2018-02-04 – Acts 2.14-21 – The First Sermon

2018-02-04 – Acts 2:14-21 – The First Sermon

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday everyone. Who are you rooting for?

Did anyone get to see the moon last Wednesday? It was awesome. It was a super blue blood moon and lunar eclipse. We won’t see that again until 2037. However, Ironically we are going to talk about that moon in our verses today.

In last week’s message we talked about Pentecost and Tongues and explained what that meant to us Twenty-First century Christians. Then we went over the true meaning of church, and the title of last week’s message was Church is Born. Not the church building but Church being Christ-followers, or in other words Christians. We are the church; Christ died for you, and the church is even considered Christ’s bride.
Today we are going to see Peter address the new church, and he is going to give the first sermon to the folks that were with him that day. And this sermon is significant as it sets the stage for the activities of the church going forward.

Please turn in your Bibles to Acts 2:14, pg 119 in the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God, and let us start with prayer.

In our pew bibles, this section is referred to as Peter Addresses the Crowd. Remember there were three types of people surrounding Peter that day during the Pentecost event, the Disciples, the believers and the Crowd. They received the Holy Spirit and people in the crowd from many of the surrounding nations started hearing Peter praise God in their own languages. Verse 12 here states, “All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

They were trying to figure out what they were witnessing. They were perplexed and the crowed figured that they must be drunk.
So now starting Dr. Luke’s second chapter, verse 14 are our verses today:

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 

So let us pause here and break this introductory verse down a little.
Who: Peter was addressing all the people, far and near that came for Passover and all the follow-up feasts that were taking place in the Jewish world. We know there were at least 120 that witnessed Pentecost. And we know that 3,000 in the verses to come accepted the invitation to receive Christ. Peter calls them the Crowd, and we can presume that many others that were there that did not accept the invitation. So there were thousands in the Crowd around them that day.

Where: Probably near the temple in Jerusalem, and near upper room where Pentecost took place previously. People are interested is what was happening. Word about the Pentecost event was spreading like wildfire.

Peter preached this sermon to at least 14 different language groups, as they were listed in the verses before. Notice in the first verse here, all the Apostles stood with him. When people stand alongside the speaker, that shows solidarity. That shows approval upon the messenger and also the message. And Peter is filled with the spirit as he is speaking boldly and unafraid despite knowing that some who persecuted Jesus might be in the crowd also. We should be filled with the Holy Spirit like these folks. I got to tell you I pray most every morning before I take a step inside this church that the Holy Spirit will be felt and that God’s will be known.

It says here that Peter “raised his voice”. I would imagine he would have to raise his voice with the many thousands that were present. This is the same Peter that was afraid to even make himself be known as a Christ follower just a little over a  month previously, and now he is so bold. That’s what the Holy Spirit can do for you if you accept His calling. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says, “Do not quench the Spirit.” Quenching the Spirit means shutting down your emotions when joyful, bold, spiritual expressions are called for. I also get that from Ephesians 5:18, where Paul says “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit”. So we can see the correlation with being drunk with spirits, against that of being filled with the Holy Spirit. The vibrant fullness of the Spirit overflows in expressions like preaching and singing. However many of folk say instead “I am not going to do that sort of thing; I am not going to sing or pray outloud” — then I will suggest that you might be quenching the Holy Spirit.

Peter was no longer quenching the Holy Spirit, he was boldly delivering the truth to thousands, and the Apostles were backing him up. However the Crowd thought the Apostles and Peter were drunk. Peter responded here in verse 16:

16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

What we see here is a great example of an expositor preaching style. Most elder Christians should know there are different types of preaching styles. There is topical preaching, where you address an issue, and you find all the different verses scattered about the Bible to support the narrative. That is good sometimes as it provides topical focus and you can entertain a little more in the process. The other type of sermon style many consider is what Peter exemplifies here, it is called Expository preaching. What Peter did is he took a chunk of the Old Testament prophesy and he elaborated on how that prophesy was satisfied and relevant to the day. That is mostly what I do myself as it provides you God’s word in the context that God intended. The challenge here is that to be successful with Expository preaching you still need to provide relevance to the audience. You need to show how and why this is applicable and important to the listener. In my opinion, context is key ladies and gentlemen. I am not here just to entertain you. I am here to educate you, humble you, sometimes to convict you, and inspire you while using God’s words instead of my own. What is good about Expository preaching is you learn the Bible in context. So when you hear or experience some issue that falls within a biblical context, you will know the story and you can go back to that story and repurpose it accordingly.

I want you to be informed and wise. The Apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 15, that we are to “Make every effort to present [ourselves] approved to God, an unashamed workman who accurately handles the word of truth”.

So Peter quotes the profit Joel in these verses. Peter tells the people why they should listen to the testimony of the believers that day because the Old Testament prophecies had been entirely fulfilled.

The prophet Joel stated that “God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh” That is exactly what happened at Pentecost. God’s Holy Spirit was poured out upon the people that day and they heard God being glorified in fourteen different languages. Again, Joel prophesized long ago that this was going to happen. And Peter was saying that what Joel said had just occurred.

Joel also used the words “Last Days”. As the Bible pictures history, the first coming of Jesus and the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost were the opening pages of the last chapter. We now live in the end times, or the “last days”. It does not matter that these last days have stretched into 2,000 years. Peter answered this objection in his second letter by saying that “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). He said the Lord is not slow as some count slowness, but is patiently gathering people from all the nations lest they perish without repentance.

