Skip Heitzig - Acts 2:1-31
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Father, we come before you as living sacrifices, and we present our bodies to you. And we know that's our spiritual act of worship, that's our reasonable service. That is the smartest thing we could do in light of and in view of all the many mercies and blessings you have given to us. So we say to you, here's our attention, our ears, here's our mind to process these thoughts. Here are our very lives that we might be conformed to the image of Christ one step at a time. But one sure step at a time as we consider and apply your scripture, your word, in Jesus' name, Amen.
So I have to think that a delivery room in the hospital is one of the most exciting places to be. Usually it is. I mean, people come there to have babies. They've long anticipated the event. I remember when my son was born how excited I was, and I did take advantage of the fact that my wife was just so exhausted from the ordeal of a long labor in her case that when my son was born, though we had talked about different names, she wasn't sure. She hadn't landed on one.
I was pretty sure I wanted Nathan and she didn't really know. And then, so after he was born and her sister called and they were on the phone, she just in an absolute exhaustion turned to me and she said, my sister wants to know what the name is, so what's the name? And I said Nathan. She goes I guess it's Nathan so it became his name I just kind of honed right in on that, because I loved that name. He's a good guy in the Bible, and so his name has been that ever since as you know. And then, the sheer, pure joy to see those grandkids born. Did I tell you that I have two grand kids who are just perfect? Kids usually aren't. I mean, all people are flawed, except there are two on the earth that are different from all others. So a delivery room is so wonderful.
I want to take you back 2,000 years to a delivery room, so to speak, when the church is born. It's the birthday of the church, the day of Pentecost just over 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem. Now you may have heard of those three guys that were in the delivery room. All their wives were going to have babies, and they were waiting. They're waiting for the news, so a nurse comes out and says to one, congratulations, you're the father of twins.
And he jumped up out of his seat and said twins? That's fabulous. And it's coincidental, because I happen to play ball for the Minnesota Twins. And so he was just kind of gawking over that. And about a half an hour later, she, the nurse, came out again and said to another man, congratulations, your wife had three babies. You are the father of triplets, and he stood up and he's a little bit overwhelmed by the thought of having a three, but he said I'm so grateful and they're all healthy, great. And oddly, I happen to be an executive for the 3M company. At that point, the third guy in the room fell out of his chair onto the floor panting, losing air. And the nurse said, are you OK? What's wrong? And he said, well, I happen to work for the 7-Up Company. He wasn't all that excited, so far, at the prospect.
Well, on the birthday of the church, not two, not three, but 3,000 spiritual babies are going to be born. We want to get to that so we should kind of jump in, and we're in Acts Chapter 2. Oh, I forgot, you know, let's go back to Verse 24, because I left you hanging last week, didn't I? I left you hanging because in Verse 24 they prayed, because they have to replace an apostle Judas hung himself. And the rope broke and his bowels, his guts splattered all over the rocks. That's what they said in the book. It's in the Bible, so I'm just telling you what happened. So now they have to replace the apostle, so Verse 24, they prayed. And they said now listen to how beautiful is this prayer. You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two you have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell that he might go to his own place. And they cast their lots and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the 11 apostles.
The question comes, it has been proposed by some that perhaps they made a couple mistakes here. This is what some have thought. Did they make a mistake in limiting God first of all? And some will say, yes, that is the problem, because they said, not which person on earth do you want Lord? They said which of these two? So they only gave God two choices, and the reasoning of those who think this is wrong is that they say, well, the obvious choice was Paul the Apostle. So they limited God. If they just would have waited, God was going to replace the apostleship with Paul the Apostle. And I will grant you Paul is called an apostle.
The other mistake that people say that was made is that they cast lots. OK, we want to find out God's will. Who has the dice? Let's throw dice. Oh, snake eyes, OK, so that means so-and-so gets in. So it seems odd to some people that you have New Testament believers throwing dice, casting lots, to find out the will of God. Now that shouldn't be too strange to you.
If you know your Bibles, you know that in the Old Testament there was a method that the priest would use when somebody wanted to discern God's will. There were two stones. One was called the Urim and the other was called the Thummim, the Urim and the Thummim. We don't exactly know what they were, but they were some kind of a way to look at a stone, two stones, black and white it is believed and discern what the will of God is by casting lots.
