The most powerful act in history is proclaimed by the most powerful form of communication.
Read / Listen
Read Acts 2:22-36
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