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The Sermon that Won 3000 Souls

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
July 31, 2020 8:00 am

The Sermon that Won 3000 Souls

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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July 31, 2020 8:00 am

Its biblical. Its Christ-centered. Its fearless. Its persuasive. Its Peters first sermon, and its a winner. In fact, God uses it to win 3000 new disciples, 3000 new sons and daughters, 3000 new members of the body of Christ. Today on The Bible Study Hour, Dr. James Boice talks about Peters Pentecost sermon as a model for how all of us can testify to what we know about Jesus.

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It's biblical, which Christ centered is fearless and persuasive. It's Peter's first sermon and it's a winner. In fact, God uses it to win 3000 new disciples 3000 new sons and daughters. 3000 new members of the body of Christ today on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce talks about Peter's Pentecost sermon as a model for how all of us can testify to what we know about Jesus. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act quickly when the Holy Spirit arrived on the day of Pentecost, Peter stood and started talking to the crowd, he was probably just as surprised as anyone else to hear what he had to say and just what effect it had on the crowd. Let's listen now to Dr. Boyce. Her sermon is on the second chapter of the book of acts to be getting with verse 14 through verse 41, where we have a record of what the apostle Peter preached at Pentecost is not sermon sermon preached at Pentecost about the one that I'm about to bring to you that one 3000 souls. I wish it were otherwise. I wish I could say that high had preached on this or some other occasion. The Lord blessed in such a way that thousands of people responded to the preaching of the gospel and came to faith in Christ.

But not only have I not had that experience. I doubt very much if anyone else has had it either from time to time I read accounts of revivals in which the spirit of God works in a strong land. Many people are moved as the word of God is preached in many hundreds respond in faith. And yet in all those accounts I've not read of any occasion when a sermon was so blessed by the Holy Spirit that 3000 people who before that were lost in sin blinded in their ignorance far from God, and far from faith in Jesus Christ turn from sin responded to him and entered the company of God's people within the church. Yet that's what happened at Pentecost as God bless this first sermon of the Christian era sermon preached by Peter as he stood up on Pentecost to explain what God was doing and inaugurate the church age, we should expect, of course, perhaps we wouldn't expect this powerful result, but certainly we would expect some results and the striking one. We saw as we began our study of the book of acts that Jesus had told them that they were going to receive power. These apostles of his, and that after they receive power, the power of the Holy Spirit. They were going to be his witnesses. They were going to start as his witnesses in Jerusalem and then they were going to go out from there and to all the known world is what Peter does. This is the beginning at Jerusalem is the Holy Spirit, and we saw when we were looking last week at the first verses of the second chapter that the entire emphasis upon this filling of the apostles with the Holy Spirit was upon their speaking. I pointed out that sometimes we get off base on that people look at this miracle that happened at the same time in which those who heard each word in their own tongue. That is, as the apostles went pouring out of the upper room and the streets began to talk to people that they met there in the streets of Jerusalem certainly was a great miracle and an exciting wanted one that the apostle Peter used in a powerful way as an introduction to the sermon he was about to preach about Jesus but it's not the essence of Pentecost. It was a miracle that was assigned was important, but the important thing the most important thing is, those were filled by the Holy Spirit began to be Christ witnesses the same thing that Jesus had told them.

In this version of the great commission, they would be you find that, as I pointed out last week every time and ask that you come to a reference to the filling with the Holy Spirit whenever the Holy Spirit fills the people of God. They demonstrate that filling not by doing miracles.

But by testifying Jesus Christ and that's what God blesses well here. As I say we have Peter doing that something of a model sermon when expected to be a model sermon. The first sermon of the Christian era. It says sermon preached by the most prominent of the apostles. It's a sermon that resulted in great blessing so it would be natural to us for any one of those three things, not to mention all three of them look at it and say well what is it that makes this a great sermon. This is something that every preacher should study, and yet even more than that. It's something that the people of God should study because, although in a formal sense most of Christian people don't have opportunities to preach sermons. I do have opportunity must have opportunity to speak about Jesus Christ and the same principles that govern the formation of a great sermon must govern the witness of the people of God.