And if you think, well, I still think that's a horrible way to discern God's will. How about this? In Proverbs 16 it says the lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. As if to say, even with the Urim and the Thummim, this archaic way of discerning God's will, God sovereignly is superintending the outcome of what is cast.
Now having said that, I immediately have to say you'll be relieved to know that this is the last time casting lots is ever mentioned or practiced in the scriptures. You'll never read of it again. Last time. The early church will not do that after the Holy Spirit comes upon them. There is no need. The Holy Spirit as Jesus promised will guide you into all truth all truth, so He's going to direct them. So were they making a mistake?
I guess that's up to you to decide, but there's a bigger question. What about apostles? They feel the need to replace an apostle with somebody who's going to be called one of the Twelve Apostles. So are there still apostles today or have they vanished off the scene? And that is a question I've been asked on many occasions. Are there apostles today? Here's how I answer it, and you're not going to like it. Yes and no. See I told you you wouldn't like it. It's like that's so unsatisfying. Yes and no. Who answers a question like that? Skip Heitzig does and here's why.
In the strictest sense there are no more apostles today. But in a functional sense there are. You say that didn't help. OK, so let me explain myself. In the strictest possible sense, there were only Twelve Apostles who number one saw the resurrected Christ, were with Him during His earthly ministry. And that was the criteria involved here. You have to have been, from the beginning, with Jesus and you saw him after He resurrected.
Well, nobody can claim that today. Nobody today alive was with Jesus during His earthly ministry. So in a strict sense, there are no more apostles. The apostles, that is the 12, laid the foundation of the Church. Paul said that the Church was laid by the foundation of the prophets and the apostles. And in this chapter in Verse 42, they devoted themselves to the apostles' doctrine. That is, these 12 gave teaching, doctrine, that became foundational for the church from this day, its birthday, forward. So that's foundational.
Also, there seems to have been signs that accompanied the strict role of the apostle of the 12. Jesus promised them you're going to go and these signs will accompany. And Paul, when he writes the Corinthians in second Corinthians says, though he never numbered himself with the 12. He said, I am not behind even the most eminent apostles. In fact, the signs of an apostle were wrought through me in your presence. So he is saying, I performed signs that were known as signs of an apostle.
And Paul is called an apostle to the Gentiles, but Paul the Apostle wasn't following Jesus from the beginning of His ministry. And that was one of the criteria, and he didn't see the resurrected Christ. But he eventually did after the ascension. There was a time when he's on the road to Emmaus Jesus appeared to him. So I guess you could see he saw an after-view of it, But not in the sense that these 12 did. So no, there are no more apostles in the strictest sense.
However, in the broader sense there are. In the functional sense there are, and here's what I mean. 75 times in the New Testament you will find the word "apostle." many of those times, many of those times they do not refer to the Twelve Apostles that were with Jesus from the beginning. For example, Barnabas is called an apostle. Paul called an apostle. Timothy was called an apostle. Silvanus was called an apostle. Andronicus and Junia, you go who? They were apostles, that's who.
All of these in the New Testament were called apostles. Why? Because they had some apostolic function. They had a function. You see, the word apostle, apostelo or apostolos if you're talking noun or verb, means a sent out one or a messenger, a messenger. The original classical Greek word referred to an expedition or a fleet of ships that were sent out.
By the time we get to the death of all of the Twelve Apostles, after they were gone, a book emerged called the Didache or some just call it the "Did-a-key," because that's how we anglicize it. The Didache was a manual for the churches on how to spot a false prophet or a false apostle. So they designated people as true apostles and false apostles after the death of the apostles. So it was still used, not in the strict sense, but in a functional sense. Does that make sense?
Now in eastern churches to this day they will refer to missionaries as apostles. They're sent out. They're church planters or they're plowing new ground culturally. And in that case, they function as apostles so you can take that as far as you want to. I thought you'd be interested to know and I hope that answered the question that I left hanging. It's funny because I said my wife hates the words at the end of a movie "to be continued," and I left you with those words at the end of last message, to be continued.
And now it's continued. Now we're in the sequel. Verse 1 Chapter 2. "When the day of Pentecost had fully come they were all in one accord in one place." Now you are about to see, you're about to see the apostles, but you're about to see different apostles. You see the last time we saw the apostles in the gospels these guys were unlearned and ignorant fishermen from Galilee. They still kind of are, but now you read that they're bold. They sound articulate. They sound knowledgeable of scripture.
