THINK: The book of Acts is a continuation of Luke's Gospel, picking up the story after Jesus ascended back to heaven. Acts is essentially an account of how Jesus' followers - in the power of the Holy Spirit - continued to spread Jesus' message and reproduce His work. Acts provides a general history of the beginning of the Church - the worldwide community of all true followers of Christ - which He established to convey His life- transforming message throughout the earth.
RESPOND: When the author, Luke, says that he wrote about "all that Jesus began to do and to teach," what does that statement imply? (See 1:1 note.) How and through whom are Jesus' works to continue? What are some of the proofs Jesus gave His followers that He was alive? What additional proofs do we have today? What was the gift that Jesus' followers were instructed to wait for? (See 1:5 note.) What would this gift provide for Jesus' followers? (See 1:8 note.) According to this passage, what's the purpose of the Holy Spirit's power in believers' lives? What does it mean to be Jesus'"witnesses"? (See 1:8 note.) How does the Holy Spirit enable Jesus' followers to do this? What hope and promise did Jesus' followers receive when He left earth (v. 11)? What did Jesus' closest followers do con- stantly as they joined together? (See 1:14 note.) How is this an example and a challenge for Jesus' followers today?
PRAY: Ask Jesus to continue His powerful work through you. Give God thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who provides power for you to spread the message about Jesus.
ACT: Take your Bible with you today and in your spare time read the article on Baptism in the Holy Spirit, p. 1508. This topic is foundational to much of the ministry activity you'll see throughout the book of Acts. It should also be foundational to your life and service for Jesus. Also, make sure you're involved in some sort of consistent prayer time with others in your church and perhaps as part of a prayer or Bible group at your school or work.
THINK: Acts chapter 2 is one of the key passages in all the Bible for those who consider themselves to be "Pentecostal." A Pentecostal perspective is based on a firm belief that Christians today can and should experi- ence the purposes and power of God's Holy Spirit in the same way Christ's followers did in the first century church. This chapter describes events on the day when God generously sent the gift of the Holy Spirit to fill and empower His followers so they could pursue and accomplish their ultimate mission for Him on earth.
RESPOND: What is Pentecost? (See 2:1 note.) What was the atmosphere surrounding the Holy Spirit's arrival (v. 1)? What was significant about the extraordinary signs accompanying the Spirit's arrival? (See 2:2-3 note.) What's the significance of being "baptized in" or "filled with" the Holy Spirit? (See 2:4 note; See also 4:31 note.) In this passage, what's the initial physical evidence of being baptized in the Holy Spirit? (See 2:4 note.) What does it mean to "speak in other tongues"? What was the first indication that the baptism in the Holy Spirit would provide a witness to people of all nations (vv. 5-12)? What does Peter's message indicate about the Spirit's life-transforming power? (See 2:14-40 note.) What Old Testament prophecy began to be fulfilled on Pentecost? (See 2:16 note.) What are "the last days" mentioned in verse 17 (see first note)? What does it mean that "Your sons and daugh- ters will prophesy"? (See 2:17 second note.) Who can be baptized in the Holy Spirit and what indication does Joel give that the baptism in the Spirit is still available for every Christian? (See 2:18 notes.) Why was it "impossible for death to keep its hold" on Jesus? (See 2:24 note.) What does the outpouring of the Holy Spirit prove about Jesus? (See 2:33 note.) What's significant about the fact that Jesus is "both Lord and Christ"? (See 2:36 note.)
PRAY: Pray that the power of the Holy Spirit flows through you to effectively communicate Jesus' message. If you haven't been baptized in the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, ask God to give you this powerful gift.
ACT: Make a deliberate effort to talk to at least one person about Jesus today. If you haven't been baptized in the Holy Spirit since receiving Christ, spend time worshiping God and waiting for His power to fill you. Read the articles on Baptism in the Holy Spirit, p. 1508, and Speaking in Tongues, p. 1514 for practical insight in receiving this gift.