Then because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
The disciples were very busy people doing very important things. Missing a meal during the course of a busy week is understandable for anyone, but Jesus noticed. His invitation isn’t to do more. His invitation is radical, especially in today’s 24-7 connected world.
Kathy Khang is a writer, speaker, and coffee drinker based in the north suburbs of Chicago. She is a columnist for The Covenant Companion, the Evangelical Covenant Church magazine, and is one of the authors of More Than Serving Tea (InterVarsity Press, 2006). Catch Kathy as she blogs, tweets and curates a visually interesting life on Facebook.
Main Point: God gives us the Holy Spirit to grow His kingdom.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Acts 1:8 NLT
PROPS: 4 signs that say “Filled with Power”, tape, 3 small pieces of paper
Say: Last week, we looked at the VICTORY of Jesus’ power over sin and death. When God raised Jesus from the dead, He fulfilled the promise that He made way back in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3:15, God promised that He would send a Savior to crush the devil. The entire Bible points to this event – the moment that Jesus would be raised, and evil would no longer rule over the hearts of men. There is no greater news for us! (1 Corinthians 15:20-23) God raised Jesus to give new life to all who believe – life in God’s kingdom, life in which we are no longer slaves to sin, and life in which we are sons and daughters of the God of the universe! (John 3:36, Romans 6:4-7, Ephesians 1:4-7)
God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. – Ephesians 1:5-8
A Big Promise (John 14)
Say: The night before Jesus willingly went to the cross, He spent time with His disciples, teaching them the most important things. Knowing what was ahead for them, Jesus wanted them to take every word to heart (Psalm 119:11). Jesus made some really big promises to His disciples. God ALWAYS keeps His promises!
One of the promises is written in John 14:12:
“What I’m about to tell you is true. Anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. In fact, he will do even greater things. That is because I am going to the Father.”
Did you hear that? Jesus promised that the disciples would do GREATER things than Jesus did! Ask: What are some of the amazing things that Jesus did? He cast out evil spirits, healed a paralyzed man, calmed the storm, walked on water, and taught with great authority! Say: So how in the world could His disciples do GREATER things than these? Jesus gives the answer in John 16:5:
But now I am going back to the Father who sent Me, and none of you asks Me where I am going. You are very sad from hearing all of this. But I tell you that I am going to do what is best for you. That is why I am going away. The Holy Spirit cannot come to help You until I leave. But after I am gone, I will send the Spirit to you. – John 16:5-7 CEV
Jesus said that when He went to be with His heavenly Father, He would send God’s Holy Spirit to live in each of them! Some Bible translations call God’s Spirit the Counselor, or Friend, or Helper. The disciples were terribly sad to hear that Jesus was going away from them (John 16:17-18). But Jesus promised them that it was best for them that He leave so He could send God’s Spirit to live inside of each of them. Soon they would be filled with the same power that Jesus was filled with! (Luke 4:1) That’s how they would do even greater things than Jesus did.
Illustration: Let’s look at it this way. Call up 3 volunteers. Let’s say, I am filled with power. Tape a large sign on yourself that says, “Filled with power.” I am doing great things – things that you have never seen before, or even imagined were possible. Stand close to the volunteers. Say: You love being near me because of my awesome power and incredible teaching. Being near me is very good – there’s no doubt about that. And because you are near me, I can even give you some of my power, sometimes, to do certain tasks (Matthew 10:1). Hand each volunteer a small piece of paper from your pocket. But you are not filled with power; you only have it sometimes. Everyone look at me and look at my 3 friends. Notice our power. Then, let’s say the time has come for me to leave. Walk away from them. But when I leave, I will send you my power. Pick up three “Filled with power” signs and return to tape them on each volunteer. You will be filled to the brim with power – enough power to do everything I had ever done, and then some! Now everyone look at the volunteers. Were they better off before I left, or now? Now. Now they are filled with power! It was better for them that I left and sent them power!
Application: Jesus promised His disciples that when He left, He would send them God’s Holy Spirit, and in His power they would do impossible things and teach with authority. Should the disciples believe Jesus’ promise? Yes! Jesus promises that every single person who trusts in Him will receive the Holy Spirit. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we will do impossible things and tell others about Him (Ephesians 1:13-14, Acts 1:8). Should you believe His promise? Yes!
Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven (Acts 1:1-11)
Say: After Jesus was raised from the dead, He remained on the earth for forty days. During that time, He appeared to the disciples and others, teaching them about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
One day while they were eating, Jesus told the disciples that in just a few days they would be filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said:
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. Then you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem. You will be My witnesses in all Judea and Samaria. And you will be My witnesses from one end of the earth to the other.”
