Peter’s Sermon on Pentecost

In Your Bible: Acts 2:14-47

In Acts 2, we learn how God birthed the church on Pentecost. Peter’s sermon shows us what happened. The Promise of the Father came down that day.

Doubt Entered

The Galileans who were filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke in languages they did not know. Jews and proselytes from other regions and countries heard them speak the mighty works of God in their own language! The Holy Spirit did it.

Natives of Judea and Jerusalem, especially the scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests—scorned what they saw and heard. They said, “They are full of new wine” (Acts 2:13 NASB).

Peter’s First Sermon

Peter was excited, but angered that some missed the wonder of it. They tried to misguide the people. Peter stepped forward with the Eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this” (Acts 2:14 NLT).

Peter shouted his message, not because of all the tongues spoken, but because he understood it was a God-orchestrated happening. What amazes me is that Peter quoted Old Testament Scripture as would a learned man. The Holy Spirit spoke through Peter for sure.

God’s Wondrous Acts

God’s actions fulfilled the promises of Joel the prophet (Joel 2:28-32):

  • I will pour out my Spirit on all people (shocking that it’s men and women)
  • Your sons and daughters will prophesy
  • Old men will dream dreams
  • Young men will see visions
  • I will cause wonders on earth and heavens
  • Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved [emphasis mine]

Peter sternly closed his sermon with remarks from King David’s prophecy (Psalms 16:8-11) concerning Christ Jesus. Peter said, . . . Let it be clearly known by everyone in Israel that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified to be both Lord and Messiah! (Acts 2:36).

Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church—about three thousand in all (Acts 2:41 NLT). The Holy spirit did it—The Promise of the Father came down that day.

Prayer: Father, I praise you. Thank you for the miraculous way you birthed our Church.

Questions: If you had been there, what would have been your impression of the day of Pentecost? If you were a Jew, how would you have responded?

Action Filled Acts

Quote

In Your Bible: Acts 1 through 2:1-11

Luke wrote both the Gospel Luke and the book of Acts. These might also be titled the History of the Founder of the Church and the History of the Followers of the Church.

Acts shows the Holy Spirit and the Apostles at work:

  • The descent of the Holy Spirit—birth of the Christian church
  • The ministry of the Apostle Peter to the Jews and Paul to the Gentiles
  • The empowering men and women to carry on the work of Jesus Christ

In Acts we see the birth and power of the Christian Church.

Choosing the Twelfth Apostle

Peter stood among the believers to guide the choice of someone who would replace Judas as one of the Twelve. He must be . . . “one who was with us all the time that we were with the Lord Jesus—from the time he was baptized by John until the day he [Jesus] was taken from us into heaven” (Acts 1:21b-22a NLT).

The Eleven chose two men, Joseph and Matthias and cast lots to see who the replacement would be. Matthias became the Twelfth.

Like a Mighty Wind

Fifty days after Passover 120 men and women gathered in the upper room anticipating the gift from the Father. Yes, the day was specific, Pentecost (see Leviticus 23:15,16 the Feast of Weeks-one of thirteen specified Old Testament Feasts).

The world at the Time of Jesus

The world at the Time of Jesus

. . .Suddenly a sound came from heaven like a rushing violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were being distributed [among them], and they rested on each one of them [as each person received the Holy Spirit].  And they were all filled [that is, diffused throughout their being] with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other] tongues (different languages), as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out [clearly and appropriately] Acts 2:2-4 AMP). Selah.

Jews from about 13 countries or regions of the known world, gathered for the Feast of Pentecost. Now they saw amazing things and heard in their own languages people speaking of the mighty works of God. Not gibberish—but mighty works or workings of God the Father.

In Acts we see the birth and power of the Christian Church.

Prayer: Father, what a wonder you are to allow believers receive Your Spirit. Selah.

Questions: Why were so many people from different nations gathering in Jerusalem? Name several purposes the Holy Spirit would provide for the believer.

