The people to whom Peter is preaching in Acts 2 are attending The Jewish Feast of Pentecost. This was one of the 3 required major Jewish Festivals along with the feasts of Passover/Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles. They are observing a religious tradition that dates back to the time of Moses. Let’s just say for the sake of being relevant this morning that these people were “going to church” that day just like they had for years.
But, this day would be different for 3,000 of them. On this day, 3,000 of these people would hear for the very first time, the gospel, or good news of the crucified, buried, risen and exalted Son of God, Jesus Christ. By the grace of God, they would repent of their sin, and be regenerated or born again into the kingdom, through faith in The Lord Jesus Christ.
A brief background of the context of our study:
The city of Jerusalem was a bustling place during the harvest Feast of Weeks known as Pentecost. Many had come to be part of this celebration to commemorate God’s bounty to them in the first harvest of the year. Others had come to pilgrimage in Jerusalem or to study there or to just soak up the richness of Jewish heritage. It was during this period of time in 30 AD that something unexplainable happened. The cryptic question of verse 12 sets the tone for the balance of the chapter, “What does this mean?”
Peter’s sermon: The Risen Jesus is both Lord and Christ
2.14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice (no PA System!!), and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
2.15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day (9 AM).
Peter stands to answer the questions and mockery of the crowd regarding the phenomenon of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost and the speaking in tongues, or various foreign human languages, the wonderful works of God. This chapter represents one of the most amazing transformations in all of Scripture! Just two months earlier, Peter had denied that he even knew Christ. He, along with the rest of the disciples, cowered in fear of being discovered as followers of Jesus Christ and consequently be put to death.
Yet now everything was different. No more timidity! No more man-fearing spirit! No more cowering! They had seen The Risen Lord and were filled with His Spirit! Jesus had already promised the coming of the Spirit. On a much earlier occasion, Jesus stood at the latter harvest feast, the Feast of Booths, and offered one of the most profound invitations the world has ever heard:
If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39)
Keep in mind that when Peter was preaching, the news of Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection was less than two months old. Thus, this controversial event is still a hot and fresh in the minds of the people, both friend and foe of Jesus alike.
Joel’s prophecy is fulfilled (the 1st set of Scriptures that Peter saw fulfilled were from Joel 2.28-32)
2.16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
2.17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy (speaking divine counsels), and your young men shall see visions (divinely appointed visions), and your old men shall dream dreams (divinely appointed dreams):
2.18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit (this empowering of The Spirit will extend to the common man and woman.); and they shall prophesy:
2.19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
2.20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: (Pentecost was not the fulfillment of Joel 2, but only the beginning of things to come)
2.21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
The biblical phrase “last days” includes all the days between Christ’s first and second comings. It includes the glorious promise of God’s pouring out of The Holy Spirit upon all flesh.The outpouring of the Spirit in the OT had been largely reserved for the spiritual and national leaders of Israel. Now that Jesus Christ has completed the work of redemption and ascended unto His Father, the promise of The Holy Spirit is now for “all flesh,” meaning all who come to saving faith in The Lord Jesus Christ.
The day of The Lord come– This refers to the day that will bring an end to the last days with the second return of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is coming back the same way that He ascended up into heaven in Acts 1!!
Note the crystal clear promise in verse 21. Whosoever shall call upon The Name of The Lord shall be saved. In this context, the word saved means to be forgiven and set free from sins debt. It means to be set free from the guilt and condemnation of sin. It means to be set free and rescued from the power of darkness. It means to be set free from the grip and crippling power of sin.
In its widest sense, this word saved carries the idea of deliverance, healing, rescue, and being made whole.
The works of Jesus prove that He is Lord and Christ
2.22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Jesus’ 3 ½ year public ministry on earth proved that He was The Messiah, The Son of God, The One sent by The Father with the power and authority to save. With the power and authority to deliver people from the bondage of darkness and in the grip of sins destroying power.
Acts 10.38 God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed (vexed, tormented, in anguish) of the devil; for God was with Him.
Psalm 9.9,10 The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know Thy Name will put their trust in Thee: for Thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee.
Jesus is still in the business of healing those who are being oppressed and tormented by the devil. We will be here to pray with you after the service this morning.
2.23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Although wicked men, both Jews and Gentiles, had of their own will put Jesus to death; their actions were within the sovereign determination of God.
Acts 4.27,28 For of a truth against Thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done.
The gospel of Jesus Christ, The Lamb of God was set in motion before creation. The fall of man in the Garden did not cause the Godhead to scurry for another plan. The failure of the nation of Israel to obey the Mosaic covenant did not put the eternal Godhead into panic. God decreed before the worlds were created to redeem sinners through the atoning sacrifice of the Son. The cross was no accident or scuttled mission!
It is so important to see that the death of Christ is no accident. It was The Godhead’s plan A for the salvation of sinners.
