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The First Sermon

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
July 3, 2023 12:00 am

The First Sermon

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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July 3, 2023 12:00 am

The First Sermon ever given in the Church age illustrates the Gospel so clearly and reminds us that becoming a Christian is a transaction. Sanctification takes a lifetime; conversion takes a moment. Listen to the full-length version or read the manuscript of this message here: https://www.wisdomonline.org/teachings/acts-lesson-7

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What makes up the very heart of the Gospel message?

Here's Stephen Davey. Welcome to Wisdom for the Heart featuring the Bible Teaching Ministry of Stephen Davey. In the book of Acts, the early church was expanding rapidly. The apostles were preaching the Gospel message, and the people who lived in the area of Jerusalem were responding to that message. In today's lesson, we continue through our Vintage Wisdom series from the book of Acts. We're looking at the events of the early church in a series called, The Harvest Begins. Today you'll be reminded that salvation is a transaction, and sanctification takes a lifetime.

Stay with us. Last Lord's Day we discovered some wonderful truths behind the events of the last Pentecost. It was the fulfillment of the Lord's own promise in Acts chapter 1 verse 8, where he said, You're going to receive the Spirit, and then you're going to become my witnesses. And they became witnesses as they uttered in those unlearned tongues, those dialects, the Gospel of Christ to all who came. There were several different responses. We looked at them in chapter 2 verse 12. There was the response of amazement and confusion.

And then in verse 13 there was the response of mockery or rejection, saying they are full of sweet wine. And that seems to get Peter moving here. And that brought him off of his seat, and he stood toward the others and began to preach. And that becomes, in effect, ladies and gentlemen, the very first sermon of the New Testament era.

What a significant moment this was. The very first sermon of the Age of Grace is about to be uttered. Now in our congregation we have a number of preachers who've pastored churches in the past, and I think they'd agree with me that probably one of the most traumatic events in their life was their first sermon. Maybe you're here and you've shared your testimony with the college group or to a small Bible study and you remember the fear that you had. I can still remember as an 18-year-old we had what was called Sunday Night Live where the teens, once a month, sort of took the service hostage and left no survivors. Well, I was the preacher for that night and can still remember preaching my way through Nehemiah rebuilding the walls.

I think we got them built that night. I'm not exactly sure, but I remember the audience was very kind to me afterward and said some nice things that gave me the inclination that maybe I ought to keep going. Well, in many ways the audience does make the preaching, and there's truth to that relationship. I can remember in college I've mentioned this little chapel that I used to go to on Wednesday nights. We had the same six or seven faithful people there, and the same man slept through everything I ever preached, and it became my passion to preach that man awake. And so one Wednesday night it happened, and it was at a time when I used an illustration from World War II. Suddenly that gentleman came alive sitting there. Why? Because he had fought in World War II. That man taught me the power of an illustration. I never forgot it.

In fact, I'm using it on you right now at this moment. But the truth is, preaching the truth of Holy Scripture is a wonderful holy calling. It doesn't mean the person doing it is any holier, but it is a holy calling. And I am praying that out of our congregation comes individuals who will give their life's vocation to the declaration of biblical truth. Throughout the book of Acts you discover that Peter really started something. In Acts chapter 4 verse 2 we read that they taught the people and proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Acts chapter 8 records that as they were scattered they went about preaching the gospel.

It mimics the ministry of our Lord. Matthew 4 tells us that he began his ministry by preaching, repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Mark tells us that he began his ministry by preaching the gospel of God. Paul himself picks up the banner, a man who dominates the remainder of the New Testament Scriptures. And we read that Christ sent him to preach, not to baptize, but to preach the cross, which he says is foolishness to those who do not believe. History is filled with the blessing of God that comes on the heels of powerful, bold preaching, preaching from the lips of men like Calvin and Knox and Zwingli, preaching that began with Martin Luther who made central the truth of Scripture, sola scriptura.