After Jesus said this, He was taken up to heaven. They watched until a cloud hid Him from their sight. – Acts 1:8-9
The disciples worshipped Jesus and they were overwhelmed with joy (Luke 24:51). Now they would wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus had promised to send.
PENTECOST (Acts 2)
Ask: Has anyone ever told you that they had a gift to give you? Say: Maybe it was a birthday present that your friend bought a few days before your birthday. Your friend told you that he had a gift waiting for you, and that you would love it. You were so excited. You didn’t know what it was, but you looked forward receiving it because you knew that your friend would give you a special gift. Jesus promised His disciples that when He left, He would send them the very special gift of God’s Holy Spirit. They looked forward to the gift, even though they didn’t understand exactly what it would be like to have it. After all, Jesus promised that having this gift would be better than having Him right there with them! This would be SOME gift! They waited expectantly, believing they would receive this gift (Matthew 21:22).
Say: The disciples went to Jerusalem, as Jesus had instructed them to do. They stayed together, praying all the time with the other believers. There were about 120 believers in all (Acts 1:12-15).
Teacher Note: In Luke 11:9-13, Jesus promises that God is the Giver of good gifts. The Father’s will to bless us far exceeds the desire mere men have to bless their own children. Jesus exhorts, “How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Acts 1:14 gives evidence that the disciples took this to heart, praying constantly as they awaited the amazing gift.
Say: About a week later, all the Jewish people were celebrating the Feast of Weeks (Shavu’ot in Hebrew). This was a celebration that God told the Israelites to celebrate every year (Leviticus 23:15-16,21). It was the anniversary of the day that God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. It happened seven weeks, or 50 days, after the Passover. God said that His people should celebrate this day with special offerings and by doing no work. No matter where they lived, God wanted the Jews to come celebrate this feast. We call it the feast Pentecost, which means “the fiftieth day.” Jewish people who lived in other countries had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost. The Bible says they came from every country under the sun (Acts 2:5). Ask: Who can call out the name of a country? Listen for answers, and add your own: Egypt, Syria, Libya, Arabia, etc. Say: Just imagine all the different languages these people would have spoken! Say something in a different language if you can.
The day of Pentecost came. The believers all gathered in one place. Suddenly a sound came from heaven. It was like a strong wind blowing. It filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw something that looked like tongues of fire. The flames separated and settled on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak in languages they had not known before. The Spirit gave them the ability to do this. – Acts 2:1-4
Wow! This was no ordinary Pentecost! Suddenly there was a really loud sound like a strong wind. Where did the wind sound come from? Heaven. Wind is often a symbol for God’s Spirit in the Bible (John 3:8). In the Hebrew and Greek languages, the word for Spirit and wind are actually the same. The believers saw a sight that no one had ever seen before. It looked like tongues of fire. Now, it was not fire, but it looked something like fire. It’s interesting that the flames looked like tongues. Our tongues are what allow us to speak (James 3:5-8). These “tongues” changed the way these believers were able to speak! (1 Corinthians 2:4)
The loud sound of the wind makes me think of how people often say that a tornado sounds like a freight train is coming! Whatever it sounded like, people outside the house could hear it. The loud sound brought people running to see what was happening.
When the Jews who were visiting from all the other countries arrived at the house where the disciples were, they could hear every different language being spoken! The visiting Jews were amazed. They knew the disciples were all from Galilee. It would have been impossible for them to know all these languages. But the Holy Spirit had filled these men. Through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, these men could do the impossible! (Mark 10:27) The Jews wanted to know more about this miracle (Acts 2:12). But some of those watching (perhaps the Jews who lived in the area and did not understand any of the foreign languages) thought the disciples were just acting foolish – as if they were drunk (Acts 2:13, 1 Corinthians 2:14).
Application: There is always a mixed reaction to the miracles of God. Some believe, some are drawn to know more, and some do not believe. This is still the case today. Sadly, not everyone you know will choose to believe the truth of Jesus.
Say: Peter used this opportunity to preach the truth about Jesus to the large crowd that had gathered. This was the same Peter who was frightened by the questions of a young girl, and denied even knowing Jesus the night before Jesus was crucified. Now Peter stood boldly in front of thousands of people to tell the message of Jesus. He asked everyone in the crowd to repent of their sin and receive forgiveness by believing in Jesus. Ask: How do you think Peter was able to do this now? He had received God’s Holy Spirit. Say: Jesus had promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit would speak through them (Matthew 10:20). Did Jesus keep His promise? Yes! God ALWAYS keeps His promises!