You know, these blue collar workers, something happened to them. And I'm just setting you up, because what did happen to them, you know what happened to them. There was number one a new presence, and number two a new power. The new presence was the resurrected Christ. They saw Jesus alive after His death. That changed them forever. But then also a new power, the Holy Spirit coming upon them and you will see now through this book an empowerment. An empowerment as the Holy Spirit fills them and they go out into the world.
So when the day of Pentecost had fully come, what is the day of Pentecost? Pentecost means 50th, and it really literally refers to the 50th day after the wave of the sheaf offering of first fruits as spoken about in Leviticus 23. It comes after Passover. And it is one of the three major festivals that Jews, especially Jewish males, especially those who lived around the environs of Jerusalem and Judea, they were required three times a year to appear in the temple before the Lord for these feasts.
Pentecost was one of them. The day of Pentecost had fully come. Now the day of Pentecost becomes to the Church the most important day of the Church's existence next to the death of Christ and the Resurrection of Christ. Because it's the birthday of the church. It's when it gets started. Jesus said I will build My Church, Matthew 16, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The promise is coming true. This is the birthday. This is when the Holy Spirit baptizes them into the body of Christ and fills them with power. And extraordinary things will take place and you'll see them.
And hopefully, by God's grace, some of you in your lives will be able to experience that. I always want to experience whatever the Lord has for me I get excited at the prospect that the Lord might want to just tweak my journey a little bit, change my course, give me some new direction, some new gifts, some new adventure.
You know, the older you get, you want to wake up excited in the morning. And it's always exciting to find out what's God going to do now? Are things going to change? And hopefully you'll experience more of the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. Somebody came up to me and said, you know, those three weeks on the Holy Spirit just sent me into a whole different mode and tone of just possibility. Good. I hope so. And I hope that some of the things we read in the book of Acts, you'll see in your own lives.
On one hand, I have to say you are in a dilemma because you go to this church. You go to that church that, well, you believe that the Holy Spirit can fill a person. So because you are open to the filling of the Holy Spirit and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, there are those in the community go, oh, so you're one of those crazy people, those wild people.
But then, because you are not wild, and you are not out of control, and you believe that all things should be done but done decently and in order, some on the other side who just love to swing and dance and froth and shout think that you're kind of dead, because you don't have enough of the Holy Ghost. And so you're caught in between. And I'm glad you are, because I think the key word here is balance.
I do believe from the scripture that there is a legitimate filling and empowering where He gives gifts that are mentioned in the Bible today. Today, it's for today. But I also believe that it should be done decently and in order, and that there should be organization of the organism. Somebody put it this way, and I get the sentiment of it though I don't agree technically with it, but I like the sentiment of it. Too much of the word and you dry up. Too much of the spirit and you blow up. Enough of both and you'll grow up.
So let's fix ourselves on the word, be open to the filling of the Holy Spirit, and let's grow up, and grow into the future, and grow in God's power and God's grace. The day of Pentecost has fully come. I'm not getting very far. And they were all in one place, and this doesn't mean they were all in one car, a Honda Accord, they were all in one accord. That would be like Guinness Book of World Records 120 people in an accord. "But they were all together in harmony with each other in one place. And suddenly, a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire and one sat on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the spirit prompted them or gave them utterance."
On the day of Pentecost, the early church, 120 of them in an upper room, experienced three phenomena. One, was an audible phenomena. Two, there was a visible phenomena. And three, there was an oral phenomena. First of all, there was something audible. They heard something, and it was the sound of or as of a mighty rushing wind. Sorry, it's probably a horrible interpretation of it, but when I read the Bible, I try to hear it.
Now, please, notice the verbiage. It says "as of." He's not describing the weather conditions in Jerusalem. It was a windy day in Jerusalem, or some meteorological phenomena. It was a sound. They heard something. It was a sound as of rushing mighty wind. It doesn't mean it was windy. It could have been perfectly calm, but, they heard this sound. So it was an audible phenomenon.
Now why a rushing mighty wind? Well, if you know your Bibles, and I know some of you do, you know that the Lord spoke to Job through a whirlwind. The Lord's voice came from that. You remember that Jesus in Jerusalem was there with Nicodemus and was probably walking outside as the breeze shot through the trees above them, and He said, "the spirit blows where he wills." And you hear the sound of it, but you can't tell where it comes from or where it's going. He likened the movement of the Spirit to a wind.
