The First Sermon
THE FIRST SERMON
THEME: Peter’s Pentecost Day sermon is one of the most important declarations in the New Testament. He tells us who Jesus is, what His Gospel is, and what we need to do in response to it. Jesus’ person and position as Lord and Christ and Son of God shows that He shares in God the Father’s presence, provision, and glory. This sermon is a beautiful summary to ALL BELIEVERS of how the Gospel can be proclaimed to the world.
Read Acts 2: 14-40.
I. The significance of the Lord and Christ, Jesus.
A. Peter explains the events of Pentecost Day and the mission of Jesus in the context as the whole plan of God the Father.
1. Side note: This passage is not a complete “word-for-word” report of Peter’s sermon, but is a condensed summary of it. (Takes 3 minutes to repeat).
2. Peter shows the crowd how the Prophet Joel’s predictions were taking place before their eyes:
a. The mighty noise to draw the crowd, the appearance of flames to purify the disciples, and the speaking in foreign languages are all simply the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
3. There was a significant difference in the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament vs. the Old Testament:
a. In OT times, the Spirit was poured out on specific individuals only for a specific purpose during a specific time.
b. Now the Spirit is poured out on ALL BELIEVERS upon conversion for an undefined length of time.
4. Peter says that the new covenant Jesus told them about is now available for all to enter into with God. Jeremiah told them it was coming over 600 years earlier. Joel, over 800 years earlier, gave them a graphic portrayal of the implementation of the new covenant: (Jeremiah 31: 31-34) “The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt. . . I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man [have] to teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.”
B. Now that Peter has established the “why” of Jesus, he proceeds with the “who” Jesus is.
1. During his 3 year mission on earth, Jesus had been endowed by God with the power to perform miracles: healings, exorcisms, control of nature. And He went to the cross for them, proving He was the Messiah. OT prophets of this were many and correct.
2. The crowd knew that Jesus had been crucified. That was common knowledge throughout all Jerusalem. They had heard rumors and undertones that He had come back to life.
3. Now Peter makes it plain that the rumors were true.
a. Jesus was raised from the dead – and all the people standing in front of this crowd speaking in their native languages were actual witnesses to this event.
b. The Jews expected resurrection from the dead – but only at the “great day of the Lord” or Judgment Day. Jesus had broken the rule: He was risen, and it was obviously not Judgment Day.
4. The ultimate proof that Jesus was who He said He was (the Messiah) was that God the Father raised Him from the dead.
5. Peter then ties Jesus to David and more prophesy (more proof He was Messiah).
a. (2 Samuel 7: 16) “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”
b. This is why the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are careful to show the family tree of Jesus going back to King David (Matthew 1: 1-16; Luke 3: 23-37).
6. The resurrection is a historical fact like the death and burial.
a. It is not a symbol or a metaphor for anything.
b. It was a real event that changed the direction of the witnesses’ lives.
7. Witnesses exist to underscore the resurrection’s reality.
8. Its reality points to God’s work and His vindication of Jesus.
9. Man may have crucified Jesus, but God shows His power and His plan by setting that event aside by the Resurrection.
10. It’s kind of like what we used to call in school a “logic proof:”
a. The Messiah will rise from the dead as Scripture shows.
b. God raised Jesus from the dead.
c. Therefore, Jesus is the Messiah.
C. Now Peter uses the “where” of Jesus to close out his demonstration of who Jesus is:
1. As important as the resurrection is to show that Jesus is alive and vindicated, it is even more significant as an indication of where Jesus went: to the right hand of God.
a. The position at the right hand not only showed that Jesus was in God the Father’s presence, but also that He was acting for and with God the Father, and possessed all the power of God the Father.
b. Jesus had demonstrated this power by giving the Holy Spirit.
c. All the crowd were witnesses to His power, even though they did not understand what they were experiencing at the time.
d. Peter had now made that very clear to them.
2. This position at the right hand of God in heaven proves that Jesus is not only the Messiah and the Son of God, but He is also the Lord.
a. The intimate connection of Jesus and God the Father shows an equality between them.
b. His vindication is about more than just the fact that He lives and that others (believers) will also be raised.
c. It shows that Jesus shared God’s unique glory.
3. Jesus did not become the Lord through the resurrection-ascension, but rather was shown TO BE the Lord, Messiah, and Son of God.
4. Jesus is DIVINE – worthy of our belief, faith, trust, and worship.
5. God has exalted Jesus to the reality and power of what He already was by right.
6. Peter has now made the points he needs to, and waits for the crowd to react.
II. How is a person supposed to respond to all this revelation and knowledge about Jesus?
A. The crowd is convicted by Peter’s message, and understand they have done the most horrible thing. Even though Jesus is now alive, they realize they are guilty of His death on the cross, just as much as if they had literally been the ones driving the nails into His hands and feet.
1. Such a realization of their guilt of their great sin drives them to despair.
2. They know their sin has condemned them – as ours condemns us.
3. They are afraid that their position is hopeless – without cure.
B. Peter shows them (and us) that sinners are not hopeless, that salvation is possible for those who believe. There are 3 parts to their required response:
1. 1st, they must repent as a result of their belief. This is the basic key to salvation that today is being given short shrift.
a. Today, all you have to do is say a little prayer, invite Jesus to “come into your heart” and everything will be all right.
b. It’s the “feel good solution” to the same problem Peter’s crowd had – sin – and Peter will have none of that. We ALL must repent.
c. Repentance means a complete change in direction:
(1) A change of thinking
(2) A change of belief
(3) A change of actions/living
d. Not just a turn away from, but you have to turn to something.
e. And that something must be the one Peter has just outlined to us: We must turn to the LORD and CHRIST, Jesus, the SON OF GOD.
f. It is a turn FROM SIN to the LORD JESUS CHRIST.
2. 2nd, they must be baptized.
a. There is much symbolism in this act:
(1) The washing away of sins
(2) Rising from the dead with Jesus
3. 3rd, they will receive the gift (from the ascended Lord Jesus) of the Holy Spirit.
4. Forgiveness and the Holy Spirit are the principal gifts of God that Jesus provides.
C. The crowd accepts Peter’s sermon and turns to Christ:
1. 3,000 people are saved and baptized.
2. The crowd has done the right thing. HAVE YOU?
3. Next week, we will see the results of their repentance and in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit in their lives and the life of the Church.
A. Peter’s 1st sermon is just as good and true and valid today as it was 2,000 years ago.
1. All you must do is the same things the crowd did:
a. Believe Jesus is the Messiah and Lord and Son of God.
b. Repent and turn to God.
c. Be baptized.
d. Receive the Holy Spirit.
2. And this will change your life just like it did the 3,000.
3. Don’t wait – time’s slipping away very quickly.
4. Respond to this FIRST SERMON and the Lord Jesus Christ.