Let’s see what the crowd thought about Peter’s teaching: Those who accepted his message were baptized. About 3,000 people joined the believers that day. – Acts 2:41
Optional, if time permits: Say: Now those were some POWERFUL words! When Peter spoke the words of the Holy Spirit, 3,000 people put their trust in Jesus. That’s like every student at Brookwood High School putting their faith in Jesus at the same time. The kingdom of God was growing. This was the beginning of the Church – the Body of Christ – God’s kingdom on earth.
The believers studied what the apostles taught. They shared life together. They broke bread and ate together. And they prayed. Everyone felt that God was near. The apostles did many wonders and miraculous signs. All the believers were together. They shared everything they had. They sold what they owned. They gave each other everything they needed. Every day they met together in the temple courtyard. In their homes they broke bread and ate together. Their hearts were glad and honest and true. They praised God. They were respected by all the people. Every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved. – Acts 2:42-47
Application: This is a beautiful picture of the kingdom of God. Is this what our group (TreeHouse/Trail/Treasure Island) looks like? Do we care for one another? Do we share what we have with each other? Do we make others feel right at home here? (Teacher: If applicable, give affirming examples of how your students DO practice these things.) This lifestyle is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit!
GOD’S POWER (Acts 3, 5)
Wow! God’s power is like spiritual dynamite, and it was given to every believer (Acts 2:38). The book of Acts tells the exciting “acts” or “actions” of the early believers. It is packed full of the amazing stories of how God’s Holy Spirit empowered believers to spread the truth of Jesus throughout the world. The disciples, now called apostles, which means “ones who are sent out,” performed MIRACLES! They healed sick people and cast out evil spirits (Acts 5:16). Townspeople brought those who were sick to the apostles so that when Peter’s shadow fell on them they would be healed! (Acts 5:15-16) Peter even raised a woman from the dead (Acts 9:40). Ask: Did Jesus keep His promise that they would do even greater things than He had done? Yes! Say: When the apostles performed miracles and spoke about Jesus, more people believed in Jesus (Acts 4:4). God’s kingdom grew and grew. God did not give the believers this power for their own fame or popularity! (1 Corinthians 12:7) God gave them the Holy Spirit to further His kingdom.
Teacher Note: Notice the breakdown of the book of Acts, in relation to Jesus’ promise in Acts 1:8. You will be my witnesses…in Jerusalem (Acts 1-7) …in all Judea & Samaria (Acts 8-12) …to the end of the earth (Acts 13-28).
Application: Every person who puts his or her trust in Jesus is given the Holy Spirit. The Bible specifically says this promise is for children too! (Acts 2: 38-39) If you are a believer in Jesus, God has given you His Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says that your body is a Temple, filled with the Holy Spirit.
I want you to hear the promises that Jesus made about the Holy Spirit’s power, and think about them in your own life.
Jesus said the Holy Spirit will teach you what is true (John 13:6). The Spirit will help you understand and remember God’s word (John 14:26). He will guide your steps (Mark 1:12, Luke 2:27). Jesus said not to worry about what to say when you tell others about Him, because the Holy Spirit will give you the right words to say (Matthew 10:19-20, John 3:34). Not every believer is given the ability to perform miracles, but some are (1 Corinthians 12:7-10, 27-31). God gives His Spirit without limit (John 3:34). God gives you the Holy Spirit for His glory, and to grow His kingdom.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. –Acts 1:8 NLT
PPT MAIN POINT
Main Point: God gives us the Holy Spirit to grow His kingdom.
Teacher Note: Colossians 2:16-17 tells us that the required religious festivals were “a shadow of the things to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” (NIV) Both Jesus’ crucifixion and God’s giving of the Holy Spirit occurred on Jewish holidays, according to God’s perfect timing. Jesus was crucified during Passover. The Passover Feast (the shadow) was the celebration of when God delivered the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Jesus’ crucifixion (the spiritual reality) was the day when God delivered people from the slavery of sin (Romans 6:6). The Feast of Weeks (the shadow) was the anniversary of the day God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount. Sinai. This yearly celebration reminded the Jewish people of God’s Law – His perfect will. When God gave His Holy Spirit to live inside the believers (the spiritual reality) God gave believers the power to do His perfect will (Ephesians 3:16, 1Corinthians 2:4).
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