Also, did you know that in Hebrew and in Greek, so Old Testament and New Testament, the word in Hebrew for wind is the same word for Spirit. And in Greek, the word for wind is the same word for Spirit. So in the Old Testament Ruach Hako'desh is literally Spirit the Holy. The Holy Spirit is Ruach, Spirit. If you were to say, there's a wind here and you were in Jerusalem, you would use the word ruach. It's wind. Same word, spirit and wind.
In the Greek language, same principle. Spirit in Greek is Pneuma or Pneumatos. And it is also the same word for breath or wind. So they hear something. It's something that is an audible phenomenon, a sound of a rushing mighty wind. And it filled the whole house where they were sitting, so that got their attention. Then, here's the second phenomenon. Then, there appeared to them divided tongues, now notice again, as of fire. So don't think that their hair is getting burned. It's like, ahh! That's hot. It's what they saw. It's a visible phenomenon as of fire. Doesn't necessitate that they're deriving heat from it. It's something they saw, divided tongues as of fire and sat upon each of them.
Why fire? Well, again, if you know your Bibles, you know that sometimes fire was used as a symbol of God's presence. What did Moses see in Exodus 3? He walked by something that was a burning bush. It was burning but not consumed. And the angel of the Lord spoke to him through that Bush. Said, take your shoes off, your on holy ground.
On Mt. Sinai when God spoke and gave the law, there was lightning, and thunder, and fire, and smoke, a symbol of the presence of God. What was it that directed the children of Israel by night for 40 years through the wilderness? A pillar of fire. So these are symbols that they would be, as Jewish people in their history, familiar with. Wind and fire, a symbol of the presence of God, a symbol of the Spirit of God. "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit."
Now something about Pentecost, and I'm just, I'm laying groundwork. You know, I always bite off more than I can chew. I fully believed I'm going to get all the way through Chapter 2 in one setting even if there's a lot of verse. I can do that. And if you were willing to sit two hours, I would, too, but that's unrealistic. It's unrealistic on a number of levels.
But what we're reading about, this event is an atypical event. It's an atypical, non-repeatable event. You never read of what happened at Pentecost happening ever again like this. So this is something. Why does this happen? Because it's the birthday of the Church. This is day one of the Church. God is getting their attention. Only 120 of them are in this Church.
And it says, "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit." All 120, including Mary, the mother of Jesus, including Mary and Martha, including the Twelve Apostles. "They were all, all of them, were filled with the Holy Spirit. And they began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and they were confused because everyone heard them speak in his own language." His own dialect.
Now Galileans, you know about Galileans, everybody in Jerusalem thought of Galileans as what? I've told you before. Hicks. Hicks. They're just, you know, I won't do it, but uneducated, uncouth, country bumpkins. And a Galilean would speak and say, oh, my goodness, so dumb. But something gets their attention. They're not only speaking other languages. They're speaking in direct dialects of people who have come to the Feast of Pentecost, Jewish people, who are from all over the known world. And some of the places it's a three day journey there to Jerusalem, at least, if not more. And a three day journey or a week journey back. So they're from afar, and people are going, how is it that these Galileans are able to speak our dialect?
And it says Verse 7, "They were amazed and marveled saying to one another, look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear each one in our own language in which we were born, Parthian, Medes, Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, and Asia. Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and parts of Libya joining Cyrene, visitors from Rome both Jews and Prosylites, Cretans", that's from the island of Crete, "and Arabs. We hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God."
They are speaking in known languages on the day of Pentecost. Fast forward, I won't go into this deep because we want to wait till we get there. But 1 Corinthians 14, 12, 13, 14 talk about gifts of the Spirit, and Chapter 14 goes into depth about the gift of tongues. He uses a different word there. He uses the word glossolalia.
Some of you who have a Pentecostal background, you may not know Greek words, but you probably know that one because that was taught to you. Glossolalia is a Greek word used in 1 Corinthians 14. The huge difference between the tongues in Acts 2 and the tongues in 1 Corinthians 14, Acts 2 understandable languages. Acts Chapter 14, unable to understand those languages without a special gift of the Spirit called the gift of the interpretation of tongues. Undiscernible, unable to discern them. So it's not the same thing.
