Dr. Michael Youssef begins today's Leading the Way, taking you back to the early days of the church, and today. Many of you have had something like this happen.
Someone close to you is in some sort of distress, crying out for help. And yet the moment you mention God, boom, you, or I should say God, gets completely shut down. Hello, and welcome to Leading the Way with pastor and author of more than 50 life-changing books, Dr. Michael Youssef. Today, Acts chapter 2. Travel to where Peter delivered one of the most powerful sermons in history, pointedly giving perspective to what the world just witnessed.
The life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus. Join me now in listening as Dr. Michael Youssef begins this thought-provoking Leading the Way audio. Today, there are preachers who resort to pop psychology, preachers who resort to platitudes and moralism. There are preachers who resort to man-centered sermons, and there are preachers who resort to sermons that were designed to make people feel good instead of being good.
And we have preachers who preach sermonettes abound, and all they're producing are Christianettes. It was C.S. Lewis who tells of how he went to hear a sermon that was preached by a young Anglican minister. And the young preacher saw C.S. Lewis, I'm sure if it's C.S. Lewis you panic, but he saw C.S. Lewis in the congregation and he basically said, and I quote, he said, if you will not believe in Jesus Christ, you will suffer grave eschatological ramifications.
After what C.S. Lewis came out to the young preacher, he said, young man, did you mean to say that those who choose not to believe in Christ will go to hell? He said, precisely.
He said, why didn't you say so? I know that in this age of sentimentality, bold preaching is not very popular. I know that.
I know that in this age of make me feel good, bold proclamation would not win an award. I know that. I know that in this age of easy believism, people would rather be entertained than be called to repentance.
I know that. No wonder we have few biblically sound churches these days. But if you look at the first church, you're going to find that bold proclamation of the truth was the central focus of the worship. That the bold proclamation of the truth was the very heart of the worship. That the bold proclamation of the gospel was not designed to make them feel good and be entertained and it's not designed for their enjoyment, but it was designed for their conviction. But if you want to have a true model for bold preaching, all you need to do is turn with me to the book of Acts chapter 2. Here the apostle Peter stands up in order to proclaim to these hundreds of thousands of people, to explain to them what this Pentecost is all about.
What is this phenomena is all about? What is the sign is all about? And he began to address the seekers and the skeptics alike.
And the five things, by the way, in order just to keep focus. First, there was a confrontation of the skeptics, verses 14 and 15. When Peter said, take heed of the words that I'm about to speak.
Here's what he's doing. He was expressing boldness and confidence. He was saying, I'm no longer hesitant about this gospel. There is no equivocation about it.
He had no fear nor apprehension. Why? Because this is a different Peter from the Peter who denied his Lord before a slave girl in Caiaphas' house. This is the spirit filled Peter. This is the bold, fearless Peter. And the first thing that he does in his sermon is refute the false accusations of drunkenness. Here's what he's saying to them.
A use of translation. You silly people. It's 9 a.m. Whoever heard of anybody would be drunk at 9 a.m. I think I would have put it a little stronger than that. I would have said, if you had half a brain, you would not have made such a stupid, groundless accusation.
Whoever heard of anyone getting drunk at 9 in the morning? Just because you cannot accept the supernatural? Don't make such irrational statements. I think that's what Peter really meant. Once Peter confronted these silly skeptics, he goes on, secondly, to the clarification of the sign. The explanation of the sign of the day of Pentecost. You know, in the Old Testament, there were two comings of the Messiah. I want you to listen to what I'm going to tell you very carefully.
Because we have people running around saying all kinds of things about this. But there were two comings. These two comings were separated by a long interim period of time. What do I mean by this? Well, if you look at Isaiah 53, you're going to find that the first coming of the Messiah was going to be in suffering. That the first coming of the Messiah is going to be in bearing the sin of the world.
That the first coming of the Messiah is going to be for death and dying for the sins of the whole world. According to Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6, the second coming of the Messiah will be in great glory and in power and in majesty to establish His kingdom forever. You see, in the first coming of the Messiah, the rule of God is over the hearts of His people, the believers. But in the second coming of the Messiah, the rule, He's going to rule supreme. In the first coming of the Messiah, He establishes peace in the hearts of His believers. But in His second coming of the Messiah, He establishes perfect peace. In the first coming of the Messiah, He judges His people through the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
But the second coming of the Messiah, He will judge the whole world. And what Peter is saying here, as he clarifies the purpose of the coming of the Holy Spirit. He's saying the Holy Spirit has been prophesied by Joel to come in the beginning of that period.