In other circumstances as well. So that's the way I like to look at it now, let's start by asking what is it that is most characteristic of a sermon on a suggested number of things might think in the order of what is obvious first of all, this is a great biblical sermon is about apostle Peter didn't have the New Testament when he stood up to preach in this occasion, but he had a great biblical book. Yeah, the Old Testament, not only did he added he knew which I would suggest I suggested when we were studying the end of chapter 1 that even spent these previous days studying. It probably together with the other apostles and the early Christians were gathered with them and with their on Pentecost awarded started them on this track.

He had begun to explain the nature of his ministry at his work by referring to these Old Testament texts saying that they were foolish and slow of heart to believe if they didn't say that the things that had happened. His ministry had been fulfillments of what God had prophesied so many years before we know that on the occasion when he accompanied the Emmaus disciples on their way back to their hometown. He began with Moses and the prophets, and expounded to them in all the right side of all three sections of the Old Testament, the things that concerned himself.

So Jesus had begun to teach them how to do this and Peter undoubtedly during these days of waiting for Pentecost to search the Scriptures himself. Now suddenly Pentecost came, and the apostle Peter was never a person to be shy, seize the opportunity leader as he was also the foolish one, but on this occasion seize the opportunity and he stood up and began to preach and he drew from this great store of Old Testament texts that which was to be the substance of his sermon are usually you know preacher will take one text and then he'll have three or four points generally guide people's attention is rather short so you have free point service. Spurgeon's day hundred or more years ago there were four point service because everybody used to talk about a great four pointer things like all the Spurgeon sermons have four point you go back to the Puritans in this country. I'm embarrassed to tell you how many points I had none of that Edwards could go on 89 1012 sometimes more points and they were just little items that he ticked off either of these were points of the development some length and over a long period of time.

People knew.

I listen then didn't have television.

That's why they listen. He also knew how to read that the readers digest they were the real thing and they could pay attention and they could think and so you had died there when you had great great sermons with many, many points interesting when we turn to Peter sermon that he has not so much education having numerous points as he has numerous texts doesn't just take one text and expounded the three great text and expounds each of them, weaving them together and they really biblical whole.

Now you know what they are first text is from the second chapter of jolts versus that in that chapter. The second of three chapters of that minor profit verses 28 through 32 in our version of the Bible Joel is rather gloomy prophecy. It was written on the occasion of the great disaster that it come upon Israel. There had been a locust plague and it was devastating and wiped out everything.

