Joined Together Constantly in Prayer
Comments for Study 2
Memory Verse: 2:14
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I. The Prayer Meeting (1:12-26)
>1. Where did the disciples gather together? (12, 13a)
"Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying." -Acts 1:12-13a
* "Then" -Immediately after the angles appeared. Perhaps the angles disappeared just as they appeared.
* "they returned to Jerusalem" -the disciples had obeyed Jesus and the angles words. (4, 11)
* "a Sabbath day's walk from the city" -the Jewish religious leaders set up distances to walked on the Sabbath, the day of legal rest, which they felt would not break the Sabbath Law, 3/4 of a mile.
* "they went upstairs to the room" -The disciples had stayed in this room since the Last Supper with Jesus. (Luke 22:9-12) Most scholars believe that this was the home of Mark John's mother. (In Mark 14:51, 52 a young man is mentioned which is unique to Mark's account. This seems to have little to do with the account except that this man was a witness.)
* "upstairs...room" -In the disciples days the people built two story houses. The upper room was for guest and special occasions. This room was one big room. There usually was no windows. If there was any they were small. People on the street would not be able to see them.
* This was their first place of meeting. The Hebrew word for believers in Jesus meeting together is translated one of three ways; synagogue, congregation, and church. The first place for believers in Jesus to meet after his ascension was a "house church." House churches would be the normal meeting places until later. The first we know of was during Paul's ministry, when a formal meeting hall was rented. (19:9)
>Who was there? (13b)
"Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James." -Acts 1:13b
* "They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers." -Acts 1:14
* According to verse 15 there was about 120 altogether.
* Since it is listed as it is, the apostles were the main people there.
* All the disciples were together now. They meet together a lot. They had a lot of prayer meetings until the Holy Spirit came.
* Perhaps those included in this group were the wives of the apostles.
>2. What did they do? (14)
"They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers." -Acts 1:14
"'For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'" -Acts 1:5
* Corporate prayer unites the church with God and each other in God's purpose.
* Humanly there was nothing the disciples could do but pray. However, prayer was the best thing to do.
* Jesus did not directly tell the disciples to pray he only said, "Wait." But the disciples must have come to learn that waiting meant praying. Peter especially learned that in Gethsemane the night Jesus was arrested. (Mark 14:32-42)
* The apostles were now faithful and spiritual men. They had spiritually grown up.
>Think about the characteristics of the prayer meeting.
* This prayer meeting lasted seven to ten days, probably ten. Jesus died on Passover (from Thursday twilight to Friday twilight that year), rose on the Sunday three days later (Feast of the Wave of the Firsts Fruit), and the Holy Spirit came on what the church calls Pentecost. Pentecost is the end of the Jewish holiday called the Feast of Weeks, a forty-nine day (seven weeks) count after the Feast of the Wave of the First Fruit, with Pentecost of the fiftieth. (Lev. 23) Jesus was with the disciples for forty days (3).
* "They all" -none were excluded from prayer. No matter how long they had been with them or their position.
* "joined together" -Greek "homothumadon", pronounce "hom-oth-oo-mad-on"; Its an adverb from a comp. of the base of two words. It means "unanimously", or "with one accord", or "with one mind".
* "constantly" -there was non-stop prayer.
* "in prayer" -prayer is communication with God. It helps us understand and get closer to God, Jesus, God's will, the Holy Spirit, each other, and the truth about ourselves.
* "along with the women" -men and women prayed together.
* "and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers" -Jesus' human family became believers and members of the core of the church. Earlier they had differences with Jesus' life of mission.
>3. While they were praying, what problem arose in their hearts? (16)
"and said, 'Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus--'" -Acts 1:16
* The Judas problem was in there hearts.
* The disciples had not thought of this problem much. But when they began to pray the problem became more and more evident.
>Why was it a serious problem? (Mat. 27:3-10; Col. 4:2 1 Peter 3:7)
* "When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood." "What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility." So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said, 'It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.' So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 'They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me.'" -Matthew 27:3-10
* "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. -Col 4:2
* "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers." -1 Peter 3:7
* Judas was one of them, even an apostle. His failure and sin was a tragedy that was close to their hearts. According to 1 Peter 3:7 this hinders prayer. See also Matthew 5:23-24.
* Sin hinders our prayer. If one of the church members sin it hinders the church prayer, especially united prayer. Sin needs to be dealt with if we want to have effectual prayers.
* Judas' place was empty.
* Fatalism came into their hearts.
* Because of Judas' absence there was a broken vessel of prayer. A vessel of prayer is important because the Holy Spirit works within vessels of prayer.
>4. How did Peter display spiritual leadership in resolving this problem? (15-21)
"In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) and said, 'Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus--he was one of our number and shared in this ministry.' (With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 'For,' said Peter, 'it is written in the book of Psalms, "'May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,' and, "'May another take his place of leadership.' Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,'" -Acts 1:15-21
* Jesus foretold the disciple that Judas would betray him.
* "In those days" -during the many day prayer meeting. Reveals Luke's historical character of writing.
