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Teaching in Acts chapter 2, Todd walks us through Peter's sermon on Pentecost. Because Peter's audience would have been predominately Jewish, Todd slows down to teach us much of the Old Testament history, and biblical covenants that would have been familiar to Peter's audience. What's more, Todd explains how Jesus is the Messiah and the fulfillment of those covenants, and what that means for us today.
Stephen…a Faithful Mailman Who Saw Jesus
How to Destroy a Shadow: Stephen’s Masterful Defense of Jesus Finished Work
Hellenistic Lives Matter (And So Does the Ministry of the Word)
The Gospel is NOT a Fad
Beauty and the But
Where Does That Come From?
Living Bolder as We Grow Older
What Makes a Man Fit for Judgment, Ministry and a Ready Response - Acts 4:7-23
The Beginning of Persecution and the Proper Reason for It. - Acts 4:1-12
The First and Enduring Attributes of Christ’s Church
The First Savior Exalting Sermon of the Church
The Gift of Tongues Part 2
Baptism of the Spirit, Tongues of Fire and the Beginning of the Church
From Judas to Matthias: How to Choose Leaders and Find Hope in Failed Ones
The King’s Orders for the King’s New Men
The Story Before the Beginning of the Story: Genesis - Acts 1
Good morning. Hello, Dallas and Plano and Fort Worth. It is great to be with you all. It's great to be diving back into the book of Acts. We're going to stay here for a while now and chew through it some this summer. I'm excited about where we are. We're going to hear from the earliest church father this Father's Day. We're going to hear the very first message ever given to the church. God knew how to build a church because the message was simple, short, maybe anywhere between 90 seconds and 4 minutes, depending on your reading pace.
You got out early for lunch that day. It was simple. It was short. It was scriptural. It was Spirit-directed. It was Savior-exalting. It was salvation-producing. I hope that mine today is at least the last three. I'm going to make it simple if I can. It won't be so short. I'll take a little time to talk about this message. But I pray to God that it is scriptural, Spirit-directed, Savior-exalting, and I pray that it is salvation-producing in you. You're going to be really encouraged. It is a great privilege to be here and look at this together. Let me pray.
Father, would you just teach us now? I thank you just that you, in your kindness, through Luke, just preserved this message, that we could be encouraged by it. What an amazing gift on this Father's Day to hear from our heavenly Father about who he is, who you are, what you have done through Jesus, so that we might be reconciled to you and have peace with our very holy Father that we have all been prodigals to.
I thank you. No matter who we are or where we've been, no matter what we've done, if we pay attention to who you are, where Christ has been, and what he has done, it can give us peace with you. Would you just make this a salvation-producing message? For those of us who already know that salvation, would you make us fall more in love with our Dad this morning, our Father in heaven? We pray in the name of the Son, who we want to lift up right now. Amen.
I want to tell you that the very first message that was ever preached to the church was preached to a very Jewish congregation. I'm going to make a case this morning that the most loving thing you can do with a Jew is to share this message with them. That's not just to a Jew but frankly to anybody. Sometimes, people get all kinds of nervous about whether or not we should share the message of Jesus Christ with a Jew. I would tell you that the most Jewish thing you can do is become a follower of Jesus.
The reason I say that is because Jesus is the Messiah. The most loving thing you can do is make a case for Jews that they ought to consider that Jesus is the Messiah. The most loving thing you can do for a Gentile, a non-Jew, is to tell them why Jesus claimed that he was the Messiah. This is a great message. I had an amazing privilege to meet with about 60 rabbis here.
I was walking out of a movie theater a couple of years back. I saw a gentleman who was wearing a yamaka, and I was curious about some choices that the Jewish community was making in terms of some of the leaders they were getting behind. I said, "Let me ask you a question." The movie engaged about some political conversations. "Can I ask you a quick question?"
It turns out that this guy became a good friend. He was the head of the Jewish Federation in Dallas. He and I started lots of conversation. It led to where I had a chance to meet with about 60 different Jewish leaders, rabbis, here on our campus to talk about you and your love for one another and your desire to share a life together and to practice community and to be generous toward kingdom advancement.
Those are things they really care about. Your reputation preceded me. When they heard that they had an opportunity to talk with the leader of such a people as this, they wanted to meet. I got in a room with orthodox and reformed and progressive and conservative rabbis and Jewish leaders, and we had a great conversation.
