15 Pentecost - the Birthday of the NT ChurchScripture Reading: Acts 2:22-32 – The body of Peter’s sermon that day
Acts begins where the gospels leave offAfter resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and followers several timesTold them not to leave Jerusalem — wait for the HS He had promisedAscension (1:8-9)Acts 1:8-9 NIV84 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (9) After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
Pentecost (Acts 2)“50th” day after Passover — end of the Jewish “Feast of Weeks”Many Jews from around the world made pilgrimages for Passover and remained seven weeks to Pentecost.Acts 2:1-4 NIV84 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. (2) Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. (3) They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. (4) All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.Fulfillment of Jesus’ promise — 2:1-4OT — few rare exceptions — temporary possession for specific taskPentecost is the beginning of a new era — permanentSigns accompanied the giving — external confirmationSound of wind (OT theophanies accompanied with wind‚ John 3)Fire divided into tongues and went over each person (12 and 120)Speak in tongues — later — unlearned human languages
Moved outdoors, presumably to the temple — peoples’ amazement2:5-11 — (Galileans)Acts 2:5-13 NIV84 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. (6) When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. (7) Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? (8) Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? (9) Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, (10) Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (11) (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" (12) Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?" (13) Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine."“Drunk” - Always the secular excuse for the miraculous working of God (1:12-13)Despite the obvious miracle — as if being drunk turns you into a linguist — say someLooking at a miracle, and instead of praising God — “they’re drunk”
Peter’s Explanation (cf. 2:14-21)Acts 2:14-21 NIV84 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. (15) These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! (16) No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: (17) "'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. (18) Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. (19) I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. (20) The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. (21) And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'Not drunkNot even Galilean sailors get drunk at 9 a.m.Fulfillment of prophecyJoel’s prophecy about the coming Day of the LordDay when God would pour out His Spirit and all would prophecy
“Kerygma” — the essential core of NT preaching
Look at sermons throughout Acts — say the same basic thing — modelKerygma elements:1. Jesus lived & his miracles were his credentials showing God’s approval (2:22)Acts 2:22 NIV84 "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.
2. Jesus died in fulfillment of prophecy (2:23)Acts 2:23 NIV84 This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.Note the balance between human responsibility for sin and God sovereignly accomplishing His purposes
3. God raised Jesus from the dead and exalted him (2:24, 33, 36)Acts 2:24-36 NIV84 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. … (33) Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. … (36) "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."You killed him, but God made him both your sovereign & savior.
4. Call for repentance & baptism (2:37-39)Acts 2:37-39 NIV84 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" (38) Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (39) The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call."If our evangelistic services would follow the same pattern — avoid much of the mess in the church today — “Sorry for your sins?” = “Salvation by sorrow.”
The world offers many answers to the question of the convicted in v. 37.
Be a good person, sincere.Problem is that this denies the reality of sinIf there is no sin — no need of repentance — no cross — Father lied to SonEasy believism of street corner preachersLiberal churchesRobert Schuller (Crystal Cathedral) — “Be nice & get along with everyone else!”No demands, just basic good behavior.
Earn God’s favor; earn salvationJehovah Witnesses (doors + other things)Mormon (married in temple)Muslim (prayer & jihad against infidels)Hindu (reincarnation)Many “fundamentalist churches”Implicitly teach salvation through the appearance of religiosityDistinguish “faithful” from “unfaithful” by attendance at churchMany treat baptism is a “Get out of hell free” cardBaptism inoculates us from sin; Lord’s Supper is weekly “booster shot”
Peter (the whole world has it wrong) — Repent and be BaptizedYou cannot move smoothly from this life to eternal life — born againRecognizes the reality of sin and the need for the atonement — Christ’s sacrificeSees the need for individual repentanceUnderstands the necessity of God doing a work in your life (changing you; born again; born of water and Spirit)Affirms the on-going demands of sanctification
1. Repent, but repent of what?A. Sin — v 38 “for the forgiveness of your sins”B. What is the bulk of Peter’s sermon about?—Who is Jesus?—Repent misunderstandingEveryone who hears the gospel must answer this same question: “Who is Jesus?”1. Liar or 2. Lunatic — Jews3. Who he says he is — v 36 — Lord and ChristNo fourth option: “good man” — I am the vine — I and the Father — I am the way“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” ― C.S. Lewis, Mere ChristianityRepent of misunderstanding and the ensuing sin — change mind/conduct (v 40)Repentance is a change in your way of thinking that results in a change in your way of behaving.
2. Be baptizedNot a magical cure for sinEnactment / Public profession of the kerygmaSinner, separated from GodUnder the water of baptism — died with Christ to my life of sinCome out of the waters — commitment to live a new kind of life
There is no more important question in life: Who is Jesus?Answer determines where you spend eternityDon’t hide behind a smokescreen of intellectual questions — Don’t let othersGood God let bad things happen to good people? — are no good people — we’re all sinners who deserve to die!How can I believe in a God who sends people to hell because they haven’t heard? — doesn’t — sinnersGood questions, and the Bible has good answers — but they are not the most importantThe answers to these questions will not condemn you to hellThe answers to these questions will not bring you into eternal lifeWho is Jesus?I invite you this morning to “repent and be baptized ...”
Acts 2:22-39“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazarethwas a man accredited by God to you by miracles,wonders and signs, which God did among youthrough him, as you yourselves know. This manwas handed over to you by God’s set purpose andforeknowledge; and you, with the help of wickedmen, put him to death by nailing him to thecross. But God raised him from the dead, freeinghim from the agony of death, because it wasimpossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Acts 2:22-39David said about him: “ ‘I saw the Lord alwaysbefore me. Because he is at my right hand, I willnot be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and mytongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope,because you will not abandon me to the grave,nor will you let your Holy One see decay. Youhave made known to me the paths of life; youwill fill me with joy in your presence. ’
Acts 2:22-39“Brothers, I can tell you confidently that thepatriarch David died and was buried, and histomb is here to this day. But he was a prophetand knew that God had promised him on oaththat he would place one of his descendants on histhrone. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of theresurrection of the Christ, that he was notabandoned to the grave, nor did his body seedecay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and weare all witnesses of the fact.
Acts 2:22-39Exalted to the right hand of God, he has receivedfrom the Father the promised Holy Spirit and haspoured out what you now see and hear. ForDavid did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right handuntil I make your enemies a footstool for yourfeet.” ’ “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this:God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified,both Lord and Christ.”
Acts 2:22-39When the people heard this, they were cut to theheart and said to Peter and the other apostles,“Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied,“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in thename of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of yoursins. And you will receive the gift of the HolySpirit. The promise is for you and your childrenand for all who are far off –for all whom the Lordour God will call.”