Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday and I shared some thoughts on Acts 2 and the coming of the Holy Spirit. You can read that post here or even watch the video version on my Facebook page – Andy Brown on Facebook .
Acts 2 is a fairly lengthy chapter, so I won’t include the entire text in this post. Today I want to focus on Peter’s sermon which he gave to the crowd after they saw the results of the coming of the Holy Spirit. You can find the full text of Peter’s message here – Acts 2:14-41.
Seeing the Apostles so moved by the Holy Spirit, and hearing them speak in all manner of different languages, the crowd accuse them of drunkenness. It would be quite some drink that allowed them all to speak in various languages, but let’s not get distracted!
Peter stands up and begins to speak. It is a powerful word with conviction of the Holy Spirit behind it. What does he say?
Peter points out that what they are seeing is nothing to do with alcohol, especially given the time of the morning, but instead goes straight to the Old Testament Scriptures.
But this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel:Acts 2:16 (WEB)
This is interesting to me, as my expectation might have been to use the Hebrew Scriptures to a primarily Jewish audience. We know from the same passage though that there were many different nations and tongues present on the day of Pentecost. In our evangelism, we might choose not to be too Bible-heavy, quoting Scriptures and pointing our biblical texts, thinking those outside of the church may not respond to it. This is a mistake! People are saved by hearing the Word of truth!
having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and remains forever.1 Peter 1:23 (WEB)
So we see Peter is right to quote the Scripture, and we should too.
Peter shows them that what they are seeing is the fulfilment of prophecies given long ago in the Old Testament. Joel speaks of the “last days” that God would pour out His Spirit freely, and various spiritual gifts would be displayed. What this audience is seeing in the disciples behaviour, is the release of that promise. We will read later that those who came to Christ as a result were also in receipt of the Holy Spirit and too displayed these gifts.
May I also point out that if those were the “last days,” then we, two thousand years later, live in even later days. Christ is coming, sooner or later, He will return. Every one of us must be ready for that hour.
Peter then goes on and sets out the truth of the Gospel of Christ.
Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him among you, even as you yourselves know,Acts 2:22 (WEB)
He tells them that they know of Jesus, what wonders and miracles He did among them, and yet was delivered up to be crucified. Peter shows them that this was the plan from the beginning, yet those who did this wicked thing were lawless men. He tells them that death was not able to hold Him in the grave, and that He rose to newness of life.
Peter again draws on the Old Testament, and particularly cites Scriptures of King David. He explains to his hearers that David could not have been speaking of himself, because they knew precisely where David’s tomb was in that very day. Peter shows them that David was a prophet, and was pointing to the Christ who would come after him, and that was Jesus.
Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.Acts 2:36 (WEB)
How do they respond to this sermon preached at Pentecost?
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.Acts 2:37-38 (WEB)
Peter’s words are wonderful, but only the conviction of the Holy Spirit can bring about such a response.
They immediately know that what Peter has said is true. They knew of Jesus, and the miracles He worked among them, and yet they knew that He had been executed without cause. What can we do! They cry out in fear, knowing they holdsome part of the guilt.
Peter tells them to repent, to change their ways and their minds and to be baptised in he Name of Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. They must submit to Jesus, giving their lives over to Him and receiving the forgiveness that His death brought about. If they do, then they too will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit just as the disciples have done.
In closing, we read:
With many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”
41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized. There were added that day about three thousand souls.Acts 2:40-41 (WEB)
With many other words Peter convinced them, and I do wonder what those words might have been. What we do know though is that many turned to Christ that day. Verse 41 says that three thousand were added to their number! Amazing!
And this was just the beginning…