Why? In order to minister to God's people, in order to convict God's people, in order to sanctify God's people. He is given to minister to God's people after the first coming of the Messiah. And this, he said, was prophesied in the book of Joel. What Peter is saying here is that what Joel prophesied is now a reality and you're seeing it with your eyes.
That's what he's telling them. Many of these Jews who were very familiar with the terrifying picture of judgment from the book of Joel, they wanted to know what can they do in order to escape this coming judgment. And Peter tells them in verse 21, he gives them the answer. He said, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. There is salvation for those who turn to Him as Savior. And that is why he goes on to give them the first step towards salvation, which is my third point. Condemnation of sin. I want you to think with me very carefully on this one because there is a lot of preaching about salvation without repentance. There's a lot of preaching about salvation without confession of sin. And I want you to listen and see how the Apostle Peter handles this situation. Confrontation of the skeptics, clarification of the sign, condemnation of sin. What do you think the sin of these people to whom Peter was speaking, what was their sin? Their sin was that the Messiah, whom they longed for, they were desperate for to come.
They waited for, all of their readings and all of their prayers are focused on the coming of the Messiah. So the Messiah comes, He performs one miracle after another. He performs one sign after another. He comes in supernaturally, reveals Himself. They watch Him with amazement, but they reject Him. They saw Him raising the dead supernaturally. They saw Him healing the sick supernaturally. They saw Him feeding the hungry supernaturally. They saw Him calming the storm supernaturally.
And what did they do? They refused to believe in Him. Instead of trusting Him with their salvation, instead of enthroning Him to be the Lord of their lives, they nailed Him to a cross.
I want you to think about this. Here they are longing, longing for the coming of the Messiah to come and usher peace, to come and usher joy, to come and bring salvation. And then when He came, they crucified Him.
They crucified Him. Oh, but I don't want you to be quick in judging them. This is happening today. This is happening with your coworker. This is happening with your schoolmates. This is happening with your neighbors.
It's happening all around us. From the outside, even those who look wonderful, those who live in mansions, and those who look like they've got it all together, let me tell you something. Here's the truth.
I promise you it's the truth. Deep down, they are longing for peace of mind. Deep down, they are longing for a relief from their guilt. Deep down, when they're all alone, they would long to be able to overcome anxiety, to be able to overcome fear. They long for the true contentment in life. They are longing to be able to overcome anger in their life. They are longing to know that their sins are forgiven.
They might not tell you that. They're longing for it. And yet, when you point them to the only one who can give them all of that, they reject Him. Don't tell me that Jesus the Messiah is the only Savior in the world.
That's narrow-mindedness. Beloved, I want to tell you the truth is, until sin is repented of, until sin is condemned, until sin is dealt with, there can be no salvation. Peter said, you nailed Him to the cross. Let me ask you this. Did these people who were listening to Peter at the time, actually the ones who had the hammer and the nail, and nailed Jesus to the cross?
No. Then why? Why did he say you nailed Him to the cross? Because everyone, everyone who will not accept Jesus the Messiah as his or her Savior, they might as well be the ones who took the hammer and nailed Jesus to the cross. Someone might ask, well, you know, if He was the Messiah, then why was He a victim? If He was the Messiah, why didn't He use His power to escape from the cross? Oh, the answer is in verse 23. Look at book of Acts chapter 23. Peter gives you the answer. He said, He was delivered up to die according to a definite plan and for knowledge of God.
Now, wait a minute, Michael. You're confusing me here. You really are confusing me. Which one is it? Did the people kill Him and nailed Him to the cross?
Or did God deliver Him up to die on the cross? Now, which one is it? Both.
Both. The sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man are tied together as two sides of one coin. And to try to go to one extreme or the other, you get into heresy. Listen to what Jesus said in Luke 22, 22. It's easy for you to remember.
Write it down. Luke 22, 22. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to the man who will betray Him.
Both. Confrontation of the skeptics, clarification of the sign, condemnation of sin. And finally, confirmation of the scripture. Peter said the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is all the proof that you need. We can talk about the existence of God until the cows come home.