Why do I bring that up? Because some people say, well, the gift of tongues was given to the early Church so they could preach the gospel. That's not why the gift of tongues was given. In fact, they are not preaching the gospel in this as you will see. I want to point that out to you in a minute. They're not preaching the gospel. They're not using this to convey a message to human beings. But there are similarities but there are differences in the 1 Corinthians 14 gift of tongues and the Acts Chapter 2. Again, Acts Chapter 2 is atypical, non-repeatable event. It is the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. These tongues are in known languages to get the attention of outsiders.
The 1 Corinthians 14 gift of tongues is not for outsiders. In fact, Paul says if somebody is in your assembly who is unlearned, they don't get it they're an unbeliever, and they hear you speak in tongues, they're going to think you're nuts. They're going to think you're crazy. Now why would they think you're crazy? Well, because it's a language that you don't understand, that they don't understand. It's not the same kind of speaking in tongues.
And in 1 Corinthians 14 Paul says whoever speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to man but he speaks to God. And he doesn't understand, no one understands him, however, in the Spirit he speaks mysteries. So what are these tongues in 1 Corinthians 14? Well, we're going to wait till we get to 1 Corinthians 14, because we're not in it. I'm just kind of showing you the difference. But there is a difference. There is a huge difference. But they noticed we can understand their language.
And I want you to look at Verse 11, because I said they're not preaching the gospel. In fact, they don't begin the gospel preaching till Verse 14. And what people hear is Verse 11, Cretans, Arabs we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. They're not hearing preaching. They're hearing praising. Now this does fit 1 Corinthians 14 which is something that is given to the Church, the ability to speak in a tongue which is a prayer or a praise to God. There's no such thing, according to the Bible, as a message in tongues.
Again, 1 Corinthians 14:2, "Whoever speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to men but speaks to God. No one understands him but in the Spirit he speaks mysteries." So an interpretation of a tongue is going to sound like somebody magnifying the Lord, praising the Lord, or praying to the Lord. It's directed to God, not to man. There's no message in tongues. There's a prophecy, but there's no message in tongues. So they're hearing praise.
So Verse 12, "They were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another whatever could this mean? Others mocking", there's always mockers. Every crowd, every situation, every event there's going to be a mocker. I know because I grew up as a mocker. And hopefully, I'm more repentant of that as years go on. Others mocking said, they're full of new wine. They've just been drinking too much, man, You know, you'll say anything. Really amazing how articulate these drunk people can be in foreign languages. That's the best little thing they could come up with.
They have to resort, and most people who don't have good arguments or good skills in logic, they have to, in an argument or a position like this, resort to what is called an ad hominem attack. You can't deal with the issue intellectually or satisfactorily, so you just attack the person. Oh, they're a bunch of idiots, that's an ad hominem attack. Instead of saying, what's wrong? Let me dismantle your argument. Let's talk about the argument, the issue, without getting to something personal. But this is a personal attack. They're drinking new wines.
Now let me just suggest to you a strategy. You've got Jews from all over the known world from Iran, from Iraq, Mesopotamia area, Tigris, Euphrates River Valley. There are Jews who have come to Jerusalem. You have some from North Africa, Libya, Cyrene, etc., Egypt. You have some as far as Rome. You have some from Asia Minor. All these areas mentioned are from Asia Minor. All these lands are in Jerusalem.
Now they're about, they heard this phenomena. They're about to hear the gospel. Many of them are going to get saved. So in getting saved, in hearing the gospel, and believing in Jesus Christ, imagine what's going to happen as they go back home, three days' journey, a week journey into their lands, carrying the gospel. This explains why when Paul would visit a couple of different areas, he finds a church already there, believers already there. And he hasn't plowed that ground.
Well, who did? I think some of these guys and gals who heard, and believed, and they went back, and they started sharing what they heard, what they saw, what the Lord did in their lives. Now let me suggest this as a possible strategy for missions. Jesus did say go into all the world, and preach the gospel, but what do you do if the world comes to you? Well, you know, if you think about it economically, you could sure save a lot of money instead of just sending mission groups out all over the world.
If you actually discovered that, here at UNM, we have international students from, and they're the brightest, from different countries in the world. The best and the brightest, they come to American universities. They have different backgrounds, different cultures, different religions. To befriend them, to share with them, to get them saved, imagine what will happen if they go back to their family and their country. So yes, you could spend thousands and thousands of dollars, and organize the trip and go out, and we should go. It doesn't mean we shouldn't go, but we could sort of rethink this.
