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Lesson2: Holy Spirit Baptism, Jesus' Church/Kingdom, Forgiveness

Book of Acts Bible Study Lessons - Course AThe Book of Acts - Course A, Lesson 2: free Bible study lessons; Fulfillment of the promise of Holy Spirit baptism and the beginning of the church or kingdom. Preaching of Jesus' miracles and resurrection. Repentance and baptism for forgiveness of sins.

Made available by David E. Pratte


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The First Gospel Sermon - Acts 2:1-41

Lesson 2


The events of this chapter begin as the 12 apostles (1:26) were gathered in Jerusalem waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit as Jesus had instructed in Acts 1. Please review the previous lesson before beginning.

I. The Coming of the Holy Spirit - Acts 2:1-13

The Promise of the Holy Spirit Fulfilled

>>> Please read Acts 2:1-4. <<<

*1&2* What filled the apostles, and what were they able to do (v4)? Answer: The were filled with the ______, so they spoke in ______.

Comment: Clearly this fulfilled the promise of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had told the apostles to wait for. It came in Jerusalem not many days after Jesus' ascension, just as He had said it would. But remember that the kingdom was to come when the Holy Spirit came. As our study proceeds, watch for more evidence that the kingdom had indeed begun.

The Gift of Speaking in Tongues

>>> Please read Acts 2:5-13. <<<

Jewish males were required to attend the feast of Pentecost, so Jews were present in Jerusalem from all over the world. The nations from which these men came are listed in vv 9-11. As people heard about what had happened to the apostles, a great crowd gathered to listen to them.

*3* Note v6. What did the hearers recognize when the apostles spoke? Answer: Each one heard them speak in his own [[[________]]].

Note that the "tongues" the apostles spoke (vv 4,11) are clearly identified as being "languages" (vv 6,8).

*4* From where had all the speakers come (v7)? (a) Jerusalem, (b) America, (c) Judea, (d) Galilee, (e) all the preceding. Answer: ______.

*5* What subject did the apostles speak about (v11)? Answer: They spoke about the ______ of God.

Comment: Note what we learn here about the miracle of tongues: The miracle of Bible tongues consisted of men being miraculously enabled to speak existing languages they had never studied. This miracle accomplished two purposes: (1) It enabled the apostles to teach people who did not speak their language, and (2) the miracle would show people the apostles were from God (Mark 16:17,20).

People today sometimes claim to receive "the Pentecost experience" of tongue-speaking, but they do not do what was done on Pentecost. Rarely do they claim to speak in an existing language; and if they do claim it, they cannot prove it is a language. No one else can recognize it as an existing language. What they actually speak is gibberish.

Tongue-speaking on Pentecost

* Speakers spoke previously existing languages.
* People who knew the language could recognize it.
* Hearers could understand the content and be instructed by it.
* Speakers had not learned the languages by studying them.

II. Peter's Sermon - Acts 2:14-36

A Prophecy of the Coming of the Spirit

The Holy Spirit had come to enable the apostles to preach about Jesus (Acts 1:8). Using the opportunity, Peter began by showing that the apostles were not drunk (as some thought), because it was too early.

>>> Please read Acts 2:14-21. <<<

*6* What Old Testament passage was fulfilled here (use your cross-references)? (a) Joel 2, (b) Genesis 2, (c) Judges 2, (d) Jonah 2. Answer: ______.

*7* What did the prophecy say would come on the people? Answer: God's ______ would be poured out on the people.

*8* What could people do as a result? (a) prophesy, (b) see visions, (c) dream dreams, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ______.

*9* When would this happen? Answer: It would happen in the ______.

Comment: "The last days" refers, not to the time of Jesus' second coming, but to the entire gospel age. Peter said the events on this day of Pentecost occurred "in the last days." Hebrews 1:1,2 says the last days were when God spoke through His Son, in contrast to the time past when he spoke to the fathers by the prophets. (Cf. 1 Peter 1:20; 1 John 2:18.)

Peter's point is that events on Pentecost began the fulfillment of God's promise to send the Holy Spirit on His people.

*10* What could happen to those who turned to the Lord (v21)? Answer: Those who called on the Lord would be ______.

Peter used the opportunity to begin preaching the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. This is what the people really needed to hear.

Jesus' Miracles

>>> Please read Acts 2:22,23. <<<

*11,12&13* What had God done through Jesus among the people? Answer: Jesus had been empowered to do ______, _______, and ________ among them.

*14* Why does the Bible record Jesus' miracles (John 20:30,31)? Answer: By reading the record of Jesus' signs, we can ______ that He is the Christ, the Son of God.

Comment: Peter was preaching to the same people who had killed Jesus at the previous Passover. He intended to prove that the one they had killed was in fact the Christ, the Son of God (cf. v36). He used three proofs to convince them. The first proof was Jesus' miracles.

*15* What had the people done to Jesus? (a) crowned Him King, (b) honored Him, (c) crucified Him, (d) believed in Him. Answer: ______.

*16* Who had foreknown that this would happen? Answer: This was done by the foreknowledge of ______.

