Christians have preached Christ under persecution, so you cannot say, well, you know, I've had trouble in my life and things are really going out my way and I'm just really struggling. I don't know in the New Testament where that gives a pass.
It's not a rebuke. It is an encouragement. That if the early Christians could preach under persecution, we should be able to preach also something about that in-season and out-season that should be appealing to us. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the Book of Acts.
Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the Book of Acts chapter 2 as he begins his message down to business. You have your Bibles, the Book of Acts chapter 2, the Book of Acts chapter 2, we'll take verses 14 through 21, beginning at verse 14. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, 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 is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel, and it shall come to pass in the 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, and on my maidservants I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath, blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of Yahweh. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of Yahweh shall be saved. Please be seated. Down to business, that's the title of this message.
It's an idiom in our language. Let's not for a moment suppose that after the Gospels and after the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven, that somehow the book of Acts is anticlimactic. It is an exciting book. It is the book that tells us about what Jesus was preparing his disciples to do. He had invested in these men, and now it was time for them to apply that investment, the teachings, the lessons, the things they experienced and witnessed, and it is no different for us. And I say this because I think sometimes there are some believers that feel the thrill is gone when you get to the book of Acts after the Lord ascends. But again, it tells the story of the apostles getting busy, getting down to business. Luke chapter 19 verse 13, so he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, do business till I come.
Well, he's never retracted that it's a parable that he's giving, but the parable, it is fully applicable to the believers, to the church. And Peter, in this section of scripture, is going to unlock the witness of Christ to the world because of Pentecost, and I don't know that a lot of Christians appreciate that at Pentecost, the church was born. Before Pentecost, they were just Jewish believers in Jesus Christ. They believed their Messiah had come and he was Jesus. But after Pentecost, things begin to change, and they change, they evolve.
It was not radical in its outreach to the world. And without a personal Pentecost, we have nothing to say to the world. As we've learned from chapter one, before Pentecost, before the coming of the Holy Spirit, the believers were just really amongst themselves, and they did not reach out. And that all is going to change in this chapter, changing in this section that we have before us. Ezekiel the prophet, God was sending him to a people who were under judgment, and they were under judgment because of their idolatry, and that idolatry brought all different types of sins with it.
That's what idolatry does. And Ezekiel had the great vision of spiritual things in the first chapter, and then God follows up. You see, God was saying, it's not enough, Ezekiel, that I give you a vision.
You have to do something with this. Ezekiel chapter 2, verse 2, Then the Spirit entered me, and he spoke to me and set me on my feet. And I heard him who spoke to me, and he said to me.
Very personal. A lot of me's in there. Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me.
They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. And of course, then God develops the prophet in his ministry, a quite dramatic ministry. But as God filled his Old Testament prophet to speak to Israel, he fills the New Testament church to speak to the lost world. And this book of Acts is telling us the story of how it began.
It is our foundation as a church, not as a local church, the universal church, which then translates to the local church also. And here, at this time, in chapter 2, the Holy Spirit had amazed and perplexed the people with his dramatic entry. The Pentecostal crowds did not know what was going on. Look back at verse 12 of Acts chapter 2, and there we read, So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, Whatever could this mean? Others, mocking, said, They are full of new wine. So the Holy Spirit shows up with the sound of a mighty rushing wind, the apostles are speaking in their praises to God, and it's being understood by those with various languages.
This is quite a miraculous moment. But some felt that they were drunk. They did not understand what was going on. Verse 14 now, But Peter, standing up with the eleven, 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.
So that remark, that remark from verse 13 about them being drunk, they're full of new wine, it was ignorant, and it was insulting, whether it was intended to be so or not, you know, he was accusing them of being drunk at nine o'clock in the morning. Peter was not going to ignore this, and he did not ignore it. And it is significant, it says, But Peter, standing up. This Peter is now endued with power from on high as a witness. And he is unlocking the truth. The same Peter who once denied his Lord is now empowered to stand up and tell those who are scoffing about the truth what the truth is. And Peter really is going to scoff at the scoffers.
Come on, it's nine o'clock, don't be silly. It's going to be how he says it. So, by God's Spirit, again, the man who denied the Lord three times is now preaching Jesus Christ. This is the first gospel declaration to sinners, to lost sinners of the church.
To this point there has been no preaching to the world, as I mentioned earlier. And this is important because maybe you're a Christian and you really don't have a heart to preach. You feel whatever, but you're not excited about sharing Christ. You need a personal Pentecost. You need to be filled with the Spirit. Christians have preached Christ under persecution.
So you cannot say, well, you know, I've had trouble in my life and things are really going out of my way and I'm just really struggling. I don't know in the New Testament where that gives a pass. And it's not a rebuke. It is an encouragement. That if the early Christians could preach under persecution, we should be able to preach also.