I just started the meeting by saying, "I am so humbled that you guys are here. Let me just start by talking about the elephant in the room. Y'all must think I'm crazy." They kind of pause and cock their heads. "Let me just say why. I'm one of those loons that believes that I know your Messiah and that his name is Jesus. It's funny because you may think that I'm crazy, and that doesn't bother me, but you all need to know that I think you're crazy because you haven't seen who Jesus is."
I went on to tell this illustration. I go, "Let me just give it to you like this." These guys had all, like me at that time, made visits to Israel. I said, "Have y'all ever been to Abu Ghosh?" They kind of looked at me. It's a little town that if you're heading out of Jerusalem on up toward Tel Aviv, you would go through. I have been there. The craziest thing is when you go to Abu Ghosh, there is a diner there, a 50s diner by an Israeli guy who loves Elvis. There is a 16-foot gold Elvis in Israel. Here is a picture of it.
I said, "Hey, guys, let me just tell you something. In America, if you're from Memphis, here's the deal. You love people who love Elvis." There are some crazy people who think that Elvis didn't really die and that he's on some deserted island with JFK and now Tupac and Michael, and they're hanging out, and they're all getting along. These people make pilgrimages to Graceland, where they go up there and look at his grave, which is a little crazy. They think it's just there as a marker because he's not really there because he's the king. They love Elvis.
The people of Memphis, if they have any sanity go, "This is just some little small boy from Mississippi who lived four decades and moved on, wrote some good music, and could shake a leg pretty well, but he wasn't anything you should worship." But the people in Memphis love the fact that they worship him because they stay in their hotels, eat their food, and help their local economy.
I go, "Let me just tell you something. You have to feel the same way about me. I make pilgrimages to "Graceland" to visit the King, and I think his grave is empty. Just like I feel sorry for folks who make a pilgrimage every January on his birthday or every August on his death day to Memphis, you must feel sorry for me that we make a big deal about the death of Jesus and the supposed fact that three days later, his tomb was empty.
But let's talk about it, and let's just be friends. We have to figure out who this Messiah is. If Jesus is the Messiah, I want to know who he is. I have a hunch that if Jesus is the Messiah, you're going to want to know." It turned into a great couple of hours together. We talked a little bit about that and a lot about community and love and generosity and how love is the great motivator, not legalism and fear.
Let me tell you, this is what Peter did. It was a Jewish audience. As a reminder, in Acts 2, this is what is going on. In verse 5, it just says, "Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven." All kinds of folks. There were Jews, and there were what were called God-fearers, people who were not Jewish in descent, racially, but who had believed that God had revealed himself in a very unique way to the Jewish people.
If you were with us earlier in the study of Acts, I've mentioned to you that there were three times a year that godly Jews and God-fearers would make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. This event, Pentecost, the Ingathering, was one of those times. In addition to the Jews and the devout men who lived there in Jerusalem, there were several hundred thousand more.
This event called Pentecost happened. Pentecost, to the Christian, is the moment when God had his first Ingathering, when the firstfruits were brought forward, and where the bounty of God's gracious provision was celebrated. The bounty of God's gracious provision here was the coming of the Spirit. He would indwell those who knew him through Christ, and he would give them gifts. They would proclaim his mighty deeds. We see this is what happened.
In verse 6, it says, "There was a sound that occurred. The crowd came together. They were bewildered because each of them was hearing the 11 or 12 disciples speak in their own dialect. They were amazed and astonished." They said, "Why aren't all these guys all speaking… Aren't they Galileans?" Galileans had a very distinct urban dress and a very distinct drawl. You would know right away that somebody is from southern America or from upstate New York by the way they spoke. That was true of Galileans, but these guys weren't speaking with a Galilean accent.
These guys were just speaking fluently in the language of the Parthians, the Medes, and the Elamites, and other residents of Mesopotamia. Meso- means earth, and -potamia means river. So middle earth, the part of the world that is between the great rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. That's Iraq, Iran, Persia. It's basically everybody from the northeast. It says there were folks from Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia. There were folks who had come who were God-fearers and Jews up from Turkey, which was to the northwest of where they were.
It says there were folks from Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene. That is southwest. It says there were some folks who were even Cretans and Arabs, folks who were down there from the southeast, and swinging around even further, all the way to Rome, the far west. This is the whole world that was in Jerusalem at this moment. If I put a dot right there on all of those nations, it just was a globe, all the way around it. They all heard in their own tongue these men speaking the mighty deeds of God.
