“Pentecost: First Fruits (Part 1)”
“Pentecost: First Fruits (Part 1)”
-> Pastor Damian Mericka / 03 May 2020
Text: Acts 2:1-13
Series: Acts: Kingdom Vision 20/20
Introduction: Jesus changes everything. For the early believers here in Acts their entire Jewish history was coming alive in their Risen King. Nothing was going to be the same- and that is a good thing! As Jesus had Ascended, one day He will Return. Until then we find the Apostles waiting as He directed; in one accord praying for Jesus’ Promise to be fulfilled and the Holy Spirit to come…
Preparation: “Our need to be filled”
Turn to Acts 2:1. It had now been 10 days since Jesus’ Ascension and the Feast of Pentecost was upon them. While the excitement and passion to live for Jesus was still aflame within them, this period was no doubt a reminder of their need for Him. Jesus had told them very clearly that apart from Him they could do nothing (John 15:5); He was not just equipping them. Jesus was not only their Savior; He was their Lord.
Obedience did not earn God’s love; it is the fruit of His love in us. Obedience to His Word leads us and prepares us to receive what God has in store.
Jesus had led them to this place of waiting. This place of self emptying. The Spirit would come to fill empty vessels; not top off half full ones. As they prayed, worshiped and waited they were emptying themselves in order to be ready for His filling.
This was a divinely prepared place to be. As Passover served as a shadow of the deliverance Jesus would bring, Pentecost too had such a role that would find ultimate satisfaction in Him.
Note -> Exodus 23:10-19. When God had delivered Israel from Egyptian slavery, He commanded that they observe both the Sabbath Day along with three festivals commemorating this deliverance. These festivals are:
- The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Including Passover)
- The Feast of the Harvest / Weeks / First Fruits
- The Feast of Ingathering / Tabernacles / Booths
This Feast of First Fruits occurred fifty days after Passover; Pentecost means fiftieth. (Jesus resurrected and stayed for 40 days; then Ascended leaving the Apostles to wait 10 days = 50 days). This was a celebration of what God had provided in the investment of a greater harvest that would be know for the Feast of Ingathering. It was also the time of celebrating God giving the Law to Moses.
The stage is set; all is as God Sovereignly willed it to be. He is right on time!
First Fruits: “The Holy Spirit Comes”
What the Holy Spirit does within the Apostles
Continuing with Acts 2:2-4 we find Jesus’ Promise fulfilled. Have you ever had your windows open on a hot Summer day when a storm suddenly came out of nowhere? There usually is a strong gust of wind that blows through the house disrupting everything as our attention is gained, right? For the Apostles this would be an understatement.
While the wind and fire have a symbolic history representing God’s Presence for the Nation of Israel, what was occurring now was unprecedented. Turn to Numbers 11:24-30. Here we find the Lord directed Moses to choose 70 men among the Elders of Israel to gather around the Tabernacle. God took some of the Spirit that rested on him (Moses) and shared a portion with the 70 who immediately prophesied for a time. Moses would look forward to a time when God’s Spirit would be upon all the Lord’s people!
This time, through Jesus had finally come. The Spirit of God had come, dividing and resting equally on each of the Apostles. They were filled and began speaking in languages foreign to their tongues. What was shadowed with Moses and the Nation of Israel found greater reality in Jesus and the Church.
The emphasis from Pentecost onward is on the personal relationship of God to the believer through the Holy Spirit.
Two things occurred here:
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit. A singular event foretold by John the Baptizer in Matthew 3:11, Jesus baptizes us into His Body, the Church, through His Spirit. Note: 1 Corinthians 12:13, Romans 6:1-4; 8:9-11. The Apostle Paul is clear that the Baptism of Jesus is the giving of His Spirit to us at Salvation, which makes us a part of His Body, the Living Church.
- The Filling of the Holy Spirit. This is a repeated reality of Spirit-controlled behavior that we are commanded to maintain. We will see that Peter along with others throughout the Acts narrative are Filled repeatedly. The following will help us understand this better:
- Positively / Ephesians 5:15-21. The Spirit is fruitful in and through our lives in our Obedience through submission to His Work. Reading and teaching the Scriptures and worshiping God with music; this is the rhythm of healthy communication and community between us and God / us and the Body of Christ.
