THE BOOK OF ACTS
God Establishes His Church in the World
Jesus Makes All of the Difference
Jerry A Collins
What role does the prophecy of Joel have in the Day of Pentecost?
What is the theme of Peterís first message in the church?
Why is Jesus the focus of that message to the church?
When we look back upon our lives we often measure itís worth by the difference we perceive it has made. One area where we do this is parenting. What is the impact I am having on my children? Or have had? We can sense accomplishment or regret as we answer that. Another area may be our career. Am I being an influence for change in the office, on the floor in the boardroom or in the bottom line? In athletics? Politics? Ministry? There is only one person who never questioned whether his life made a difference and that was Jesus Christ! One way we know this is true is from the sermon of Peter whose life was completely changed because of the impact of Jesus Christ upon it. What difference was it that Jesus made? What impact was it that he had? This explanation was prompted by the events on the Day of Pentecost as the miracle of the coming of the HS took place. Peter begins by explaining what is immediately on the peopleís minds, the phenomena of Pentecost.
1. THERE IS SALVATION FOR THOSE WHO TURN TO JESUS 14-21
(A) Peter refutes the charges 14-15 It is interesting that Peter tells the audience to listen to his words rather than experience my experience. He does not dwell on his personal experience but only speaks the Words of God. He does not even appeal to any of the supernatural phenomena like the wind, the tongues of fire or the foreign languages. Instead he appeals directly to the Word of God in Joel. It is not a preoccupation with our spiritual experience that is the sign of the Spiritís influence in our lives but an occupation with Jesus Christ and Hid Word to us. He addressed the residents of Jerusalem and the multitudes who had flocked there to celebrate Passover. He expresses boldness and confidence without hesitation. Now a Spirit-filled man, he leads in itís power. He refutes the charge of drunkenness as absurd since at the third hour (9am) even drunkards were not inebriated that early in the day.
(B) Peter explains the Pentecost phenomena 16-21 Instead what had transpired was connected to a prophecy of Joel (2:28-32). (1) He begins with Ďthe last daysí in vs. 17. A common OT expressions denoting the time Messiah would come to set up His kingdom (Isa 2:2; Jer 23:20; 49:39; Exe 38:16). Two comings of Christ with long period in between not clear in OT. We know that the first coming ushered in the last days (1 Jn 2:18; 1 Pt 1:20; Heb 1:2; 9:26). These last days have lasted for 2000 years. Complete fulfillment of this prophecy waitís the future millennial kingdom. On this day and ever since God has given a preview and sample of the power the Spirit will release in that kingdom. Believers have a foretaste of kingdom life in this present age. What will ultimately come into being in the kingdom began to be seen at Pentecost. (2) Not all components of this prophecy are prefigured in this age. Not until the Spirit is poured out upon all mankind in the kingdom will many of these things take place 17-20. Everyone then will be believers entering that kingdom so they will all have the Spirit in them no matter the sex (sons & daughters), the age (young men and old) or station (servants and handmaidens). They will prophesy, dreams and visions as part of life in that kingdom. The other sign take place before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come vs. 20. Those signs are wonders in the sky and signs on the earth beneath vs. 19a. These signs are connected with the events surrounding Christís second coming. Revelation associates blood with that time (8:7-8;9:15; 14:20; 16:3), fire (8:5-10), smoke (9:2-3, 17-18; 18:9). Changes in the sun, moon, stars accompanying that coming (Mt 24:29-30). After hearing this terrifying description people would want to know how to avoid being caught in itís terror. Vs 21 is the climax of Joelís prophecy. There is salvation for those who turn to the Savior. In that day many will want deliverance but the right of appeal for deliverance will only belong to those who have first put their faith in the name of Jesus Christ. It is the only name which can deliver you from any Of Godís judgment. Salvation is deliverance. 2. JESUS HAS THE CREDENTIALS TO DELIVER US 22-36 Jesus credentials prove that He is only legitimate deliverer (A) The Life of Christ 22 Once again Peter emphasizes the words he speaks to them and their need to listen. We must always listen to the words of God. He asserts two things about Jesus life. First, God had worked miracles thru him. Jesus the Nazarene was the name denoting his earthly ministry. ID with his hometown. Reflects his humility coming to earth from heaven. That life displayed miraculous. Second, they had seen them vs. 22. Here was God in human flesh with a miraculous birth to a miraculous death & res. The miracles describe the powerful character of the works. The wonders describe the marveling that took pkace in minds witnessing these. The signs give the Godís intent of these to point to spiritual truth. To get peopleís attention and lead them to faith. They showed both His deity and Fatherís approval of Him. Peter emphasizes Fatherís involvement in Sonís work (vs. 23-24, 32-33, 36). Jesus was no imposter. They cannot claim ignorance either since done in their back yard. Their rejection not based on lack of info but unbelief. B) The Death of Christ 23 Jesus was no victim (Jn 10:17-18; 19:10-11). He was delivered up by the design of His Father. It was determined by Him on purpose based on foreknowledge. Since God knew all that would happened it was determined to happen. God used it to fulfill His purpose for salvation thru Christ. 100% God & 100% man. C) Resurrection of Christ 24-32 This is the greatest proof. The Father raised Jesus from the dead (Jesus and HS also involved). Death was conquered itís agony set aside. It was impossible for death to hold Jesus in its power. First, because Jesus had divine power (Jn 11:25). Second, because of divine promise (Jn 2:18-22). Third, because of divine purpose (Jn 14:19). God designed it so we will be with him forever. Further confirmation in quote from Psa 16:8-11. David wrote it prophetically speaks of Messiah. We learn some more of what was driving Jesus while fulfilling His mission from heaven. First, confident trust in God as He looked to cross no matter what trials God was at rite hand and not be shaken. As a man Jesus never lost sight of God in all He did and said. Second, this confidence brot joy, praise, hope. The cross did not dampen Christsí joy (Heb 12:2). He committed his body to the grave confident with hope it would be raised again. Third, Christ confident would not remain a captive in realm of death vs. 27. The Father would not allow decay or corruption of the Lordís body. Fourth, this path of resurrection life vs. 28 would keep Jesus in presence of Father making him FULL of gladness. So true Xian hope centers beyond grave to resurrection life in presence of Father. Our hope not centered in this world but in life to come! Fifth, The fact of Davids tomb and body is evidence that this Psalm not about him. He spoke of prophet not of himself. He knew Gods promise in 2 Sam 7:11-16 and looked ahead speaking of resurrection of Christ vs. 30-31 who in contrast to David neither abandoned in the grave or flesh decays. (d) Exaltation of Christ 33-36 Resurrected He is exalted to place of honor, glory, power. From there (1) He received from father promise of HS and poured it out and brings us full circle back to phenomena of Pentecost. God fulfilled what promised to Son (Jn 7:39). (2) Quote from Psa 110:1 proves ascension and exaltation. David not exalted but Jesus was (Acts 9:11).