1. PREPARING FOR THE OUTPOURING
a. In answer to prayer, what happened when the disciples were of one accord in one place—and what can we learn from this? Luke 11:13; Acts 2:1, 2.
“Notice that it was after the disciples had come into perfect unity, when they were no longer striving for the highest place, that the Spirit was poured out. They were of one accord. All differences had been put away. . . .
“The disciples did not ask for a blessing for themselves. They were weighted with the burden of souls. . . .
“Let Christians put away all dissension and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them ask in faith for the promised blessing and it will come.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 20, 21.
“We may safely seek to be of one accord in doctrine and spirit, and if this were done, we would be in harmony with God’s will. If selfishness and pride and vanity and evil surmising were put away, we would become strong in God, and the door of our heart would be open for the entrance of Christ; the baptism of the Holy Ghost would fall upon us, and we should be filled with all the fullness of God.”—The Review and Herald, April 22, 1890.
2. BEFORE A MULTI-NATIONAL AUDIENCE
a. What miracle did the disciples soon experience—and why was it needed? Acts 2:3–11. How had this event been prophesied? Mark 16:17.
“The Holy Spirit, assuming the form of tongues of fire, rested upon those assembled. This was an emblem of the gift then bestowed on the disciples, which enabled them to speak with fluency languages with which they had heretofore been unacquainted. The appearance of fire signified the fervent zeal with which the apostles would labor and the power that would attend their work.
“ ‘There were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.’ During the dispersion the Jews had been scattered to almost every part of the inhabited world, and in their exile they had learned to speak various languages. Many of these Jews were on this occasion in Jerusalem, attending the religious festivals then in progress. Every known tongue was represented by those assembled. This diversity of languages would have been a great hindrance to the proclamation of the gospel; God therefore in a miraculous manner supplied the deficiency of the apostles. The Holy Spirit did for them that which they could not have accomplished for themselves in a lifetime. They could now proclaim the truths of the gospel abroad, speaking with accuracy the languages of those for whom they were laboring. This miraculous gift was a strong evidence to the world that their commission bore the signet of Heaven. From this time forth the language of the disciples was pure, simple, and accurate, whether they spoke in their native tongue or in a foreign language.”—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 39, 40.
b. How was an Old Testament prophet shown a dangerous counterfeit of this gift? Isaiah 8:19, 20.
“Some of these persons [ruled by a spirit of fanaticism] have exercises which they call gifts and say that the Lord has placed them in the church. They have an unmeaning gibberish which they call the unknown tongue, which is unknown not only by man but by the Lord and all heaven. Such gifts are manufactured by men and women, aided by the great deceiver.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 412.
3. PURSUING THE GENUINE
a. Explain the difference between cheap, shallow quasi-religious excitement vs. genuine Holy Spirit-led revivals. Matthew 7:15–20; Psalm 77:6.
“Fanaticism, false excitement, false talking in tongues, and noisy exercises have been considered gifts which God has placed in the church. Some have been deceived here. The fruits of all this have not been good. ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits.’ Fanaticism and noise have been considered special evidences of faith. Some are not satisfied with a meeting unless they have a powerful and happy time. They work for this and get up an excitement of feeling. But the influence of such meetings is not beneficial. When the happy flight of feeling is gone, they sink lower than before the meeting because their happiness did not come from the right source. The most profitable meetings for spiritual advancement are those which are characterized with solemnity and deep searching of heart; each seeking to know himself, and earnestly, and in deep humility, seeking to learn of Christ.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 412.
b. What distinctly identifies Christ’s true followers in this world? James 2:18; Galatians 5:6.
“We should show our faith by our works. A greater anxiety should be manifested to have a large measure of the spirit of Christ; for in this will be the strength of the church. It is Satan who is striving to have God’s children draw apart. Love, oh, how little love we have—love for God and for one another! The word and spirit of truth, dwelling in our hearts, will separate us from the world. The immutable principles of truth and love will bind heart to heart, and the strength of the union will be according to the measure of grace and truth enjoyed. Well would it be for us each to hold up the mirror, God’s royal law, and see in it the reflection of His own character. Let us be careful not to neglect the danger signals and the warnings given in His word. Unless heed is given to these warnings, and defects of character are overcome, these defects will overcome those who possess them, and they will fall into error, apostasy, and open sin. The mind that is not elevated to the highest standard will in time lose its power to retain that which it had once gained.”—Ibid., vol.5, p. 537.
4. OPPORTUNITIES AWAIT US
a. As the disciples spoke clearly through the Spirit, what two responses were heard—one revealing interest and the other incited by Satan’s typical tactic of ridicule? Acts 2:12, 13.
“When the Lord is about to do a work, Satan moves upon someone to object.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 535.
“The Lord was at work in His own way; but had there been such a manifestation among us, upon whom the ends of the world are come, would not some have mocked, as on that occasion? Those who did not come under the influence of the Holy Spirit knew it not. To this class the disciples seemed like drunken men.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 66.
b. What can we learn from the way Peter promptly clarified what was happening? Acts 2:14–21.
c. How was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy that the apostle cited also to be repeated in our day? Joel 2:28, 29.
“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.’ Then, as at the Pentecostal season, the people will hear the truth spoken to them, every man in his own tongue.
“God can breathe new life into every soul that sincerely desires to serve Him, and can touch the lips with a live coal from off the altar, and cause them to become eloquent with His praise. Thousands of voices will be imbued with the power to speak forth the wonderful truths of God’s Word. The stammering tongue will be unloosed, and the timid will be made strong to bear courageous testimony to the truth.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1055.
5. LEADING MINDS TO CHRIST
a. How did Peter introduce the multitude to Christ? Acts 2:22–24.
“The scene is one full of interest. Behold the people coming from all directions to hear the disciples witness to the truth as it is in Jesus. They press in, crowding the temple. Priests and rulers are there, the dark scowl of malignity still on their faces, their hearts still filled with abiding hatred against Christ, their hands uncleansed from the blood shed when they crucified the world’s Redeemer. They had thought to find the apostles cowed with fear under the strong hand of oppression and murder, but they find them lifted above all fear and filled with the Spirit, proclaiming with power the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth. They hear them declaring with boldness that the One so recently humiliated, derided, smitten by cruel hands, and crucified, is the Prince of life, now exalted to the right hand of God.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 42.
b. How did Peter again bring prophecy into his discourse? Acts 2:25–36.
c. Describe the amazing operation of the Holy Spirit at that instant. Acts 2:37; John 16:7, 8.
“It is the office of the Holy Spirit to reveal to the mind the character of the consecration that God will accept. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit, the soul is enlightened, and the character is renewed, sanctified, and uplifted.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 134.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What may be blocking me personally from fully receiving the Holy Spirit?
2. For what practical purpose did the apostles need the gift of tongues?
3. How is emotionalism a snare to having a real experience with Christ?
4. What should I recall whenever God works differently than I expect?
5. Describe the two types of people who were listening to Peter’s sermon.