The Scriptures alone was his battle cry. I read an advertisement recently from a mega church. This is a church that is supposedly a leading church in the Christian community. Listen to what it says here.

There is no fire. They're advertising themselves. There is no fire and brimstone here, no Bible thumping, just practical, witty messages. Our services have an informal feeling. You won't hear people threatened with hell or referred to as sinners. The goal is to make them feel welcome. As with all clergymen, our pastor's answer is God, but he slips God in at the end and even then doesn't get heavy.

He never uses the H word, hell. Call it light gospel, l-i-t-e. It has the same salvation as the old time religion, but with a third less guilt. The question that I ask is what kind of sermon launched the New Testament church? Is it safe to believe that the kind of sermon that launched the New Testament church is the same kind of sermon that needs to be preached in every generation? If you believe that, say amen. Well, let's find out if our amen is okay. Look at verse 14 of chapter 2. But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them, men of Judea and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words, for these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day. He uses their own timetable as a defense. They haven't had breakfast yet.

Lunch is three hours away or four hours away. We haven't even sat down to eat or drink. Drunkenness is not even a possibility.

It is out of the question. Now, his sermon immediately begins to expound on the Old Testament scriptures, verse 16. But this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel. And it shall be in the last days, God says, that I will pour forth of my spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my bond slaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of my spirit, and they shall prophesy.

Now, that's a great place to start, and some circles believe that's a great place to stop. Some circles teach that Pentecost fulfilled the prophecy of Joel, as Peter is quoting from the prophet Joel. Didn't Peter say in verse 16, but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel?

Look at it. Your sons and daughters prophesy. Your young men shall see visions, dream dreams. So they say that's exactly what's happening today.

How exciting. The spirit is being poured out upon all mankind. This is the fulfillment of the prophet. Pentecost is the fulfillment of the prophet Joel. How wonderful, they say, to be living in these last days of special outpouring and anointing by the Holy Spirit.

Is that right? Might I remind them not to put a period where Peter simply takes a breath and then continues preaching. He's still quoting the prophecy. Verse 19 starts with the word and.

He's not finished. And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth beneath, blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood. Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. I don't think anybody wants to be on planet Earth during this time is what you call the tribulation. The prophecy of Joel is talking about events on earth related to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Just prior to his second coming, you're going to have the outpouring of the spirit in power.

And you're going to have and you're going to have all of these signs manifest. In fact, the Book of Revelation spells it out as we see it fulfilled. Would you take your Bibles and turn to Revelation chapter 6?

Let's just look at a little of these related to fire and blood and smoke. Look at Revelation chapter 6 verse 12. And I looked when he broke the sixth seal and there was a great earthquake and the sun became black, the sackcloth made of hair and the whole moon became like blood.

Sound familiar? And the stars of the sky fell to the earth as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind and the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up and every mountain and island were moved out of the places. And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich men and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, fall on us and hide us from the presence of him that sits on the throne and from the wrath of the lamb for the great day of their wrath has come who is able to stand.

Turn over to chapter 8. Look at verse 6. The seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them and the first sounded and there came hail and fire mixed with blood. And they were thrown to the earth and a third of the earth was burned up and all a third of the trees were burned up and all the green grass was burned up. Verse 12. And the fourth angel sounded and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten so that a third of them might be darkened and the day might not shine for a third of it and night in the same way. Would you like to be part of this?

I don't think you would. Church will be raptured. We will await his second coming as we come with him. Notice the fulfillment of smoke along with fire as Joel prophesied. Look at chapter 9 verse 18. A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths for the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails for their tails are like serpents and have heads and with them they do harm and the rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues did not repent of the works of their hands so as not to worship demons and the idols of gold and silver and of brass and of stone and of wood which can neither see nor hear nor walk and they did not repent of the murders nor their sorceries nor their immorality nor their thefts. Now we know from other passages of Revelation during this period many will call on the name of the Lord and will be saved as Joel prophesied and as Peter quotes in Acts chapter 2.

