Sermon Summary - The First Evangelistic Sermon (Acts 2:14-41)
This is the very first Christian evangelistic sermon. First, to set the scene: large crowds of religious Jews gathered around Peter, the eleven, and the rest of the early Christians because of the miraculous sign of tongues – praising God in different languages. Some were amazed, and some mocked. This sets the stage for Peter’s sermon.
Acts 2:14 – give ear to my words. Why? Because your eternal destiny may depend on how attentive you are. Then Peter goes on to quote from memory Joel 2:28-32. Luke says nothing in these early days about prophecy or dreams or visions; but it will come later. Peter says this manifestation of speaking in tongues is a sign that the Lord has fulfilled the prophecy of Joel by pouring out the Holy Spirit – on all God’s people, not just the elite. There is no Christian today without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:19-20 – the outpouring of the Spirit will be followed by a time of horrific judgment. But Peter didn’t know when the time of judgment would take place. Revelation 6:12 sounds similar to Joel’s judgment language. Then comes the gospel (Acts 2:21). Judgment is coming, but if you call on the name of the Lord, you will be saved.
Peter unfolds who that Lord is (Acts 2:22-24). 3 ways that God has authenticated Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and Messiah:
- Jesus’ life – ministry of healings and dominion over demonic spirits, miracles and signs and wonders, which they all know about.
- Jesus’ death – this did not invalidate him as Messiah, but fulfilled the prophets (Isaiah 53:10). This was God’s plan, but does not relieve you of responsibility for putting Him to death.
- Jesus’ resurrection – this is the main theme in the apostolic preaching throughout the book of Acts.
Peter then quotes Psalm 16:8-11 to show how the Old Testament prediction of the resurrection was always there. Because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, He is authenticated as Lord and Messiah. Then there is a 4th authentication based on the previous 3: God has exalted Jesus to His right hand in the heavens, and fulfilled Joel’s prophecy by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33-35). Finally, Peter closes with a concise summary statement (Acts 2:36).
Question: even though you weren’t there in the first century, is there something about your life that put Jesus on the cross? If you have ears to hear what the Holy Spirit says through the words that Peter preached, then the truth will be felt deep down in your heart (Acts 2:37). Sin became obvious to them. The Holy Spirit stabbed them in the heart with conviction and their need for mercy. This conviction is crucial in gospel preaching. Application point (Acts 2:38-40) - Repent and be baptized, in light of the gospel. Repentance is recognizing your sin, and calling upon the Lord as you turn away from sin. What about faith? You can’t have faith without repentance or repentance without faith (2 sides of the same coin). Be baptized – each one is called to an individual response. Come, make your public declaration and identify with the crucified Jesus. And that day, 3000 souls were added (Acts 2:41). This is the gospel, and it never gets old to those who treasure it.
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