I have said this again and again. It is true. I was just in Turkey. As I was in Turkey, I'm walking along, and I would hear all kinds of Turkish being spoken, some Arabic, and every now and then, I would hear English, and it was like a dog whistle to me. I turned right over, and I went, "What? Hey." There was an English-speaker. The more it was in my particular dialect and not with a heavy Arab accent but perfectly clear, I would go, "Man, hey, where are you from?" We would engage.
That's what happened right here. It was an authenticating sign that God gave in order to be a sign of judgment to the Jews that they weren't doing what God wanted to happen. It was a fulfillment of prophecy, that the gospel or the love of God was going to be revealed to every tongue one day. It was a way to grab their attention.
It says, "And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, 'What does this mean?'" You're going to hear me talk a little bit later about some authenticating signs when Jesus came. You're going to hear me talk about the sign that we have today as a church and what it is that is supposed to make people cock their heads. Have you ever seen a dog do that? He's sitting there, and something happens quickly. He goes, "Squirrel?" Like that.
Tune in right there. They're ought to be something that everybody, when they see it, cock their heads and go, "Well, I'll be." That something is selfless love. When you see people who care and are kind and are loving and who don't give to others what they think will produce something they can get… They just love. There is something divine about that.
When you see a gentle answer in the face of wrath, it just brings things down. When you see somebody forgive when somebody should not be forgiven, it makes people go, "What is the source of that?" When you see people filled with hope in a world of hate, it makes them listen. The world is still talking about what happened up there at Charleston about a year ago right now, when some crazed young man opened fire. He said, "I almost didn't do it because they were so kind to me."
This guy, filled with darkness and confused, executed a fatal crime against nine individuals, and the response of that church has become legion and legendary as the world watches, and they celebrate that. They go, "What's going on there?" That should be happening here. The Scripture says, "Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts." In other words, "Become more like Jesus." When people saw Jesus, it says they were astonished. They were amazed. They wanted to be around him. They wanted to hear more from him.
As we become more like Christ, you're going to find more and more people who come up to you and ask you to give an account for the hope that is in you. "Why do you love this way? Why do you reconcile this way? Why do you pursue faithless spouses this way? Why is your covenant commitment so amazing? Why are you so willing to not respond in anger and hate when others are that way toward you? Why do you have incredible trust?"
It says in 1 Peter 3:15, "…sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you…" These guys saw something crazy, and they said, "What does this mean?" Note right here. If you haven't had somebody lately walk up to you and say, "Can you explain to me your life? Your life makes no sense to me," then we're probably not living all of the ways we should.
Let me just say this. If your life makes any sense apart from the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the claims of the Scripture related to Jesus, then you're not living a biblical life, and if you live a biblical life in an unbiblical world, people are going to increasingly go, "Why are you so concerned about holiness? Why are you so concerned about lost people? Why are you so vigilant against sin? Why are you so quick to praise God, even in the midst of things in this world that are not as they should be? What does this mean, how you love and live and lead your families, give generously?" That ought to always be what the church produces.
"But others were mocking and saying, 'They are full of sweet wine.'" Whenever you have the gospel present, there are always going to be some people who see the wisdom and power of God in the way you live, and there are other people who are going to call you crazy and delusional, just like then. Verse 14: "But Peter, taking his stand…" The church has to take a stand.
You're going to live in a world that is filled with skeptics and rebels, and godly people who are certain of the resurrection and the kindness of God always take their stand against an ever-increasing evil and people who suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness. This is not new, what we are beginning to face in our country, but you want to learn from Peter right here what to do. You want to be Spirit-directed, Savior-focused, Scripture-based. When you do those things, it will produce salvation for individuals and for the collective whole as they respond.
"But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: 'Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem…'""I want you to hear something." Peter is getting ready to bring some really good news. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul later is going to talk to the people in Corinth who weren't Jews.
There were Jews and Gentiles across a wide spectrum. He was going to talk to them about the goodness of God, the exact same thing, about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's what 1 Corinthians 15 is all filled with. It's filled with the coming hope we have because of the resurrection. He says in verse 56,
"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."
He's telling the Corinthians to take a stand. He's telling that early church, "Don't you shrink back because the resurrection happened. We have victory through Jesus Christ. Sin has lost its victory. Death has lost its sting through Jesus. You know him. Be God's people." Just like Peter was in Jerusalem. Just like I am today. Just like, prayerfully, Watermark will because 2,000 years from now, if the Lord tarries.
Here comes the message. He says, "…let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day…" What you can't tell is right there, in the Greek in which this is written, where it says it's the third hour of the day, it says, "This is not an SEC tailgate. We are not in Baton Rouge. This is not the fall. This is not a Saturday." That's what he means by saying, "Men can't be drunk as early as 9:00 in the morning."