Let's go back there. What was Peter then referring to? Verse 16. Peter's referring to Joel's prophecy saying this is what? Peter did not say Pentecost was the actual fulfillment of Joel. I don't even think it's the beginning of fulfillment.

We know that simply because all the other signs didn't take place. We'd like to pull out where we like the dreams and we like the visions and the spirit mentions the spirit being poured out. So don't put a period where Peter just takes a breath. Take the whole prophecy or don't take any of it at all. Now at this point Peter reintroduces the king who will sit on the throne. A literal throne in a literal kingdom where we will reign with him for that one thousand year millennial kingdom period. What an incredible period that will follow during this age of grace. Now look at verse 22. He introduces, reintroduces to them that king.

Men of Israel listen to these words. Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through him in your midst just as you yourselves know. In other words Jesus Christ did things that only God could do. Jesus did those things not just for the doing but to prove that he was God behind the doing. You need to write into the margin of your Bibles by that word attested.

You can write the words proven. Peter will now say you know the truth. He proved to you that he was the Messiah by the things he did. Those who say today we should be able to heal and raise people from the dead and on and on and on because Jesus did that missed the basic principle of this clear verse. Jesus did these things not simply for the doing but to prove that he was God because God could only do those things.

And God would give that power to the apostolic community to validate as they laid the foundation of the church that they are indeed giving the new covenant to all mankind. Jesus Christ broke the bread and the fish and he made 5,000 box meals. Why? Because people were hungry. The primary reason for it was so that he could then declare to that multitude I am the bread of life. You eat of me and you'll never go hungry. He raised Lazarus from the dead.

Why? Because Lazarus was his friend and he didn't want his sisters Mary and Martha to grieve over the death of their brother. He just wanted him back. No he did it so that he could prove he was God for he would say after raising Lazarus from the dead I am the resurrection and the life.

If you believe in me you will never die. And he had this illustration standing by him wrapped up. It was irrefutable undeniable proof that he was indeed the resurrection and Christ through selected miracles of varying kinds proved that he was indeed the Messiah and Peter now stands and preaches and he doesn't even need to prove it. He says you already know. Now Peter drives toward the verdict. The verdict is guilty. Look at verse 23. This man delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put him to death. Turn over to verse 36. Therefore let all the house of Israel know. This sermon is to the house of Israel.

These signs are for the Israelite nation. Let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ this Jesus whom you crucified. How's that for user friendly preaching?

How comfortable are you? True preaching preaches the truth and it does so in love. In fact the most hateful thing you can do to anybody is withhold from them the truth.

Now just in case they would think they had everything to do with it and before anybody here might go out and blame the Israelite nation for being the God killers there shouldn't be a stitch of anti-semitism in any believer's heart. He clears it up. Go back to verse 23. This man was delivered up by Judas and crucified by the Israelites. Now what does he say? This man was delivered up by the predetermined plan. Pre-determined plan.

Bouleh. The council of God and foreknowledge of God. Yes you nailed him to a cross by the hands of godless men and put him to death but that Peter says was part of a plan before the foundations of the world existed. He was the land that would be slain. It was already in the mind of the triune God that he would die. The rest of the plan verse 24. God raised him up again putting an end to the agony of death since it was impossible for him to be held in its power.

Wow what a great phrase. Now Peter goes on to expound the passages from their great king David who directly relates the writings of David to the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. You see what Peter's doing here? He's sort of drawing this net made of steel around the Israelite audience. He is using the prophet Joel. He is using their beloved king David to prove his points that Jesus Christ was indeed the Messiah. Yes he died. That was according to plan but he's alive and he is ascended to the father as David prophesied and that's the truth.

Now notice the result. Go over again to verse 37. Now when they heard this they were pierced to the heart.