Every green thing, and all land in and economy of rural agricultural economy is that was was a very serious thing. It was a question of life and death. Most people Joel begins to talk about that instead of saying is, some of us might say under those circumstances. Well, every cloud has a silver lining. It's going to get better. Don't worry Joel says no medevac is going to get worse. That's only a symbol of the final judgment, so it's in a book like that this prophecy occurs at very serious gloomy book that in the middle of it. Joel begins to talk about a blessing that is to come to the people in the latter days. He says God is going to restore the years the locusts of Eaton is going to be a time when God blesses you that you will be satisfied and it's at the end of that turn the prophecy as he begins to speak comforting words that these great versus the car he says in the latter days. That is beyond the time of national physical blessing. I'm going to pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and he gives the words that the apostle Peter picks up on this occasion. Part of that text because it was the prophecy of Pentecost, he said. With that kind of graphic urgency that ability to take the present moment and to link it to the Old Testament prophecy that we see exhibited by Jesus Christ and by other biblical preachers, but I great ability to take those two. We welcome together and he says that experience of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in the speaking in times and the blessing was to come on this day. This is the thing about which Joel spoken and so he uses that great text later on in his sermon he quotes from Psalm 16, verses eight through 11 verses written by David great King of Israel, they were very important to the early Christian preachers. The apostle Paul also referred to these verses on at least one occasion recorded later on in acts believe in the 13th chapter was significant because this is quite obviously a sermon about David, and it contains statements that can apply quite literally to David door the end of the solvent has this interesting passage in which David says you will not abandon me to the grave. You will not let your holy one see decay out might be possible to apply the first part of that David will not abandon me to the grave. That is, David would die. But God wouldn't abandon in there someday that would be a resurrection not much we can understand then David went on to say, nor will you let your holy one see decay. That's the kind of bodily decay that takes place in the tomb today would say that about himself because David didn't see decay and as Peter goes on to point out, David died and was buried in his tomb is here this day. David had decay. Everybody knew that all and what is he talking about when he says nor will you let your holy one see decay. Peter pointed out the other preachers and other early preachers pointed out as well. David at this point. Must've been a prophet. Looking forward to the Messiah who, because he like David is the holy one would not see decay would die, but his body wouldn't decay in the grave, so he would be raised again in corruptible Peter reverse that and says that is also a prophecy of what is happened in our time. In the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, whom you all know in no and finally Peter quotes from the hundred and 10th Psalm verse one. I refer to this this morning. Our study of Romans, saying that this is the inverse of the Old Testament that is most quoted in the new quoted about 25 or 30 time, sometimes very directly like this word for word on times indirectly the book of Hebrews. For example, refers to this verse at least three times and perhaps a few other times indirectly. Here is a verse which again David is writing and says the Lord, that is God, Jehovah said to my Lord in the Hebrew the word is out and I said in my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. Jesus referred to this himself in an incident recorded in Matthew 22 say how could David refer to a descendent of businesses Lord I would say that God called his Lord, Lord, well if he were merely a descendent of David, a mere human being. I would be impossible but that Messiah was not to be a mere human being. It was to be more than that he was to be the God man, the one whom God would exalt above every person and being in heaven and earth and give them a name that is above every name, allowing him to sit at his right hand until he makes all his enemies a footstool for his feet as text, Peter picks up in the sermon and apply quite rightly to Jesus. I was interesting to think about the sermon particularly in its structure and its emphasis. Where is the emphasis of the servant well, one thing we can do in that kind of objective way is to just count up the number of verses that are given the quotations of the Old Testament with them over against the number of verses that are here is exposition you do that so hard to know how to apply some verses. For example, verse 16 is not a quotation of the Old Testament, but it's an introduction of the quotation that comes from the Old Testament. You put the introductions along with the quotations that they introduce, then you have 13 verses given over Old Testament citation over against that you have 11 verses of exposition +2 verses of application. The conclusion becomes the bariatric so the motion have 13 verses versus 13 versus two say it's just about evenly balanced and perhaps the emphasis even falls upon the Old Testament. Citation I've been to seminary and I have sat in homiletics courses had people teach you how to preach, and as far as I know nobody taught me and I imagine nobody is ever taught any other preacher that half of what he says should be direct quotation from the Old Testament. I suppose a perfectly good reasons for lack quotation itself sometimes fails to draw people along and often you can quote from verses and give so little explanation of the people to know why your holding.

Guess there's a perfectly valid reason for the point that is made here by the way in which this is given to us is that the quotation of the Old Testament and the use of the Old Testament is in the hands of God, far more important than anything the preacher says about the preacher says the witness is not important.

Certainly we want to be able to explain these things when later on reached Ethiopian heat spends his time explaining those great text out of the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. Ethiopian needed to have his eyes open to know about whom the prophet was speaking that was about. Jesus is not about himself or the nation or any other have to give an explanation and sometimes in our day. When people understand so little spiritual things and are so ignorant of the Bible you have to spend perhaps even more time giving explanation at the point you see is that the basis of the sermon on the most important thing is the word of God say, well, why is that important support for this reason, it is the word of God that God blesses blesses the word of the preacher.