Comment: Many premillennial folks claim that Jesus came to earth expecting to set up an earthly kingdom, but unexpectedly the people rejected and killed Him. However, the Bible says that God knew all along this would happen (cf. Isaiah 53).

God sent Jesus knowing He would die as the sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16; Eph. 1:7; Rom. 5:6-9; Matt. 26:28; 20:28).

Jesus' Resurrection and Fulfillment of Prophecy

>>> Please read Acts 2:24-28. <<<

*17* What did God do after men crucified Jesus? Answer: God ______ Jesus from the dead.

Comment: God does not expect people to believe in Jesus without proof. Peter's second proof was the resurrection, and he proved this by two lines of evidence: fulfilled prophecy and eyewitness testimony.

*18* Name the book and chapter quoted in v25-28 (see cross-references). Answer: The passage is (give book and chapter only) ______.

*19* Who spoke this prophecy? (a) Moses, (b) David, (c) Joseph Smith, (d) Mohammed, (e) all the preceding. Answer: ______.

*20&21* What did the prophecy say would happen to his soul and flesh? Answer: His soul would not stay in ______; His flesh would not suffer or undergo ______.

Comment: Hades ("hell" in some translations) here refers to the abode of departed or disembodied spirits (cf. Luke 16:19-31). The man described here would die, and his spirit would go to Hades but would not stay there. His flesh would not decay. How can this be? Peter explains.

>>> Please read Acts 2:29-32. <<<

Peter proved David was not prophesying about himself, since David did die and see corruption (cf. Acts 13:34-37).

*22* About whom was David speaking? (a) himself, (b) Buddha, (c) Christ, (d) Mary Baker Eddy, (e) all the preceding. Answer: ______.

*23* Where would Christ then sit? Answer: Christ would sit on ______.

Comment: If Jesus sat on David's throne, then he must be king!

*24* What event was David predicting? (a) the end of the earth, (b) the fall of Jerusalem, (c) his own death, (d) the resurrection of Christ. Answer: ______.

*25* How did Peter confirm that this had really occurred? Answer: The apostles were ______ that Jesus had been raised.

Comment: Peter showed that David was speaking as a prophet about his descendant the Christ, who would sit on David's throne. The prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus arose from the dead. The testimony of the apostles confirmed this to be true.

Note that the apostles were bearing testimony of the resurrection, exactly like Jesus had said they would. And the Holy Spirit was empowering them to do so, as promised in Acts 1:8. This proved that Jesus was king and His kingdom had begun. Jesus was on David's throne!

>>> Please read Acts 2:33-36. <<<

*26* What promise was fulfilled by the things the people were seeing and hearing? (a) the Holy Spirit had come, (b) Peter was Pope, (c) Abraham had returned, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ______.

*27* What passage is quoted in vv 34,35 (see cross-references)? (a) Isaiah 53, (b) Jeremiah 31, (c) Genesis 2, (d) Psalm 110. Answer: ______.

*28&29* What conclusion did Peter want the people to reach (v36)? Answer: Jesus is both ______ and ______.

Comments: Peter clearly says that the promise of the Holy Spirit had been fulfilled, just as had been predicted in Acts 1:3-8. But remember the kingdom would come when the Spirit came.

Peter quoted Psalm 110:1-4, which said Jesus would rule at God's right hand as a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6-8 explains that this means He would be both king and priest at the same time. Peter here shows this has been fulfilled. The Spirit had come and Jesus was at God's right hand. Hebrews shows He is our priest now. Therefore, Jesus must be king now and His kingdom must have begun.

Proofs that the Kingdom Had Begun

* The Holy Spirit had come with power (cf. Mark 9:1; Acts 1:8)
* Jesus is on God's right hand (vv 33,34; cf. Psalm 110:1-4)
* Jesus is on David's throne (v30).
* Jesus would be King when He is priest (Psalm 110).
See also Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:9.

Some people say Jesus' kingdom still has not come even today. But Peter showed that Jesus' kingdom was in existence then, and people could become part of it. If Jesus is priest and king at the same time, then His kingdom must be spiritual in nature, not an earthly civil government (John 18:36). Our future studies will show that the kingdom is Jesus' church (Matthew 16:18,19). See the links at the end of this study to learn more about the beginning of the kingdom.

The conclusion of this great gospel sermon was that Jesus is Lord (ruler) and Christ (the anointed one or the Messiah). God had anointed His son to serve as King over His people. The Jews had been responsible for the death of their own Messiah, the Son of God!

III. The Reaction of the Multitude - Acts 2:37-41

Requirements of Forgiveness

>>>Please read Acts 2:37,38. <<<

*310* How did the people react to Peter's sermon? Answer: The people were cut to the heart and asked, "What shall we ______?".

*31* Were these people: (a) forgiven people asking how to show they had been forgiven, or (b) guilty people asking how to be forgiven? Answer: ______.

*32&33* What did Peter tell them to do about their sins? Answer: Peter said to ______ and be ______ in Jesus' name.

*34* For what reason did he say they should be baptized? Answer: They should be baptized for the ______ of sins.

