The First Gospel Sermon

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
Acts 2:36-41

Reflections

Ten days after ascending, the Lord Jesus empowered His followers on a special day called Pentecost, 50 days after Passover and His resurrection.  Known as Shavuot, this was (and is) a Jewish festival commemorating the giving of the Ten Commandments; as well as celebrating early harvest.
 
In ACTS 2, Jerusalem was filled with Hebrews, from around the Roman Empire,  celebrating this festival.  While there, a large crowd of them witnessed Jesus’ disciples being filled with the Holy Spirit; which included strong wind sounds, flames on disciples’ heads and hearing them speak in unknown languages; as the Spirit enabled.  There were 15 different nationalities of observers present who heard “Galileeans” speaking about “…the wonderful works of God” in languages that were from the countries where these observers were from.  This phenomenon caused some serious questions.
 
Now freshly empowered to be a witness, as Jesus promised in Acts 1:8, Peter began declaring what he knew concerning the outpouring of God’s Spirit as being the fulfillment of prophecy; Joel 2:28-32a.

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, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on my menservants and on my maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

The apostle then continued with preaching the good news of Jesus’ resurrection; which also fulfilled prophecy.

Since this day was also the anniversary of King David’s death, who died before seeing the fulfillment of several messianic prophecies given to him, Peter used this opportunity to preach Christ as being the fulfillment of those promises, quoting Psalms 16:8-11 and  110:1.
 
Hearing about these prophetic fulfillments and Jesus’ wonderful resurrection, as well as their own part in His death, the convicted crowd asked, “…what shall we do?”
 
Peter told them all to repent “and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is to you and your children…” and all afar off, as many as our God will call.  He continued testifying and exhorting them to be saved, “…from this perverse generation.”
 
Before day’s end, around 3,000 were added to the Church by receiving Peter’s words and being baptized as instructed.  Baptizing that many in Jesus’ name was not hard for them to do; since there were plenty of mikvehs – immersion pools – in Jerusalem.
 
By Acts 4:4, the Church had grown to around 5,000 men and Acts 4:31 says they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God with boldness.

Written by Alan Latta
Senior Pastor of Generations Church of Granbury

Questions

If you have heard and believed the good news of Jesus’ death and burial, and His resurrection and ascension, as preached in Acts 2:22-36, have you obeyed Peter’s instructions in verses 38 – 40?

If so, have you been filled with the Holy Spirit and are you a bold witness for Jesus Christ, as He promised His followers in Acts 1:8 ?

Let's Pray

Father,
Thank you for the gospel: your good news of death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Thank you, Lord, for conquering sin and death as our sacrifice for sin and all its penalties. Please show me any area of my life where I need to be obedient to your will without fear. Fill me to overflowing with your strong Holy Spirit, so that I can be a bold witness for You. In Jesus’ mighty name.
Amen

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