Although he may use the word serve the preacher of the word of the witness is a vehicle that is a promise to bless that what God has promised to do is blesses word said my word that goes out my mouth will accomplish that which I please, and I will prosper in the thing where into.

I sent it. Sometimes when I speak of God prospers in. We rejoice in that God doesn't promise to do that God has promised blesses, word, and so were the actual words of Scripture have to be the basis of our exposition.

Secondly, I want you to see that this sermon is Christ centered as follows from the first point is it not if the sermon is biblical and if the Bible is about Jesus Christ. If he's sits heart and substance then the biblical sermon is inevitably going to be a Christ centered what you see. The sermon makes this point in a very interesting way. This was Pentecost.

After all the Holy Spirit to come upon the disciples send a dramatic and noticeable why Peter began his sermon by the greatest Old Testament text referring to the promise of the Holy Spirit, quoting Joel to verses 28 through 32, in full, but notice time when you might have expected Peter to go on and teach what we would call a doctrine of the third person of the Trinity, showing what the Holy Spirit does and how he operates what you might have expected something like that said, the sermon shifts and shifts almost naturally to begin to deal with the life and work of Jesus. That's no accident. The Lord Jesus Christ was talking to his disciples back in the Gospel of John. What we call the final discourses and when he told them the Holy Spirit was going to come. He pointed out quite clearly that this is what the Holy Spirit would do the Holy Spirit would testify to him to give you the references in John 15 verse 26 Jesus said when the counselor comes. That was his word for the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, one who comes alongside of us to help us when the counselor comes from. I will send to you from the father, the spirit of truth who goes out from the father. He will testify about me then the next chapter chapter 16 verse 14 he will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you, Holy Spirit does.

On this occasion the Holy Spirit comes upon the disciples, they begin to preach. Peter explains Pentecost as a result of the Holy Spirit's activity, but as the Holy Spirit operates what he leads Peter to do is preach Jesus only say that is a very helpful way of dealing with claims. You often hear today as the Holy Spirit's working. Sometimes people who were in the miraculous, where into the signs and wonders things say well when you see signs and wonders when the healings when they're speaking in tongues bear, you can be sure the Holy Spirit is operating. I don't take a rigid position on that is some of my reform brother do and say that the Holy Spirit of God cannot do any of these things today. There is a strong tradition in the reformed churches say that the miracles necessarily ceased with the death of the apostles, the miracles were given to authenticate them as apostles, messengers from God and the Holy Spirit did authenticate them and their message is preserved in Scripture the knowledge again of any miracles. I don't take that position that stood put God in the boxes it seems to make God to do anything you well and God heals in a miraculous way. Well, praise be to God, we rejoice in that you see when you talk about the work of the Holy Spirit and somebody says all come see what the Holy Spirit is doing this miracle is taking place in this miracle is taking place. I say be very very careful of that skeptical if you will, because what Jesus Christ said the Holy Spirit would do is testify to him may be in a service like that Jesus Christ is exalted and cited that's impossible. Jesus Christ must be exalted, and if you're in the service or if you hear a theology if somebody is speaking of the work of the Holy Spirit so that attention is being directed to anything other than Jesus Christ that is not the Holy Spirit's work the other hand, when you find men and women being pointed to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

However that may happen there there. The Holy Spirit is at work one miracles as the greatest of all miracles. The miracle of a spiritual resurrection, we show how little we appreciate what the Bible says about our sin when we think of that likely we say hello if I could just see somebody that is sick. Get well.

What a miracle I would be I would say well bear.

