WHAT DO YOU MEAN—PENTECOSTAL?
Scripture: Acts 1:3–8, 2:1–39
Memory verse: Acts 1:8
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you."
Tell the class they are going to take an imaginary journey. They are to close their eyes and listen carefully as you describe this journey for them. Your description should sound something like the following:
Let’s imagine that we are with Jesus when He was ministering on earth. We are sitting with a crowd of people on a grassy hill, listening to Jesus teach God’s truths. You listen closely to every word. You never want Him to stop talking.
As Jesus speaks, He says something that sounds sad at first. He tells you He is going to have to return to heaven. You do not want Him to go. Then He makes a special request. He asks you to go into the world to tell others about Him. You feel frightened at the thought of witnessing to strangers without Jesus standing right beside you.
Then Jesus explains something. He says you will not be alone after all. Jesus is going to send a special Helper to you. This Helper will give you the courage to witness to others. He will show you special truths in God’s Word. He will encourage you to keep living for God.
After your discussion, tell the students this actually happened. Explain that this study is about the Helper who was with the disciples in the Early Church and is still with us today.
Hearing God’s Word
(Open your Bible to the main passage, Acts 2, as you begin your presentation.)
We have holidays when we celebrate special events in our nation. We have a day when we celebrate or remember our independence. The Jewish nation has similar holidays called feasts.
The Feast of Pentecost
In Bible times God’s people had many feasts or festivals each year. One of these celebrations was the Feast of Pentecost. The word Pentecost means “50.” This feast showed the harvest was ended 50 days after the Passover. The Feast of Pentecost lasted only one day. The people made sacrifices to God, and each family brought two loaves of leavened bread from the first wheat of the harvest. The Feast of Pentecost gave the people a chance to give thanks for the harvest.
Jesus’ Death and Resurrection
Ask: “What happened when Jesus celebrated His last Passover Feast on earth?” (Let the students briefly tell about last week’s study. Review Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection story.)
Jesus Promises a Helper
For 40 days after the Passover, Jesus stayed here on earth teaching the disciples more about God. Just before He left for heaven, Jesus told His disciples, “Wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father.”
Ask: “Do you know what promise Jesus was talking about?” (Allow responses.)
Since Jesus was going back to heaven, He promised that the Holy Spirit would take His place here on earth.
Jesus told His disciples that after they were baptized in the Holy Spirit they were to be witnesses. They were to tell people at home, in places nearby, and all over the world how Jesus had died for them and had come back to life to offer forgiveness of sins.
The exciting thing Jesus told His disciples was that the Holy Spirit would give Christians power to do the very things Jesus had told them to do. The Holy Spirit would help the disciples remember the things Jesus had taught them and would give them courage to witness. Today the Holy Spirit still helps Christians remember the things they have read in God’s Word and gives them power to be witnesses.
We witness by our words and by our actions. We all know that lying, stealing, not forgiving, and cheating are wrong. We need power within us to help us do what is right. The Holy Spirit will give us power to live the way God wants.
The Day of Pentecost
After Jesus was taken up into heaven, the disciples went back to Jerusalem. There they went upstairs in a house and had a prayer meeting that went on for several days.
Ten days after Jesus went back to heaven, the Day of Pentecost came. It had been 50 days since the people had given their offerings of wheat on the second day of the Passover. Jesus’ followers were in the Upper Room praying.
Suddenly a loud noise that sounded like a windstorm was right in the room where the people were praying. But there was no wind, only the sound of a wind. Then something that looked like flames of fire appeared and settled on each believer’s head. Everyone there was filled with the Holy Spirit, and they all began speaking in languages they had never learned as the Holy Spirit helped them.
Did you ever hear someone use the term “speaking in other tongues”? The people in this upstairs room were speaking in other tongues. That means each person was talking in a language that he himself did not know. The Holy Spirit was speaking through him.
Observers are Amazed
Many people were in Jerusalem that day. Some were visitors who had come for the Feast of Pentecost celebration. When they heard the sound, they came running to see what was happening. Some of the people were from faraway places. At least 15 different languages were spoken by people in the crowd. How surprised they were as they heard the people in the Upper Room speaking in these foreign languages! “How can these people know all the languages we speak?” they asked.
The most exciting part of all this was what the believers were saying. They were telling about the mighty miracles of God—in languages they themselves did not know, but the foreign visitors could understand! The disciples were doing what Jesus had told them to do—telling others about Him—through the Holy Spirit’s power.
Since this wonderful event happened on the Day of Pentecost, we speak of the “Pentecostal experience” when we refer to being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit fills Christians when they yield themselves to Him.
We Can Receive This Experience
When we receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we too will speak in other languages or “other tongues.” It may or may not be a language spoken on earth. But whether we speak in a language known or unknown to others, talking in a language we do not know is the sign that the Holy Spirit has filled our lives.
When the believers in Bible days received the Holy Spirit, they had power to witness. The Bible tells us we too can have the Holy Spirit to help us live good Christian lives and tell others about Jesus. (Ask a student to read Acts 2:38, 39.)
How can you receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit? First, you must have repented of your sins and asked forgiveness, believed in Jesus, and confessed Him as your Saviour and Lord. Then ask Jesus to fill you with His Holy Spirit. If you sincerely desire to receive this gift, and you yield your life completely to God, He will fill you. Spend time praising God for His love for you. When you sense that the Holy Spirit wants to speak through you, let Him. Do not be afraid.
The Holy Spirit will give us the power to tell about Jesus through our words and actions. Our memory verse promises us this power. Let us turn in our Bibles to Acts 1:8. (Read the verse together and say it several times in unison.) God wants everyone who believes in Him to be filled with His Spirit. We need this power to be good witnesses for Him. Have you received the baptism in the Holy Spirit? Continue to seek it. God will baptize you with His Spirit at the right time. Be sure you are living as God wants you to and earnestly seeking His power.
Accepting God’s Word
Tell the class one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs is to convict people of sin. Sin separates us from God, both now and forever. We need forgiveness for our sin, and we receive it only when we repent of our sins and accept Jesus as our Saviour. Ask if anyone would like to ask Jesus into their lives. Pray individually with those who respond.
Lord, it is easy to see that the Rashaida are among Africa’s Forgotten Peoples, for currently there is no overt presentation of the gospel among them. These beautiful people, veiling themselves from society, need a friend who cares about their spiritual condition.
Lord Jesus, You are their friend for You sit at the right hand of the Father in heaven making intercession for them. Your eye is upon the Rashaida! You have a plan for their redemption, a plan to establish worshipping groups of believers among them.
You were given a promise in Psalm 2:8: “Ask of me and I will make the nations (Rashaida) your inheritance.” You in turn gave us a command in Matthew 28:19 to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” This includes the Rashaida.
Jesus, open our eyes to see the spiritual depravity of the Rashaida; open our ears to hear Your call to the Rashaida harvest field; open our hearts to believe and pray for messengers to carry the good news of salvation to their families and villages.
May our willingness to go, pray and give of our resources be instrumental in securing the reward for Your suffering upon the Cross. May Your kingdom reign in the hearts of the Rashaida.
We lay this request before You and wait in expectation for the answer, knowing that our Heavenly Father is faithful to all His promises. Amen.
Remember: WHAT DO YOU MEAN—PENTECOSTAL?
Memory verse: Acts 1:8
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you."
1. The Holy Spirit provides power to present the gospel to unbelievers.
2. Jesus wants me to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.
3. Believers know they have been filled with the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit enables them to speak in a language they had not previously spoken.
Pray for the Rashaida to Accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
Study 10 | Jesus Says Go/We Believe | africaatts.org/go-teach