And since we all can't do that, there are some living right here. Let's pray through a strategy to reach local foreigners on our soil, love them, invite them to church, invite them over to coffee, tea, because that's more customary in their culture, dinner, et cetera, and see what the Lord could do with that. I saw this and I thought cool strategy, maybe we should employ this.
So crowds mocking saying they're drunk, full of new wine. Now you're about to hear the first sermon ever preached, and it's preached by ta-da, Peter. Peter? You mean that Peter? Mr. Foot in his mouth, sandal in his mouth Peter? The guy who said a lot of stupid stuff Peter? The guy who denied Jesus Peter? Yep, the very same Peter who now is fulfilling what Jesus said.
Jesus said, Peter, Satan has been asking for you. He wants to sift you like wheat. But I prayed for you, Peter, and when you are restored, strengthen your brethren. Jesus promised Peter that he would fail because he's being attacked, but he would be restored. And Jesus in John 21 restored him. Peter, do you love me? Feed my sheep. Commissioned him again.
Now we see Peter filled with the Holy Spirit after seeing the resurrected Lord. And Peter, the fisherman, the bumbling fisherman, is now a lean, mean preaching machine. I mean, when I read this sermon, it's like, this guy is all over it. It's an expository sermon. It's deep in scripture. The way he applies the text.
Now New Testament preaching in the book of Acts contained a couple of things. Number one, a proclamation of the gospel and an exhortation to repent. There was always the gospel which included the death, burial, Resurrection, and Exultation of Christ. And he'll do that in 20 seconds. I mean, he'll just 30 seconds, he'll cover all that. Then there's an exhortation to repent and be baptized. So he's going to not just give information, he's going to call for transformation. And you'll see this as a template throughout the book of Acts. So here comes the first sermon.
"Peter standing up with the 11 raised his voice and said to them, Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and heed my words. For these are not drunk as you suppose since it's only 9 o'clock in the morning." That's what it means by third hour of the day. These guys aren't sauced. The bars aren't even open. It's 9 o'clock in the morning. "But this is what was spoken by the prophet."
And I have to say, in this particular verse I do miss the old King James which I love to read in my devotions. He just said, they're not drunk. This isn't them being drunk and he goes, but this is that. Which was spoken of by the prophets, so they're going, well, what is this? And he goes, well, this is that. This is that which was spoken of by Joel the prophet.
Now I'm bringing this up for this reason. Whenever you practice something as a Christian person and people say, well, why do you do that? Here's the wrong answer. Well, because I've always done it. Well, because I was taught to do that by parents, grandparents, or this is what my church believes. Those are not satisfactory answers for you to say why you do what you do. The only satisfactory answer is a scriptural answer. This, what I'm doing, is that which was spoken of by the prophet.
You are able to then point to a scriptural basis for whatever you believe in or whatever you do. And so that's what Peter does. He points to the scripture and says, this is that or this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel, and it shall come to pass in the last days. He thought. "Last days, says God, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. Your young men shall see visions. Your old men shall dream dreams."
The last days, you see that little phrase, Peter says that they are in the last days. 2,000 years ago they're in the last days. Some of you read that and go, it's a little embarrassing. Because really they weren't in the last days. I mean, 2,000 years past. It's kind of embarrassing to point that out to anybody who's prescient, and who can think a thought, and who is cognizant, and say it's the last days, because that happened 2,000 years ago. Nothing changed.
But what you need to know is this. The last days begins at the first coming of Jesus and ends at the second coming. That's how they saw the second, granted, they may have thought the Lord would come back at any moment. The true Church has always believed the Lord can come back, and he said he's coming back. But the last days technically have lasted for 2,000 years and here's why.
The Old Testament are the old days. The Old Testament is over. Behold I make a new covenant with the house of Israel, Jeremiah 31. The last days are the days of the Church, and this is the birthday of the Church. So the last days begin technically at the first coming of Jesus, flower at the birth of the Church, and end when Jesus comes back again. So don't let that phrase throw you.
Hebrews Chapter 1 Verse 1 says, I'm just reading it in my head. Hold on. God, who at different times in different ways spoke in times past to our fathers by the prophets, listen, has in these last days spoken to us through His Son Jesus Christ. The idea is once and for all He has spoken through His Son. So we're in the last days.