Communication -> Joy -> Thanksgiving -> Subjection
- Negatively / Ephesians 4:20-32. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we choose disobedience. We disconnect from God / create schism and division with the Body of Christ.
The Holy Spirit was the First Fruits from God, through Jesus for believers in this Dispensation!
See -> 2 Corinthians 1:20-22
What the Holy Spirit does through the Apostles
Now, in Acts 2:5-13 we find this gifting of languages was through the Apostles for those outside of that Upper Room. As they would go out into the streets of Jerusalem, they would be leaving their safe place behind for a work that continues into our day!
These devout men were the faithful observers of the Law given by God through Moses to gather for these three Festivals. The sound was the great wind that captured their attention as all eyes were searching for the cause, the Apostles descend with the Good News of Jesus- the Gospel!
As Moses descended Mount Sinai with God’s Law, the Apostles descend from the Upper Room with God’s Grace.
Remember- Jesus not invested in His 40 days showing proofs of His Resurrection; He was also teaching about the Kingdom. The Disciples asked if it were now going to be restored by King Jesus to Israel in which He told them the Spirit would come to empower them toward this effort. (Acts 1:3-5)
That time is coming (Feast of Ingathering) but right now is the season of First Fruits; shadows of that which is still to come!
Turn to Ezekiel 37:1-28. We do not have time to read and go through this entire chapter, but of great value to us in understanding what God is doing is found in Verses 11-28.
*Fun BONUS: Compare Ezekiel 37:11-14 with Matthew 27:52-53 / Ephesians 2:1.
After King David and Solomon, the United Kingdom of Israel broke into two separate Kingdoms (Northern / Ephraim & Southern / Judah). Both would come to abandon God; the North was taken into Assyrian Captivity and later the South fell to Babylon. While a remnant or fraction of the people of the Southern Kingdom would return to rebuild most remained scattered among the Gentile Nations. Hope of a reunion as a Nation to their Land was all but lost.
Both would abandon God; but God would not abandon them.
But God promised. He has spoken and He will do it (Ezekiel 37:14).
God is committed to Himself; in this His Commitment toward His people is secured.
Each of these men gathered in Jerusalem were there in this moment by a Divine Appointment. They are among the First Fruits of God restoring all things in according with His Word through Jesus, just as the Feasts outlined.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
-2 Peter 3:9
Note the chart showing where these devout men gathered from every Nation under Heaven have come from: (Source: NIV Study Bible)
Note -> Acts 2:11. Jews were believing God’s Promises enough that they were proselytizing (Gentile Converts to Judaism). Even in dispersion God’s Word remains present- active and alive!
These gathered were hearts of soil ready to receive and nurture into maturity the Gospel message of the promised inheritor of David’s Throne- Jesus! Like Arthur who pulled the sword from the stone, Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension were an affirmed authority as His Spirit is poured out upon all people in equal measure!
What exactly were the Apostles proclaiming? Acts 2:11 continues- the mighty works of God! They were proclaiming Scripture in declaration, worship and celebration!
All eyes and ears, respective to their language, were on the Apostles.
What does this all mean?
What does this mean for us today?
Jesus has become our Passover through the Atonement He alone provided- the lamb of God to take away the sins of the world.
The pouring out of the Holy Spirit through Baptism and Filling are present realities for us today; the First Fruits of God’s Restorative acts of His Kingdom Coming.
Like the Apostles, let us continually be:
- Emptying ourselves in order to be filled with the Spirit.
Put off the old self; put on the new self
Not filled with wine; filled with the Spirit
- Communicate in Christ’s love to one another
Address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs
- Cultivate Joyful Worship
Singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart
- Possess a Thankful Attitude
Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father
-In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ-
- Be in Subjection to one another
Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ
-Ephesians 4:22-32; 5:18-21
God does not ask this of us and leave us to accomplish this on our own.
God has baptized us with His Spirit; filling us with all that we need to live our lives in this manner before Him- brining His Name alone Glory!
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…