After the Resurrection

Eyewitness pp. 261, 262
Luke 24:47-53 NLT
Acts 1:11 NLT
In Your Bible Luke 24:47-53; Acts 1:11

After his death and resurrection, Jesus undeniably appeared to many people. Again, he taught the disciples about the Kingdom of God and was seen by more than five hundred followers. Jesus directed the disciples not to leave Jerusalem before he sent them the promise from the Father.

Luke’s Version of the Great Commission

As Jesus spent this time with his disciples he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures written about him. Jesus command, “With my authority, take this message of repentance to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me” (Luke 24:47 NLT). This does not contradict the Matthew or Mark account, but is additive and enlightening.

He also told them to stay in Jerusalem until the Father sent the Holy Spirit to empower them. Then in Bethany as he lifted his hands to heaven, and blessed them. They saw him taken to heaven!

The disciples watched in wonderment. Then, two men dressed in white suddenly stood among the and said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. And someday, just as you saw him go, he will return!” (Acts 1:11 NLT) Selah.

Joy

Filled with joy at his ascension, the disciples returned to Jerusalem as Jesus commanded. They spent their time in the Temple praising God. They knew they were not to leave Jerusalem before he sent them the promise from the Father.

Prayer: Father, thank you for Your Holy Spirit who guides me daily. I need and appreciate this ever-present help.

Questions: How is Luke’s mention of repentance and forgiveness add to your Christian experience? When or on what occasion, have you been filled with joy at what God has done for you?

NOTE:

  • I will continue next with the book of Acts. As you see from Luke’s version of the ascension, the lead into Acts is clear. God’s power – the Holy Spirit—working through mankind/the Apostles is the story of the early church.
  • The blog title will change to Insights into Scripture by a Layman.

Direction and Authority – Part 2

Eyewitness pp 261,262
Matthew 5:48 AMP
Matthew 22:39, 18:20-22 and 28:18-20 NLT
Mark 8:33,34 NLT
Colossians 2:12 NLT
In your Bible: Matthew 28:18-20

We continue to study Jesus’ teaching on the mountain – a discourse called the Great Commission. It may be helpful to reread Matthew 28:18-20. We as believers’ now have the strength to complete his commission, because Jesus said, “and be sure of this, I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20 NLT).

Baptism

The practice of baptism gives witness to our belief. As in the early church baptism shows a new believer’s response of faith. It publicly signifies that the individual is now a follower of Jesus.

Jesus mentions the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as he commands baptism for believers. What an event that must have been when the other two were also present at his baptism and gave witness (the dove and a voice from heaven) as Jesus rose from the water (see Matthew 28:19).

The Apostle Paul says it plainly, “For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead” (Colossians 2:12 NLT).

Obey My Commands

Jesus says we are to obey all of his commands. As he taught, he presented many things we should do. This command is clear, Jesus said: We are to love one another! This is the way people will know we are Jesus’ disciples (See John 13:34,35).

In other parts of the Gospels, the command may be less direct but surely we need to listen/hear. Here is a starter kit for the (hard) commands by Jesus:

  • Forgivenes/Forgive – Peter came to him [Jesus]and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No!” Jesus replied, Seventy times seven! (Matt 18:21,22 NLT)
  • Be perfect – “You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character [actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 AMP).

  • Love one another –“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35 NLT).
  • Believe in me . . . “Believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father “. . . (John 14:11-14 NLT).
  • Give up your own way —Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24 NLT).

There are many more things Jesus commands believers to do. Some may be masked in a parable, a teaching, or talks with disciples. Many commands may seem (and are) very difficult. I believe the Lord wanted to show that with him all things are possible.

In this discourse at the mountain, Jesus comforted them (and all of us today) with a wonderful promise — “and be sure of this: I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).

Prayer: Father, help me live through your commands and be an instrument to love and help others.

Question: What seems to be the hardest command for you?