Jesus Christ became a curse for us, that is, He endured the judgment which we deserve due to our sin. Jesus Christ took our offense and bore it before the wrath of His Father. Jesus Christ took upon Himself the full weight of our guilt and satisfied all of the justice of God. His bloody death on the cross atoned for our sins. While the Jewish religious leaders thought they were getting rid of a pesky messianic charlatan, God was satisfying His justice through Christ so that He might give life to His enemies.
All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him” (Isa. 53:6).
What a picture of the grace, mercy and love of God! God the Father handed His own Son, Jesus Christ over to His enemies in order to redeem those very same enemies from the curse of sin and death!
Romans 5.8 But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
2.24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Think about the power of death for a minute. Nothing can stop the power of death. No human being can stop the power of death. No medicine can stop the power of death.
But death has no power over Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ is The Resurrection and the life.
Jesus Christ did not just defy He did not just deny death. He destroyed death. That is why Paul could say:
1 Corinthians 15.55-57 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ gives to those who trust in Him power over death.
That is why The writer to the Hebrews could say Hebrews 2.14,15 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
The thing that all men fear, even skeptics, is death. The statistics of death are staggering. Every human being will die. The Lord Jesus Christ has taken the sting out of death. He has robbed death of its fearful power forever for all that will trust in Him.
David foretold of Messiah’s Lordship after His resurrection (The 2nd Scripture Peter saw fulfilled was Psalm 16.8-11)
2.25 For David speaketh concerning Him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
2.26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
2.27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Hell- The Greek term hades can refer to the place of punishment of the wicked after death, as in Luke 16.23. But, like the Hebrew word sheol, it can also refer simply to death and the grave.
In this context, God promised not to allow Jesus, His Holy One to experience the decay (corruption) of remaining in the grave.
Jesus’ body was not left to rot in the grave but was, in fact, resurrected and glorified. Jesus is alive today my friends, and because He lives, we too shall live. Jesus was seen alive by many people, including 500 at one time, for 40 days after He rose from the dead.
2.28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
2.29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
2.30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
2.31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
Being a prophet, David foretold the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
David understood God’s covenant to mean that He would give him a descendant who would sit on his throne and reign over his kingdom forever.
Luke 1.30-33 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His Name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of his father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.
Jesus’ resurrection proves that He is Lord and Christ
2.32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
The apostles added their own testimony to the certainty of Christ’s resurrection. Consider that each of the disciples, with the exception of John, died as martyrs because of they had seen Jesus Christ after He was raised from the dead. John spent the last years of his life exiled on the Isle of Patmos because he has seen the resurrected, glorified Jesus.
2.33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
The gospel message of forgiveness and the outpouring of The Holy Ghost is the result of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. How do we know that Jesus Christ was not just a religious fanatic, someone with a martyr complex who happened to get crucified. How do we know that God accepted the sacrifice of Calvary? By the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
The Bible says He was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification. No resurrection, no Savior. No Savior, no forgiveness. But Jesus went into the tomb and three days later walked out like a butterfly bursting from a cocoon. Jesus Christ is a risen Savior. The pouring out of The Holy Ghost was a public display for all the world to see. The pouring out of The Holy Spirit was the divine confirmation of Jesus Christ’s being exalted to the right hand of The Father.
Keep in mind that Jesus Christ’s execution had been carried out in public before many witnesses. His empty tomb was available for inspection just a short distance away.
- If Jesus Christ had not truly died, Peter’s message would have been laughed at or ignored.
- If Jesus Christ had not been resurrected, the religious and secular opponents of Jesus would have produced His body and put an end to this new faith. Instead, Matthew writes that they started a rumor among the Jews that His disciples came and stole His body.
But Peter and the apostles had witnessed the living Christ 40 days after He rose from the dead. The certainty of the resurrection, therefore, will not let men ignore or slide by their need for faith in Jesus Christ Since Jesus is the risen Lord and Christ, then I none of us here this morning can ignore the claims of the gospel without eternal consequences.
2.34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
2.35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
In verses 34 & 35, David quotes Psalm 110.1. Peter’s implication was simply this: Jesus, the Son of David, is more than merely a descendant of David. He is David’s Lord and the Son of God.
2.36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly (beyond a shadow of a doubt), that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ (Messiah).
Have you ever stopped to think of how shocking it must have been to the crowd gathered at Pentecost to learn that the very one that they jeered and mocked and consented to be crucified is the very same Risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ?
2.37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
As soon as they heard that their sin pinned Jesus in the cross, they were Pricked in their heart- Cut to the heart; stung like a bee. The Holy Spirit wielded the Word like a knife or sword and it pierced their heart with the conviction of sin (John 16.8; Eph 6.17; Heb 4.12)
Please note that those convicted of their sin are not yet saved. They realize that they are guilty as charged and that they they need a Savior. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the declaration that we cannot save ourselves—only God can save us. A person who thinks that their morality or keeping the golden rule or dong good works or church affiliation will save them is just as lost and as far from God as the atheist or the likes of Adolph Hitler. You cannot be your own savior.