Let me just say, I've been to a tailgate in Baton Rouge at 9:00 in the morning, and they are already drunk. When you're living in Jerusalem during Pentecost, it wasn't normal to have that much sweet wine just yet. Peter is saying, "It's 9:00 in the morning. It's the third hour of daylight. These guys aren't drunk." Then he's going to say this. "…but this is what…" Notice this. This is really important. He's not going to say, "This is that."
In other words, he's about to go to Joel 2, this obscure prophet, and he's going to grab some verses right here, down from verses 17 through 21, out of the book of Joel. He's going to tell them, "What Joel was talking about, you're seeing happen here in part." It is what is called a pre-fulfillment, or an already-but-not-yet. He's not saying, "Hey, what Joel said was going to happen is happening right now."
What Peter is saying to them is, "This is really good news to a Jew. What you're seeing happen here is because the Messiah has come, and he has done what only the Messiah can do. You ought to be really glad, and you ought to know the Messiah so you can have what we have, which is amazing joy, amazing freedom, amazing forgiveness, and an amazing relationship with God.
We are no longer trying to appease God with sacrifices, which are only given for a short period of time, until the final sacrifice came that would reconcile us to God. We're telling you the final sacrifice came. That's the good news. The bad news is you killed him. You'd better recognize what is going on here before it's too late."
I'm just going to insert something right here. This is the part that I'm going to not do what Peter did, which is giving something simple and short. I am going to give you a short and hopefully simple explanation about how you can understand the Scripture. This is really, really important. If you are a student of God's Word, you need to know Genesis 12:1-3, because that is when your Bible gets Jewish.
The revelation in Genesis 1-11 is to the entire world, but in chapter 12 of Genesis, God is going to start to pluck some pagan Arab out of basically the Iraqi region, the Mesopotamian region, and he's going to say, "I'm going to show you who I am, and I'm going to do something great through you, and I'm going to bless you so that you will be a blessing, and through your seed, every nation on earth will be blessed."
In other words, God was going to illustrate who he was through relationship. It was never because the descendants of Abraham were better than anybody else. It was because God was going to show that there was only one God who was Creator of heavens and earth, and you can't know him unless he dips down to show you who he is, unless he reveals himself.
Genesis 12:1-3 says, "Now the Lord said to Abram, 'Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you.'" That's the first thing he promises him. He says, "And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you…" There is going to be a seed, a group of descendants, and there is going to be a blessing. "I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you."
Any Jew knew the Abrahamic covenant. The Abrahamic covenant is absolutely essential to understanding the rest of your Bible because it's the story of God fulfilling his unconditional promise to Abraham. Abraham did nothing. In fact, in Genesis 15, where this covenant was cut, where God showed Abraham that there was an agreement that they were going to have, Abraham was asleep. It was a one-way covenant. God said, "I'm going to do this."
Here's what's crazy. A little bit later, the descendants of Abraham are enslaved in Egypt, and God raises up a prophet named Moses. He tells the people, "It's time for me to tell you a little bit more about who the God of Abraham is. He is holy, and he is not to be trifled with. You're not going to get what I told Abraham he was going to get unless you do right."
What is introduced in Deuteronomy 28-30 is what is called the Mosaic covenant. Some people call it the Palestinian land covenant. If you read Deuteronomy 28, it's like, "If you don't do right, it's going to cost you. If you do right, it's going to bless you." In 29, it's like, "If you do wrong, it's going to cost you." In chapter 30, he sums it all up. I want you to watch this. He has unconditionally promised the Jews that he was going to bless them and that all of the nations of the earth would be blessed through them. Then in Deuteronomy 30, he says in verse 15,
"See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish."
In Dallas, during our worship time, our leader said, "This is what I used to understand God was like: 'You do this, and you do it right, and maybe you'll be okay.'" Here is a God who is supposed to unconditionally love us, and all of a sudden, there are conditions put on his love relationship with us. How do you slap conditions on an unconditional promise? Just to take you a little further, there is another covenant that is cut. It's in 2 Samuel 7. It's called the Davidic covenant.
God tells David that he's going to do something. I'll just read it to you. This is 2 Samuel 7:12-16. Peter doesn't go into all of this, because he's talking to Jewish people, that this is stuff that they know cold. "This is your nation's history, so I have to explain this to you," why he uses Joel. Unconditional promise: God is going to bless Abraham and his descendants. "You're going to have land, a group of people, and they're going to be blessed, only if you live right." David… Guess what? Verse 12 of chapter 7 of 2 Samuel says,
"When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but my lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure before me forever; your throne shall be established forever."