* "Peter stood up" -Peter took the lead. He not only knew the problem existed but addressed it openly. He had courageous faith. Jesus told Peter after you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. (Luke 22:32)
* "Brothers" -even though Judas had failed and the others showed weaknesses and no one addressed the problem, Peter recognized that they were all brothers, on the same level.
* "the Scripture had to be fulfilled" -Peter did not look at Judas' sin and failure from a human point of view but from God's point of view found in the Bible.
* "the scripture" -The Old Testament verses quoted in verse 20 was Psalm 69:25 and 109:8. Peter must have studied or read these verses earlier for the Holy Spirit to remind him of them.
* "Therefore it is necessary" -Peter not only found Judas' actions in the Bible but also the solution from the Bible. Peter knew the problem had to be solved.
>5. Who joined the Apostles as Judas' replacement? (21-26)
"'Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.' So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, 'Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.' Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles." -Acts 1:21-26
* "it is necessary" -Jesus' gave no hint to who the replacement could be during his earthly ministry. Even when the 12 remained after the feeding, and after he said one was a devil and would betray him Jesus said nothing about a need for replacement.
* "So they" -all the apostles worked together on solving the problem. Peter initiated and they all worked together.
* "proposed two men" -the disciples could pick out two amongst many. Disciples could do this with understanding of the Bible and Jesus' words.
* It takes humility to work together with each other and with God.
* "Then they prayed" -they relied on the Lord for the solution.
* "Lord you know everyone's heart" -even though the disciples could chose from certain criteria which they knew was good they did not know the heart, which only God could know.
* "Then they cast lots" -they cast lots so that everyone would know that it was God who chose. This was a simple thing to do. It took faith. God blessed their prayer and faith.
>What qualifications were required of Judas' successor?
"'who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us.'" -Acts 1:21b-22a
* "one of the men" -the replacement was a to be a man.
* "who have been with us" -the replacement needed fellowship with the brothers.
* "the whole time" -the replacement had to be faithful from beginning to end.
* "the Lord Jesus went in and out among us" -the replacement had to have a close relationship with Jesus both humanly and spiritually.
* "beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us." -In this way the brother would have good Bible study with Jesus. He would be well versed and would have understood a lot.
II. Pentecost (2:1-13)
>6. What do the words "like" and "what seemed to be" indicate about the coming of the Holy Spirit? (2-3)
"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." -Acts 2:1-3
* "the day of Pentecost came" -Pentecost is a day that the Lord established for Israel through Moses. (Lev. 23) They were to count forty-nine days (seven weeks of seven days) "from the day after the Sabbath, the day (they) brought the sheaf of the wave offering." (Lev. 23:15) Every year these two feasts were on a Sunday.
* "they were all together in one place" -meeting together in one place became common to the disciples.
* "Suddenly" -the disciples did not expect it at this time, although they were waiting for it.
* "Like...what seemed to be" -It was not of this world for there was not a name for it. In all of the disciples' life and travels they could not find a word that would indicate this was a natural or even some what of a common occurrence. It was indescribable.
* "wind" -the Greek word is "pnoe" which is pronounced, "pno-ay". It means "respiration" or a "breeze" or "breath" or "wind". Reflecting on Genesis 2:7 and John 3:8 we can learn more about this. (Eze. 37:9-14)
* "tongues of fire that separated" -this reminds me of the column of fire that lead the Israelites and the burning bush Moses saw on the mountain side. (Exo. 3:2, Heb. 12:29, Luke 3:16)
* "came to rest on each of them" -the Holy Spirit came gently on the disciples. The same happened to Jesus when he was baptized.
* "on each of them" -none was excluded.
* The purpose the Holy Spirit to appear this way was for disciples to understand what was happening. It fulfilled scripture.
>What is the immediate effect upon the disciples of Jesus? (4)
"All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." -Acts 2:4
* "All of them" -Again none were excluded.
* "filled with the Holy Spirit" -all parts of them.
* "began" -they had not done it before.
* "to speak in other tongues" -in other languages other than their native language. The language barrier came because of sin at Tower of Babel. It was to separate man who was sinning. Now the language barrier is being tore down. The tearing down of the language barrier came first by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Until this time men had little reason to learn another language. These days it is common to know at least two languages throughout the world.
* "as the Spirit enabled them" -it was the Holy Spirit's work.
>7. Describe the crowd that gathered. (5-11)
"Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: 'Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs--we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!'" -Acts 2:5-11
* Because of the Feast of Harvest (aka Pentecost).
* "Galileans" -unschooled in the Scriptures and Greek "knowledge".
>Why where these people so amazed and why did they even make fun of the disciples? (12-13)
"Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, 'What does this mean?' Some, however, made fun of them and said, 'They have had too much wine.'" -Acts 2:12-13
* "have had too much wine" -loudly, powerfully, joyfully, unafraid.
* Close minded people make fun of God's people.
* Not all will understand.
* "fun" -saw this work of God in human eyes.
* "amazed" -didn't understand.
>8. What do you think the purpose of speaking in different tongues was? (4)
"All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." -Acts 2:4
* "declared the works of God" -when we speak in tongues we can praise God. People knew it.
* Many where there with different languages.
* World mission barriers were torn down.
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