The word pierced or pricked is from the original word that could be rendered stunned. They were literally stunned with the realization that they had crucified their Messiah. They'd been waiting for him.

They had been longing for him. He had come and they were stunned with the truth that they were guilty before God for raising their hand against him. Now notice they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, brethren, what are we going to do? You remember when you were confronted with the gospel of Jesus Christ and you recognized that you were a sinner in need of a savior and your next thought or question was what do I do now? It's a great question. Sounds like the Philippian jailer who said what must I do to be saved?

It's a thrilling question. Do you have the answer to that? If someone were to ask you listen how can I be saved? Would you know how to tell them?

How can I become a Christian? What would you say? The answer to that question is the answer that will determine your eternity in hell or in heaven. The legalist would say well you got to stop doing a lot of bad things. The moralist would say well you need to start doing a lot of good things. The religionist would say well go to church every chance you get.

The philanthropist would say give all the money away you can. The pluralist would say well just pick a god, fashion your own religion and then hang on and hope you're right. The first word out of Peter's mouth as he provides the answer is repent. Another comfortable word.

Metanoia oh change your mind. See before salvation you thought you were pretty good and Christ was fairly unnecessary you needed him you kind of hung on to him but you were doing okay yourself. Change your mind you are a sinner and the wages of sin is death but the gift of God through Christ is eternal life.

You are unnecessary. Christ is altogether necessary in the plan of salvation and you place your faith in him alone. He says change your mind. Now the next part of the verse has been especially troubling to many.

Let's take some time here. Repent and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Now those who believe in baptismal regeneration or that is you must be baptized by water in order to be saved will use this as one of their primary proof texts.

I want to provide two answers. First of all you might circle in your Bibles the word for for the forgiveness of your sins that is the critical little preposition. It's the Greek word ice and it demands because of the potency of the Greek language often an expanded translation so that we can grasp exactly what it means. You could translate it as a preposition of expectancy expectancy let me let me try to help you through this.

If it is translated as a preposition of expectation it would read something like this. You are baptized for the purpose of the forgiveness of your sins. In other words you can expect to be forgiven by baptism.

Now there are denominations and religious systems out there that believe that and for them baptism is sacramental. That is it bestows grace. It is necessary to receive grace. Or you could translate it as a preposition of explanation.

That's where we're throwing our hats. It could be translated repent and be baptized because of your sins having been forgiven. You see the critical difference? So you can interpret Acts chapter 2 verse 38 then as a memorial that at least that phrase and I happen to believe that both of the ordinances of the New Testament Church communion and baptism are not sacramental. They cannot bestow grace. They are both memorial. Do this in remembrance of me.

Baptism you identify with a past death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now you're gonna forget all that. Anyhow I still wanted you to know it. Now there's another way you can answer the question. It may sound complicated but I do want you to write down these four words. The analogy of scripture.

You say Steven that doesn't sound any better than the first one. Well here's what it means. And by the way this is one of the most critical principles of interpretation you will ever tuck away in your mind. This will save you from the cults and the isms. This will help you as you're confronted with a co-worker or a friend or a relative who brings to you and plops a verse down in front of you and you sit there and you think oh my goodness I've never seen that verse before. The analogy of scripture is this. No passage of scripture when correctly interpreted contradicts another passage of scripture. No passage of scripture when correctly interpreted contradicts another passage of scripture.

Now that principle doesn't make it any easier for you and me. It makes it harder because you have to start digging comparing scripture with scripture. So is salvation God plus water? Is it faith in Christ plus an ordinance of the New Testament church? Is that really a sacrament? For as many as received him to them he gave the power the right to become the children of God. John 12 period. For by grace are you saved through faith not of yourselves it is the gift of God not of what?

Works. What is baptism? It's a work. It's something you do in obedience to the command of God but it's something you do. You're not going to heaven because of anything you do.