Something about that in season and out season that should be appealing to us. And so Peter's going to stand up. He's going to make his declaration. He's going to explain this phenomenon, but he's going to do it from Scripture.
He's not just going to give his opinion about this. He's going to give God's word about this. To be immersed in the Holy Spirit is to be excited about Christ. My relationship with Christ and the potential for those who have not this relationship to Christ to get one.
And perhaps God will use me. It goes beyond commitment to Christ. It has that excitement, that fire, and when it is lacking, we notice it. We notice it in ourselves.
We notice it in others. Pentecost is a big deal. Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem. Again, he's getting down to business.
This is what he's been prepped for. This is why he has been immersed in the Spirit on this day, just a little while ago, for these things that are taking place. He is addressing Jewish worshippers on the temple ground. There were niches all over for the rabbis to take their students and teach.
Jesus taught on the temple ground often. And so there were these places where the apostles got together, and then when the Spirit comes in that giant courtyard, there was space to house the multitudes that were responding to this phenomenon that Peter is talking about. So where he says, Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, it was Peter who wrote later, Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and reverence, or meekness and respect.
And he's doing that. They're scoffing him, but he has already sanctified the Lord in his heart, because you don't get to quote the prophet Joel like Peter is going to quote him without sanctifying the Lord in your heart. He's been in the Word. He picks a passage of Scripture that is quite complicated.
It's not a basic section of Scripture. It is predictive prophecy. And Peter is going to open this up. And when he says, Always be ready, we see him in action. He's now ready. He wasn't ready until the Spirit came, though. As close as he was to Christ, he was not ready without the Holy Spirit, without him being immersed in the Holy Spirit.
And that comes through the cross, through the resurrection, through the ascension of Christ. And he adds this with meekness and respect. And that's what he does. He doesn't say, No, you're drunk. He doesn't lash out at the guy. Who do you think you are?
He says, No. And he reasons from the Scripture. It says with the 11. Well, I believe the Scripture points to the 12 apostles. Peter makes up the 12 from this number 11, of course, as verse 3 and verse 37. Those verses highlight that it is the apostles that were receiving this initial outpouring of the Spirit. Peter is not alone here.
That is helpful. There are those in Christianity that fear or resist pastoral authority. And this is not biblical. I think it'd be better to support it than to resist it. And if you say, Well, you know, I come from a church where the pastors abused the authority.
Well, I've seen Christians in the pew abuse Christianity. That's no excuse. We can't say, Okay, I got stung and now I'm out. That, you know, in boxing, you would be accused of having a glass jaw. You know, one hit to the chin and you're done.
You can't take a punch. And we Christians, we're supposed to be able to take some heat and dependence upon the Lord. Exodus chapter 17 verse 12, I think, illustrates what I'm talking about very nicely. Because if the church did not support these apostles, it would have been the end of the church when the apostles died.
But they did support them. As much trouble as they had to confront or face in the church, the church prevailed. And we being here, as are many other churches, are proof of that. But Exodus chapter 12, Moses hands. This is when Joshua's on the battlefield. He's fighting and Moses is overseeing the battle. And when Moses lifts his arms up, Joshua prevails. When Moses' arms get tired and he brings them down to rest, then Joshua's forces get pushed back. And Moses recognizes this and so does Aaron and a man named Hur who is with them. And this is what they do. They formulate a response, a solution. They come up with something to win the fight.
But they know they've got to support their leader. Exodus 17, Moses' hands became heavy so that they took a stone and put it under him. And he sat on it and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and the other on the other side.
And his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. One man can't do it. You need your Joshua's. You need your troops. You need your Aaron and Hur. You need Moses.
It is the body of Christ. And it works better. It is victorious when it works together. The 11, with Peter making 12, is not a little statement. Let this be known to you. Now he's responding to that ignorant statement. He is going to correct, he is explaining, and he is going to encourage all at the same time. That's preaching.
To be able to convict, to rebuke, and to exhort. 2 Timothy 2, Paul tells Timothy, This is ministry. This is pastoral ministry, Timothy, but it doesn't excuse the individual Christian either. He says, In humility, correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance so that they may know the truth.
And that's what Peter is doing. And now when I say, I mentioned that this does not excuse the Christian, we are all, pastor or not, supposed to, in humility, when the Holy Spirit opens the door, as he's doing here at Pentecost, we are to correct those who are in opposition, if perhaps God will grant them repentance, that they may know the truth. Now, remember now, after the Spirit came upon them, and before, we don't read about them just running around the temple ground preaching to people, they let the Holy Spirit open the door. Peter is going to reinforce his sermon with scripture.
