We are continuing our look at Acts 2 and God fulfilling the promise He made to the Apostles to stay and wait in Jerusalem. On the day God has appointed He sent His Spirit His Helper to indwell the 120 disciples who followed Jesus up till His death and then after His resurrection until His ascension. We saw the Holy Spirit be released from heaven and purify those in the house and enable them to praise God rightly. The Spirit has also prompted people to come and see and hear what He is doing. This prompting leads to amazement and wonder as to what is God doing. It also leads to skepticism and discrediting God by say these people must be drunk.
This morning we are going to begin looking at the explanation as to what God is doing and in this explanation the One who will be revealed is God and Peter isn’t going to mince words, who will not be politically correct, he will provide God’s revelation of God’s plan and what He is doing and how this will affect mankind, the world and mankind’s spiritual outcome. So let’s go ahead and take a look at;
We will see this in the first part of Peter’s three part sermon in Acts 2:14-36. This first part is found in Acts 2:14-21, let’s go ahead and read Acts 2:14-21.
But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all 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; 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 on 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 on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit And they shall prophesy. ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above And signs on the earth below, Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. ‘The sun will 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 will be saved.’
As we look at verses 14-16 we find an introduction by Luke. Verse 14 opens with a description of what happens. Picture the scene if you will we are all together in prayer and waiting on the coming of the Holy Spirit and the fateful day arrives and we receive the Holy Spirit and we are all praising God in languages we have never spoken before and never took a class in and as we are doing this the crowds of Jerusalem surround the house were we are and they hear this and see this and they are all amazed and wondering what in the world is God doing here. But of course because of the darkness of this world we also hear a bunch of skeptics making fun of us and reject God power and work by saying we are just drunk. So now what do you do. Well Luke tells us what they did and this is exactly what we should do when someone is trying to make fun of the God we follow and believe in. They stand up for God.
Look at verse 14, “But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them:” Stop right there. Peter takes his stand, or another way to look at this is Peter is pushed forward. Now this can mean two different things. It can mean Peter heard the questioning and the whispering of what does this mean and the skepticism and took his stand for the gospel truth. Or it could mean when they heard this the eleven pushed him forward to be the spokesmen for them. I believe it to be both. Peter took his stand not by his own strength but by the strength of the Spirit and the eleven stood with him allowing Peter to take his position as the spokesmen for them all. This was a natural thing as we know Peter is the one who is a bit more outspoken then the rest.
He raises his voice and declared to them. This in passing just sounds like a some description of the loudness. Well he had to be loud there is about 3000 people there so he had to speak up. Sure that is true. Do you want to know what else this means by ‘raised his voice and declared to them,’ his confidence in Who he was representing and what he had to say. He was speaking with authority and clarity and he was not about to defend himself or those who he was with but he was defending God and His power and His work. For this reason he raised his voice loudly.
He opens his discourse with an address to the people there, “Me of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem,” he calls out to this men. Three times he calls out to them through this and each time his address becomes more and more personal. He is really getting their attention. His let this be known to you and give heed to my words,’ is making it clear he has something important to say. This is really cool because Peter by the power of the Holy Spirit has become a herald or a messenger for God. What does a messenger or a herald do when they come about to provide an important message for the King. Hear Ye, Hear Ye, and this is in essence what Peter is doing. He is calling attention to the word’s he is about to say because they are important and they are the explanation of what is taking place.
Of course before he provides the explanation he has to discredit the descending party. So he tells them in verse 15, “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;” The third hour of the day is at 9 a.m. and according to Jewish custom they were only to drink wine with meat or with a major meal. So the likely hood of them drinking before 9 a.m. is very slim and the odds of them drinking enough for them to be drunk as they said is even slimmer then that. So their foolishness was called out pretty quickly and pretty easily.
Then Peter doesn’t just give an opinion about what is going on here and what has happened. He doesn’t provide some philosophical argument as to what was taking place and start off by I think this is what this means. He tells them strait out what God is doing and he points to God’s word. This is an expository sermon Peter provides here and it is a marker to all sermons that come from it. Peter provides for them God’s word and he explains to them what God’s word says.
Verse 16 Peter points to the Scripture which explains this very event. It is written for us in the Prophetic book of Joel. It is found in Joel 2:28-32. In these three verse which are taken we find something very powerful and we will see here what is happening is not only a fulfillment of God’s word but this is the beginning of the end. This event which they are witnesses to will affect them as well as us and even the entire world because this marks God’s bringing about the Consummation of all things.
First let’s look at how this event Affects Mankind,
In verse 17, Peter says, “And it shall be in the days,” God says, That I will Pour out My Spirit on all mankind,” See this is Peter interpreting what Joel was saying. God through Joel was pointing to the last days. When the Spirit is poured out on all mankind it is the beginning of the last days.
In these last days the major affect on mankind will be the ability to prophecy this is the ability to reveal the Word of God to mankind. Now I want to be able to explain prophecy to you but at the same time I want you to understand the importance of this text is not that people will prophecy but who will prophecy. Prophecy is the revealing of the Word of God. It is God’s Word that is being revealed. Prophecy always points to God in some fashion and elevates God. It is about the building up of other believers in the faith and pointing them to a Christlike attitude and lifestyle. Prophecy never exalt mankind it always exalts God.
God was starting something new and there was a lot of unavailing that had to occur in the inception of the church so God provided prophetic gift. Just like the gift of tongues this gift of revealing God’s Word has now ceased. The reason for the cessation of the gift is because the Bible is sufficient for all things Christlike and to know God. There is no reason to add to this book or take away from it. Which is a warning Jesus provides for us in the book of Revelation.
Prophecy did occur and that is why we have the New Testament cannon and the New Testament cannon points to God and explains His mystery of things that have happened and are happening in the first century church it demonstrates God’s fulfillment of His plan as it does here and it is for the purpose of turning people back to God.
Still here is the major affect of what the Spirit does here. He brings this revealed Word to all people groups. Besides one or two women all the prophets of the Hebrew Scripture are men. The point here is God’s Word will be revealed to all mankind, men women, young old and even the slave. Now the salve is typically not an Israelite this is a reference to gentiles.
There will be judgment on the world.
This was foretold in Isaiah as well;
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
This is how we should respond and this is how we can avoid the judgment.