Comment: Clearly Peter's sermon had convicted these people of their guilt. They wanted forgiveness, so Peter told them how to receive it.

To "repent" means to change ones mind about sin (Matt. 21:28-32). A person must recognize his guilt and must decide to turn away from sin and begin obeying God. Many other passages show repentance is necessary to forgiveness (Acts 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9; Luke 13:3,5; 2 Cor. 7:10).

Peter also said to "be baptized." Clearly Acts 2:38 does not refer to Holy Spirit baptism as promised to the apostles in Acts 1:3-8. That promise had been fulfilled in 2:1-4. Verse 38 refers to the baptism of the Great Commission, which all people are commanded to obey.

Note how this passage harmonizes with the Great Commission:

Facts about Baptism Great Commission Acts 2
Baptism commanded Mark 16:16; Matt. 28:19 Acts 2:38
For all people Mark 16:16; Matt. 28:19 Acts 2:38,39
Preceded by hearing Mark 16:15 Acts 2:14-40
Preceded by faith Mark 16:16 Acts 2:36
Preceded by repentance Luke 24:47 Acts 2:38
Necessary to salvation Mark 16:16 Acts 2:38

So here for the first time the apostles preached salvation through the death of Jesus as commanded in the Great Commission. All people ("every one of you" - v38) need to obey this instruction, because all need forgiveness (Rom. 3:23). This applies to future generations ("your children") and "all who afar off" (v39). This includes all of us today.

The Multitude's Response

>>> Please read Acts 2:40,41. <<<

*35* What further instruction did Peter give? Answer: He told them to be saved from that ______ generation.

*36* How many obeyed and were baptized? Answer (give a number): ______.

*37* How soon were they baptized? (a) Six months later, (b), never, (c) the same day, (d) they waited till a baptismal service weeks later. Answer: ______.

Comments: Some people say baptism is not necessary to salvation. So they believe Peter was speaking to saved people, telling them how to outwardly express that they had already been saved. But that is clearly not the case.

Peter was addressing lost sinners telling them how to be "saved." This is clear because: (1) They were "cut to the heart" when Peter preached they were guilty of crucifying Christ (v36,37). (2) They asked what to do about it (v37). (3) Peter told them what to do to be saved, including repentance (v38,40). Do innocent people still need to repent?

Furthermore, Peter said to be baptized "for the remission of sins" (v38). Compare this to Matthew 26:28, where Jesus said He would die for many "for remission of sins." He died in order that people might receive remission. So Acts 2:38 must mean that people should be baptized "in order to receive the remission of sins." This agrees with many other Scriptures (see Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:27; 1 Peter 3:21). So Peter was here telling these people how to call on the name of the Lord, so they could be saved, as he had mentioned in v21.

When God specifies the purposes for which we should do an act, we displease Him when our motives or reasons for acting do not harmonize with His will. For example, we must partake of the Lord's Supper in memory of Jesus' death. We displease God if we do the actions for the wrong reasons (see 1 Cor. 11:23-29). Likewise, people must be baptized for the right reason: for remission of sins. Think: What would be our condition if we were baptized for some reason other than what God has specified?

We will study many examples of conversion in the Book of Acts. As we do, we will summarize what we learn. Sometimes when people tell a story they give many details, but other times they give fewer details. The same is true in Bible history. As we summarize Bible conversions, we will list only the facts that are specifically mentioned. By considering several examples, however, we will learn all that sinners must do to be forgiven.

The conversion of the Jews on Pentecost may be summarized as follows:

The Conversion of the Jews on Pentecost - Acts 2

Hearing Belief Repentance Confession Baptism Result
v14-41 (v36) v38   v38,41 Remission v38


Note the urgency of baptism in this case. 3000 people were baptized on that same day (v41). When people today decide they want to be baptized, denominations often postpone their baptisms till a "baptismal service" weeks or even months later. They do this because, as we have seen, they do not believe baptism is necessary for salvation. They don't believe people are still guilty of their sins, even though those people have not been baptized. Such teaching disagrees with the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:8,9).

Baptism in the Bible was always an urgent act, because people are not saved till they are baptized. People must be baptized for the purpose of receiving remission of sins, so before baptism they are still guilty of their sins. Jesus' church today must faithfully teach and practice the gospel just as Jesus inspired the apostles to teach it.

Jesus' kingdom had begun! 3000 souls were added to it in response to the first gospel sermon!

Personal application questions:

Remember that these questions do not affect your "score." But they do help you make application of the lesson, and they help us be aware of what our students understand and believe.

*38* Do you believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God? __________________

*39* Have you repented of your sins? __________________

*40* Have you been baptized? __________________

*41* If you have been baptized, did you do it for the purpose of receiving remission of your sins by the blood of Jesus Christ? __________________

When you have carefully studied this lesson and written down answers to all the questions, click on this link to submit your answers.

(C) Copyright David E. Pratte, 1999

Topics for further Bible study

Our Need for Forgiveness
The Importance of Obedience
Is Baptism Essential to Salvation?
Direct Revelation, Tongues, & Miracles for Today?
Premillennialism & Jesus' Kingdom - Return to the Bible Study Lessons home page.

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