Acts 2:22-41 - Powerful Preaching
The most powerful act in history is proclaimed by the most powerful form of communication.
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Read Acts 2:22-36
22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
25 David said about him:
“ ‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
35 until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.” ’
36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “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. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 45
Q. How does Christ’s resurrection
A. First, by his resurrection
he has overcome death,
so that he might make us share
in the righteousness
he won for us by his death.
Second, by his power we too
are already now resurrected to a new life.
Third, Christ’s resurrection
is a guarantee of our glorious resurrection.
What a sermon Peter preaches on the first Pentecost! There's no kitchy introduction or humorous anecdotes for illustrations. Instead, Peter just unloads pure gospel truth.
Notice the sermon begins with an accusation! God, "by His deliberate plan and foreknowledge (v23)" handed Jesus over, but it was the actions of the people Peter is speaking to that put Jesus to death and nailed him to the cross (and far be it from us living 2,000 years later to just blame the Jews for this, because we know we're just as guilty).
But that final nail pounded into Jesus was not the end of the story. Peter next lines up one of the central truth claims of the Bible in v24:
It was impossible for death to keep its hold on Jesus.
Even King David had predicted this in Psalm 16 when he wrote "you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead or let your holy one see decay (v27)." If David was referring to himself here, he was wrong, because as Peter points out, David had been dead for a thousand years already! David was of course referring to his greater descendent: Jesus Christ.
Peter's powerful sermon comes to a powerful conclusion in v36:
God has made this Jesus, who you crucified, both Lord and Christ.
There's a reason that the churches represented in this Bible reading plan all make preaching their top priority: because this powerful communication format is the primary way God has ordained sinners to come to salvation.
But not all preaching is powerful. In fact, much of it in many churches is a mushy mess that fails in its feeble attempts to make people feel better about themselves while at the same time prodding them to try harder to please God.
Good sermons will always revolve around the elements Peter uses here in Acts 2. They:
Open and explain God's Word (Peter uses Psalm 16);
Demonstrate God's sovereignty over all things;
Convict people of their indwelling sin;
Point people to the guaranteed hope for everlasting life that comes from Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit;
Call people to repent and believe.
Not every good sermon will result in 3,000 converts. But understand that good sermons are not just meant to produce converts, but also to feed the converted and preserve you in your salvation, so that you'll always cling to the life that Christ offers.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Father God, whose deliberate plan and foreknowledge raised Jesus from the dead.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for speaking to you through the preached Word, and pray that you will faithfully listen to Godly preaching.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Matthew 13