The Holy Spirit is at work so that is nothing compared to the resurrection of the dead soul. Never a man or woman returns from sin and embraces Jesus Christ as Savior is the miracle that even the angel stopped paying attention to the rescue of the sinner repents. You see, that takes the work of God, nothing else can accomplish that somewhere that happens Holy Spirit is at work is interesting to notice what Peter had to say about Jesus say he "sermon officially in verse 22, after having given his text about Pentecost and of Israel, listen to this Jesus of Nazareth man accredited by God to you by miracles and wonders and signs which God did among you, through him, as you yourselves know this man was handed over to you. He goes on to talk at that point about the crucifixion and the resurrection and the ascension of the heaven, and his exultation at the right hand of God. I asked the question what is missing and that you might have expected Peter the one mil accompanied the Lord Jesus Christ through the three years of his active earthly ministry to which said what you would've expected. Perhaps Peter might have said is Jesus teaching.

He might've said the Lord Jesus Christ said this of the Lord Jesus Christ said that the Lord Jesus Christ taught this other thing interesting is that the Peter doesn't do that. I don't misunderstand me that what I'm not saying all that the teachings of Jesus Christ are unimportant.

Certainly they are. That's why we have the Gospels are recorded for us but here Peter is preaching to men and women who are not words of Jesus Christ were not believers in Jesus Christ and women will apart from the work of the Holy Spirit are dead in there since you can't reach to people like that and say this is what Jesus says you should do because they can't do it not only can't they do and they don't even want to do it people that were unregenerate crucified Jesus because of the things he was teaching so Peter preaches to those were dead in sins and he said look, Jesus came to save you from your sins and Zoey preaches what Jesus did before the preachers what Jesus said this evening that in the churches today many churches are filled with well-meaning people who preach what Jesus says somehow expect those were not born again to follow the lake at do it.

They don't even want to what we have to do. First of all is preach that God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, and he did die for our sins. And he rose again from the dead and God vindicated him by the resurrection of those who trust him now find salvation from their sins and new life by the Holy Spirit interesting to list the doctrines that Peter manages to squeeze in concerning Christ working just this one sermon is ministry, which is not so much a ministry by words of the ministry by signs God vindicating who is the crucifixion in which he stresses not merely man's role used by wicked hands of slain them.

But God's role God delivered him up God's purpose, resurrection, which he deals with the greatest length going into the text from Psalm 16 and then expounding upon it, versus 29 and following Christ's ascension and exultation at the right hand of God in verse 33, and finally his present ministry as a part of which he is poured out Holy Spirit at Pentecost and continues to do that blessing the church. Most of those who follow him when I'm making is that this is the apostolic preaching number of years ago.

This was a very important thing in New Testament studies and significant books written about the scholar in England by the name of CH.Roebuck of the apostolic preaching and pointed out that there was supporting the term the theologians were using a certain crawling mind means a proclamation of these great facts concerning Jesus Christ and it's not that you find throughout the entire New Testament give you another example. You know that the apostle Paul when he was writing to the Corinthians in the 15th chapter beginning to sum up, the gospel doesn't much in the terms that the apostle Peter used on this occasion, he said I received these things and I have passed a bond to you as of first importance, namely that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter and then to the 12 and the more than 500 brethren at once, and so on.

Last of all the millions one born out of due time. See what is doing is doing there. Many years later in his letter to the Corinthians. The same thing Peter was doing at Pentecost. He was preaching what Jesus did for our salvation by begin to think about this. I can't help but think of the sad state of so much Christian preaching and witnessing today.

Bottom of their preaching today is that it's so man centered. Sometimes it centered on the preacher you know you can get a lot of attention. If you tell cute stories, especially if there about your self about your children.

One of the things I determined to do what I came here 18 years ago was never tell stories about my children. I do know they appreciated but they will.

And perhaps they already do. Sometimes today's preaching is focused upon the hearers. We talk about speaking the felt needs in certain sense, which that's properly reach people by speaking their felt needs a lot of preaching never gets beyond that psychological in nature. It's sociological in nature. It looks to the polls.

It says what produces results how to build a big congregation why you do it by talking about the kind of things and providing the sort of programs that people are most interested in. Regardless of what you find in the gospel that sort of thing succeeds as the world's programs succeed, you can build a big thick just like you can build a big corporation or market hamburgers. But you say that's quite a different thing from doing the work of God, and that's quite a different thing from the work of God's spirit Holy Spirit leads preaching is biblical and it is always centered on Jesus Christ.

