with it the conviction that God was with them…. Their hearts were surcharged with a benevolence so full, so deep, so far-reaching, that it impelled them to go to the ends of the earth, testifying to the power of Christ. They were filled with an intense longing to carry forward the work He had begun. They realized the greatness of their debt to heaven and the responsibility of their work. Strengthened by the endowment of the Holy Spirit, they went forth filled with zeal to extend the triumphs of the cross.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 45, 46.
7. Converted by the mighty power of the Spirit, how did the members of the church live and grow in those amazing days?
Acts 2:42-47; 4:32 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved…. 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
“Every Christian saw in his brother a revelation of divine love and benevolence. One interest prevailed; one subject of emulation swallowed up all others. The ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 48.
“When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the early church, the brethren loved one another. ‘They … did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people: and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.’ Those primitive Christians were few in numbers, without wealth or honor, yet they exerted a mighty influence. The light of the world shone out from them. They were a terror to evildoers wherever their character and their doctrines were known. For this cause they were hated by the wicked and persecuted even unto death.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 239, 240.
For personal study
“It is with an earnest longing that I look forward to the time when the events of the Day of Pentecost shall be repeated with even greater power than on that occasion. John says, ‘I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory’ Revelation 18:1. Then, as at the Pentecostal season, the people will hear the truth spoken to them, every man in his own tongue.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1055 (1886); Last Day Events, p. 202.
“The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the beginning of the early, or former, rain, and glorious was the result. To the end of time the presence of the Spirit is to abide with the true church.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 54, 55 (1911); Last Day Events, p. 184.