God now says to David, "A descendant is going to come from you who is going to reign forever." There is no condition put on it, but there is still this condition, "You'd better be good and do right." Guess what God says. Through the prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Joel, he says, "I'm going to do something for me, not for you, but in order to show that I'm a God who does what he says he will do." I'm going to read to you from Jeremiah 31, because you're getting ready to hear about Joel in just a second.
Jeremiah 31, verses 31 and following, says, "'Behold, days are coming,' declares the Lord…" What is happening is… When Jeremiah writes, he is writing at the very end of the nation of Israel not obeying the Mosaic law. God was about to whup them and send them into exile. They are driven out of the land, and they are going to be oppressed by Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon in the same way that the northern tribes have been oppressed by Sennacherib and Assyria.
Before he sends them away, he says, "'Behold, days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant…'" Watch this. "…which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt…" Which one is that? That's that conditional covenant in Deuteronomy 28. "…my covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,' declares the Lord.
'But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,' declares the Lord, 'I will put my law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,' declares the Lord, 'for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.'"
Peter didn't share any of this. Listen. This is huge. Peter didn't have to share this because Jews knew about the Abrahamic covenant (unconditional), the Mosaic covenant (conditions), the Davidic covenant (unconditional)… There would be a King of Jews who would reign forever. Then he says, "I'm going to do something that is going to allow me to forgive you, allow me to be just and faithful."
Joel 2 talks about what is going to happen that day. "On that day, when you are reconciled to me…" This is what he says is going to happen. Read back in Acts 2 now. He's going to say, "In the last days, God will pour forth his Spirit on all mankind. Not just Jews, but all the nations will be blessed. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. That's what prophets do. Everyone will see revealed truth, and I will raise up from among this people what I wanted back there with the Jews, a kingdom of priests."
He's saying, "What you're seeing right here is that all of us who are talking to you about the mighty deeds of God… God has created the day when the new covenant and the blessings of it are available to you." Question: how can God give people intimate relationship with him if the condition to give them that intimate relationship with him was that they obeyed his laws? Answer: he was going to have somebody meet the conditions, and he was going to be the means through which God could both be just and the justifier of those who love him.
Let me show this to you graphically or pictorially, and then we're going to finish this. This is the only part today that is not simple and short, but you need to know this. Here we go. Watch. The Abrahamic covenant is this long, unconditional promise of God. I'll show you a line of it. It's in Genesis 12 and Genesis 15. It's right there behind me.
Onto that unconditional covenant, God slaps… Stop right here. There is a Mosaic covenant or a Palestinian land covenant. "I'm going to bless you only if you do right." God comes along and says, "I'm also going to tell you that there is going to be a day when this is going to happen, and there will be somebody who is a descendant of David, who is a descendant of Abraham, who will reign forever. The way I'm going to accomplish that is I'm going to do something, and I'm going to cut a new covenant that allows me to be reconciled to you."
This is the new covenant. It's Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 36, and Joel 2. My friends, this is what we, because we listened to Peter's message, celebrate every time we take Communion. When we break bread together… Go to 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. The new covenant fulfills the Abrahamic covenant through Jesus, the Son of David, who fulfilled the conditions of the Mosaic covenant, right?
Jesus said, "I didn't come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. I met the conditions of the law." Here's what's crazy. Having met the conditions of the law, he paid a penalty of a lawbreaker. Having paid the penalty of a lawbreaker, that meant there was no debt now anymore to sin and death, so those who have an obligation to it can go to the one who paid a debt he did not owe that they might be forgiven, so they could be reconciled to God, so God would do what they couldn't do to meet the conditions so he could unconditionally bless them.
All the while, God is showing himself to be holy and just but merciful and kind. Do you see what is going on here? I'm going to read you this. This is 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. Paul says, "I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that on the night the Lord Jesus was betrayed…"Watch what Jesus is doing to his Jewish disciples. "He took the bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body. It's about to be broken for you. Every time you eat and tear the bread to eat it, you are reminded that you need something outside of you that is given that you might have strength in life.'
Then he took the cup and gave thanks and said, 'Likewise, this cup, when you drink it, is the cup. This fruit of the vine which flows is my blood which will be shed for you. This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me, for as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he returns.'" What he's saying is, "You remember that I'm the means through which God has provided for you that which you could otherwise never get."
