What Would Peter preach Today
Itís Pentecost! One of the major festivals of the Old Testament, it required a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and so Jews from all over the world were present in the city on this Day recorded in the 2nd chapter of Acts.
Suddenly there is this huge wooshing sound. Loud enough that it got everyoneís attention in the city. Simultaneously, a miraculous appearance of tongues that looked like flames atop every disciple present in the upper room.
They are so filled with Godís Holy Spirit that their flesh cannot control their tongues! When you consider the problems you have with your tongue, you can appreciate how awesome this miracle truly is! God the Holy Spirit is in charge of their tongues rather than their flesh! And they find themselves speaking in languages that they canít understand.
Well this whooshing sound drew the people to where the disciples were. I remember once in Two Rivers, a boat exploded in the harbor and it seemed like the whole city was drawn to the sound of it. We wanted to see what was going on. That was the purpose of this sound on Pentecost. It was to draw the people to the place where the disciples were.
And when the people came together....they were confused. What a bunch of jibberish. All different languages all at once all talking about the wonderful works of God!
These Galileans, who had a very peculiar and identifiable accent (remember how Peter was identified when he denied Jesus? It was his accent! Now these Galileans were speaking plainly in all these other languages. Itís like Gomer Pyle suddenly speaking fluent French. Parley view Francay.
So they were amazed and perplexed, but some just said.....ahhhh there all drunk. And thatís when Peter steps up to the podium and gives the first sermon of the new testament church. I certainly canít improve upon that which he preached, but I would like to preach it again, only this time as I think he might preach it for the 21 st century church in America.
Men, women, and children! Let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 "For we are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only 9 in the morning! This isnít a mill town you know, where the taverns are open at 6 a.m. so they can sell their devilís brew of family and life destroying alcohol!
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; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, (proclaim the wonderful works of God) Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy (Proclaim the wonderful works of God!).
And after My Spirit has been made available to all through baptism through the full preaching of the Gospel, the great and final Day will come! 19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, 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 before that Great and Awesome Day, Shall be saved.'
22 "People, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, 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--
Oh, He hasnít turned any water into wine lately or caused someone to walk on water, but how about that marriage that He brought back from the brink of divorce?
Or how about that time He healed Pastor Matz of shingles? Or found a car for that woman in need of transportation? Or caused a weather related school closing so a teacher could buy some time? Or spoke a word of knowledge to you Ruth, so you could encourage this Pastor?
These are just a few of the miracles He has wrought that we have been able to see with our eyes and give testimony to, but what about all the unseen miracles?
The times when we have been protected from physical harm. The times when He came alongside and protected us from and helped us to endure the emotional and spiritual attacks of the devil? This same miracle working Jesus was delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, to go to the cross and pay for all your rebellious ways.
And though you werenít physically present when they crucified Jesus, it was your sins that caused Him to be crucified and put to death. Your lawless deeds are responsible for His death!
But, God raised Him up, having now loosed the wages of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 "For David says concerning Him: 'I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
Jesus, though He came in the flesh through the loins of David will ever be on the throne. He lives and reigns forever!
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. 27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.'
29 "People, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, heís long gone! His bones are somewhere on this earth even today. Waiting as we are for the Lordís return
30 "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,
31 "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
32 "This Jesus God has raised up, of which all the apostles and over 500 other witnesses saw Him in the flesh after His death and burial. They saw Him, they touched Him, they placed their fingers in His wounds, they ate with Him, He walked with them. He is alive!
33 "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. This big event the people of Jerusalem witnessed on this day, was the beginning of the Christ pouring out all the blessings that He won for the world in His life, death, and resurrection!
And the challenge for you today is, will you avail yourself of these blessings or not? Will you receive them in your heart of hearts or will you simply give mental assent to them and go on living unchanged, untouched by the power and benefits of the implanted Word and the Holy Spirit that you received in your baptism?
34 "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."
Jesus will not return until every last enemy of Christ has been brought to the place of rest....the footstool. That doesnít mean that all will be saved, it simply means that God knows those rebels who are his and those rebels who will call on His name, submit to His lordship and be saved!
36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel, all who are in the true church know Godís plan of salvation. And here it is: ďthat God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
This Jesus whom your sins have caused to be crucified is both Lord and Christ. It was easy to identify the sin of Peterís audience....they had literally killed God just 53 days beforehand.
Itís not so easy to get the church of todayís America to identify our sins, because like that frog being slowly cooked in the water, we have come to accept them. Weíve even come to like them and weíd just as soon not hear about them.
But let me spell just a few of them out for you this morning. Ways in which the church has strayed from the path of life. Hear about our sins that helped crucify Jesus!
We have made a mockery of the institution that God loves...marriage. Marriage is permanent, and we have spent more time trying to find loopholes to get out of our marriages, than we have spent seeking to fulfill our individual God-ordained role in the marriage.
Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved His church! Give yourself to them as Christ gave Himself for you! Relinquish what you call ďyour rightsĒ and seek to love and serve her.
Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord! Put ďyes, my lord, back into your vocabulary, and leave the sarcasm out!
Another sin: We have given in to the ways of the world and turned sex into a tool of experiencing lustful pleasure to be spent on ourselves rather than reserved for a mutual giving of ourselves to our spouses as God intended.
We have fornicated, engaged in sex outside the bounds of marriage. We have not kept the marriage bed undefiled. We have forgotten that one of the purposes of marriage is to raise up godly offspring, and we have looked at children as a curse rather than a blessing.
Innocent blood has been spilled in the land by the destruction of abortion and birth control pills that flush out a soul that has been conceived in the womb, and made in the image of God.
Even when the Lord blesses with children, we treat them like a curse as we ship them off to day care so we can provide material things and false fulfillment for ourselves. We have been led to believe that our children need material blessings....they donít! They need loving Christian parents modeling Christ. They need homes filled with love and acceptance and forgiveness!
We have made a mockery of the Sabbath. We work, work , work as if the Lord didnít know what He was doing when He took a day off, and commanded us to do the same. Or we have sent a message to our children that sports and recreation are more important than coming to His house on Sunday to give thanks and worship!
In our reckless pursuit of happiness through materialism, we have put our future in hock. We have maxed out our mortgages, our credit cards, and put ourselves so deep in debt that we cannot give a simple 10% of our income to Godís storehouse. So that we might have something to give to the poor.
We have ignored the cries of the poor. We have not sought ways to bring bread to those who are starving. Even worse we have ignored the cries of those who need to hear the saving news of the bread of life....Jesus Christ. Our neighbors, our city, our state our nation and many in the world are going to hell because we refuse to speak and live the gospel before their eyes.
We have murdered with our tongues. Hateful speech, thoroughfares of gossip, self-righteous hypocrites who deserve hell for our rebellious ways.
We have become a prayerless and thankless people, who think we have just enough religiosity to be saved. And as we continue in these sins and many others that I have not mentioned, we keep pounding nails into the hands and feet of Jesus, crucifying Him just as sure as those who approved of His death 2000 years ago!.
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, they saw their sin, and unless the church experiences a similar cutting to the heart there is no hope for it! Unless you and I are convicted by our sinfulness and our need for a Savior, there is no hope for us either!
The self-righteous will not inherit the kingdom of God!
So ďwhat shall we do?
38 Then Peter said to them, and I say to you! That there is hope for you! "Repent, (think differently about your way of living! Think differently about Jesus Christ. Think rightly about Him as the Christ, the Messiah, your Savior and your Lord! Think again about what took place when your were brought to the waters of baptism!
God washed away your sins, He brought you forth to a new and different way of living. He implanted His Word in you, and gave you the Holy Spirit so that His Word would become meaningful and useful for you and a witness for others in your daily living!
Daily come to Him, remembering your baptism, confessing your sins and purposing in your heart to live and love for Him through the power of the Holy Spirit!
39 "For this promise of forgiveness and power for right living is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." He is calling you again this morning! Will you respond this time?
Young people, God is calling you back to the faith of the apostolic fathers, the faith of Scripture. Dare to dream about what the church could be, dare to dream about what Living Word could become if we stood on the truth of Godís Word and acted like we really believed it!
What would it be like if we repented of these sins and started to live according to the Word of God? What would the church look like if we didnít just talk about being filled with the Holy Spirit, but sought to be filled with Jesus above all things?
40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation."
This is a perverse generation, itís twisted itís sick, pull away from it and draw near unto Jesus!
Start fresh today! Receive this word with glad hearts, Let the Holy Spirit take this Word and draw a line in the sand of your life today!
It wasnít Peterís intent to beat up his audience and leave them there. It was his intent to lead them to the cross. It was his intent to lead them to the waters of baptism, so they would receive all the blessings of what Jesus did for them on Calvary.
My intent is to draw you back to your baptism, and to challenge you to take advantage of those things that were placed in you and given to you in your baptism. You are new creatures in Christ! Live like it! Seek to soak up Jesus like a sponge soaks up water!
Weíve made mistakes, but forgiveness is ours for the asking and receiving. Letís live in and celebrate that forgiveness! The Holy Spirit was given to you in your baptism.....letís get Him out of the cellar of our hearts and allow Him to live and love through us!
No more lukewarmness! No more compromise! More of Jesus in our lives and less of ourselves beginning today...beginning now! Let this Pentecost Day be the rebirth of His church, the rebirth of those gathered here today in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Let it mark the return of our souls to our first love! May this day be a reawakening of the power of God through the Holy Spirit in our lives now and forevermore.