We live in the final years of His-story. And God is calling us to be filled with the Spirit, with all the fullness of God. And in that fullness, He is calling young and old to dream new dreams and see new visions of how all the people can be drawn into the experience of Christ. He is equipping us for the Great Commission.
May God give us this fullness, and hasten the great and final day of the Lord.

Peter here quoted the Old Testament prophet Joel’s prophecy. You might recall, last week I read to you the Apostle Paul’s explanation about tongues and prophecy from 1 Corinthians 14. About prophecy, Paul says “ Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy..  And in verse 3 it says “..those who prophesy speak to other people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation”.

The Greek word translated “prophesying” or “prophecy” means to “speak forth” or declare the divine will, to interpret the purposes of God, or to make known the truth of God to the people. Christians should be telling others about God’s word and God’s will as it is given to us in Scripture. However, we are to be very wary of those who claim to have any “new” message from God. All prophecy messages should be measured against God’s word. And no utterance of man should be considered equal to or above the written Word. 1 Thessalonians 5:19–22 “Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast to what is good, abstain from every form of evil.” “Test everything” here means that we should wise and expect some to prophecy to be truthful and some designed to deceive. We test the prophecy against scripture for truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:1 says that even if someone claims to give you information about the second coming by a “spirit,” don’t believe them if it differs from scripture.

I am not suggesting that you have to carry a Bible around all the time so you can test everything. Albeit not a bad idea. But know God’s word, plant it on your heart, so when things get weird you can dig into what you know and make a good judgement call.

We should also notice in Peter’s message, that when he quoted Old Testament scripture here, I believe Peter quoted from it from memory. I really doubt that he carried scrolls around as he traveled. He had to memorize God’s word, so he could make use of it when situations arise. And we likewise, should be memorizing scripture too. Right now in my old church in Kansas City, 38 members are memorizing the whole book of James. Isn’t that awesome!

So I have three points that I want you to take home from this message today.

First, As Peter was emboldened by the Holy Spirit to stand up and represent Christ, and we can do likewise. And we should be supporting each other in this.

Second, Peter capitalized on the Pentecost event to share God’s word and make an impact for Christ. We likewise should look for opportunities in our daily lives that could be a launching point for sharing God’s love and for sharing the Good News Gospel message to the people.

And third, get into God’s Holy Word. Read your Bibles. In Psalm 119:11 it says,
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Hide God’s Word in your heart. So like Peter did here, when the opportunity presents itself, you might say a little internal prayer that the Holy Spirit will embolden you and you can pull out those wonderful verses, and glorify Father God by sharing them.

Now I have a fun exercise for us today. Like we can see Peter’s preaching style in this message, I thought it would be fun to look at all the different types of preaching styles, then after we show them, I will ask you which style or styles you think that I mostly use in my preaching here in this church.

I found this on the web, it says:
God’s Word always takes priority over style. But understanding your preaching style will help you see how your God-given personality influences the way you communicate His Word. And when you know your style, you can leverage your strengths, and avoid potential pitfalls.

THE 5 STYLES OF PREACHERS—WHICH ARE YOU?  https://www.propreacher.com/5-styles-of-preachers/

  1. THE MOTIVATOR – The motivator is the preacher whose primary goal is to push their audience’s faith into action. They move from one point to another on stage with excitement, arms pumping, hands waving, reenacting every moment of a story. They love illustrations that tug on your heart and spur you to action.
    After listening to the motivator, you are ready to charge the gates of Hell with a water pistol.
  2. THE SCHOLAR – The scholar is a bookworm at heart. They love reading the classics and searching the wisdom of the intellectual giants of Christendom so that they might share their discoveries with the world. They place a high emphasis on the amount of study they do to prepare a message. If not for other obligations, they could get lost in studying Scripture for days. Scholars present an intellectual approach to faith. Their sermons are well thought, organized, and logical. Skeptics of Christianity will find their messages intriguing, as their doubts and objections are acknowledged and answered.
  3. THE EVANGELIST – The room is packed. The fiery preacher gives an impassioned gospel plea. The band comes out and plays a powerful song, and people are called to make a decision. “Come to the altar and give your life to Jesus!” The evangelist ends every sermon with an altar call. Nothing excites them more than seeing people come to faith in Christ. Every sermon is a gospel presentation. They are not afraid to talk about sin or hell. After all, their sermon may be the last warning someone listening ever gets. A staple of the evangelist is stories of life transformation. They love sharing the testimonies of people whose lives have been radically changed by Christ.
  4. THE HIPSTER – The hipster is always up to date on current events and cultural trends. They love movies, music, social media, and the latest technology. They may even fit the stereotype of the pastor with a meticulously groomed beard who wears skinny jeans, and lumberjack shirts. Their sermon series often play on a hit movie title or the hottest new app. But don’t let their trendy clothes or sermon titles fool you, they take incarnational ministry seriously.
  5. THE COUNSELOR – The counselor has a heart for broken people. Their sermons will touch on some of the deepest troubles of the human condition, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, suffering, and divorce. They also love to preach preventative topical sermons, like how to find your purpose, strengthening your marriage, or raising spiritually healthy kids. Listening to the counselor preach makes you want to sigh in relief that you are not alone in your struggles. The common theme of the counselor is the healing found in Christ. The counselor sees the church as a hospital for the sick. Sin is the disease, and the cure is Christ. No matter what you have done or what has been done to you, there is forgiveness and healing at the cross.

So which Preacher Style do you think fits me best?

Next week we are going to read and listen to the rest of Pastor Peter’s first sermon to the first Christian church there in Jerusalem. I pray you are learning more about the history of our faith and that of the church.