We're not going to go very far. You want the proof? All the proof you need is in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's what Peter's saying. And that is why without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, His death would have been just another heroic death of a noble martyr. No more, no less. The greatest proof of His Lordship, the greatest proof of His Messiahship is His bodily resurrection from the grave.
You don't need any more proof. Not His teaching, not His miracles, not His death. Great as they may be, but His resurrection from the grave. Peter devoted one verse to Jesus' miracle here in this passage, one verse to His ministry, one verse to His death, nine verses to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Why? Because He is proving from the pages of the Old Testament that the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ was prophesied accurately and carefully and methodically one thousand years before He rose from the grave. David prophesied in Psalm 16 verses 8 to 11 that Jesus' body in the tomb during those three days will never experience corruption.
That's what David said. Give you that Psalm again. Psalm 16 verses 8 to 11. Not only that the Old Testament prophesied that Jesus will rise from the dead, Peter said, but the Old Testament also prophesied one thousand years before Christ. That He will be exalted in the heavenlies. That He will be glorified with all power, authority, and majesty, and dominion. Not only Psalm 16 prophesied His resurrection, but Psalm 110 prophesied His ascension and His glorification.
One thousand years before it took place. I want you to look at verse 34. The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. What's the implication here?
Please listen carefully. The verdict is in. And they were on the wrong side. Guilty of opposing God Himself and rejecting His Messiah. And unless they repent, they are condemned for eternity. Confrontation of the skeptics.
Clarification of the sign. Condemnation of sin. Confirmation of the scripture. Fifthly, consolation of the Spirit. The most momentous question that any man, any boy, any woman, any girl would ask. The most momentous question is this. What must I do to be saved? Saved from what? Saved from hell, which is the destination of everyone without Jesus Christ. A wrong answer to that question, no matter how correct a person is in all the other areas of life, will be the path to eternal tragedy.
Please hear me right. Because of the biblical importance of this question. I believe today Satan is working doubly hard in order to confuse people. In order to confound people from finding the answer. He is working doubly hard in order to pervert the only answer to that question. There's only one and one answer.
All the other answers are false. What must I do to be saved? Listen to some examples. The legalist says, salvation comes through the works of righteousness. The moralist says, as long as my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds, I am hoping to be saved. The Jews in the time of Peter who were listening to Peter were priding themselves they will be saved through their racial heritage. The universalist, which is the vast majority in the mainline churches, give people false hope by saying that everyone will be saved. The ritualist says, salvation comes from observing the rituals.
Sadly all of these will lead millions of people into the abyss. If somebody loves you enough, he loves you enough to tell you the truth. And the truth here is in God's word, is the answer. What must I do to be saved? Verse 38 of Acts chapter 2. Peter said, repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
There is no other way, beloved. The truth is this, I could not be saved, you could not be saved, no one could be saved until they come to grips with the fact that they are sinners and can only be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. Pray tell me, why would you need a salvation if you're not a sinner?
Why would you need a savior if you are not being convicted of sin? There were 3,000 people who responded to Peter's message. But I want to tell you something about these people, they were swimming upstream.
They really were. These people were going against their culture, they were going against their families, they were going against their nation, they were going against everything that they have known. Listen to what I'm going to tell you because I'm getting ready to conclude. Here's a statement I hope you'll never forget. Your need for a savior is far more serious than any opposition that you may face. Your need for the savior is far more important, far more serious than any opposition that you may face. My beloved friend, I want to ask you today, would you stand for the gospel if your job is dependent on it? If your net worth is dependent on it? If your livelihood is dependent on it?
If your reputation is dependent on it? What if your life is dependent on standing bold for the truth of the gospel? Thank you for joining Dr. Michael Youssef for Leading the Way. Maybe this audio message prompted some faith questions.
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Call us and speak to a ministry representative at 866-626-4356. And online, we're at ltw.org. Once again, that's 866-626-4356 and ltw.org. As we bring today's episode of Leading the Way to a close, allow me to invite you also to watch Leading the Way television. Leading the Way television is available in most areas on TBN, Daystar, NRB, INSP, TCT, GOTV, as well as NewsNation, Fox Business, Lifetime, and more. Visit ltw.org for details. This program is furnished by Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Yusef. Connect with us through our YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter, and all of our social media networks.
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