Some sermons are more easily forgotten than others. I’ve been thinking recently of those expositions of Scripture which God has used in my own spiritual journey and pondering how biblical truths have deeply altered my mind, will and emotions.
I’ve heard a variety of preachers in my over half-a-century of listening. “If you only remember one truth from this sermon…” has cued me on a number of occasions, that at least in the preacher’s mind, the truth about to be shared is pivotal.
On the Day of Pentecost Peter began with the context of culture, then guided his hearers into the context of scripture, then walked them through several key truths about Jesus Christ, supporting his premises with firsthand testimony as well as other scriptures. That’s what preaching is all about, isn’t it? Connecting a current issue or application with the content of the Bible or vice versa. Exposition must be combined with application, but the means of doing so is as diverse as the personalities of those called to preach.
As Peter wraps up his expositional exhortation he draws upon one further Old Testament text and then summarizes his argument with a Spirit-led, Christ-centred conclusion.
The Old Testament text? One that should be studied carefully by all Christians because it is filled with amazing insight into the authority of God, the person and work of the Lord, the kingly priest, whose worldwide victorious conquest of all nations, I’m sure, filled the mind of King David with awe and wonder.
Peter notes, “For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
‘The LORD said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ (Psalm 110:1)
You may well recall the occasion when Jesus pressed the Pharisees with the question, “The Christ, whose son is He?” His knowledgeable hearers answered, “The Son of David,” they replied. He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him, ‘Lord’? and then he cited Psalm 110:1.
Psalm 110 is a Messianic poem, anticipating, 1000 years before He came, the authority of the Messiah.
Peter, in Acts 2, cites just the opening verse as well, having reasoned with his audience from other Scriptures in an earlier part of his probing sermon. Then he presses home his Scripturally based, carefully crafted conclusion, his summary, the ‘take-away’ which the Spirit of God was prompting him to speak.
“Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
What is Peter saying? You (the hearers) did not know who Jesus WAS–that’s why you crucified Him. You thought He was blaspheming when He claimed to be the Son of God, when He claimed equality with the Father, when He permitted people to worship Him. But let’s be clear, the out-poured Spirit of God resulting in individuals hearing the wonders of God in their own languages (v.11) is proof, unmistakable proof that Jesus of Nazareth was and is who He said He was. He is Lord! He is the Messiah! He is your Saviour!
Peter is extending the invitation which was passed on to him three years earlier, the invitation extended to Nathanael by Philip as well in John chapter 1. I refresh your memory and mine by writing out a few verses in full (with a few words emphasized by me.)
The FIRST THING Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “WE have FOUND the MESSIAH,” (that is, the CHRIST). And he brought him to Jesus. (John 1:41,42)
Philip found Nathanael and told him, We have FOUND the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote–JESUS of NAZARETH, the son of Joseph.” (John 1:45)
In one sense Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost is just an extended personal testimony. Powerful preaching flows out of a life that has been radically altered by the Spirit of God through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. May God raise up around the world such preachers to “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all peoples.” (Psalm 96)
Why not pause and pray for at least 3 missionaries you know who are involved in this amazing privilege? And why not ask God to help you to ‘in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give ther reason for the hope that you have.’ You may not get to preach today, but perhaps through a simple word of witness you too may be able to give away what you have found!