Faithlife Sermons

Fisherman's Tale

Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:09
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Peter has been transformed from bungling loudmouth to Biblical scholar and inspired preacher. This was done in the moment in the coming of the Holy Spirit… but also through the careful teaching of Jesus before his ascension (Luke 24:45). Thanks to witnesses like Peter, we also sit at the foot of Jesus. And, in the words of Peter’s sermon, the gift of the Holy Spirit is for “you and for your children.” From fisherman to fisher of men. From loser to leader. May we be so transformed by Word and Spirit into Witnesses.

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Fisherman’s Tale

Acts 2:14-41
Peter has been transformed from bungling loudmouth to Biblical scholar and inspired preacher. This was done in the moment in the coming of the Holy Spirit… but also through the careful teaching of Jesus before his ascension (Luke 24:45). Thanks to witnesses like Peter, we also sit at the foot of Jesus. And, in the words of Peter’s sermon, the gift of the Holy Spirit is for “you and for your children.” From fisherman to fisher of men. From loser to leader. May we be so transformed by Word and Spirit into Witnesses.

Transformation

Logan - picture at beginning of middle school.
Picture now.
This week we toured Horizon high-school. And in 4 years, he will be an 18 year-old man heading off to college. Crazy!!!
How does someone change like that? How does someone grow like that?
You know the old question “what will I be when I grow up?” Anyone still asking that question?
I’m not getting any taller… but as I pursue God and learn how to love his people… how often I am confronted with how far I need to go and how much I need to grow. How often I put my foot in my mouth, say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing… or by inaction mess it all up.
I want God to just *snap* transform me into the glorious creation He has in mind. Someone who is unfailing faithful, wise and always loves people just the way they need to be loved!

Intro to the Preacher

Recall: Jesus has ascended, Holy Spirit comes in power on the day of Pentecost… and Peter stands up to preach
My friend Peter. Simeon bar Jonah - Simon son of John.
I remember when Andrew first told Simon about Jesus and how eager he was to meet him. Do you guys remember when he jumped out onto the water? It was so cool for a moment… and then he panicked and sank. Hilarious.
You remember when he wouldn’t let Jesus wash his feet… and then when he learned what it meant he was all “wash all of me!” Ridiculous.
Oh… and then he was telling Jesus how he didn’t need to go to the cross and suffer and die… Jesus was all “Get behind me, SATAN!” Actually, that was kind of scary.
Then he cut that guy’s ear off! Oh man.
And Peter himself will tell you how he panicked the night of Jesus’ trial. He denied Jesus three times just like Jesus said he would.
Peter the brash, the arrogant and foolish, Peter the easily-intimidated. Who so rarely said the right thing and so often said the ridiculously wrong thing.
How does that Peter become this Peter in Acts 2.
How does someone change like that? How does someone grow like that?

Intro to the Sermon

One of the greatest sermons ever preached. One of the very few we have recorded in Scripture (and even then, we only get the summary version). Because it is such a moment of transformation and power, and because it is one of the very few sermons we get in Scripture: we are spending some time here. I read this last week, but we are going to read it again, and then study it from the 10,000 foot view.
Acts 2:14–39 ESV
But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, “ ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” ’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Sermon Analysis

Let’s take a moment to analyze… not the content of the sermon (more about that next week) but the structure of the sermon. When we teach the Preachers in Training, we use a structure called “Hook, Book, Look, Took” as a handy mnemonic to structure a sermon.
This is useful in preaching, but useful in any kind of story or witness you may have opportunity to give.
Hook, Book, Look, Took. (You know it’s good because it rhymes)

Hook, Book, Look, Took

Hook

He has the best “hook” in history. Pentecost is the hook. Wind and fire, the coming of the Holy Spirit, 120 men and women speaking in tongues the wonders of what God has done.
but peter grabs hold of this hook with a solid joke.
No, we’re not drunk.
Better he asks the question they are asking

Book

He quotes from Joel and from two Psalms.
Where is he referencing this stuff?
Which is amazing, because it isn’t like he had iBible or Logos mobile app on his phone. From memory he recites these passages.