You can't meet the conditions of a holy God. There's not a single person in this room who is good enough for God to go, "You can be my boy. You can be my girl." "I am a holy Father. I am nothing like you. You are under judgment." What he says is, "Because I love you and because I can't just wink at sin and go, 'You're my boy. We'll let you get away with it.'" God says, "No, but I'm going to meet the conditions of holiness, and I'm going to send my own eternal Son, and there's going to be an eternally perfect sacrifice, which will be given for me that I might be satisfied, that you might be forgiven." Did y'all see that?
Now, the Jewish folks who heard this didn't need to hear that. They understood it. When Joel 2 is referred to right here by Peter, they went, "Son of a gun. You're telling us what we're seeing right here, the reason you guys can do this miraculous thing, is because God has done something miraculous for us?" Peter says, "You bet."
He gets to verse 19, and he's still here in the book of Joel, and this has not happened yet. This is what Peter is saying. "What you're seeing is what Joel was talking about." What he's going to tell you next is, "What Joel talked about is also going to happen. You'd better take advantage of what I'm talking about."
What's going to happen? He says in verse 19 (this is according to Joel), "I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs in the earth below, blood and fire and vaporous smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness. The moon will be turned to blood before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come."
In other words, before the Messiah returns to reign and rule and make his enemies a footstool for his feet, God is going to make provision so that when God comes back…glory, glory, hallelujah…you don't have to try and hide because you have already had peace with him. What Peter is saying is, "Boys, what you're seeing is Jesus accomplished what needed to be accomplished so we could be at peace with God, but if you're not at peace with God, brace yourself."
Now, you may want to just write in your Bible here a little bit later or right now. Write down in your Bible next to Acts 2:19-20, "Revelation 6-18." If you read the book of Daniel, this is what is called the time of Jacob's distress or trouble, when he is going to unleash horrors on this world, centered in and around Jerusalem, that are unspeakable.
In fact, there are going to be a number of Jews at that time whose eyes are again opened, about 144,000 (Revelation 7:4) that will be sealed, that will, like Peter on the day of Pentecost, proclaim the goodness of God and his mighty deeds, and many people will trust God during the tribulation. You don't want to be around. You don't want to be there during that time. You certainly don't want to not make peace with God through Jesus because he will put his boot… Toby Keith would say it one way. David says it another way.
David says he will put his boot on your neck, and you will be his footstool. That isn't going to be a happy day. He closes up by just saying, "Here's the good news. Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. I am recommending to you that you call on the name of the Lord now." Here he goes. That's his text. His text is Joel. To a Jewish crowd, there's not a better text. He's going to make a case now. Watch this.
Verse 22 of Acts 2. He's about to tell you seven things about Jesus. This is exactly how you talk to folks. "I don't want to get into any debate about you. You can make it what you want. You can say to somebody… I'm just going to lift up Jesus. Here's what you need to know. God became man. He died for you. He was bodily resurrected. He now reigns in heaven through the ascension. He offers grace to you. He's going to come again. He will bring with him his recompense and his reward."
Let me say that to you again. There is a miraculous life. He fulfilled the mandate of perfect sacrifice. He was a manifest Savior through the resurrection. He is marvelously enthroned in heaven. Maybe you should respond to his offer of grace and make ready for his return because he is King. All he does is say, "Deal with Jesus." Let me tell you, this is where it gets really simple, folks. I could teach you all day. This is brilliant, if you really want to get theological.
All Peter is going to do right here is go, "Here's my text. Here's what this text means. Here is supporting Scripture. This is all about Jesus. What are you going to do with him?" Folks, that's all I want to do any week I preach. By the way, you might ask yourself, "How in the world did Peter become such a great Old Testament scholar?" Answer: he understood how all of the Old Testament points to Jesus. Everything in the Old Testament points to the coming King.
Everything in the New Testament says, "That coming King that the Old Testament talked about? Here he is." It has been well said that the new is in the old concealed, and the old is in the new revealed. Peter, all of a sudden, understood his Old Testament. This week, I taught about Jonah at the Porch. I go, "Guess what. I'm not really here to talk about Jonah. I'm here to talk about Jesus, just like those sailors who were on a boat with Jonah who were trying to row and make their way to safety.
There was a prophet on their board who needed to be thrown over and sacrificed to the wrath of God because of the sinfulness and rebellion of men. I know you don't want somebody else to die for you, so you're going to strain at the oars, trying to make your way to safety. You'd better trust in the prophet who I said needs to die for you." They throw Jonah in, and Jonah gets swallowed up in death for three days, but he is raised, if you will, by God, and he is spit out to offer to you salvation. Do you see how Jonah… True story. Jesus thought it was a true story.