They asked the question, What shall we do? This is similar to the question of the Philippian jailer, “What must I do to be saved?” And like the question of the rich young ruler, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” The answer to this question cannot be minimized. How did Peter respond?
2.38 Then Peter said unto them, (1) Repent, and (2) be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (forgiveness) of sins, and (3) ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Repent- To repent means that you realize that you cannot save yourself. To repent means that you realize that no religious system cannot save you.
To repent means to turn from your unbelief and self-centered ways. You turn from living life your way and present yourself to Jesus Christ with a resolve to trust and obey Him as Lord, Redeemer, Savior, and King.
You cannot really believe that you are a sinner and think that you can be your own savior. You cannot really believe that you area dinner and think that your church affiliation cannot save you. You cannot really believe that you are a sinner and think that by Keeping the golden rule can save you. Only Jesus Christ can save you from your debt and guilt of sin. And today IS the day of salvation!!!
Be baptized- Then, having repented and trusted in Jesus Christ, you declare publicly your faith through baptism. That’s what Peter told his first century audience to do. That is the New Testament pattern for all that believe in Jesus Christ. He is speaking to a crowd of adults, not babies 6 to 8 weeks old. Peter calls those who repent and trust in Christ to publicly identify with Him through water baptism. Every one of you.
Remission- Forgiveness of sin.
Gift of The Holy Ghost- Those who are united by grace through faith in Jesus Christ are indwelt and sealed with The Holy Ghost. When God writes your name in the book of Life, there is no eraser.
2.39 For the promise is unto you (Jews), and to your children, and to all that are afar off (non-Jews or Gentiles), even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
The promise of The Spirit is given to all those who repent and trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness if their sin. Note that when the gospel is being preached, it is God calling you.
Romans 10.14,15 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
2.40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward (crooked, wicked) generation.
2.41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized (people received the word gladly not madly): and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
What a remarkable work of The Spirit of God. 3,000 souls were added to the body of Christ on the Day of Pentecost. They “saved themselves” by trusting in Christ, not by attending a sacred Feast Day on the Jewish calendar. This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. The wages of so is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
As we draw near the end of our service today, I believe that God is going add to the body of Christ today.
Closing Comments on the resurrection
The resurrection of Jesus Christ tends to make religious and not-so-religious people squirm or even angry.
Consider what the resurrection implies: Jesus Christ, the Son of God was indeed crucified, and then in three days was bodily resurrected.
His resurrection from the dead proved His claims to be-God Incarnate.
The outpouring of the Holy Ghost 50 days later is proof that He has ascended to the right hand of The Father and that He is coming back the second time without sin, to gather those who call upon Him as Lord.
The gospel message is the most important truth for every single person to come to terms with today.
The question was asked in verse 37, what shall we do?
In light of the biblical and historical facts of the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven, what shall YOU do?
- My friend, it is not enough to admit that you are a sinner. It is not even enough for you to be sorry for our sins. The 3,000 souls were convicted, but they were not yet saved.
- What must I do to be saved from my debt of sin and eternal punishment in hell? By the grace of God I must acknowledge that I am a guilty sinner. I must resolve to repent of my sin. I must ask God, through faith in Jesus Christ to forgive me and receive and confess before men that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. When you do, God fills you with the power of The Holy Spirit, and you will a life long adventure of walking with Jesus and living for His glory.
And so, my friends, I give to you Jesus Christ-Son of God, crucified and risen from the dead. What will you do with Him? You will either repent and receive Him as Lord, or you will reject Him as lose your eternal soul.
What is your response to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? This is not simply an Easter Sunday issue. The fact of the risen, living Jesus Christ is something that you cannot ignore.
It is the grace, goodness, love and mercy of God that brings us to repentance.
But if you insist on rejecting the truth about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for your sin, I must tell you this. Jude says that some people need to have their souls dangled over the fires of hell to bring them to repentance.
On Judgment Day, you will see Jesus Christ face to face. You will drop to your your knee and confess Him as Lord. You will be held accountable for His blood for all eternity. You will sent to hell forever.
But God is not willing that you perish, but that you come to repentance.
Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Salvation is by believing in Who Jesus Christ is and what He has done.
6 English Words that rocked the universe forever:
It is Finished and He is Risen!!!
From the right hand of God, The Risen Lord Jesus is calling out to every one of us here today. Listen to The Living Jesus speak to you this morning.
John 6:35 I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst . . .
John 11:25–26 I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.
Do you believe this?” Have you ever come before God as a sinner, seeking mercy for Christ’s sake?
After Adam sinned against God, God cried out to Adam with the words, Adam, where are you?
In the very last book of The Bible, our gracious Creator and Redeemer cries out to us with the words.
Revelation 22.16,17 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Jesus once said to a crowd of people Matthew 11.28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.