You're going to heaven because of what Christ did. If water baptism is necessary for salvation let me give you five things quickly. Then first of all you disregard the meaning of the new covenant. Ladies and gentlemen the covenant is in the blood it is not in the water. First Corinthians 11 this is Jesus Christ said the new covenant in my what?

Blood. Ephesians 1 7 in him we have redemption through his blood and the forgiveness of our trespasses according to his grace. Romans 5 9 having been justified by his blood we have peace with God. First John 1 7 the blood of Jesus God's son cleanses us from all sin that's first. Second if water baptism is necessary for salvation you destroy the purpose of Christ's incarnation. Hebrews 10 10 says by this sacrifice we've been sanctified by the offering of his body once and for all. If salvation comes by any other means the incarnation is is of no effect or at least half effect I suppose.

Why would he die? Why go through all of the agony of separation and death and hell and all of that if a few drops of water or being immersed could take care of the problem. Number three you dilute the meaning of Christ's last words. In Matthew 28 we read the command of Jesus Christ to go and make disciples. And then what are we supposed to do to disciples?

We're supposed to baptize them and to teach them. Disciples made their public statement of faith in Christ by going through the water that was the mark of a disciple as they identified with Christ. Fourth if water baptism is necessary for salvation you destroy the integrity of Paul's ministry. Paul himself said in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 Jesus Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the cross. Why would he do anything other than baptize and preach?

He makes a clear statement why? He wants us to understand the gospel is found in the sacrifice of Christ alone. Finally if water baptism is necessary for salvation you diminish the essence of the gospel. 1 Corinthians chapter 15 is the clearest statement of the gospel found I think in the New Testament.

It defines the gospel as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ period. It isn't Christ plus good works. It isn't Christ plus morality. It isn't Christ plus ritual or religiosity. It is Jesus Christ alone period.

While those other things might be good they do not save. So you go to Acts chapter 2 verse 38 I believe Peter is saying repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ because of the forgiveness of your sins. This is a traumatic moment. Let me give you three things why baptism is important. Don't forget by the way that Peter commands it. So if he commands it it must be important. It's like all the other commands of the New Testament. They expect they are expected of us to be obeyed right?

Otherwise why command them? So why is water baptism important? Number one it reveals a break with the old life. The Jewish people this was traumatic and life changing. To be publicly baptized was to identify with the one they had crucified as the Messiah. It was to turn their back as it were on Judaism and enter into the mark of a disciple that followed this new covenant that was part of this new body. This new thing called the church. For us it's not as traumatic in our country because of our background and heritage and teaching. You go over to Japan today and they don't even count conversions as it were. They count baptisms. Why?

As our missionaries told me because when a Japanese man steps forward and is publicly baptized at that moment he is put on the list. His corporate climb is over. His hope financially is gone. He is ridiculed. That's what was happening here.

Basically it was this kind of system. Number two it's important because it obeys the command of Christ not just Peter. Baptism follows salvation. It doesn't produce salvation. But don't forget that Christ himself commanded that the church is to go and to make disciples and to do what to disciples? To what? Baptize them, baptizomai, to immerse them.

Immersion is the mode. Why? Because it clearly pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Third, it identifies the believer not only with Christ but with his church. We'll come back to the topic of baptism in the days ahead as Stephen continues working his way through Acts chapter 2.

This is wisdom for the heart. We've gone back to our archives and brought out this series entitled The Harvest Begins. It comes from the early chapters of the book of Acts and is part of our Vintage Wisdom series. Stephen first preached this series back in the 1990s and we'll spend several more weeks in it.

I hope you'll be along with us for all of it. I want you to be aware that we have a companion resource for this series. It's a study guide that's also called The Harvest Begins.

During this series, we're making it available at our cost. We're going to give you information if you call us at 866-48-BIBLE. You'll also find this resource on our website which is wisdomonline.org. Join us next time for more Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-03 01:06:38 / 2023-07-03 01:17:44 / 11

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