Many people these days expect a 10 minute talk from the pulpit that is not confrontational, does not mention sin and never uses the four letter word “hell” … ever! In addition, they want the talk to motivate their ego and image by hearing how good they are and how important they are to the Church as well as to God. In other words, they want to hear what they want to hear. Today a dear lady friend who has been walking with the Lord for many years said she heard that tithing is not a valid Biblical injunction anymore. She attended a Church this past Sunday only to hear such unbiblical teaching. Imagine a pastor telling his people this … would that mean he did not need a salary if no one tithed? Such preaching will bring people to Church … but the Church will not survive. The only way any Church will survive is through proper expositional teaching. Such preaching might not suit some people because instead of leaving Church on a high note because I’ve heard how good I am … I will leave Church knowing how bad I am. That is, my sin, faults and rebellious nature will be exposed and revealed to me telling me not only what is wrong with me, but what to go and do to conform to what God requires of me. In Acts chapter 2 we have one of the greatest sermons preached. It is pointed, practical and penetrates the heart of the serious listener.
1) Peter preached to a variety of people. They came from all over the known world and most likely were from just about every bracket possible in society.
Ac 2:14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd.
Having received the “power” from the Holy Spirit he was fearless as the Spirit enabled and empowered him.
2) Peter is respectful and helpful. Note how he addresses the people, starting off with all Jews from all over the known world to those living in the capital city. His “let me explain this to you” is more like seeking permission to speak … Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say … coupled to him requesting them to listen carefully … to pay serious attention to the way he explains the behavior of the apostles. Confrontational preaching does not mean blasting people as in “hell and damnation preaching”. Constructive, carefully worded, Bible based teaching that is directed at the mind to impact on the heart and will is needed and done with respect, care and love. We need to pray for preachers like this today.
3) Peter’s defense of the apostles. As the crowds heard the apostles speaking the wonders of God, so they heard the “trouble makers” making fun of God’s servants:
Ac 2:13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
Ac 2:15 “These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!”
Alcoholics today will hit the bottle early in the morning … a friends jokes about another person we know saying … “He brushes his teeth with bandy and coke in the morning.” But these men were apostles of Jesus. They were filled with the Holy Spirit not evil spirits! They were men who knew the sentiment of:
Eph 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
1Th 5:7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.
Just as an aside, Peter is not saying one cannot drink a glass of wine … he is saying that no right minded person would be found drunk at 9am in the morning. Note the use of the word “no” in the next verse:
Ac 2:16 No.
Up to here Peter was introducing his sermon. As you review verses 14-15 you will see a good introduction to his sermon, capturing a brilliant illustration, from what happened, that everyone could identify with … before explaining the meaning of what was happening in Jerusalem. He is going to make use of Old Testament Scriptures to explain these wonders of God. Please don’t misunderstand me as I say this is a model sermon and ought to be the basic outline for any sermon … because there are few great preachers today … especially when one prepares two sermons every week, apart from a Bible Study or two, few of us get it right all the time … largely because of time.
4) Peter explains what was happening.
Ac 2:16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel.
The prophet Joel lived somewhere around the 5th to 4th century BC. This was during the reign of the Persian Empire. The Biblical Record attributed to him is only three chapters long. He warns about two terrible events, the first an invasion of locusts and the second a horrific drought. Applied spiritual this is God punishing those who defy Him … so Joel urges the people to repent which will usher in blessings of restoration for the people of God. Chapter 2:28-31 is the center and core of Joel’s message:
Joel 2:28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 32 And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls. As he prophesied, nothing would have made sense unless one understood … 28 And afterward”
and linked it with
Ac 2:17 “In the last days.”
Joel was speaking into the future and what he said was realized at Pentecost. This is the reason Peter calls upon Joel as his first point to substantiate what was and would be happening in Jerusalem and further afield.
5) Peter contextualizes what is happening.
Ac 2:17 “In the last days.”
There is always confusion about the “last days”. I believe this is the period between Jesus’ first and second coming to our planet. We read
Heb 1:1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.
We will consider what Joel prophesied tomorrow, but think through this today … the pouring out of God’s Spirit upon all people has found its reality in the lives of all who have been born again by God’s Spirit. Until this divine miracle comes your way, you remain spiritual dead and separated from God.
Dear God, thank You for the grace and mercy that has fallen my way through Your Spirit being poured into my soul, giving me true life. Amen.