Now you can even narrow that down first John Chapter 2 Verse 18, Little children, it is the last hour. And you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, but many Antichrist have already come whereby we know it is the last hour. So the last days is that technical, biblical phrase after the thousands of years of the other covenants, the old covenant, the final covenant, that begins with Jesus and ends with His Second Coming, and embodies the last days. So we're still in the last days.
Now I happen to think we're in the last days of the last days. I think just by seeing what's going on around the world, it's like, OK, so the clock keeps ticking. But we're on borrowed time. I mean, we're like, we're like leaning toward the edge. The Lord could come back at any moment. Something else, I love this. He's quoting Joel Chapter 2, and He says your sons and daughters, also in Verse 17, your young men will see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. Now all types of people are included, but did you know that Christianity was largely and initially a youth movement? Do you think the disciples really looked like they do in the pictures and in the holy cards?
I've seen these pictures of the disciples, the apostles, at the Last Supper and different events. What's striking about them is they're old men. They've got gray hair. Hey, Jesus, I'm following you. Slowly, but I'm coming. I mean, Jesus started His ministry at 30, died at 33. His disciples, his apostles, later on were probably not older, probably even younger than that. And typically you find great movements of God though there's always theological underpinnings and there's room for every age group. Thank God, because I'm not a young man anymore. But I find that the Lord works through in a special way and looks for the use of young men and women. And why is that? Well, most people are saved at a young age.
First of all conversion, if you were to look at who gets saved at what age, almost down the line, it's somebody who's very young. That's when they're first impressionable, open. They open their hearts. They receive Christ at a young age. Movements, church plants, missionaries, though they can be at any age, any age. And we've seen some go out, typically, it's with the young.
Why? Well, they have more energy. They have more energy. And they don't have all the hangups that we have when we get older. I can say that now as an older person. The older you get, you get narrower, you have more hangups, you have more particularities about things. You get a little weird, and wonky, and goofy, and reserved, and even religious. And all those things, ugh, I don't like. But I find myself even becoming like that. And so, yes, there are young and old, but thank God for the energy, the vision, of the next generations. I'm always looking for sons and daughters who will prophesy. Yeah, just leave me home. I'll dream my dreams. No, I'll go out with you. I want some of the action.
Verse 18, "And on my menservants and on my maidservants", notice please, notice it's not just male, it's male and female. Menservants and maidservants. "I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in heaven above and signs on the earth beneath. Blood, fire, vapor of smoke, the sun will be turned into darkness the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord."
Now he is quoting Joel 2, and Joel 2 is all about the day of the Lord which is known as in the New Testament, the Great Tribulation Period. He's not saying we're in the Great Tribulation Period. What he's saying is you are seeing a preview of coming attractions. You are seeing the Holy Spirit on the birthday of the Church poured out. And it's starting now, and it's going to continue. And it's a preview of what's really going to be poured out in the end of the last days before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It begins now and it continues all the way through. You're seeing a preview of that. You're seeing a partial fulfillment of Joel, not a total fulfillment, because the total fulfillment will come in the Tribulation followed by the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, and in between those two events, The Second Coming.
So notice in Verse 20, that phrase, "the day of the Lord," is a reference to the return of Christ. And the day of the Lord includes Tribulation, and Great Tribulation, and Jesus coming back, and inaugurating and initiating the Millennial Kingdom. You'll find that written like that in the Old Testament. That's understood in Jewish theology. "And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." What do you have to do to be saved? We've got to call in the name of the Lord. Yeah, some people, what do you have to do to be saved? Well, you have to be baptized in our church. And you have to show yourself a stalwart member by participating in these covenant activities.
That poor thief on the cross then, maybe Jesus led him astray, because He just said today you'll be with Me in Paradise. He just called out his name, remember me when you come into your Kingdom. OK. That's faith right there. You believe? Whoever calls on the name of the Lord, now that, of course, embodies faith. Repentance is a part of faith, turning from and turning to, not just I'm going to add Jesus to my little curriculum and do my deal. Oh, and God's a part of it, too. It's not like I'm a Hollywood actor where I just feel obligated to say, and I thank God for this award. I thank my, you know, whatever. There's to be a reality of calling on His name and trusting and believing in His name. Looking at the time, OK.
"Men of Israel, hear these words." Now he's making up, "Hear these words, Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you." Stop right there. Peter is speaking to an audience that is what? What religion are they? They're Jewish. What are they expecting for thousands of years? They're expecting what? A Messiah. Well, they don't believe Jesus is the Messiah, 120 do.