Look

Drawing on each of these passages he explains how they are fulfilled.
This is that.
This puzzle about David… fulfilled in Jesus.
This promise about the Holy Spirit… fulfilled now before you today.
He is unpacking Scriptures that have been mysteries
(More about the content of his sermon next week)

Took

What is the takeaway? They are convicted, first of all.
Acts 2:36 ESV
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
And those who respond: Repent and be baptized.
Acts 2:38–39 ESV
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

From Fisherman to Fisher of Men

The transformation of Peter.
Not just from 3 years ago… how about from 2 months ago. 50 days ago Peter was falling asleep in the Garden, cutting off ears to defend Jesus from what “had to happen” because he didn’t get it and he didn’t like it… and then denying to even know Jesus three times.
and then, even after Jesus is resurrected, what does Peter go and do? He goes back up to Galilee to fish!
Now here he is. On fire, preaching this incredible sermon and three thousand souls saved as God uses him to evangelize. to PREACH.
Those who heard were PIERCED!
Acts 2:37 ESV
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
and we only get a taste of what is said. Luke didn’t have a recorder, he has put together the pieces of the sermon from later recollection. There was so much more:
Acts 2:40 ESV
And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”
And the scale of the response:
Acts 2:41 ESV
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
What a preacher! What a man of God! He must have been doing this for a lifetime.
But no… we know he wasn’t. We know the story and so we stand with those in the crowd who marvelled at these country bumpkins.
Acts 2:7 ESV
And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
What makes someone transform like that? How did he grow up so fast?
Not a formula (we should always be skeptical of mining Scripture for formulas)… but here’s the formula:

Word, Spirit, and Mission

With Jesus who was the Word… studying the Word of God. Peter didn’t show the results all that much at first, but Jesus had carefully laid the groundwork. First in three years of ministry, going to synagogues, going to temple, teaching as they walked the roads, and Peter heard these Psalms and prophecies likely from the lips of Jesus.
And then… what did Jesus teach in the 40 days he was with the disciples (on and off) after the resurrection?
Luke 24:44–45 ESV
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
And… oh look, Peter is preaching from the Prophets and the Psalms. The Word opened his mind to the Word. And we read later that Peter and the apostles were pouring over the Scriptures: “devoting” themselves to the study of the Word.
But that didn’t all come together until the Spirit took up residence within him. It is the Spirit that gives the “spiritual” gift of preaching. We call it a “spiritual” gift because proclaiming the Word of God only has life changing power by the power of the Spirit. The Spirit of God comes upon Peter and brings it all together, the supernatural understanding of Scripture, proclaiming it then with supernatural effectiveness.
Peter is grounded in the Word. Empowered and enabled by the Spirit. But there is this final piece. The smallest piece… but crucially important.
Acts 2:14 ESV
But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.
Peter entered into the Mission. The mission that Jesus gave him: to be his witness in Jerusalem (step 1). Peter recognized, again by the Holy Spirit, and he RESPONDED! In courage.
A man who was intimidated into denying Christ by a middle-school girl finds the courage to stand up and proclaim to a crowd of thousands that a recently convicted and executed felon was actually the Messiah.
Peter was prepared in the Word by the Word, he was filled with the Holy Spirit and he stepped up to the Mission.
How does someone transform like that?
Word. Spirit. and then stepping up in Mission.

Word, Spirit, and Mission

You ever have early Peter moments? Foot in mouth, did the wrong thing. Said the wrong thing. Missed the opportunity to say the right thing...
We have the Word. That’s what we are doing here today: diving into the Word. Studying it, letting it take up residence within us. It is so much more than memorization (though memorization can be of great value). It is making ourselves available for God to write it, to etch it on our hearts and minds.
In personal devotion, in personal and corporate study, and in corporate preaching… we are in the Word.
We have the Spirit. As Peter says: the promise of Joel is to you and your children. Whoever “repents and is baptized… you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” You have the same Spirit within you.
What remains? The next step in His Mission. Is it to do exactly what Peter did? No, that was Peter’s part to play: you have yours. But you have been and are being prepared by the Word of God… you have been equipped and spiritually gifted by the Holy Spirit of God… and you have a part to play in the Mission of God.
Transformation happens
God doesn’t call the equipped he equips the called.
God rarely “transforms” you and then sends you on mission. He uses the mission to transform you. He doesn’t use people to get ministry done, he uses ministry to get people done.
How far I have to go...
But I serve a God who transformed a fisherman into a Fisher of Men. A brash, foolish and ignorant man… into a persuasive and powerful preacher and a influential leader. A rock.
He can continue to transform me. He can continue to transform you.
By His Word. By His Spirit. As we join in His Mission.
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