He said, "There will be no more signs except the sign of Jonah. It's going to happen to me. For three days, I'll be in the belly, not of a whale but of death. I will be spit out of the grave because I have paid what is asked of me, and I will declare to you peace with God." The old is in the new revealed; the new is in the old concealed. Peter is going to show you all kinds of good stuff.
Here we go. Very quickly. "Men of Israel, listen." I would just say, "Dallas, Plano, Fort Worth, anybody online, please listen to me." It is all about Jesus. Your Father loves you. He has done something for you through Jesus. This Nazarene, this human, attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs. That's always the purpose of signs. Here is that part. A sign is the same thing that a signet ring was. I've said this many times. It's an unusual distinguishing mark that is unique and only in the possession of a king.
When he would take his ring and impress it on wax on a rolled up scroll, you would know, "This is a letter from the king." That's why Jesus did everything he did. That's why he was sovereign over… Let's see. What did Jesus do? He conquered demons. He conquered disease. He conquered disability. He conquered disasters, natural disasters. He conquered even death. Who can do that? God. Only God.
Peter goes, "You guys saw him. He ran right around these hills. You ran him out. He raised Lazarus right over that hill. He raised himself. He told you he was going to do it." We're about eight seconds into his sermon, and he says in verse 23, "…this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God…" Let me just say this to you. He's going to say… Well, I'll finish it. "You nailed him to the cross by the hands of godless men who put him to death."
Romans and Jews conspired together. Jews and Gentiles conspired together to rebel against God, but it was God who took what they intended for evil and used it for good. This was the predetermined and foreknowledge of God that said, "I'm going to use your rebellion against me to do for you what you couldn't do for yourself. That's how good I am. That's what a good, good Father does."
The Scripture says in Romans 3:26, "For the demonstration of God's righteousness, this Jesus was given for you." Because God is not going to just let you in without payment being made for sin, that he might be both just and the justifier for those who love him… Here we have the incarnation, miraculous attestation, we have the crucifixion, amelioration… Now we get to verse 24, the resurrection. "But God raised him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for him to be held in its power."
Because he knew no sin. He had no obligation to death. Death couldn't hold him. Now, what you're going to have in verses 25-28 is we're going to bring along a supporting Scripture. He's going to go to Psalm 16:8-11. He says, "If you don't believe me, believe David. This is not just my crazy cockamamie idea. This is what King David thought was going to happen."
He says, "I saw the Lord." This is David now in Psalm 16:8. "I saw the Lord always in my presence, for he is at my right hand, so I will not be shaken. Therefore, my heart was glad. My tongue exalted. Moreover, my flesh also will live in hope." In other words, David was glad and full of hope because he knew God would, through his Lord, deliver him from the grave, judgment, and death.
David, writing prophetically, says, "God, I know you will not abandon my soul to the grave, nor allow your holy one to undergo decay. You have made known to me the ways of life. You will make me full of gladness with your presence." Watch what Peter does. "Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day."
In other words, what David was talking about in Psalm 16 wasn't himself. I have been to the tomb of David. Where Peter was preaching was a four-minute walk from where David was buried. He goes, "Who do you think David was talking about? Not himself, because he's over there undergoing decay." He goes, "David is talking about Jesus."
Verse 29: "Brethren, I may confidently say to you [that David is here] ." Verse 30: "And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne…" That's 2 Samuel 7 again. "…he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh suffer decay."
I'll say this to you again. David was a Christian. He didn't know Aramaic or Greek, so the word Yeshua, which is the Hebrew word for Messiah, is just Christ in Greek or Aramaic. He didn't know what the guy's name was going to be, but he knew that guy was coming. He said, "That guy is my hope. This one who is going to come who is going to reign forever who is righteous altogether… That's my hope."
He says in verse 31, "… [David] looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection…" Why do I say David was a Christian? Because he confessed with his mouth that Jesus was Lord and believed in his heart that God was going to raise this future descendant from the dead. "For with the heart, man believes, resulting in righteousness. With the mouth, man confesses, resulting in salvation." David looked ahead to the coming promise of God. We look back to the coming gift of God. It's all about Jesus.
Peter says as clear as he can in verse 32, "This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.""I saw him." Verse 33. Here's the next thing. He ascended. "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God…" Taken up right over there on the Mount of Olives, just a five-minute walk from where Peter was. "…we are now receiving from the Father what Joel said would come, the distribution of grace and salvation, the promise of the Holy Spirit which he has poured forth, this which you both see and hear. Come and get it."