He's going, as I mentioned, cross-reference Joel the prophet, because he himself is now a man of the word. We're going to really get to that in chapter 6, but before that, re-reading what I've been saying over the last few sessions in Acts, Jesus, after he rose from the dead, Luke writes this, And he, Christ, opened their understanding that they might comprehend the scriptures, which of course presupposes they weren't getting it, and as we go through the Gospel, we say, what is wrong with these guys? Well, the Lord changed all that, and now we're seeing it in action as Peter gets down to business. Acts chapter 6, now this is in Acts chapter 6, the Christians came up with what they thought was a good idea, which evidently failed because it just falls off the pages, but Peter stood up and said, listen, this is good stuff what you're saying. Choose from among you those who are worthy for this ministry, who have a good reputation, a good witness, filled with the Spirit. Let them oversee this, but, and he goes on to say, we will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word. So he's now this dynamo in the word, and it is, imagine what would have happened if he was not. What would have happened to the first church if they did not fill themselves with the scripture?
You would have had a bunch of leaders who didn't know the word of God, and when the blind lead the blind, they both fall into a ditch. Peter says, and heed my words. He invites this multitude that he's preaching to, who are not Christians, he invites them to act on solid preaching. It was Peter also who wrote in 2 Peter chapter 1, we have the prophetic word confirmed. We've got the prophecies of Christ, we've got the evidences that he's fulfilled these prophecies, and no one else has. And then he says, which you do well to heed. We have got the scripture, we've got the truth, we can back up what we're preaching, unlike any other religion on earth, and you do well to heed. And so here he's telling them, even those two different Greek words of the same meaning, heed my words. Verse 15.
For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. So debunking their theory. When do the evolutionists decide they're going to be honest with themselves? You know, you don't need Christianity to debunk evolution. You need science.
I thought that was pretty good. So he's appealing to their sense of reason and their sense of honesty. Well, if you're witnessing to somebody who's not going to be rational and not going to be honest, there's really not much more you can do.
But they are. They are listening. And he's reasoning with them.
And they're honest with themselves, evidently because we know the outcome of this. The Holy Spirit often calls us to explain his work. Why does he need witnesses? Why does he need servants? He wants us involved.
We are to interact with him as we interact with lost souls and saved souls. And just in case you haven't figured this out, saved souls can be sometimes more of a pain in the neck. Did I put too much emphasis on that P?
Did I pop that P too much? They can be more of a pain in the neck than unbelievers. It shouldn't be this way. And of course, then you add to that the make-believers. They're not real Christians, but they use all the Christian language. They say they are, but their fruits dispute it.
They lock it down. No way this guy can be a believer. Lord, it's for you to decide that finally, but I've got to be careful with this person. And that is such is life.
Anyway, he says, as you suppose, there is no way that these people could have understood without help. No one stumbles into salvation. Yeah, I was just drinking a milkshake and then all of a sudden it dawned on me. I'm a sinner and I need a savior. I mean, you know, that does not happen. At some point, there has to be boots on the ground.
There has to be engagement. Even Paul, who was saved miraculously on the road to Damascus, he got clobbered by Stephen's sermon. That sermon eviscerated Paul's doctrine. He was still seething threats of violence. He was coming against the church because he was taken apart by truth and he didn't know how to get out of that.
And God helped him with that. Well, again, Peter, instead of being offended, he reasons from the scripture. He did not let the scoffers have the last say. It didn't like how they think we're drunk. All right, let them believe whatever. Well, sometimes you have to do that, not this time, and it sure helps to know when it's a time to say, you know what, I'm not giving you a pass on that one. That I'm going to take you to task on. It is certainly beneficial to us to be engaged, to be in the game, and to learn when to be led, when the Lord leads us to sit still, and when the Lord leads us to speak.
However, there's a big caveat that goes with this, a big warning. If you have not love, what is your problem? I ask for all of us. The apostles said, if I don't have love, I am nothing. And there are a lot of Christians, they want to reach the laws, but they're just the most loveless, judgmental, self-righteous, annoying people. And you got to love them, right? I'm not asking you. And I'm sure there's somebody that says something like that about you. How could they say it about me?
There's no way. There's everything they love about me. I mean, you know, isn't it? It's eye-opening when someone tells you, yeah, you know, I thought you were a jerk. What? Why would you think that? And, you know, it causes you to go back.
What did I do to make this person think that I was this or that when I'm not that way? Ask my mom. So Peter says, don't be silly. This, incidentally, is the hour of prayer when the morning sacrifices were being offered. They had been slaughtered earlier, but by the time they gave me, and this is a big event, every morning, the morning sacrifices, and at Pentecost, predominantly, men are there at the temple, more so than at other times because this was a mandated holiday for the men, three of them. God said, you know, some of you men, you just will never go to church.
So I'm going to mandate three of the holidays that you've got to be there, and maybe something will click in your noggin. You've been listening to Cross-Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply visit crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross-Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at crossreferenceradio.com, or simply search for Cross-Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Acts, right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-09 10:06:14 / 2023-04-09 10:15:57 / 10