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Peter’s First Sermon


Peter’s First Sermon

Acts 2:14-24

In our last study we reviewed the events of the Day of Pentecost and saw the wonderful, miraculous supernatural way in which God brought the NT Church into being.  We noticed that these events were unique, on a certain day in history, with one particular purpose, which would never need to be repeated.  We also noted that the ‘tongues’ were simply foreign languages, intelligible words spoken by people who had not understood them, and perfectly understood by those who were listening.   The disciples, now full of the Holy Spirit’s power, spill out onto the streets, where hundreds had gathered, and began to preach and teach the Good News.  


1 An Explanation of the Signs.  V14-21

This was the very first sermon in the NT Church!  It begins with an attention-getting illustration – as many sermons have since!  Few could have been as spectacular as the events of the Day of Pentecost – the great sound, like a hurricane, – coming from a particular house in a particular street!  A crowd had already gathered, and people were hearing the Gospel being preached in their own languages.  Some people were so amazed they thought the disciples were drunk. 13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”   Peter offers an explanation…

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 

So, what was actually happening?

  • The Filling of the Apostles.  16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:  17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
    • A person filled with the Holy Spirit is not under the influence of any man made, induced excitement.
    • A person filled with the Holy Spirit is bold to proclaim the Gospel.
    • This amazing illustration of God’s power is totally of divine origin. 
  • The Finality of that Age.  in the last days – Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.    Some people may think that ‘last days’ refers to the time immediately preceding the second coming of Jesus.  This is not so.  The last days began with Christ’s first advent, and end with his second coming.  We are 2000+ years into the Last days.  Now, note two distinct things about these last days.
    • It is the responsibility of every Christian to work and witness for Christ in these last days.  I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;    The Holy Spirit is poured out on us all – not just upon evangelists or preachers, or pastors, but upon all flesh!  BUT WAIT!  In what sense can it be said that the HS is poured out upon ungodly people?  
    • It is the responsibility of EVERYONE to repent of sin and trust Christ!  And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’  In order to be saved, a sinner must CALL upon the Lord!  To call upon the Name of the Lord means to know and believe that Jesus is Lord and to be willing to to accept His Lordship.  No-one an do that without the personal work of the Holy Spirit.  That is why he is here on this earth, why he has been poured out on all mankind.  Jesus said, in John 16:7-9  The Holy Spirit is poured out upon all mankind to bring conviction of sin!


2 The Exaltation of the Saviour.  V22-24

Peter gets to the meat of the sermon.  He preaches about Christ! 

  • His Virgin Birth.   22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth,  This links us to Matthew’s account of the birth and early life of Jesus. Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene. 
  • His Verifiable Life. a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know 
  • His Vicarious Death.  23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 
  • His Victorious Resurrection.  24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
  • His Venerable Position.  36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Every sermon must be Christ centred.  Peter’s certainly was.  And they must properly portray our Lord, as Peter’s did.  We must be careful not to omit elements of His person, or to depict Him wrongly, or make him out to be someone different to the Biblical account.  


3 Our Eternal Salvation.  V23-24

Our salvation and the method of its achievement, was planned and purposed by God from before eternity.  Now there has been a debate among some theologians about when this actually happened.  Was it before the Fall of man or after…. The practical point that Peter was making in v23 was that these Jews thought that the Roman soldiers had crucified Jesus, or perhaps the High Priests had did it, or even the Jews themselves.  But ultimately none of these things are true.  Jesus died on the cross because God had ordained that it would be so.  It was His plan, and purpose.  It does not excuse those, like me, who were humanly responsible.  In fact if we fail to repent it adds to the great burden of guilt that we bear.  Peter still accuses the Jews of complicity in the terrible crime of the death of the only truly Innocent One, the Son of God Himself.

So this is the first ever sermon in the NT church.  It is forceful, unapologetic, Christ-centred, full of biblical references, with a direct gospel application.  It is theological and doctrinal, and it cuts the listeners to the bone.  V37   It wasn’t an easy sermon to take, but it was so powerful that 3000 souls were saved.  It’s the kind of sermon that is the antidote to the easy-believe Christianity of today!  But the challenge is the same!  V38-39  

© BobMcEvoy – October 2019

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