Do you want to know why we're able to do these things? Because we have a relationship with God. It's his mighty work through Jesus that has done it. Now, he's going to quote David again. This is Psalm 110. "For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand…"'"
I don't have time to do it, but if I did, I could take you back to when Jesus used this exact same Scripture in Matthew 22:41. Peter was standing there when Jesus was accused of being a blasphemer. He quoted Psalm 110 and said, "Well, let me ask you a question. Was David a blasphemer? David said there was going to be one who came after him who was going to be his Lord. You might want to think I'm the guy. Here are attesting miracles that would suggest to you that I'm the guy."
Peter just pulls from his rabbi. He says, "Therefore, there is going to be a day that this Jesus is going to leave the throne of God, and he's going to come and make his enemies a footstool for your feet." The return, the reign, and the recompense of Jesus. Peter's message. "Hey, that new covenant happened. How did it happen? Through Jesus. His incarnation, his substitutionary death, his bodily resurrection, his heavenly reign, his offer of grace, his certain return, his recompense, and his reward. If you don't believe me, believe David."
From there, he says, "What then should you do?" He tells them in verse 38, "Repent." By the grace of God, there were certain people out there who understood. "Oh, my goodness. The rabbis were wrong. He's exactly right. That empty grave that they're saying the disciples stole his body from… We know his disciples didn't steal his body. These disciples were hiding like a bunch of scared sheep. Now they are, having received the Spirit, filled with power, and they're his witnesses. They're doing things that there's no way they can do unless God was in the middle of this thing."
A few folks raise their hands and go, "Peter, how should we then respond?" Peter says, "Repent. That means you'd better change your mind about following the Pharisees, suppression of truth, and unrighteousness. You'd better follow the King of Kings." I'm going to say the exact same thing to you this morning. Repent.
Don't just hide behind some corporate celebration where you break bread and drink wine the first Sunday of the month in some denominations or certain places we offer it. No. You do what every believer does at some point. They sing solo, they stand up, and they go, "You identify me with that man who came and lived, had attesting miracles, who died for me and was raised as evidence that God paid the wages of sin.
Now, by the power that raised him from the grave and ascended him to heaven, where he sits at the right hand of God and extends mercy and grace and gifts, you identify me with Jesus. He's going to come back, and he's going to return. I proclaim to you that which I have learned of first importance, that there is no way any man could ever be reconciled to God unless Father God did something for him. He did, and he did it through Jesus."
Until you get the answer to the question right about, "Who was this Jesus, and what was he doing on the cross?" you are about to be a footstool for God. He will put his foot on your neck and crush you in judgment. Peter taught grace and salvation, but he taught judgment and sin. People who listen and who are spiritually appraised respond. I hope that you're out there this morning and say, "What then should I do?"
I would say, "You'd better deal with Jesus, who is the author and perfector of your faith, who is the fulfillment of all promises in Scripture, from the Abrahamic covenant, all the way through the Davidic covenant, to the new covenant." From Genesis to Revelation, he is the King, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, and your eternity will pivot on your relationship with him, not just in some intellectual understanding, but in personal response, that you personally acknowledge.
You are baptized to be saved, but if you are saved, you will say, "Count me with Jesus." Let's go. Your attesting sign and miracle will be that the Spirit of God will be on you, and that will be marked by love and joy and peace, kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control. You fellowship with his people, and you do the work of a prophet, and you proclaim his excellencies. There you go, church.
That little perforated section you tear off where you can tell us if you'll be willing to come and worship on Saturday night is also the thing you can check that will tell us here in Dallas (in Plano and in Fort Worth, you can check this on your own) if you want to know more about how to have a relationship with this Jesus. He is your King. Respond.
Father, I thank you for a chance to look at this amazing text, what Peter did as he lifted up the one we want to lift up this morning. I pray that we wouldn't just lift up your kindness but talk about what you have done to make a way for us to be reconciled to you. I pray that having come to an understanding, we would personally respond through a public proclamation of your kindness.
In addition to that, I pray that we would go out and make a continual public profession of your grace, we would use the gifts you have given us for your glory, and that Jew and gentile alike would come to understand the greatness of Jesus who we worship. We love you, Father. Help us to serve you today as we walk confidently before your throne of grace, through Jesus, who gave himself for us. In Christ's name, amen.
All right. Enjoy your Father, who gave you his Son. Have a great week of worship. We'll see you.