I spent a lot of time in the first two points, and rightly so, because of the most important. Let me tell you two more things about this preaching first father was fearless. That's .3 biblical Christ centered fearless. I say fearless because after all this was being preached in Jerusalem and that was in Jerusalem that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified and not many weeks before this. Peter was preaching, it becomes perfectly clear the way he talks about it now, and in his later sermon that we could find in chapter 3, to the very people who had called out to supply them crucified. Peter was preaching the shadow of the temple. No doubt overlooked by the same religious leaders who had plotted to destroy his master and had succeeded humanly speaking, I look at Peter in this occasion of the others that I say these men, these women had great reason to be afraid another not afraid to say the reason they're not afraid, is that although they had reasons to be afraid. They had even greater reasons not to be.

Why is that because they were serving the risen Lord Jesus. They served was not merely a man who had been crucified. It was a son of God it would been raised from the dead wood ascended in the heaven and was now seated at the right hand of God the father directing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and promoting the work of preaching in his church. So these men expected results.

I said this is what the work of Christ is led up to. He has died percent now it's our task to preach it to a needy world they expected the Holy Spirit to bless the Holy Spirit did so I say is 1/3 market was preaching was fearless when we say finally that it was also sound by which I mean eminently reasonable. Sometimes you see preaching to be eloquent and very moving. So an entire congregation and be swayed by the preacher's rhetoric that it can be quite unsound terms of reason and the operations of the mind.

This was not the case with Peter's preaching. I'm sure that Peter was a very eloquent man.

I'm sure that on this occasion he preached with great fervor and that the people noted this in the Holy Spirit bless the fervor and the eloquence and everything else. But when you read this you find that he is calling the people to think in spiritual always the same look you know about Jesus. You know what he did you know the miracles that took place through his ministry and by his hands. That was God's way of authenticating him is that not true why would he do miracles. How could he have done miracles of God, and not been with then you know how leaders your leaders and how you yourself inspired in his crucifixion. You said we don't want a man like this, saw that he was killed. What happened, God raised him from the dead were witnesses of this and that was proof that God accepted Christ and repudiated your repudiation now is Peter. This Christ this exalted Lord is poured out the Holy Spirit which you see and can witness even this day at Pentecost or see how reasonable evidence then Peter went the final point and drew the conclusion and that was reasonable as well. If this Jesus is the Christ is God's son. And if you have killed them.

Then you have killed your Messiah. The only thing that you should do you know you should do it is repent of that great sin and be baptized, thereby identifying yourself in faith with Jesus Christ. I was powerful because were told us we come to the end of the sermon that they cut to their hearts, and said to Peter and the other apostles, brothers, what shall we do, I long for a day when we see that in the church of Jesus Christ are sitting in our country. The preaching is so biblical, so Christ centered so fearless and so sounded reasonable and so blessed by the Holy Spirit and all those respects that men and women cry out all brothers, sisters, what must we do when the answer is given, repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven.

They do repent and they believe in Jesus ratted the company of the church, God blesses that kind of preaching that day.

3000 ratted the number we have more preaching like that. May God bless such preaching today are father we thank you for this example of what's sound exposition of the gospel by an apostle or a preacher or any other witness should be. We measure ourselves by that standard, we find that we fall short. So we repent of our shortcomings. We repent also of our sin where if it is the case, we've allowed concentration upon external things or upon manner upon ourselves to detract from Jesus so father knew turnips in our testimony and preaching the way that we should go branch, we might have in our day. A generation of biblical Christ centered fearless and sound witnesses who has they speak for Jesus are so blessed and filled by your spirit man and women cut to the heart, repent of their sin and trust him. We pray in anticipation of what you will do in Jesus name. You are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Aiken, God's living word with pastor, the Rev. Richard Phillips and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse.

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