Peter's the spokesperson. He wants the Jewish audience to know why Jesus Christ is the Messiah. He gives three proofs. Proof number one, His signs and wonders. His miracles. His works That's proof number one. "Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst as you, yourselves, also know."
You might try to talk about it, and say we're drunk with wine and push it away. But you know better, because you saw it happen. It happened in front of you in this town. So the proof is the miracles. Jesus Himself said John the Baptist bears testimony of who I am. But I have a greater witness than John. The works that I do bear witness of Me. He also said believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me, or at least believe for the very sake of the works themselves. Nicodemus, a Sanhedrin member in Jerusalem in John Chapter 3 said, Master we know that you are a prophet come from God, a teacher come from God, for no one can do the signs that you do unless God is with Him. So they knew it. His miracles attest to who He was. Proof number one that Jesus is the Messiah, His works.
Verse 23, Him, Jesus, being delivered interesting, I tell you, Peter is like a brill dude. That means he's a brilliant man. He's a he's a brill dude. He's a fisherman, but it's like, this is Peter? "Him being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands and crucified and put to death." Now please notice that Peter in one sentence marries the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man in one package.
So would you quit arguing about that issue? I mean it's been argued about for the last 1600-1700 years. But can't we just figure that Peter was able to see both of them working in harmony together? God is sovereign, at the same time man is responsible. Man is culpable just because God wanted it to happen for redemption, that does not erase the culpability of mankind for killing Jesus. So there was a murder that went on. But there was redemption, because Jesus said nobody takes My life from Me. I give it of Myself.
Both things happened. One is from the divine perspective. The other is from the human perspective. He puts them in one package. Him being delivered by the determined counsel and the foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands or sinful hands, crucified and put to death. Verse 24, "Whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. Proof number two, the Resurrection.
Proof number one, look what Jesus did. Signs, miracles, wonders. You saw it, you know it. Number two, Resurrection. We saw it. Now this is masterful. Oh, and by the way why was the Resurrection so important to Peter as a follow up point to the miracles that Jesus did? Because they're listening, they're stroking their little Pharisee beards, listening to Peter preach. Yeah, OK, cool. They would readily admit, they would have to admit, they already have admitted Jesus is a miracle worker.
So they will concede his first point, but they're thinking in their minds, yeah, He did miracles, but He's dead. He died. If He's God's Messiah, he died. He's a miracle worker, but He died. So Peter knowing their thinking said, but God raised Him to life. The Resurrection becomes now the focal point of the preaching in the New Testament.
For David says concerning Him, and I'll probably just be able to just brush into this and then stop. "I foresaw the Lord always before my face." He's quoting Psalm 16, "For he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken. Therefore, my heart rejoiced, my tongue was glad. Moreover my flesh will rest in hope You will not leave my soul in Hades." The grave, that's the Old Testament word. That is equivalent to the New Testament in Greek. Hades the grave. You will not leave my soul in the grave in Hades, nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption.
Now David wrote Psalm 16, "You have made known to me the ways of life. You will make me full of joy in your presence. Men and brethren let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And when you come with us to Jerusalem, if you'd like, when we go to the upper room on the area known as Mount Zion, remind me, and I'll point out to you where David's tomb is celebrated or kept to this day.
"Therefore, being a prophet", you didn't know David was a prophet. You always thought he was a psalmist. "And knowing that God had sworn with an oath to Him that of the fruit of His body according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on His Throne. He foreseeing this spoke concerning the Resurrection of Christ that his soul was not left in Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption."
We're going to stop there because the time is up. But I am often asked, and I want to explain next time. I'm often asked, well, where does the Bible predict the Resurrection in the Old Testament? I want to show you clearly and plainly where the Old Testament predicts the Resurrection of Jesus. And this becomes Peter's whole point. But we'll have to wait to get it next time. To be continued.
Thank you, Father, for Your Word and for these precious lovers of God, these brethren who love you, love one another, love Your truth, love to dig deep and make application. Lord, we are a community of your people, but we are a textual community. We are bound together by the text of scripture, the word delivered to us, delivered to the Saints once for all as Jude wrote. Thank you, Lord, that we have the time. And then, when we're out of time, we just wait and move on next time. But Father as we close this prayer, we realize there may not be a next time, because Jesus may come between now and next Wednesday. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus for your bride. It's in His name we pray, Amen.